[James Fulford writes: (June 13, 2012) We have a link on Sam Francis's page to his columns on TownHall, January 4 2000-August 1 2000. That's an Archive.org link, so you couldn't find any of those columns by Googling. I'm posting this because the principle still applies, and while Sam and Charlton Heston have both passed on, and the gun controllers have a great deal less traction than they did even 12 years ago, Richard Cohen[Email him] still has a column in the Washington Post.]
Originally published on March 28, 2000
The republic has been edified in the last couple of weeks by the continuing debate between the National Rifle Association on the one hand, and on the other, bear with me a moment, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, former President Ford, Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, much of the national news media, and all of the gun control lobby over the NRA's unfairness toward the president. That NRA is dreadful, isn't it? Who will it gang up on next?
One lesson the debate teaches, though few seem to have learned it, is that the left side of the debate never hesitates to reject the moral legitimacy of its opponents, while at the same time screaming and screeching if the right side ever insinuates any doubt about the left's moral postures. Those who have followed the controversies between left and right over the years may have noticed that the left does this routinely.
In the eyes of the left, the right is almost always motivated by greed (Franklin Roosevelt's "malefactors of great wealth"), hate ("racism," "xenophobia," "homophobia," "anti-Semitism," "bigotry") or just general irrationality, if not outright insanity ("the paranoid fringe"). It seems to be impossible for the left to acknowledge that those who disagree with it from the right do so because they are rationally convinced of the truth of what they believe and the moral necessity of acting on it. To the mentality of the left, there's always an ulterior, and discreditable, reason why anyone disagrees with it.
The most recent display of this mentality popped out last week in a column by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen on NRA President Charlton Heston. [Heaven Help the Gun Nuts, By Richard Cohen, March 23, 2000]Though I rarely agree with him, Cohen is one of my favorite columnists, not only because of his considerable writing talent but also because of his, well, innocence. It is his curse, if not his gift, to display to the world the way the unguarded liberal mind really works. Most other liberals have the prudence at least to try to hide those workings, but Cohen almost always lays them open like a child babbling family secrets.
It is Cohen's thesis in his column about Heston (which the Post published with a little box around it to draw the reader's attention to it) that Heston, in a word, "is nuts." He's nuts, that is, crazy, insane, irrational or mentally unbalanced, because of a speech he made in 1997 to a conservative organization in which he uttered the following sentiment:
"Heaven help the God-fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle-class, Protestant, or even worse, admitted heterosexual, gun-owning, or, even worse, NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff." Later, in the same speech, Heston remarked, "Why is 'Hispanic pride' or 'black pride' a good thing, while 'white pride' conjures shaved heads and white hoods?"[America's Cultural War, Harvard Law School Forum, February 16, 1999] Well, now, what further proof do you need that Heston needs to be carted off to the nearest happy farm?
Cohen, in his psychiatric treatise on Heston, never bothers to tell us the clinical reasoning by which he reached the conclusion that Heston is of unsound mind. To those of Cohen's mentality, you see, no further evidence is needed than the thoughts the above passages express. Anyone who so disagrees with the left as to think that white, Christian, middle-class, heterosexual, gun-owning people are victims of systematic demonization, ridicule and contempt in the mass media today is obviously insane. Anyone who actually expresses pride in being white is not only insane but worse, as Cohen explains.
"The speech is a doozy," writes Cohen, obviously trying to gasp for breath after a few moments exposure to ideas with which he disagrees, "tinged with racism, homophobia and, if you will, paranoia." Well, there you are.
Cohen cannot imagine—literally, it is entirely beyond the limits of his imagination to consider—that anyone would hold the beliefs Heston expressed and still be a rational human being. Anyone who believes them must either have been paid to say them and was thus driven by greed (but Heston is a wealthy Hollywood actor) or else be possessed by hate and irrationality. In Cohen's pathetic and comically narrow little universe, where all normal people agree with him, and those who don't are therefore not normal, not only does no one think what Heston thinks, no one has ever heard of people who think what Heston thinks.
What is even more laughable than Cohen's smug narrow-mindedness is that it is he, and the many of his own persuasion who think as he does, who love to strut as "broad-minded," "tolerant," "cosmopolitan" and (above all) "rational." And if you think they're not, you must be nuts.