Leah Barkoukis

President Obama’s inaugural address was arguably one of the most liberal speeches he’s ever delivered—but one line in particular drew the ire of NRA’s Wayne LaPierre:  “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.”

Speaking at the 56th annual Weatherby Foundation International Hunting and Conservation Award dinner in Reno, Nev., LaPierre said, “Obama wants to turn the idea of “absolutism” into another dirty word, just another word for extremism. He wants you to accept the idea of “principles” as he sees fit to define them. It’s a way of redefining words so that common sense is turned upside-down and nobody knows the difference.”

LaPierre used the example of a fiscal responsibility when it comes to a family versus the government. When families find themselves strapped for cash, with credit cards maxed out, “we’re forced to tighten our belt.” When it comes to our broke government, however, and Obama’s desire for more social programs, “borrowing more money is supposed to be “principled.”

The same concept is being applied when it comes to gun ownership in America—the only way to stop killers is to take away certain freedoms. “We’re told that wanting the same technology that the criminals and our leaders keep for themselves is a form of “absolutism” and that accepting less freedom and protection for ourselves is the only “principled” way to live,” he said.

Words do have meaning, LaPierre argued, and President Obama can’t redefine them any way he wants to. “When “absolutes” are abandoned for “principles,” the U.S. Constitution becomes a blank slate for anyone’s graffiti and our rights and freedoms are defaced.”

To further support his point, LaPierre quoted former Democratic Senator and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black: “There are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and they were put there on purpose by men who knew what words meant and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes.’”  

The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  This absolute freedom is not open to reinterpretation.

LaPierre closed by saying, “Mister President, you might think that calling us "absolutists" is a clever way of "name-calling" without using names. But if that is "absolutist," then we are as "absolutist" as the Founding Fathers and framers of the Constitution ... and we're proud of it!”


Leah Barkoukis

Leah Barkoukis is the Managing Editor at Townhall Magazine.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography