Hard to believe but apparently not a hoax – “Joe the Plumber” says your dead kids don’t trump my rights.
Adam Weinstein at Gawker has the details.
Continuing his tradition of providing answers to questions no one fucking asked him, Joe decided to post an open letter to the families of victims killed in Elliot Rodger’s murder-suicide rampage over the weekend. Just the victims who were shot, though; not the ones who were stabbed.
His message of hope and love: Stay the fuck away from my guns.
I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But:
As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.
And that’s the important thing here – that Samuel Wurzelbacher aka “Joe the Plumber” gets to keep his guns and stick to them too.
There’s something refreshingly honest in Joe’s acknowledgement that this tragedy is all about him. It’s the reductio ad absurdum of an ethos that’s obsessed with the self and the self’s freedom without a concomitant empathy for other selves and their freedoms. Joe’s rant illuminates quite starkly how the right-libertarian absolutist interpretation of individual rights comes into direct conflict with the lives of his fellow countrymen and their children. To talk of responsibilities is to water down a right, and we cannot do that, no matter what the cost! (On the other hand: “They talk about gun rights,” Martinez said in his stirring press statement about his son. “What about Chris’s right to live?”)
Doesn’t count. Trumped by Wurzelbacher’s right to have guns.
It’s part of a larger move in conservatism away from appeals to the common good and toward an antipathy for anything but the self. Where conservatives used to justify the free market, for example, in Adam Smith’s practical terms—the invisible hand provides for all, a rising tide floats every boat—they now rationalize it in Ayn Rand’s fundamentalist terms: Who gives a shit if the market is good or just? It’s right. Now get the fuck out of our way, you illogical bromide-hawking self sacrificer.
And what movement is unsettlingly full of Randian libertarians? Why, it’s the organized skepticism movement, that’s what.