Las Vegas Mayhem

The various reactions to the Las Vegas slaughterhouse also depicts the mayhem underway in the brave, new world of Tolerance Ethics, which is an utterly-confused ethical system. During President Obama’s tenure and Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, Americans were constantly adjured by the new Tolerance Ethical imperative, “We are better than that!” Or, explaining why we are better, “That’s not who we are as Americans!” That declaration surely is a confused and pious view of the USA.

Americans are so highly divided it is impossible to say “That’s not who we are,” since nobody can agree who we are. It should be said, “We are no better than that,” considering America’s historical treatment of Native Americans, blacks, Irish immigrants and countless other blemishes—or more recently, the Iraqi and Afghani civilians killed as “collateral damage” in our everlasting wars overseas. The popular myth that the USA is leading the world into a utopia of educated benevolence and blissful democracy is pompous and delusional, and rightly draws the ire of countries around the world.

Last year in Dallas, after five policemen were gunned down in cold blood, President Obama told the country, “We are better than that!” But apparently some Americans were unmoved by his lecture, judging by the increasing ferocity and instances of mass murder since then—which includes the greatest mass-murder in USA history. It is surely impossible to turn a mass-murderer away from his deadly intent by the guilty reminder, “We are better than that!”

“That’s not who we are as Americans” must be a lie if America really leads the world in gun-violence murders, as Obama’s team said during the 2014 gun-control campaign. What Obama should say, “That’s really who we are!” America really is a gun-toting, shoot-m-up culture.

At the same time, the Washington Post decreed the Dallas police killings were a direct outgrowth of Trump’s “divisive and racist rhetoric,” which was a strange conclusion since that killer was black (a Black Lives Matter sympathizer), and not a Trump-follower. As with Obama, the Post thought the guilt of Tolerance Ethics might perhaps suppress American gun violence, or rally a Tolerance Ethics backlash against Trump-inspired violence. Now that the election is over, will the Post ascribe Las Vegas to Trump’s “divisive and racist rhetoric”? What is the difference between a mass murderer with a Black Lives Matter connection and a mass murderer without any known motive, like the Las Vegas killer? Are they not both mass murderers? Neither Black Lives Matter nor Trump are triggering mass murders.

Tolerance Ethics are swirling in confusion because Americans are confused. Las Vegas made this evident. Across the airwaves and in Washington immediately following the Las Vegas slaughters, the cry went out to find blame and stop the senseless violence. As usual, it turned to the NRA and gun control, so now that divisive issue is pulling Americans even further apart. If the problem in America is gun control, why are 90,000 gunned down in Mexican drug wars, despite tougher gun control there? Why do mass slaughters in Europe continue despite their aggressive gun control? The Las Vegas catastrophe is half as bad as the 110 killed in 2015 in the Paris night club massacres.

I do not own a gun, but I do understand the Second Amendment right to bear arms has nothing to do with hunting deer and everything to do with the Jeffersonian/Founding Father’s abhorrence of totalitarian regimes—specifically European regimes. They considered the right to bear arms the greatest safeguard against totalitarian dictatorships, like Hitler’s takeover in Germany. Gun control never stopped Europeans from slaughtering each other in massive piles of corpses! (On the other hand, if pro-gun advocates had their way, rocket-propelled grenade launchers would be sold at the local sports store!)

Most remarkable was Charlie Rose on PBS, whose reporter in Las Vegas decried the massacre as “the work of a madman, oblivious to Universal Absolutes and completely amoral…” It was a stunning PBS endorsement of moral, Universal Absolutes—a reversal of cherished Tolerance Ethics, where no one view is more absolute than another. Tolerance Ethics cannot say anything abhorrent about the Las Vegas killings in absolute terms.

The problem with Tolerance Ethics, quite simply, is how to mandate tolerance? The new radical leftist movement Antifa mandates Tolerance Ethics by bashing the heads of intolerant people with clubs—which is truly intolerant tolerance! One question should be answered by Tolerance Ethicists: where on earth or in history has there ever been a nation governed by Tolerance? Supposedly it occurs in Switzerland? Or the Netherlands? Yet these little countries espouse Tolerance with largely homogenous (non-diverse) populations, which is like a Scottish clan declaring tolerance within its own clan.

The ambiguity in Tolerance Ethics was evident again this week in a Dove soap commercial, triggering Tolerance outrage across Social Media. The commercial showed a black female model dissolving into a white female model. The Tolerance police howled that Dove was claiming black people should clean up and become white (which is impossible with Dove soap), or perhaps white women were cleaner? Dove was horrified, claiming the commercial was “a celebration of diversity” with a pro-Tolerance message. Both sides claimed pro-Tolerance. Who is in charge of writing down the Universal Absolutes of Tolerance? Tolerance Ethics surely must stand on something more than shrill Tweets on Twitter!

Tolerance Ethics are impossible ethics because there is no such thing as Tolerance, at least not the way it is espoused today. The Tolerance police, like Antifa, are themselves quite intolerant. Tolerance as a concept is vapid and confused, standing on “Universal Absolutes”, when Tolerance Ethics denies Universal Absolutes. Tolerance Ethics surprises even Tolerance advocates, like Dove, or the infamous Google memo-writer, who began his controversial memo claiming, “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes,” found himself unemployable in Silicone Valley. (Even the Atlantic, which is a pro-Tolerance magazine, protested the absurd persecution of the Google memo-writer.) The political appeal to “who we are as Americans” ignores the fact that Americans are violent, divided and contentious, with a sordid (and ongoing) history of violence.

Of all the uproar and confusion decrying the Las Vegas slaughterhouse, surprisingly the most sane (but still inaccurate) came from President Trump the day after. Ironically, the most sane voice came from the one who can sound (at times) crazy. Despite whether Trump’s policies are foolish or ingenious, his take on Las Vegas was clear-headed:

It was an act of pure evil…Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit… we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear.

Yes, it was an act of pure evil. The Bible explains both the Dallas shooter and the Las Vegas shooter in the same way:

Romans 3:15-18 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Most people would agree this describes mass murderers. Unfortunately, it also describes humanity. The Stanford Prison Experiment proved all of us are “swift to shed blood…” which has been confirmed by countless other researchers. Tolerance Ethics are a lost cause not only because they cannot be defined, but more important, nobody is immune from hatred, bitterness, and violence. If Tolerance is an effort to establish peace among humankind, it is a lost cause among a species “swift to shed blood” unless an uncontaminated outsider offers help—which is precisely the story behind Jesus of Nazareth.

God offers a much better way to unify people: “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:14)

Clearly the Bible will be of no help to those who care little for God. But for those who consider themselves Christ-lovers, we should not be deceived by the calls for Tolerance, as if it could be achieved without the power of God. Trump put it right: it is not within human reach. We have to “pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear.”

3 thoughts on “Las Vegas Mayhem

  1. Stephen Stuart Lane

    The best commentary I have read in a very long time. This is my first exposure to the Tolerance Ethics perspective and your presentation and subsequent critique was well articulated. Thank you !

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