Sunday, May 20, 2007

My ideology is in no way ideological!

Here's something that nicely demonstrates a pet peeve of mine. From a letter in today's Chicago Tribune from the "Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence" advocating more gun control in Illinois:

It's time to put ideological and political views aside and start passing stronger and more effective laws to reduce the accessibility of guns in our communities.

Apparently, the belief that the right to bear arms should be restricted further is not an "ideological and political view." This is a classic rhetorical trick: opposing a particular statist measure is being "political" or "ideological," whereas supporting an expansion of state power somehow isn't.

I've seen this in other contexts. When public smoking bans are being discussed, the discussion is often framed as a struggle between nonideological supporters of Health and Science (the ban proponents) and anti-government ideologues. The underlying premise of ban supporters, the idea that the rights of private property owners should be abrogated at will, is in no way "ideological." It's just sort of a brute fact of existence.

I'm sure a lot of this is just a sleazy attempt to manipulate the reader, but in some cases I suspect that the statist honestly doesn't realize what he's doing; that is, he really thinks his own ideological and political views constitute "putting ideological and political views aside." He's spent so much time in an environment where everyone takes statist positions for granted that they seem like self-evident truths that don't even require arguments.

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