Gavin Newsom inadvertently highlights the left’s major intellectual blind spot
California’s governor Gavin Newsom offered an interesting statement about the mall shooting in Texas. It’s interesting because it makes him sound pro-life in the abortion debate. However, the statement goes even deeper than that, highlighting a profound cognitive disability from which all leftists suffer.
According to Newsom, the shooting in Texas needs to be laid squarely at the feet of congressional Republicans:
This is freedom??— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 7, 2023
To be shot at a mall? Shot at school? Shot at church? Shot at the movies?
We have become a nation that is more focused on the right to kill than the right to live.
This is not what the American people want. Do your damn job, Congress. https://t.co/MwolHtEaP1
That’s typical leftist grandstanding, but he also said something fascinating, and not just for the most obvious reason. This sentence deserves analysis: “We have become a nation that is more focused on the right to kill than the right to live.”
In 2021, the most recent year for which we have data, 48,830 people died due to guns, with suicides accounting for 54% of those deaths. In 2020, the last year for which I could find data, there were 930,160 abortions. Of the almost 1,000,000 infants who died during an abortion, none were suicides.
The obvious response to Gavin Newsom’s statement is “Excuse me, which party is more focused on the right to kill?”
We all know, though, that Gavin Newsom would find that question incomprehensible. Despite having four children, Newsom doesn’t count as a life that which he cannot see. A sonogram is not the same as seeing an infant. It’s not a life until leftists say it’s a life.
Image: Gavin Newsom. YouTube screen grab (cropped).
This inability to process the invisible affects everything leftists do and think. Most of the nation’s leftists live in cities, and their entire understanding of the world is bounded by the limitations of their urban experience, combined with a lack of education and imagination.
In cities, gun crime is rampant. Leftists experience gun crime in two ways: They find themselves looking up the barrel of a criminal’s gun, or they see nightly-news footage of people shot by guns. Heck, they may even know those who were killed. They also have or used to have large police forces. They are, therefore, incapable of recognizing that (a) non-urban America has minimal gun crime and (b) people who live far from their neighbors must be self-sufficient, including in self-defense.
Cities have fewer children per capita. When I was a young lawyer, no one in my peer group had a child. While urban dwellers see—and are directly affected by—gun violence, they see and know very few babies or children. Babies are abstractions, and a fetus is an abstraction of an abstraction. That’s why 49,000 gun deaths are more viscerally relevant to them than almost 1,000,000 infant deaths.
In cities, public transportation works because cities are built vertically, not horizontally. For those same reasons, individual cars are unwieldy, plus there’s no parking. The stop-and-go traffic that helps keep EVs charged merely increases fossil-fuel exhaust. Therefore, say the leftists, cars are bad and must be legislated out of existence, leaving room only for those who can afford EVs. They are incapable of recognizing that most of America is open space where cars can drive without trouble and with minimal exhaust output per mile traveled.
The same analysis applies to climate change. In cities, man has overtaken nature. This isn’t the case in most of the world. Leftists, however, have never seen nature’s implacable, uncontrollable will to live. Outside of cement jungles, most of the world expends enormous energy to keep nature at bay so people have room to live. Certainly, we have a practical and moral obligation not to abuse the natural world but, ultimately, nature will always emerge triumphant. Leftist city dwellers, however, cannot believe this.
You may know Frédéric Bastiat’s Parable of the Broken Window. In it, he discusses how, when a window is broken, some people say it’s not so bad because it means money in the glazier’s pocket. Bastiat points out, however, that this is a closed cycle that does nothing to expand the economy. The window’s owner, having suffered a loss, is simply returned to his original state without having expended the money on other, beneficial things.
Bastiat writes that, if someone says “no harm, no foul” regarding the broken window, the correct response is “Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen.”
And that’s exactly what we should say to Gavin Newsom. His line about life and death shows only that he has no perspective regarding the relatively small number of gun deaths in America (given that there are over 300 million guns in a country of 330,000,000 people) versus the annual slaughter of almost a million infants. Gun deaths (bodies, blood, grieving relatives) make the news; the aborted infant is unceremoniously cremated.
Leftists are narcissists. The world is defined by their senses and their needs. Everything else is irrelevant and lacks value. That’s why, when leftists are in power, people die in spectacular numbers.