The Extreme Rhetoric about Extreme Rhetoric (With Bonus Fake Sinclair Lewis Fascism Quote!)

I’ve yet to see any of those pundits and bloggers that wished, hoped, prayed that they could wring political points out of the awful crime in Tucson concede that their immediate suggestions (because the smart ones always include a smattering of weasel words and phrases; “probably,” “could be”) that the gunman was a disgruntled Tea Partier were spectacularly wrong. Alas, no one has admitted that they jumped the gun, that political considerations dictated their response to the murder of six people, including a nine-year-old girl.

Instead, many of these contemptible creatures, who insist on blaming a half-witted reality television star for the actions of a deranged amateur grammarian, have shifted gears, arguing that while perhaps the assassin wasn’t motivated by Glenn Beck, it’s certainly possible that, in this overheated climate, such a person could be motivated by righty talkers. (For those with less partisan instincts, but are still interested in advancing a pet cause, the blame fell on everything from video games to that ubiquitous 1980s blame magnet, heavy metal music.) 

To veterans of the 1990s culture wars, such obfuscations recall campus debates on the postmodern perception of “truth” (always in quotes); that academic slip clause allowing one to evade discussions of factual inaccuracies by shifting discussion to tedious debates over the very meaning of truth. Indeed, The Economist is right to argue that Jared Loughner’s rants about mind-control seem more Foucault than Bachmann.

When it was revealed by Middlebury College sociologist David Stoll that Nobel Prize-winning writer (and doyenne of university syllabi) Rigoberta Menchu had invented key parts of her harrowing memoir of the Guatemalan civil war, many who taught the book insisted that it would remain a part of their curriculum. Menchu might have been a first-class fabulist, it was argued, but her story represented a truth familiar to those affected by the Guatemalan civil war. So there I was, sitting in a television studio yesterday, debating a university professor who intoned gravely that while this particular shooter might not have been motivated by the Tea Party, that type of rhetoric could potentially provoke others to shoot members of Congress.

Crawling out from under an avalanche of doltish tragedy blogging and tweeting, there isn’t much more one can say about the shootings in Tucson that hasn’t already been said by the few sensible pundits left in the United States. But it is perhaps worth pointing out that many of those denouncing rhetorical extremism are themselves in danger of drifting into similar territory (I won’t say "extremist" because dumb political rhetoric isn’t always "extreme").

A sampling, focusing on one particular word that recently entered the pundit lexicon: The cartoonist Tom Tomorrow sarcastically thanked John McCain “for giving Sarah Palin and her eliminationist rhetoric a national stage.” Former Hillary Clinton advisor Peter Daou told his Twitter followers that he was being attacked “for raising [the subject of] rightwing eliminationism…” Blogger and law professor Scott Lemieux was a hair softer, identifying the “quasi-eliminationist” rhetoric that didn’t inspire Giffords’ would-be assassin. Andrew Sullivan warned against the spread of “eliminationist rhetoric that can fuel disturbed individuals like Jared Loughner.”  But it was New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who brought “eliminationism” to a mainstream audience:

The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary. And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence

For a media so obsessed with the pernicious effects of radical political speech, it’s odd that no one has asked the anti-“eliminationist” pundits to define their terms. As I pointed out on this website last year, the word “eliminationism” is a recent coinage, a word employed by writer Daniel Jonah Goldhagen to describe the particularly virulent strain of anti-Semitism that gripped Germany in the years leading up to the Holocaust (my undergraduate thesis focused on Goldhagen's book). Rather than repeat myself, here is what I wrote about the coopting of “eliminationism”:

If your dictionary is unfamiliar with the word eliminationist, that's because of the term's recent vintage, coined in 1996 by Harvard political scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. In his book Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Goldhagen argued that far from being bullied and terrorized into allowing its government to commit genocide in their name, most Germans were imbued with an eliminationist hatred of Jews—i.e., a desire that Jews be eliminated from Aryan society—which transitioned smoothly into an exterminationist orgy of violence.

Of the 40 references to "eliminationism" in the Times archive, all but one refer to the destruction of European Jewry. The sole standout is Krugman, who, as we have seen, is referencing the Republican Party's opposition to health care legislation. (Though in fairness to Krugman, this is something of a requirement for those anointed by the Nobel Committee. Nobelist Harold Pinter said that the only comparison one could make to Bush-era America was to that of Nazi Germany.)

Make that 39 references to eliminationist Nazism and two Krugman columns on the "eliminationist" Tea Party. Much of this non-Nazi talk of “eliminationism” started, it would seem, with writer David Neiwert, who chimed in on the Arizona tragedy with a post on “eliminationist rhetoric and the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords” (and a bonus bit on “Sean Hannity's recent bit of eliminationist ‘humor’”).  In 2009, Neiwert brought Goldhagen’s coinage to the lefty masses with his book The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right (discussed in Jesse Walker’s terrific essay on the “paranoid center”).

To give you a sense of Neiwert’s unique brand of scholarship, The Eliminationists quotes novelist Sinclair Lewis’s quip that fascism in the United States will come "wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." In the days since the shootings in Arizona, an image of the Lewis quote superimposed on an photo of Palin has made the rounds on Facebook and a number of left-leaning blogs. An attack on Beck, Palin, and Limbaugh appeared in letters page of today’s Seattle Times citing Sinclair Lewis’s supposedly prescient observation, and warning Americans not to ignore the signs of a fascist takeover—as so many “middle class Germans” did.

Thankfully, Neiwert’s book footnotes the quote, attributing it to Lewis’s 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here, though he curiously fails to provide a page number. This is because Neiwert is bluffing, fudging the citation—the (rather unimpressive) line can’t be found in It Can’t Happen Here because Lewis never uttered or committed it to paper. It is, in fact, an Internet quotation; one spread far and wide by the dumb and partisan, despite an obviously murky provenance.

The phony Lewis quote also shows up in liberal journalist Joe Conason’s book (titled, of course, It Can Happen Here) on the coming of fascism in the United States—a threat that vanished, apparently, after the peaceful transition from Bush to Obama. And for those keeping score at home, Chris Matthews, in a recent conversation about Sarah Palin on Hardball, told guest Richard Wolffe that “Huey Long wasn't the most sane guy in the world, Richard, but he said that when fascism comes to America, it will call itself anti-fascism.” As you might have already guessed, the Long quote is also fake.

It is perhaps straining the obvious, but evidence of "rhetorical extremism" (in the Beckian sense) can’t be found in the YouTube rants of Jared Loughner—it can only be classified as rhetorical incoherence—but exists in abundance on the blogs and Twitter feeds of America’s ridiculous pundit class. I have written many columns and blog posts about the nonsense one can find on both the Rush Limbaugh show and Glenn Beck program, the heavy-breathing about the specter of Alinskyite communism inhabiting the White House, and the historical illiteracy of many in the Tea Party. And I have written about their analogues on the left—the MSNBC hosts shrieking about fascism, the New York Times columnists invoking the Holocaust and Kristallnacht when bemoaning the Tea Party.

But this debate about the “tone” of American politics is ideologically unidirectional, designed not to elevate debate but to vilify a political enemy. The call for calm—with its frequent invocations of Tea Party “fascism”—is stupid partisan politics dressed up as incoherent moral politics.

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  • CalebT||

    I called the similarity to the video game and heavy metal hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s yesterday while talking to my friend. BAZINGA!

  • ||

    We might also mention that since pot use played a direct role, potheads should be monitered more closely and given longer jail sentences which include a mental health evaluation. That will surely give the libs a moment's pause!

  • Daily Kos Reader||

    People who want the government to do more things like crack down on illegal alians and jail gay people are spewing antigovernment rhetoric!!!!

    Because obviously if you want government to do MORE things this must mean you are ANTI-government, right? Make sense?

  • JoshINHB||

    A socialist jackass over on the Atlantic actually wrote

    "It is a common mistake to believe that because Nazis favored a "big" government they're like liberals. They actually favored (and thrived because of) a very weak state."

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....-127048491

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I wonder if ChristopherJ (the author of that comment) knows there was a Holocaust.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    perhaps he thinks it was a very weak Holocaust?

  • The Usual Suspects||

    the smart ones always include a smattering of weasel words and phrases

    "We may never know for sure what drove Jared Loughner to open fire here last Saturday, but some, on both ends of the political spectrum, say the vitriolic rhetoric we hear every day was a factor."
    -Katie Couric

    "Has political speech in this country become too charged, too toxic, and did it play a role in this tragedy?
    -Brian Williams

    "Whether or not there is any connection between Saturday's shooting and angry rhetoric, it has certainly reignited the debate over political speech between right and left."
    -Andrea Mitchell

  • Mensan||

    "We may never know for sure what drove Jared Loughner to open fire here last Saturday, but some [idiots], on both ends of the political spectrum, [but mostly the left,] say the vitriolic rhetoric we hear every day was a factor."
    -Katie Couric

    "Has political speech in this country become too charged, too toxic, and did it play a role in this tragedy? [No, it did not.]
    -Brian Williams

    "Whether or not there is [While there does not appear to be] any connection between Saturday's shooting and angry rhetoric, it has certainly reignited the debate over political speech between right and left."
    -Andrea Mitchell

    It would have been so easy for these professional teleprompter readers to inform rather than propagandize.

  • anne brantley||

    they just seem to be unable to help themselves.

  • ||

    Trying to figure out what goes on in a crazy head is feudal but the belief systems that appear here are the beliefs of supposedly sane people doing the same thing and trying in vane to convince us of their beliefs.

  • Sam Grove||

    futile, not feudal

  • Mickey Marshall||

    The 1991 film "The Fisher King" features a radio talk-show host whose careless comments are taken literally by a listener, who opens fire in a restaurant, killing many. In the next scene, we see the talk-show host shamed and careerless, deeply humbled by the fruit of his words. But I can assure you, by the time you read this, the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Michael Savages and Sarah Palins will be back in the saddle, spewing their venom without a so much as a pause to reflect on their role in inciting Saturday's violence.

  • PIRS||

    "But I can assure you, by the time you read this, the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Michael Savages and Sarah Palins will be back in the saddle, spewing their venom without a so much as a pause to reflect on their role in inciting Saturday's violence."

    And what role would that be exactly? In what way did they inspire this fan of Karl Marx?

  • Tony||

    Spawning a shallow, transparent dittohead such as yourself is bad enough.

    Narrative: Loughner had an incoherent worldview and obvious mental illness. He liked to toy with people. He cannot be pigeonholed as a rightwinger by his anarchic behavior.

    Counter-narrative: He had Marx on an Internet list, ergo, he's a leftwinger.

  • Derrida||

    Embrace nihilism!

  • Joker||

    Why so defensive?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Tony's defensive because Loughner *can't* be pigeonholed as an acolyte of Sarah Palin.

  • Mensan||

    Being a fan of Marx doesn't necessarily mean he was a leftwinger either. It could just mean he's an idiot.

  • Xr4L||

    I listened to Rush today and he was funny. If he ever get his shit together on the WOD I could really like him.

  • plenty smart||

    >I listened to Rush today and he was funny. If he ever get his shit together on the WOD I could really like him.

    What is "WOD"? Why do you think Rush doesn't have his shit together on WOD?

  • Steve||

    Yes of course, the fact that it happened in a movie makes it real!

  • ||

    In The Last Supper a talk show host kills a group of murderous left wingers when he discovers their plans to kill him.

    This proves something in reality I am sure of it.

    Either that or I kind of liked that movie and wanted to talk about.

  • Southerner||

    Does anybody else here think that Easy Rider arguably had a happy ending?

  • Colin||

    Dude, that was a movie.

    Stupid fucking moron.

  • ||

    But I can assure you, by the time you read this, the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Michael Savages and Sarah Palins will be back in the saddle, spewing their venom without a so much as a pause to reflect on their role in inciting Saturday's violence.

    Since this means they aren't cowed by the baseless attacks by their enemies, I wouldn't have it any other way.

  • Tony||

    Because it's all about us vs. them... no self-reflection or critical thought required.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That reminds me of the five minutes of The Ed Show I forced myself to watch last night...

  • ||

    It scares me that there are people who can watch Mmore than five minutes of The Ed Show.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I did it to see how long it would take for the bile to rise.

    By comparison, it only takes about two minutes of listening to Michael Savage to reach the same point. Guess I'm a glutton for punishment either way.

  • sevo||

    "...their role..."
    And that would be?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Hollywood is real, people are fake.

  • Rosie O'Donnell||

    Oh maaaan, u r sooooo deep.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Deep as a rain puddle, Rosie.

    Speaking of water, can I take a mop and swab your poopdeck on camera when you do your next vacation cruise documentary?

  • ||

    But I can assure you, by the time you read this, the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Michael Savages and Sarah Palins will be back in the saddle, spewing their venom without a so much as a pause to reflect on their role in inciting Saturday's violence.

    Actually, the goofiest thing about this is the notion of "by the time you read this." It's a frikking blog thread, man. Your sentence was going to be read seconds after you posted it. Why bother with the whole "by the time" thing, as if you're writing for tomorrow's edition of the newspaper?

  • Southerner||

    Actually, the goofiest thing about this is the notion of "by the time you read this." It's a frikking blog thread, man. Your sentence was going to be read seconds after you posted it. Why bother with the whole "by the time" thing, as if you're writing for tomorrow's edition of the newspaper?

    Now that you mention it, I think that's more or less what he was doing, actually.

  • seguin||

    I'm waiting for you to prove that this guy even listened to Beck or Rush.

    Waiting.

    Still Waiting.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    All it would take would be to find out Lochner once walked past two guys talking about a Limbaugh radio promo they heard back in the mid-90s.

  • COINTELPRO||

    I think he mentioned on his YouTube channel that E-Pro and Tom Sawyer were on his iPod.

  • cynical||

    So... what does that have to do with the mentally ill guy who was (if you believe a crazy right-wing publication like Mother Jones) personally obsessed with a public official for reasons that only a crazy person could understand?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    here is a hint.

    The Fisher King is not a documentary.

    But then no one ever accused you people of living in the real world.

  • hmm||

    Nice troll, well constructed, clear delineated flaws, just crazy enough to get responses that are semi serious.

    B+

  • ||

    Interesting how the freedom loving hippies or so called counter culture flower children and their spawn have become the new statists advocating big government control over everything.
    The insanity of the libs is out and parading all over the fair grounds for all to see.

  • Scott||

    I've been waiting for an invocation by Reason of the "paranoid center" again. Did I miss it?

    After all, the whole argument is focused on perfectly "normal" people terrified and paranoid about the thousands "loonies" on both the left and the right being unable to discern rhetoric from reality. Sounds pretty paranoid to me.

  • ||

    Is this supposed to be an insult?

  • Scott||

    No I'm genuinely curious as to whether it was going to be brought up. That does read like an insult though, doesn't it?

  • ||

    Sort of. That's why I asked.

  • ||

    I think it's time for you to teach your annual Insults 101 course within some obscure thread.

  • ||

    First rule of Insult Club: you do not talk about Insult Club. You talk about the horrible, horrible color scheme at URKOBOLD.

  • ||

    You talk about the horrible, horrible color scheme at URKOBOLD.

    White text on black background should be outlawed; punishable by death.

    (did i use that semi-colon correctly? I never know.)

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    (did i use that semi-colon correctly? I never know.)

    Independent clause; fine by me.

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    You've reached the trolling part of the spectrum.

  • ||

    If you aren't paranoid, you aren't paying attention.

  • Judy Clarke||

    even I wouldn't defend your trolling.

  • cynical||

    It isn't really about the paranoid center, though. This is basically just the paranoid establishment left, which is why only right-wing speech is in the crosshairs. Oops, violent rhetoric again.

    But when it's Mother goddamn Jones doing the actual journalism and printing the reality checks, maybe the assclowns at the NYT really need to get their shit together. Seriously, the entire party has gone silent. Everyone is staring, mouths agape. And still they carry on, oblivious.

  • Jeff Bridges||

    Wait is this a joke post? Hard to tell. I guess whatever happens in moderately good/budget movies from decades ago must be a prophetic vision.

    Let me know when Skeletor attacks so I can be prepared to defend my family.

    Douche.

  • Jeff Bridges||

    Crap, in reply to Mickey Marshall

  • Ska||

    I do appreciate how you worked in Skeletor as the family killing evil in your world.

  • ||

    Well, he could have said Modulok.

  • seguin||

    or MonStarr

  • He-Man||

    By the power of Grey Skull!

  • ||

    Good grief, must we really resort to hate speech against extremely skinny people? "Skeletors" often have families of their own, and have little interest in harming your family you paranoid nutjob.

  • Max||

    Forget the rhetoric, you mindless fucking twits. What about the ready availability of semi-automatic weapons and extended magazines to the dememted and deranged. Pull your heads out of your asses and try to think about that.

  • Southerner||

    Mickey's post was better.

  • Warty||

    So quit complaining and get some awesome guns already, pussy. "Oh no, my country's too awesome!" Dipshit.

  • Professional Critic||

    I'd be interested in hearing how you'd stop those weapons going to the "demented and deranged", but I have a feeling you'd do it by making sure NO ONE could have them. Lowest common denominator, indeed.

  • rho||

    I wanted to think about it, but I was way too busy cornholing your mom.

  • PIRS||

    Max, what if everyone there had a concealed weapon and was trained to use it? Do you think he would have been able to kill / wound as many people? He would likely be dead now.

  • Max||

    Yeah, right. Everybody can shoot like Clint Eastwood in the movies. I've stepped on roaches with highrer IQs than yours.

  • PIRS||

    Max, do you understand what a hypothical is? Do you understand the purpose of an hypothical question?

  • ||

    Did you mean hypothecial--the adjective form of hypothecium ("the layer of hyphal tissue directly beneath the hymenium of an apothecium")?

  • PIRS||

    OK, PL, you got me. I admit I am not the best speller in the world. I meant hypothetical.

  • ||

    I'm disappointed, because I thought you were very subtly insulting Max.

  • Max||

    Max, do you understand what a hypothical is?

    No fucking idea, genius.

  • ||

    It's not so much how well Eastwood shoots as it is how well he avoids being shot.

  • seguin||

    What is highrer? Sounds Norse. Was that the God of Irony?

  • Charlotte Sometimes||

    *giggle*

  • cynical||

    Who knows? The people that had them didn't feel comfortable using them under the circumstances, and apparently didn't need them to take him down.

    I think that the system failed to flag a true danger, and I think there were warning signs. He shouldn't have been able to pass his background check.

  • ||

    Yes, I think a certain sheriff in AZ has some explaining to do... particularly in light of his attempts to divert attention away from the fact that he had so much knowledge of this guy...

  • Colin||

    The only one who has to pull his head out of his ass is you, asshole.

    When are you gonna get it through your thick head that governments -- particularly democratic ones -- can't prevent people from having what they want.

    Do us a favor and go blow your fucking head off, loser.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I guess we'll just have to do away with democratic governments for the good of the people. We'll have agencies and panels full of experts and captains of industry who will decide who should have what and what is best for everyone.

    I can't help but think someone tried that already...

  • Tingles Matthews||

    Sounds good - as long as the media have right of first refusal on the members of the panels.

  • Rimfax||

    Cute false dichotomy. Thanks for playing.

  • SimNm||

    How much did he win?

  • ||

    Why should a panel decide that people should have what they've earned, and not what someone else has earned?

    I can tell you that right now.

  • ||

    What about the ready availability of semi-automatic weapons and extended magazines to the dememted and deranged legal gun owners.

    What about it?

  • sevo||

    "What about the ready availability of semi-automatic weapons and extended magazines to the dememted and deranged."
    Yeah, what about that?
    And what about the ready availability of computers to brain-dead wankers like Max?

  • Jose de la Cartel||

    Mexico has some very strict gun laws.

  • Max||

    Pull your heads out of yourRon Pual's ass and try to think about that.

    Goddamn libertardians can't even spoof properly.

  • SimNm||

    I have no fucking idea who Ron Pual is, genius.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    What about the ready availability of semi-automatic weapons and extended magazines to the dememted and deranged.


    Complain to the government.

    They have not given up semi-automatic weapons.

  • wackyjack||

    One of the early reports said that his extended magazine jammed (like many extended magazines), which allowed Loughner to be tackled. Had he used standard magazines instead of some comically oversized and unreliable toy, it is even money that it could have been worse.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Max, if you don't want to own a gun, don't buy one.

  • ||

    Okay, i've just thought about it.

    Now what?

  • Warty||

  • Colin||

    What's interesting about these people's stupidity is that Loughner is a militant atheist, and one who enjoyed flag burning. So, how is his actions ushering in an era of "wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross"?

  • ||

    Own goal irony?

  • "Sheets" Byrd||

    The flag was burning and so was the cross?

    Do I get another guess?

  • cynical||

    Well, if fascism is wrapped in a burning flag and carrying a burning cross, I guess the problem kinda solves itself.

  • ||

    This is because Neiwert is bluffing, fudging the citation—the (rather unimpressive) line can’t be found in It Can’t Happen Here because Lewis never uttered or committed it to paper. It is, in fact, an Internet quotation; one spread far and wide by the dumb and partisan, despite an obviously murky provenance.

    Such as, Ron Paul.

  • PIRS||

    He was in a live interview responding to something just shown to him. This is not the same as posting that quote in a book. Paul has written many books. Can you show be a book he uses this quote in?

  • ||

    Goalpost moving FTL.

    You don't have to put the quote in a book to spread it, and obviously it was on the tip of Paul's tongue if he blurted it out.

  • PIRS||

    Tulpa,

    In a live interview one does not have the chance to search and verify something "on the tip of one's tounge". They are two very different standards. Before you publish a book you have that chance.

  • Mo||

    It's not an internet quote because it predates the internet. The first version of this quote came in 1971, according to teh wiki:

    Harrison Evans Salisbury in 1971 remarked about Lewis, "Sinclair Lewis aptly predicted in It Can't Happen Here that if fascism came to America it would come wrapped in the flag and whistling 'The Star Spangled Banner.'"

    Misattributions of quotes are quite common. I don't quite see the big deal about this one. Is taking on the people that think that Churchill said, "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain," next on the list?

  • ||

    The quote you offer says nothing about a cross (which was the context Paul was using it in, and that it is often used in). Also, even though it's a logical fallacy, an idea is more likely to be accepted if it is believed to have come from a famously wise person.

    Hence, quotes are usually misattributed to people like Abe Lincoln and Albert Einstein, rather than Millard Fillmore and Ernst Mach.

  • Skip||

    I am surprised noone is hypothesizing that this guy shot her because she wouldn't date him.

  • ||

    If anyone is using "eliminationist" rhetoric, it is the people calling for FOX news to be eliminated from the airwaves.

    I don't see any conservatives advocating that liberals be forcibly silenced. At least not in a serious literal way.

    By contrast, the liberals are *completely serious* when they say that FOX should be forcibly shut down by the state. They literally mean it.

  • ||

    And when they get 50+1, they'll do it.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    And when they get 50+1, they'll do it.


    I wonder how we will react.

  • ||

    Sinclair Lewis’s quip that fascism in the United States will come "wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."

    And yet I cannot think of one example of a totalitarian Christian state in recent history. I can't even think of a single Christian theocracy, unless you count Vatican City or maybe Utah.

  • PIRS||

    jr, how would you define this? Do you mean "a state in which a majority of the people are Christian" or one "where the leaders are Christian"? Or are you going to weazel and say "One where they exibit [what I define as] Christian principles? Before I can debate this with you I need to know what, exactly, you mean by this statement of yours?

  • DesigNate||

    Not claiming to know what's in his brain, but I'm guessing that he means to compare a Christian theocracy to a Muslim theocracy ala Iran or Saudi Arabia.
    To my knowledge, it's been a long time since the church had complete control of a government and a military to enforce it's way of thinking.

  • PIRS||

    Long time, yes, I agree [with the exception of postage-stamp sized Vatican City]. But, historically, it has happened. This proves it is possible.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Or does it prove that it was possible?

  • JoshINHB||

    But, historically, it has happened. This proves it is possible.

    When was the last time it happened?

    And don't say spanish inquisition because Spain was not a theocracy then.

  • ||

    Yes, and it's also possible that leftists will turn America into a carbon copy of the Soviet Union. Not likely, and certainly not soon. But possible, sooner or later.

    So what's your point?

  • ||

    OK... let's see. A totalitarian state is one where the government has no real boundaries to its authority, so a totalitarian Christian state would be one where the church ruled and had absolute authority.

    You can do the same exercise for Christian theocracy. Basically,I am saying that there hasn't been a Christian equivalent to the Islamic Republic of Iran in a few hundred years and yet I constantly hear people talking about how Christian fundamentalists are going to come to power and oppress us all.

  • PIRS||

    "in a few hundred years"

    Yes, on that we agree. But the fact that it once occured is proof that it is possible. Am I paranoid this will happen? No, I am not, because I don't think Mike Huckabee will ever become POTUS.

  • ||

    I can't even think of a single Christian theocracy, unless you count Vatican City or maybe Utah.

    Dude, you can at least make a good case for Geneva under Calvin, come on.

  • Rrabbit||

    Spain under Franco.

  • JoshINHB||

    Nope

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    I can't even think of a single Christian theocracy

    The Holy Roman Empire?

    ... Hobbit

  • JoshINHB||

    Not even close.

  • ||

    Totalitarinism and Christianity are incompatible. The Bible is very clear that no can be forced to be a Christian - it's something you have to choose for yourself. Freedom and Christianity go hand in hand.
    (Don't even go there about Catholics - that's a whole different subject and I don't have time)

  • ||

    "Freedom and Christianity go hand in hand."

    This is funny. I needed this.

  • ||

    So, I think this means anyone using the term "eliminationist" has just Godwinned themselves, yes?

  • ||

    Look, they're just talking about a final solution to the rightish problem. What's the issue?

  • Paul||

    People using "eliminationist" rhetoric must be elimated!

  • ||

    I read somewhere that he had said 'When Fascism comes to the United States it will be called Americanism'.
    But I can't remember where I read that, and it could easily be wrong, too.

  • Chupacabra||

    Actually, that was Papa Smurf.

  • ||

    I read a smart thing some one now dead once said.

    I figure it wasnt smart after all, cause if they really were smart they'd still be alive.

    So I forgot what I read..

    Oooo!Puppies!

  • Paul||

    "Eliminationist rhetoric".

    Hmm:

    “I’m thinking to myself if we were in other countries, we would all, right now, all of us together, . . . would go down to Washington and we would stone [Republican U.S. Representative] Henry Hyde to death! We would stone him to death! Wait! . . . Shut up! No, shut up! I’m not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death, and we would go to their homes and we’d kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families.” --Alec Baldwin
  • PIRS||

    Here is a comment thread about this quote from a Snopes message board

    http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=59566

  • Paul||

    And I too take exception to the "when fascism comes to america..." quote.

    I say that when fascism comes to america, it'll be an unelected career bureaucrat from a regulatory agency with the expressed mission of improving the health and welfare of all Americans.

  • Steve||

    What do you mean "when?

  • ||

    Authentic quote, J. Flynn "As We Go Marching", 1944:
    Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans, as violently against Hitler and Mussolini as the next one, but who are convinced that the present economic system is washed up and that the present political system in America has outlived its usefulness and who wish to commit this country to the rule of the bureaucratic state; interfering in the affairs of states and cities; taking part in the management of industry and finance and agriculture; assuming the role of great national banker and investor, borrowing billions every year and spending them on all sorts of projects through which such a government can paralyze opposition and command public support; marshaling great armies and navies at crushing costs to support the industry of war and preparation for war which will become our greatest industry; and adding to all this the most romantic adventures in global planning, regeneration, and domination all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers with Congress reduced to a debating society. There is your fascist.

  • Paul||

    global planning, regeneration, and domination all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers with Congress reduced to a debating society. There is your fascist.

    We're already there. Most 'laws' are passed by regulatory agencies through unelected career bureaucrats. Congress just creates new agencies. Because afterall, they're not experts in these regulatory issues-- they can't pass all these regulations through normal democracy.

  • JoshINHB||

    Someone once predicted that process and called it a road to something.

  • JoshINHB||

    Someone once predicted that process and called it a road to something.

  • ||

    Authentic quote 2, J. Flynn
    What is perfectly obvious, however, is that in one form or another these men [Keynesians] are attempting to fabricate a system that will not be communistic and will not involve state ownership but will put in the hands of the all-powerful state not only through institutions of public regulation but through financial investment complete control of the economic system, while at the same time running up vast debts against the government and utilizing the public credit to create employment. Of course this is fascism.

  • Hmmm... ||

    Obviously, the tea party and such don't deserve blame for the horrible murders.

    But, I mean, this is a group that spent the last couple years shouting about "death panels," and Obama being a socialist/fascist... and now they expect to be cut some slack for the things they've said? You can't yell at someone how much they're a monster and then not expect them to do the same to you.

    It's like an Ancient Chinese parable that I think was quoted in the Bible somewhere: "On some level, the wingnuts are being hoisted on their own petard here."

  • ||

    There are plenty of people on the left who screamed about Bush being a fascist and called the US a terrorist state, just a couple of years ago.

    How is "war is terrorism" less inflammatory than "death panels"?

  • hurp da durp||

    I'm pretty sure actual lefties still call it that. Perhaps I should clarify: Team Blue is not "the left".

  • Almanian||

    It's like an Ancient Chinese parable that I think was quoted in the Bible somewhere

    That is fucking AWESOME. We have a winnah

  • sevo||

    "You can't yell at someone how much they're a monster and then not expect them to do the same to you."
    Fail.
    Those statements are true. Stating facts makes you subject to slander only by those who prefer lies.

  • ||

    Selected Not Elected? Birthers, every last one! War For Oil? Death Panels! Obama's a socialist? Cheney's a fascist and Bush is too stooopid to know he's playing the puppet to his VP master.

  • sr7||

    Liberalism. No calories. Guilt free.

  • Tony||

    Does this ideology make my ass look big?

  • ||

    "Bush isn't MY president" "We need a regime change at home" Bush caused 9/11. Bush stole two elections. "The Death of a President" (movie about the assassination of Bush) Bill Maher saying that the world would be a better place if Cheney were dead. Ed Shultz saying that Cheney's heart should be ripped from his chest and kicked around like a football. Sandra Bernhardt saying how she wish that Sarah Palin would come to New York and get gang-raped. Biden saying that he would strangle the next republican that talked about balancing the budget...yeah, all the calls for toning down the political rhetoric and hate speech mean SO much after eight years of hearing all the but drool spewing from the mouths of the left

  • ||

    I guess you were in a comatose state during 2001-2008 where a certain reborn Christian president (and often his supporters) was constantly equated to a certain Austrian with a funny mustache.

    What was that about "live by the sword..." you said?

  • ||

    Eliminationist - One who uses violent and war like rhetoric in election politics. Using metaphors of violence and war to describe political strategy.

    Examples:

    "We need to target "candidate A" and defeat him."

    "The South is where we will win the battle for control of the Senate"

  • Joe R.||

    War on Drugs.

  • Mensan||

    Not quite. The War on Drugs uses actual violence to advance a political agenda.

  • ||

    My favorite is from that Electric Koolaid Acid Test guy:

    "Fascism is always descending on America but only ever lands in Europe."

    Also

    “Huey Long wasn't the most sane guy in the world, Richard, but he said that when fascism comes to America, it will call itself anti-fascism.”

    I fail how this fake quote could help anyone make a salient point about anything.

    Well aside from the fact that Chris Mathews is an idiot.

  • vousy zuřivosti||

    My favorite was on a radio programme this evening:
    "Using a gun for defense is like a lifeguard throwing water at a drowning swimmer."
    I don't even know where to begin with people like this.

  • Almanian||

    That is jaw-droppingly incomprehensible.

  • sevo||

    "Using a gun for defense is like a lifeguard throwing water at a drowning swimmer."

    Parsed:
    "Up = down"

  • Nucking Futs||

    I know! I know!! That's a quote from Jared Loughner!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    "Using a gun for defense is like a lifeguard throwing water at a drowning swimmer."


    I wonder for what governments use guns.

    Offense?

  • ||

    There's no point in beginning anywhere.

    People like this are irredeemably lost.

  • RyanXXX||

    All of this is distracting from the violence being committed right now, as we type, by the American government against an American citizen:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

  • IceTrey||

    "for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary."

    Tell that to Thomas Paine. Our entire country is founded on that basic principle.

  • Jim Treacher||

    Having been accused of "eliminationist rhetoric" by Neiwert myself, I can tell you that his definition of the term encompasses pretty much anything he disagrees with.

  • Jay||

    Neiwert's a hack and a troll. Take it from someone who's familiar with those roles.

  • ||

    The deployment of "half-witted reality television star" is a tell, and what it reveal is a pathetic sycophant, desperate for the approval of the same MSMers who he tries to condemn.

    Michael C. Moynihan, you're a pussy.

  • ||

    Noticed that too, din'cha?

  • ||

    Yup, the truth is Sarah Palin is a fucking genius. Anyone who disagrees is a pussy.

  • ||

    She is going to have the last laugh on this, of that I'm sure!

  • ||

    The republicans just took over the house less then two weeks ago....

    I think she already had the last laugh.

  • ||

    The deployment of "half-witted reality television star" is a tell, and what it reveal is a pathetic sycophant, desperate for the approval of the same MSMers who he tries to condemn.

    eh....you are probably right.

    Now if Moynihan would call Obama a "frequent comedy guest for the daily show" he could redeem himself.

  • ||

    half-witted reality television star

    Oh yeah..anyone else notice Microsoft using a fake reality show called "Celebrity Probation" being viewed by a smart looking couple stuck in on airport to advertise their cloud network?

    Moynihan is a snob...but he is the sad kind of snob. One that has been generation gapped despite him only being in his late 30s or early 40s.

  • sr7||

    Look who is fund raising off of the massacre, Vermont's very own Bernie Sanders:

    Given the recent tragedy in Arizona, as well as the start of the new Congress, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few words with political friends in Vermont and throughout the country. I also want to thank the very many supporters who have begun contributing online to my 2012 reelection campaign at www.bernie.org. There is no question but that the Republican Party, big money corporate interests and right-wing organizations will vigorously oppose me. Your financial support now and in the future is much appreciated.

    Stay assy, left. People notice.

  • Spur||

    The Marxist Leninist Soros funded Roll Call says the Tea Party is also fund-raising:

    http://www.rollcall.com/news/-202373-1.html

  • sr7||

    On Monday, the Tea Party Express began a fundraising effort to ask supporters to help it fight “liberals” who are attempting to link their movement to the events in Arizona. Tuesday, it followed that up with a new appeal to “stand with Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh + Tea Party.” Tea Party Express officials asked supporters to give as little as $5 to “fight back.”

    “We want to have our largest fundraising day in the history of our organization and we need your help to achieve this success,” they wrote.

    That's the one most closely linked to Palin, right? You have to give her a break, the old girl doesn't have a day time job.

  • ||

    Best way for the Tea Party to show that they are new business rather than the same old neocons wrapped in shiny new distracting paper, is by pretending Rush Limbaugh is one of you.

    Here's a hint: just because cynical, vile liberal pigs who exploit a massacre for political gain throw the Tea Party and Limbaugh together, doesn't mean the Tea Party itself has to.

    Unless, of course, they really are.

  • sr7||

    Oh, and Marxist-Leninist Soros? I doubt if you could pin him down on a specific ideology. Ferrel jackals tend to live only exploit society, and whatever movement in whatever given age they happen to live that is most conducive to exploitation, they will tend to abide by.

  • Spur||

    I was joking about that bit - Roll Call is pretty even keeled and I don't believe Soros has any involvement with them

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Maybe he should hold his fundraiser right alongside Fred Phelps's funeral picket.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Add in Rep. Louise Slughter's recent call - yet again - for the Fairness Doctrine... this shit's gonna get traction if it's the last thing the left does.

  • ||

    O.K. Lets consider how lefty group-think programming works...

    Lefties consider themselves the enlightened ones because they are taught that God is an imaginary creation of primitive and superstitious men. Therefore the highest authentic wisdom can only come from the collective knowledge of secular humanity.

    Therefore anyone who believes in a deity (or believes enough to act on it) must be unenlightened superstitious and primitive possibly even genetically regressive compared to themselves.

    Therefore lefty-secular Progressive are the only truly enlightened (IE: not ignorant, superstitious and religious) lovers of all global humanity who really understand and care about you and mother earth and sincerely seek all that you and she need in a harmonious balance (IE: a lot less people, cars, individual houses etc...).

    Therefore since they alone are authentically compassionate and insightful, they alone aught be given unfettered access to enough power to express their compassion and love for the planet and humanity through sweeping economic and social engineering policies guided by the best and the brightest of the enlightened ones (Note: evidently mostly humanist-atheist eugenicist Statists) among us.

    Therefore if you disagree and wont acquiesce to social pressure and politically correct norms and all of there enlightened efforts to do genuine good you are evil. Unfortunately to the lefty much of the population is unenlightened and desire freedoms that really aren’t good for them such as:

    · Freedom to own guns: (only governments led by enlightened people should have and use them) see Chicago, DC ec

    · Freedom to speak: (dangerous unenlightened ideas need to be suppressed passively and actively with strong social political taboos and strong government control on the distribution of speech rights.) see fairness doctrine

    · Freedom to trade: (Enlightened trade must never be without regulation, must not harm mother earth, ever be unfair or generate profits too large for individuals to ethically have unless they are very special enlightened people)

    · Freedom to own private property: (Eliminating property rights is essential as only the enlightened ones in government can determine on behalf of the collective the best use of lands and waters and distribute rights to their use fairly and with the protection of and needs of mother earth foremost)

    · Free to support national sovereignty and identities: (Borders must be lowered and we must all coalesce into one unified, science-driven world. Patriotism, and national identity is passé and hinders the enlightened goals of the left)

    · Freedom to choose what to eat: (only the enlightened ones have the wisdom to determine what average people should be allowed to eat based on balancing what’s good for the Mother Earth and what humans need to maintain existence.)

    · Freedom to choose where to live: (only the enlightened can choose for themselves and determine where humanity should live based on what makes the least impact on mother earth and what civil structure best facilitates control of the population.)

    · Freedom to choose what to use as transportation and where to go. (Freedom of travel should be limited to as far as you can travel by foot or bike unless traveling on public transportation. In order to prevent global climate change long distance and individual transportation should be limited to government approved travel for average people, and the enlightened class)

    The enlightened liberal has two problems with the Declaration of Independence and the US constitution. They that they base this country’s charter on protecting individual rights Given by an imaginary God making it unenlightened. And because it stands in the way of all they wish to do for(to) us by severely limiting the scope and power of the federal (IE: see Barrack Obama’s earlier comments on the constitution and redistributive justice)

    Therefore because the left are the authentic good guys and seek only the greater good it is not immoral or unenlightened for the left to do any or all of the following:

    · Ignore or hide the facts perversions, errors in judgment, and injuries caused by the left. The greater good is more important.

    · Constantly demonize, mischaracterize, and fabricate stories about the right. After all they are unenlightened and evil.

    · Assume every successful conservative politician is an evil genius since they fooled the public into voting for him or her when they were clearly evil (IE: not an enlightened lefty Democrat).

    · Assume every successful conservative politician is an idiot; after all they aren’t a lefty and therefore unenlightened and probably believe in the imaginary sky God, so therefore also ignorant and superstitious.

    · Always present their agenda as favorable to minorities with just enough payoffs to minority political operatives to have a constantly affirming and deceiving voice in their communities. Although the enlightened deeply disrespect the spirituality of these peoples they recognize a strong base of political support in blacks and Hispanics and don’t want to lose it.

    · Accuse any opponent of their agenda of grievous racial and economic animosity since they are the enlightened patrons of minority welfare and socialistic largesse.

    · Use and manufacture real or perceived crises (see Cloward and Piven) in order to expand the control and power of the enlightened ones through Government.

    · Lie, Obfuscate, and delay any full disclosure of their greater motivations of building some form of totalitarian government that controls every aspect of our lives, thoughts, beliefs and dreams because the unenlightened must not see it being built they might become unmanageable. (IE: see FEMA camps. And TSA)

    There are so many more but hopefully you get the point. The Lefties wont. They’ll agree with it all and not understand what s wrong with it. For them I have one word…

    FREEDOM

  • Liberal||

    Yes, we're smarter, no we don't want to create a totalitarian government to enslave you. Your misunderstanding of the latter is evidence of the former.

  • Liberal||

    Don't mind me. I'm just lying.

  • Jim Treacher||

    No, you just want to create a totalitarian government so everybody will do as you say and therefore Utopia will dawn.

  • ||

    Yes you do.

    You just don't think it is totalitarian and you don't think it is enslavement.

    We only have to wonder how America would look if all opponents of liberals would say: "Fuck it. We're not going to say or do anything to stop you. Go ahead for the next 50 years."

    Something tells me that 50 years from now society wouldn't be too free, and of course i am putting it mildly.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Great description, Steve.

  • ||

    love ya brian, dislike ya michael.

  • ||

    Brilliant article. Thanks for your wisdom, Mr. Moynihan.

  • ||

    This well-worn liberal tactic of linking their opponents to any and all tragedies and crisis events is repeated because it works. In the really lazy audience the association sticks, the right is angry and dangerous and must be controlled by lefties. To the less than fanatical opponents to lefties the charge of extremism becomes a charge that the opponents must perpetually try and disprove.

    The Mayberry conservatives will dutifully tone down their speech and moderate their actions against the commie-libs. The Mayberry conservatives will also wrap themselves into knots and burn many precious hours proving to each other that if the facts were switched the media would treat the story differently. Both reactions by the Mayberry conservatives give a victory to the commie-libs, their opponents get more meek and their opponents are deflected from righteous attacks on the commie-libs.

    Conservatives will never learn. The commie-libs are playing by prison rules and the conservatives are playing by Mayberry rules. The commie-libs know they will have virtually no sanction for any extreme tactics from the media and the lazy slobs that still get news from the media. Conservatives try and behave and speek as if they are seeking a good citizen award from the Mayberry Ladies Auxillary.

    "Get in their face and punch back twice as hard." If you aren't on offense against the commie-libs you are losing to them. Never play defensively.

  • ||

    The actions of a lone gunman, no matter what his motivations were, no matter how sane he was, can never be equated to fascism, anyone who does is insulting the real victims who suffered under fascism.

    A surveillance state, where people are monitored like cattle however is more of a threat to humanity than some religious fanatics or lone gunmen. Yet when it comes to those issues, the hysteria that was spewed for this completely overblown story turns into a silent whimper.

  • Omega||

    Yale Professor Halford Luccock originated the line (well, something like it). Source is New York Times article from September 12, 1938, page 15: "Disguised Facism Seen as a Menace"

  • ||

    For some To pretend Palin & the Tea Partiers did not have some influence is to deny the enormous influence that media and radio has on the public conscsiousness. This shooter did not live in a bubble. I am sure he turned on his local television news station where he would see Palin and the Tea Party's spout their ugly and negative lines. I am sure he searched the web, wherein he would hear and see Palin and others do their thing. Palin was in the papers, on magazines pictured with guns; she was the media darling and no one could get away from her and the other ulgy depecitions of tea partiers and their slogans during news segments, which everyone watches sometime -- in the doctor's offices, before going to school or work. The media loved to show these devicive stories so let 's not pretend this young man never saw these stories or was not influenced by these stories!

    And, of course all of this anger and ugliness started on talk radio by the King of Darkness, Rush Limbaugh!

  • Cecil||

    Nice libtard spoof. You almost got me to respond to it seriously.

  • ||

    Next thing you will know, the left will be quoting George Washington's famous "All semi-automatic handguns should be banned, and I really don't like those Tea Party types or their right wing radio fear mongers" quotation from his 1792 inauguration address...

  • dathilacha||

    sinclair lewis may not have used those exact words, in that particular book, but he seems to have said something like them:

    http://gcaw.blogspot.com/2007/12/sinclair-lewis-quote.html

  • ||

    This is a shameful article. You try so hard to show your bonafides that one wonders what insecurity you're masking by calling Palin "a half-witted reality television star." We get it: you're smarter than BOTH sides of the aisle and have an "undergraduate thesis" (!) to prove it. Well, I have a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt, so that must make me uber-smart and credentialed. One can hear and read "nonsense" in many places other than from Beck and Limbaugh, whose unpretentious and error-filled style I prefer to elitist signification straining to mask itself as "reason."

  • David Backes||

    Excellent column. On Friday I posted a comment about truth vs partisanship made back in the '60s by Thomas Merton. I posted it as a preliminary to my Saturday post about the climate change debate. Unfortunately, the response to the tragedy in Tucson is another sad illustration of what Merton talks about--a tendency that every one of us has to one extent or another: http://new-wood.blogspot.com/2.....nship.html

  • ||

    You know, as a former Limbaugh listener and dittohead from the 1990s who finally got his mind back, I remember Limbo constantly asserting that "WORDS MEEEEAN THINGS!" as he was lambasting Bill Clinton's parsing of the language and alternative contexts for such words as "is." Apparently, words no longer "MEEEEEAN THINGS!" when there is at least a reasonable justification for thinking that the current climate of right wing shreikers and near psychotics suggesting that there may be Second Amendment solutions to today's issues might not help to motivate madness. *sigh*

  • Careless||

    The problem isn't with arguing that it could, it's with claiming that it did when it didn't, or trying to slip that through the back door. If you'd made the argument two weeks ago, it would have gotten a "meh" response.

  • ||

    I believe what Huey Long said was, "When fascism comes to America, it will be called Americanism."

  • ||

    Glad to see there is some "reason" out there. I don't think the average liberal has any idea how offensive their behavior has been. A group of people, young and old, black and white, hippy and businessman, Republican AND Democrat, who have come together peaceably to petition their government for a redress of grievences, and confined their action to the ballot box, is slandered - willfully and deliberatly by said government and by their henchmen in the press. We have been disparaged by many members of congress, and told to "sit in the back" and called enemies by our own President.
    In the analogy they are using - that of Nazi Germany - The Tea Party is in the place of the Jewish People. We know what place the Democrats occupy.

  • ||

    Life always balances out. If someone is to go against the wall, then someone must put them there.

  • ||

    Very good recap of what is going on except for the gratuitous slur against Palin as "a half-witted reality television star." (Really?)
    The 'eliminationists' are, precisely, those on the left who are trying to grasp desperately at straws (the Tea Party, talk radio, Palin, etc.) to eliminate their conservative opposition, if not physically, then rhetorically from the ranks of acceptable political discourse.

  • ||

    Must maintain good standing with his Palin-hating friends. In other words, 'You must listen to me because I hate Palin as much as you do.'

  • Dave in DC||

    Fair enough. Whether extremist rhetoric "could" have caused this is not saying much. In that sense it's not necessarily the case that Palin or the Tea Party lit the fuse. But what they are certainly guilty of is ignoring the fire and even fanning the flames.

    The violence in video games and music comparison doesn't apply here. Those are venues of entertainment. Politicians, on the other hand, seek to be taken seriously.

    But despite being so-called leaders, Republican politicians not just condoned, they also justified and even encouraged threatening words and actions. People at rallies constantly displayed their firearms, made perverse references to Jefferson's "blood of tyrants" quote, and made not-so-subtle comments about violently opposing the government.

    Republicans don't have to be guilty of inciting violent behavior (the part that "may or may not be" true). What they're guilty of is creating an atmosphere where voicing violent actions against the government is tolerated. There's a reason why saying "I'm going to kill the president" is and *should* be taken as a serious offense. Tea Partiers actually embraced not just that rhetoric but the psychos who recited it.

  • ||

    I agree. We need an Anti-Rightist campaign like Comrade Mao initiated 50 years ago. If the Republican leaders won't condemn violence they're pretty much asking to be hit over the head.

  • Johnny Lawrence||

    I disagree with your assertion that "[t]he violence in video games and music comparison doesn't apply here. Those are venues of entertainment. Politicians, on the other hand, seek to be taken seriously."

    Here is why: one of the main arguments being thrown around (mostly by the left) about fiery political rhetoric is that this rhetoric DID cause, or at least contribute to, the shooting in Tucson.

    The response is "no, craziness was a superseding cause--no sane person would act based on political rhetoric." This same exact argument has been used in the past to blame violence on heavy metal and video games.

    Your point is that violent political rhetoric is inappropriate, because politicians (unlike video games and heavy metal music) are supposed to be serious, respectful, etc. I do agree that violence may be "appropriate" in video games and heavy metal, but not in political discourse. But I would point out that this argument is not related to the original video game/heavy metal comparison, which was a valid one.

  • Granite Sentry||

    Maybe the Tucson shooter was influenced by rhetoric from the Left; there's plenty to choose from. Add your favorites at www.granitesentry.com

  • ||

    It's not that the shooter was inspired by conservative rhetoric, but you simply can't say that such rhetoric is not a problem. At least, conservatives cant'. Afterall, they argue constantly that violent rap and video games are corrupting our youth. You can't bash rappers and video games without extending those concerns to public speech.

    See below for Glenn Beck hypocrisy. He says rhetoric is no problem, but here's what he thinks about aggressive media that he's NOT a part of:

    Glenn: Stephen, you’re spending your time obsessing over three segments on a television show where I say, I’m not blaming Grand Theft Auto for all the ills of asset, but you can beat a prostitute to death with a baseball bat. In the following segment, because all of these people are taking me apart of these blogs go, Oh, Glenn Beck, look at him. They didn’t even listen to what I said. I’m not blaming the society ills on Grand Theft Auto. I think it’s really a bad idea to use the technology developed by the Pentagon to teach people to kill to then just, you know, let people just play these all the time. I’m not saying pull it from the shelves. I’m not saying everybody who plays it it is going to turn into killer. I’m saying we should probably look at this as one of the very many factors that is causing our society to break down. Because all of these bloggers started coming after me, you know, in some sort of witch hunt, I decided, oh, okay. I offhanded said, in a joking fashion, they’re all losers, I even said, to piss them off and now look at you. You’re so obsessed with it. What time did you get up this morning to make sure you could call? How many hours have you spent thinking about this?

  • ||

    Um, would anybody care to post an example of vitriol by Palin or Limbaugh? I suppose "Banking Queen" is a little mean, but violent or eliminationist? Besides, Rush rips republicans all the time.

    Michael Moynihan, given your expert observations ("I have written many columns and blog posts about the nonsense one can find on both the Rush Limbaugh show and Glenn Beck program, the heavy-breathing about the specter of Alinskyite communism inhabiting the White House, and the historical illiteracy of many in the Tea Party."), really, I do mean expert, could you cobble together examples of the most extreme of the Palin or Limbaugh rhetoric? I mean it, my powers of observation are weak, and I can't list anything as bad a "Bushitler".

  • ||

    I know its a statistic that the law enforcement community finds bothersome, but its my understanding that when a criminal is shot dead while in the process of committing the crime, he/she is usually shot by the intended victim - a civilian.

    I point this out because, as with airline security, all too often the system fails and its up to the American people to defend themselves, with whatever they can lay their hands on. I know the police are generally good people and mean well, but as this atrocity so vividly demonstrates, they're not likely to be there when you really need them. Had there been a police officer at this event it is very likely that Mr. Loughner would have waited for another opportunity. But if there had been even one legally armed citizen in that crowd, this might have turned out very differently, especially for Mr. Loughner.

    I believe that most American gun owners have them for only one reason - as a last line of defense to protect their families from criminals. I don't know anyone who isn't horrified by the prospect of shooting it out with a burglar in their living room at 3:00 AM, but if the alternative is to be murdered along with the rest of your family, most people would prefer to have the means to defend themselves until the police arrive. Assuming that the police will always be there to protect us is a leap of faith that most Americans are not willing to take.

  • CE||

    The knee-jerk liberal reaction to limit the Second Amendment freedoms of Americans wasn't enough this time; they decided to go after our First Amendment freedoms to complain about things as well.

  • ||

    'half-witted reality television star'

    Good for you, Moynihan! Throw the left a bone so they won't mistake you for a Palin sympathizer because, God forbid, anyone mistake you for a Palin sympathizer.

  • jerseys and hat||

    see more nice products on site: http://www.hatonsale.com

  • Frank Johnson||

    This guilt by association has to stop, and hopefully this stuff will back fire on the purveyors. There is a good article on www.freemarketsfreepeople.net, "Breaking Political Guilt by Association"

  • Huguenin||

    Those curious about Krugman's motivations would do well to read Kevin MacDonald's Culture of Critique.

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