Conservatives to blame for Las Vegas cop killings
Paul Waldman writing at WaPo's Plum Line. The headline gives you the flavor of the post:
"How much does right wing rhetoric contribute to right wing terrorism."
I vote this column "Most Despicable of 2014." It just can't get any worse than this:
What I’m about to say will raise some hackles, but we need to talk about it. It’s long past time for prominent conservatives and Republicans to do some introspection and ask whether they’re contributing to outbreaks of right-wing violence.
I'm not exactly a "prominent" Republican. In fact, many don't think I'm much of a Republican at all.
But after a suitable period of introspection -- about 10 seconds - I can answer Mr. Waldman's question about whether "conservative" rhetoric contributes to "outbreaks of right wing violence.
[Blank] You. (This is a family website so I must be circumspect with language.)
Those who are familiar with my writing know that I use the "F" word once in a blue moon. There are 50,000 words in the English language that are regularly used to one degree or another, so it's out of character for me to write an obscenity for any reason.
But obscene smears like Waldman's demand to be answered in kind.
But I digress. It gets worse:
Before I go on, let me be clear about what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that Republican members of Congress bear direct responsibility for everything some disturbed person from the same side of the political spectrum as them might do. I’m not saying that they are explicitly encouraging violence. Nor am I saying that you can’t find examples of liberals using hyperbolic, irresponsible words.
But what I am saying is this: there are some particular features of conservative political rhetoric today that help create an atmosphere in which violence and terrorism can germinate.
Oh. Is that all? Phew! For a moment there I thought you were going to accuse mainstream conservatives of using eliminationist rhetoric.
The most obvious component is the fetishization of firearms and the constant warnings that government will soon be coming to take your guns. But that’s only part of it. Just as meaningful is the conspiracy theorizing that became utterly mainstream once Barack Obama took office. If you tuned into one of many national television and radio programs on the right, you heard over and over that Obama was imposing a totalitarian state upon us. You might hear that FEMA was building secret concentration camps (Glenn Beck, the propagator of that theory, later recanted it, though he has a long history of violent rhetoric), or that Obama is seeding the government with agents of the Muslim Brotherhood. You grandfather probably got an email offering proof that Obama is literally the antichrist.
Meanwhile, conservatives have become prone to taking the political disagreements of the moment and couching them in apocalyptic terms, encouraging people to think that if Democrats have their way on any given debate, that our country, or at the very least our liberty, might literally be destroyed.
To take just one of an innumerable number of examples, when GOP Senator Ron Johnson says that the Affordable Care Act is “the greatest assault on freedom in our lifetime,” and hopes that the Supreme Court will intervene to preserve our “last shred of freedom,” is it at all surprising that some people might be tempted to take up arms? After all, if he’s right, and the ACA really means that freedom is being destroyed, then violent revolution seems justified. Johnson might respond by saying, “Well, of course I didn’t mean that literally.” And I’m sure he didn’t — Johnson may be no rocket scientist, but he knows that despite the individual mandate going into effect, there are a few shreds of freedom remaining in America.
"If you tuned into one of many national television and radio programs on the right, you heard over and over that Obama was imposing a totalitarian state upon us." That's a lie. "Over and over"? What in God''s name is he talking about? Massive exaggeration and hyperbole, not to mention getting hysterical when conservatives not only defend the right to bear arms but worry about government efforts to take them. Why shouldn't they worry when "over and over" we hear liberals talking about that very thing?
I have written about the paranoia of some on the right and the conspiracy mongering that goes along with it. But I have also written about the same thing on the left. That FEMA camp rumor that Beck was talking about originated during the Bush years by left wing paranoids. For 8 years, conservatives put up with Bush the dictator, Bush the tyrant, Bush is tearing up the Constitution...It was insane. I don't recall Mr. Waldman writing a half-assed assessment of how the left's eliminationist rhetoric was responsible for the violence at the GOP convention in 2008. Or the GOP convention in 2004.
All of this is based on the notion that the Las Vegas cop killers were conservatives and that they were inspired to kill by mainstream conservative rhetoric. What an ignorant smear. Waldman is writing an article based on news reports of the state of mind of irrational, probably mentally disturbed individuals who ended up committing suicide. Even speculating on what "inspired" them - besides their own, paranoid demons - is laughably amateurish psychoanalyzing.
Do all liberals have a license to practice psychiatry? Every single time some nutcase goes off the deep end and creates a tragedy, we get this nonsense about their motivations being gleaned from "right wing" sources. Invariably, this is shown to be a crock when it turns out the deluded, sick individuals who perpetrate these crimes are motivated by the voices in their head.
Earth to Waldman: Human beings are very, very complicated creatures and your amatuerish, ridiulously inadequate efforts to explain the behavior of paranoid nuts by accusing mainstream conservatives of inciting them to do violence and murder is beyond the pale of decent political discourse. So, I will repeat what I said earlier just in case you didn't get the message: