State Sen. Eric Brakey’s column last week was typically fatuous and opportunistic, but it deployed a threadbare right-wing tactic that bears nonpartisan scrutiny: He argues that any sort of gun-control law will inevitably result in a chipping away at all gun rights, perhaps even repeal of the Second Amendment.

This is empty rhetoric; even Newtown and Parkland families call merely for a ban on semi-automatic weapons. It’s a scare tactic – and highly ironic, because this chipping away at established constitutional law is exactly what Brakey’s right wing has been trying to do (and has done) to abortion rights for 40 years.

Here, we see a longstanding, one-sided dynamic, one where right-wingers just assume left-wingers operate as mendaciously as they do, as utter movement soldiers. This attempt at immoral equivalence doesn’t wash, has never washed, but has nevertheless informed right-wing charges of left-wing mendacity in the context of gun control, media bias, labor law and dozens more realms.

It stems from this basic tenet, held on the right: Some right-winger in a position to favor or otherwise advance a right-wing cause will surely do whatever it takes – even lie about a law’s ultimate intent – in large part because he or she alleges that counterpart left-leaning types are operating on the same mendacious level.

Liberals have their own hang-ups, but this attitude of cynical, pre-emptively tit-for-tat nihilism is nefarious, dishonest and uniquely right wing. It’s evident in the White House these days, this Roy Cohn-inspired behavior: Always accuse your accusers of your own crimes – and when you do, say it louder and more often. The media example is also plain to see: “We’re fake; they must be fake.” Or even, “We’re fake because they’re fake.”

In other words, to paraphrase self-help author Dr. Thomas Harris, “I’m Not OK – You’re Not OK.”

Hal Phillips

New Gloucester

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