Politics

This "Conversation" Is a Set-Up

Political rhetoric is not the problem.

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No doubt some of you are upset by the hysterical politicization of the murders in Tucson, Ariz. Be heartened that a new CBS poll found that 57 percent of respondents believed the political tone in the nation had nothing to do with this particular madman's rampage.

Regrettably, though, there is another, seemingly innocuous "national conversation" we're about to engage in that's also based on canards meant to chill speech.

It starts with incessant hand-wringing about an imagined lack of civility in society—flaring up, as luck would have it, whenever the most recent person you voted for happens to be elected. The conversation will soon turn into a growing and phony anxiety about looming political violence and unrest that happens to be solely, as it turns out, a byproduct of a certain nutty belief system.

"Does the collective climate matter?" a longtime e-mail pen pal recently asked me. "Are you reflecting on your own style and contribution to the climate? For the record, I have never read a single word from you even close to being violent or anything close to all the stuff we heard over the last few years, but you make a living attacking and criticizing government. I do not recall ever reading a positive word about our government from you. Every time I read an article from you I feel like it is one more log on the anti-government fire, offering one more reason for your average dude to dislike and distrust their government."

Jeez, if I've never written anything that could be construed as violent or hateful, even metaphorically (though I'm sure belligerent and offensive vocabulary crept into columns as needed), what could I possibly have to reflect on? My only contribution to the crumbling discourse, it seems, is believing in the tenets of classical liberalism. That, in and of itself, is a sin.

This leaves the person with two choices: Revise your viewpoint, or shut up. Which, of course, is the point.

The always-civil Jacob Weisberg of Slate was more forceful in this regard, claiming that "at the core of the far right's culpability is its ongoing attack on the legitimacy of U.S. government."

Which, as you know, should not be confused with those heady times liberals claimed that George W. Bush was "not my president" or that we needed a "regime change at home." That kind of talk strengthened the legitimacy of government. Just as the "far right"—and I will assume this consists of anyone not named David Frum—could probably make the case that demanding government honor its constitutional limits is a demand for legitimacy.

We can argue about those things, I know. We can cobble together stupid remarks by radio talk show hosts or union activists or members of Congress and smear half the country. We can play tit for tat with tea party banners and anti-war bumper stickers and dig up some figurative rhetoric that sounds over-the-top retroactively and blow it out of proportion.

But this impending conversation about civility and our climate of hate is not only a useless one but also meant to discourage dissent. It is a rigged talk because not only do we—by any standard and context available—reside in a highly civil and peaceful political system but also violence is almost nonexistent. The tea partiers didn't pick up pitchforks and storm the White House; they knocked off Republicans in primaries.

Now, we may want to have a conversation about our policies regarding the mentally ill or the need for more gun control (though I might disagree with the outcome), because, after all, they are relevant to the horrible events of the past week. But conservatives should be wary of any national dialogue about civility or any beer summit about the specter of political violence.

It is nothing more than a setup.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his website at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

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NEXT: Heavy Metal and the Tucson Shootings

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  1. “Anti-government!!!!111” is the new “RACIST!!!!!11”

  2. Uncle Fester is that you?

  3. Ever notice we only ever seem to have a national dialog about civility when liberals run everything?

    1. There is some good news though: the leftist media’s pathetic and disgusting attempt to use this horrible event to smear their opponents isn’t going to work this time.

      They could get away with that crap back in the Stone Age (the mid 90s) before everyone had access to e-mail and the Internet, but they can’t anymore. There are too many sources of information available now and the facts get out to everyone too quickly.

      1. “the mid-90s” — you mean like the anti-Clinton hysteria?

        1. There was nothing hysterical in our opposition to Clinton. Quite rational actually. He means Clinton’s OKC blood libel.

        2. Clinton smoked Dole in 1996 like one of his infamous cigars. Hardly hysteria against him. Give me a break.

          1. While Clinton hysteria certain existed prior to his second term, it reach its peak when certain parts of the “moral majority” decided to wasted massive amounts of the government’s time and money on investigating a blow job.

            Plenty of hysteria against him.

            1. Lying under oath is nothing?

              1. depends on what the meaning of “is” is…but seriously, why was he sworn in to testify about a blowjob anyways? hysteria!

            2. That was long after the “mid 1990’s” and the Republicans wanting to play legal Gotcha over a blowjob isn’t “hysteria.” Certainly not of some kind suggesting insurrection or violence by any measure.

              1. See, the fact you can’t recognize that, of all the real problems in the world, persecuting Clinton for a sex act was a monumental waste of time – which you justify by some greasy lawyer deflection to “lying under oath” like it was lying about something important, is why nobody takes republitards seriously.

                1. Since I think that workplace sexual harassment is mostly bunk, I love to read comments like this.

                  I look forward to similar statements any time a woman sues her employer for harassment. Even if he whips out his dick and tells her to “kiss it”.

                  How can people be so fucking dense?!

      2. [i]Team Blue is leftist.[/i]

        No.

        1. Whoops, used the wrong tags.

  4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..ments.html

    The comments to this rather sensible Charles Krauthammer column are an amazing pile of hatred and stupid.

    1. “The origins of Loughner’s delusions are clear: mental illness. What are the origins of Krugman’s?”
      Krauthammered!

      1. He’s not called Pauly KrugNUTS for nothing, you know.

    2. So aggravating! The essence is this: “We know Palin and right wingers had nothing to do with this particular madman shooting up a bunch of innocents, but while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about those crazy right wingers inciting violence.”

      1. Oops, that was me.

  5. “For the record, I have never read a single word from you even close to being violent or anything close to all the stuff we heard over the last few years, but you make a living attacking and criticizing government INVLOVMENT IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. I do not recall ever reading a positive word about our government’S INVOLVMENT IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN from you. Every time I read an article from you I feel like it is one more log on the anti-government INVOLMENT IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN fire, offering one more reason for your average dude to dislike and distrust their government.”

    Be careful what you wish for (I don’t know if Harsanyi supports or opposes Iraq involvment – its a parody if you can never critque gubermint policy)

  6. My contribution to the “national conversation”:

    “The fact that you have sand in your panties is not a reason for me to shut up.”

    1. Consider it stolen.

    2. That is fucking brilliant!

  7. Anti-government eh? Its off to Point Lookout for you rebel scum!

    http://www.mdoe.org/pointlookout.html

    1. I’ve been there. The ground was littered with empty KFC buckets and soda bottles. Then I remembered the place is managed by government stooges. Then all was well.

  8. “After we take your picture, we’ll get you some ICE CREAM!”

  9. rather sensible Charles Krauthammer column

    Wait, whut?

  10. A lot of the criticism of rightwing rhetoric has been misguided, but you should expect some lashing out when a public official is almost assassinated. What’s truly despicable is the likes of Sarah Palin playing the victim card. Nay, the Jew victim card.

    And let this crime not be construed as somehow excusing inflammatory antigovernment rhetoric. There may be no causal connection, but there is a substantive one.

    So I’m fine if people stop lashing out… I’m not fine with rightwingers playing the victim. There are victims of this tragedy, and they aren’t them.

    1. A public official wasn’t “almost” assassinated. A public official was murdered. But since he wasn’t of your preferred political party you forget about him.

      1. You’re right. Still, none of the victims was Sarah Palin.

        1. Yeah, too bad.

          1. Now Sarah will be murdered all because of you. 🙂

        2. “This lone, paranoid schizophrenic, delusional madman killed and maimed a bunch of people.

          It was because of a silly graphic on Sarah Palin’s website! Why is Sarah Palin so violent? Why does she hate people so much? Why doesn’t she care that her words are getting innocent children slaughtered in the streets?”

          Yeah, Sarah Palin has not been victimized in any way at all.

          I’m not a big Palin fan, and no shit, she wasn’t shot or anything – but the rush by the twisted panties lefties to blame her for this nutbag’s actions is puerile and disgusting.

        3. Then why was so much ink spilled about her?

          1. Good question. I wish everyone would ignore her. She has nothing to offer political discourse. She enhances it only by shutting her stupid face.

            1. If you would only do the same, sweet bliss.

              1. +10000000000000000000000000000000000000

            2. Just for our dear friend Tony.

              A video on YouTube showcases dozens of tweets, sent in the aftermath of Saturday’s Arizona massacre, that call for the death of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

              .

              Some of the Tweeters wish Palin would die of cancer, while others advocate for her assassination.

              “My hatred for Sarah Palin continues to grow. I think this woman should be assassinated,” said one person. “Sarah Palin should be shot for her encouragement of fanaticism against Democrats,” says another.

              Numerous left-wing commentators have accused Palin of inspiring the attack on Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that left 6 dead. The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher reported that liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, actress Jane Fonda, film critic Roger Ebert, and filmmaker Michael Moore all took to Twitter within hours of the attack to accuse Palin of being in some way responsible.

              http://dailycaller.com/2011/01…..ins-death/

            3. Fuck You, Tony.

    2. Only in your idiotic leftist mindset is the idea that Sarah Palin defending herself from the baseless accusations of your fellow butt-buddies is somehow “her injecting herself” in this tragedy.

      1. She should just shut up and take it. Look at the way she dresses, she’s just asking for it.

        1. “She should just shut up and take it”

          I tell Tony that all the time.

    3. God forbid I defend that woman, but if the people in the MSM weren’t so fixated on her and so eager to pin something on the people they don’t like, she wouldn’t have to play the victim.

      Oh and nice way to completely ignore the fact that a judge WAS killed. Guess it doesn’t matter since there was an (R) after his name. Asshole.

      1. She is the perpetual victim. Each time the slightest criticism is made of her, it’s not because she did something stupid or wrong, it’s because of a vast media conspiracy against her.

        She is not the victim of anything. She is one of the most successful recipients of affirmative action the world has ever known.

        She could have behaved humbly, not necessarily apologizing for using gun-related language in relation to politics, but at least showing that she understood why that type of language might seem wrongheaded to others. Instead, she played her only card, the victim card, and she doubled down today by comparing herself to persecuted Jews. So fuck her. And yes I stand corrected, a public official (along with some innocent citizens) was killed. The R next to his name is not an excuse to dismiss radical antigovernment demagoguery either.

        1. But Tony, gun-related and military related rhetoric are just part of normal conversation now. When Clinton had his famous “war room” I don’t think anyone would be inspired to make war on Bush I, or when we talk of the Packers “targeting” Vick we don’t think Green Bay fans will be incited to shoot him.

        2. She could have behaved humbly, not necessarily apologizing for using gun-related language in relation to politics, but at least showing that she understood why that type of language might seem wrongheaded to others.

          No one is obligated to validate your delusions.

          1. Obligated? No

            But it would’ve shown an incredible boost of intelligence on her part.

            Opportunity missed.

            1. Bullshit.

            2. Still waiting for one of you to offer causal proof that Palin was any more involved in this shooting than Loughner’s mailman.

              1. I don’t think anyone is saying she is. I’m saying she’s a delusional idiot and one of the world’s biggest hypocrites. And that it doesn’t go away when someone else gets shot.

        3. You know what Sarah Palin’s response should have been? Nothing! Then when the media came snooping around, seeking some sort of scandal, she could have said, “Why am I even being related to this incident? I have nothing to do with it. I feel horrible for the families involved like every other American who is exposed to the 24/7 “news vomit” coverage of it.”

          The left are going to turn Palin…PALIN!…into a martyr that the right sink their hopes into and we will never get rid of her. Ugh.

    4. Go suck a cock, Tony.

    5. Re: Tony,

      What’s truly despicable is the likes of Sarah Palin playing the victim card. Nay, the Jew victim card.

      Especially when she’s merely being attacked gratuitously by hacks and pundits – I mean, how dare she????

      And let this crime not be construed as somehow excusing inflammatory antigovernment rhetoric. There may be no causal connection, but there is a substantive one.

      Tony-logics 101: Evidence of no causation still means “a substantial” causation. The fact that is not red still means it should be red. The fact that there are no unicorns still means we should be wary of receiving unihorn wounds.

      1. Palin seems to find it perfectly OK to attack political opponents with specious, inflammatory, and hyperbolic rhetoric, when she’s doing it.

        And my point is that while the shooter may not have ever heard of Sharron Angle, he was following her instructions. I don’t care if there is a causal link. It’s still not right to suggest that the appropriate response to losing an election is to shoot your opponent. It will never be OK, and it’s especially not OK in light of an attack on public officials. That’s all I’m saying. I know some would like to pretend such rhetoric hasn’t been a part of national political discourse for the last two years, but it has, and I don’t see why now is the appropriate time to stop countering it.

        1. Re: Tony,

          Palin seems to find it perfectly OK to attack political opponents with specious, inflammatory, and hyperbolic rhetoric, when she’s doing it.

          Agreed, she invokes the neo-con Devil Himself. What exactly is wrong, though, with defending herself of the really specious and gratuitous accusation that her comments and rhetoric somehow compel people to shoot congresswomen?

          It’s still not right to suggest that the appropriate response to losing an election is to shoot your opponent.

          And whoever suggested such a thing, should be shot!

          http://www.newsmax.com/InsideC…../id/382582

          I know some would like to pretend such rhetoric hasn’t been a part of national political discourse for the last two years, but it has, and I don’t see why now is the appropriate time to stop countering it.

          Maybe because the call for civility in discourse is irrelevant and disingenuous. Just sayin’.

        2. Let me get this straight.
          You are agreeing that what this nutjob did was not political in any way, that Palin and company did not influence him an any way, and Palin and company are still responsible though they had nothing at all to do with it.

          You are a fucking moron.

          1. No, they’re not responsible for this specific incident. They’re still responsible for their dangerous bullshit, and I don’t find it the appropriate time to start giving them a pass on it.

            Republicans have been mucking around in really seedy militia-type rhetoric ever since Obama got elected, and you know what, when something like this happens, they deserve to be shamed for it, since it’s essentially the type of thing they’ve been dog whistling about.

            1. “They’re still responsible for their dangerous bullshit, and I don’t find it the appropriate time to start giving them a pass on it.”

              Dangerous? Dangerous? Heated political speech has always sounded “dangerous” from one point of view or another. End of discussion. THis is clearly political opportunism on the part of the left, and it isn’t just political opportunism but political opportunism aimed at chilling dissenters. That’s pretty fucking disgusting.

            2. They’re not responsible yet they should be shamed for it.

              That makes sense… if you’re a moron.

            3. Palin has been in the liberal crosshairs costantly for two and a half years. Jay Leno is actually very reasonable, compared to David Letterman.

              And the same crosshairs have been focused on George W. Bush for the past ten years. Letterman was still doing hard Bush “jokes” almost a year after the president left office.

              If, God forbid, either got shot, what are the chances that the liberals spouting anti Bush and Palin vitriol would take responsibility?

            4. Re: Tony,

              No, they’re not responsible for this specific incident. They’re still responsible for their dangerous bullshit, and I don’t find it the appropriate time to start giving them a pass on it.

              Translation: “I don’t care that they’re not guilty of anything! To me: They’re guilty!”

              1. Well they are guilty of something, just not of this crime. Again, I just think that rather than being an inappropriate time to address right-wing demagoguery, it is the exact right time. Pragmatically, maybe that’s not so… it’s hard to determine these things knowing the right will throw a torch-wielding tantrum if Obama just looks at them the wrong way.

                Such behavior is certainly not excused by the left’s actions (two wrongs don’t make a right), and an equivalence between the two is just a false one.

                Only from the mindless wasteland that is right-wing thought can people be so duplicitous and/or unaware as to spend two years screaming about the socialist takeover and naming themselves after a tax rebellion and then play dumb and innocent when anyone says something about it.

            5. No, they’re not responsible for this specific incident. They’re still responsible for their dangerous bullshit, and I don’t find it the appropriate time to start giving them a pass on it.

              Shorter Tony: I’m blaming her for stuff that didn’t happen.

    6. …Loughner did what he did because someone else other than him listened to people like Limbaugh and Palin?

    7. “Put [Rick Scott] against the wall and shoot him.”

      1. It’s okay that Kanjorski said that, because he’s not under the subliminal influence of right-wing hate speech, which is only hate speech if it comes from the right.

    8. Tony, let me ask you a question. You don’t think violent rap lyrics are responsible for violence in our society, do you? How about violent video games? Maybe violent movies or television shows? Strange none of these seem to be responsible for violence, yet strident rhetoric with which you disagree is able to do the trick.

  11. As a side comment, I have a request for Reason: can you PLEASE stop posting that fucking mugshot of Loughner’s freaky fucking face? It’s way too creepy, even for this site.

    1. You’d rather the Rand bondage pic again?

    2. I vote for tubgirl to be shown everywhere his face has/will be shown. That way his name will forever be equated with a woman shitting diarrhea all over herself. Not a bad way to remember/forget a murderer if you ask me.

  12. This whole “collective climate” thing is such bullshit. Do they really expect me to believe that anybody does violence because they’re upset by the “collective climate”? That’s fucking ludicrous.

    1. People aren’t responsible for their actions, therefore everyone should be responsible for everyone else’s actions.

      1. Externalities!

    2. This whole “collective climate” thing is something manufactured by some combination of bad philosophers, psychologists, and the media.

      Ergo, it was an individual action, and needs to be punished individually. The “collective climate” had either very little or nothing to do with it.

  13. It’s uncle Fester. All he needs is a light bulb in his mouth.

    1. Light bulb, your ass!

      1. Only if it’s a CFL – gotta stay green!

  14. If that isn’t the face of a lib, I don’t know what would be.

  15. And let this crime not be construed as somehow excusing inflammatory antigovernment rhetoric. There may be no causal connection, but there is a substantive one.

    You seem to be suffering from a linguistic breakdown, Tony; get help, before it’s too late.

    1. Oh, I think he said pretty much what he means: “I can’t prove my point by using evidence or logic, but I want everybody to believe it anyway. The fact that I feel it’s right should be good enough for you.”

      1. That’s about it.

        Lefties like Tony do not use their mind for anything other than reverse engineering justification for their emotions.

        They’re no better than animals.

        And they vote.

        We’re doomed.

      2. Seems to me to be the difference between classic liberals (libertarians) and modern progressive liberals: A libertarian is bound to logic to reach a conclusion, a progressive can simply “feel” his way to a conclusion.

        1. Whoa, whoa, whoa, feeeelings….

        2. A libertarian is bound to logic to reach a conclusion

          It’s a pity all of your premises are completely wrong.

          1. Tony|1.12.11 @ 1:33PM|#
            “And my point is that while the shooter may not have ever heard of Sharron Angle, he was following her instructions. I don’t care if there is a causal link.”

            Admitting you don’t care if there is a link and then asserting that there is one is not reason or logic. That is completely based in feelings and emotions. So perhaps you should check your premises.

            1. Plus one, Nate.

              How could anyone follow instructions they’ve never heard?

            2. I re-read my posts, and I never said that. I am saying what Sharron Angle said was dangerous and inflammatory then, and it still is, and perhaps all the more highlighted by a gun attack on public officials.

          2. I’m glad the Constitution is your sandpaper underwear.

            1. …still anti-smoking to the point of shitting on personal-property rights, “patriot” Mike?

          3. Name one.

            1. Laissez-faire is the most just form of a market.

              1. So…pointing guns at people, threatenting them with years of implied rape, and taking their shit is superior. Let’s not forget all the handouts the “superior” mixed economy has given to all the rich assholes I’m sure you detest in the form of ethanol subsidies, stadium construction, sex with your mom, etc. Just so we are clear, an inherently violent system, based on arbitrary laws, that consistently awards those with the resources to buy favors is more “just” than people working and trading with each other for an agreed to price. Got it.

                1. The implicit threat of violence goes with any government, so you can’t really claim that a laissez-faire economy lacks that.

                  And I don’t see how subsidies are relevant. You can have a mixed economy without corporate boondoggles. And it’s pretty much guaranteed that in a laissez-faire system there will be tons of exploitation and injustice. You think it won’t, and your justification is that you say so.

                  1. For one, who said I was talking about a government when I mentioned a free economy?

                    Regarding boondoggles, in THEORY you can seperate the two, but in PRACTICE that is never the case. In fact, some of the most liberal mayors have sucked the cocks of billionaires in order to get “economy-growing” and “job-boosting” stadiums built in their cities on the taxpayers’ dime. And where is it written that a free economy is inherently exploitative? The fucking bible? The fucking ten commandments? Einstein’s theory of relativity? And what is your definition of exploitation and injustice? You mean worthless sacks of shit can’t make 50K for 9 months of “work” “teaching” children? You mean it might be harder for unions to demand ludicrous benefits (up to and including retirement at 50 – I’ve seen it) thus making it harder to gut companies, killing the golden goose if you will, from within? You mean people might have to think about making large purchases like cars and houses before actually making them without naively thinking some overpaid asshole in DC has got his back if he fucks up? You mean taxpayers will have to keep more of their own money, saving for their own retirement, caring for their own elders instead of paying into a bankrupt system that helps prop up untold multitudes of pointless and destructive bullshit? God forbid we have any of that.

  16. Anyone who thinks that modern political discourse has reached some sort of low point must be as ignorant of history as a cherrystone clam.

    Just a cursory glance at any collection of 18th century political cartoons would go a long way toward curing that ignorance.

    1. Reason.tv had a video last year that was fucking hilarious.

    2. And some of it is humorous.

  17. I briefly watched Ed yesterday. He spent almost the entire show on this subject. He blamed Sara Palin for saying things like “targeted districts” and “time to reload”. He criticized her for not updating her facebook page since she posted her condolences to the families of the injured. See, either she must publicly agree with Ed, the giant turd, Schultz, or she caused it with her silence. I only watched the show for a few minutes and I think my IQ must have gone down an equal number of points as a result.

    Because the only things in the Universe that target and reload are guns!

    The funniest thing is when he said of Palin “without extremist rhetoric she is nothing”. Talk about projection.

    1. Schultz is the mirror-universe version of Limbaugh, though I can’t figure out which one is more evil.

      1. Nah. Limbaugh can be marginally funny at times. Moreover, even if evil, Limbaugh is pretty intelligent. Schultz? Not so much.

  18. This is the fruit of College Speech Codes.

  19. The rush to stifle speech and legislate additional “protections” for the ruling class are really making me feel like doing something violent.

  20. The appropriate response to hate speech is love speech.

    1. Oh baby, YES!

  21. A low point? Perhaps not. History has plenty of examples. But the difference today is that such low commentary reaches millions instantaneously. A hateful cartoon in the 18th century reached only those within distance of the city paperboy. Or were the Tories riding into Ken-tuck-ee spreading leaflets?
    It likely didn’t garner many more in the 19th, for likely the same reasons.
    24h-hour newsmedia and the internet have been a blessing and a curse.

    1. Thus the justification for Internet control. This is pissing me off.

      1. The internet is one of the few places where we can get and say pretty much whatever we want. It doesn’t have to make sense, and if you disagree, don’t read it.

        Putting a government or organization in charge of policing the internet is a bad idea. It would be terrible for free speech.

        A “private” internet, however, could impose whatever rules it wanted, and if you disagree, just don’t sign up.

        1. The government invented the Internet and has been regulating it since day one. Net neutrality policy is meant to keep it as free as it currently is. Communications corporations have no inherent interest in that.

    2. Then remember the 1960s. How many cities burned last year? When was the National Guard last used for riot control? All of that was on national TV, and back then there were only three channels, so everyone watched the same thing.

  22. I could go for a little more civility. Not because I believe hysterical rhetoric incites violence or anything like that, but because it’s lazy and pointless. Most rants I hear to the effect that liberals are freedom-hating Marxists, or conservatives are racist gun nuts, or whatever, are about as thoughtful and original as a typical Jay Leno monologue. The reason that stuff is so widespread is that anybody can do it.

    But to be able to actually critique a viewpoint?and to do so in a way that shows respect for the other party’s intentions, if not their opinions?is a skill that doesn’t seem to come naturally. Not that I don’t understand why so many people are drawn to the crazy rhetoric (because it keeps things simple, like Jay Leno), but I really enjoy the challenge of trying to make a point without it, and I have a ton of appreciation for others who do the same (like, say, the commentators here at Reason).

    1. Fuck off ya queer loving bastard.

      1. Wait…is this Jay Leno? If so, you’re right. It was a cheap shot, and I apologize.

  23. I’m gonna torch this fucking place!

    1. How do you torch a website…?

  24. Ask this person if he’ll revise his pro-government stance the next time the cops gun down an innocent person or the government launches a war he doesn’t support. Ask him if he now sees how his contribution to the pro-government atmosphere has resulted in people dying.

  25. Re: Tony,

    Palin seems to find it perfectly OK to attack political opponents with specious, inflammatory, and hyperbolic rhetoric, when she’s doing it.

    Agreed, she invokes the neo-con Devil Himself. What exactly is wrong, though, with defending herself of the really specious and gratuitous accusation that her comments and rhetoric somehow compel people to shoot congresswomen?

    It’s still not right to suggest that the appropriate response to losing an election is to shoot your opponent.

    And whoever suggested such a thing, should be shot!

    http://www.newsmax.com/InsideC…../id/382582

    I know some would like to pretend such rhetoric hasn’t been a part of national political discourse for the last two years, but it has, and I don’t see why now is the appropriate time to stop countering it.

    Maybe because this sudden call for civility in discourse is irrelevant and disingenuous. Just sayin’.

    1. the really specious and gratuitous accusation

      Yes, nothing like the measured, reasonable accusation that Barack Obama hung out with terrorists.

      1. And I’m sure Tony believes Obama’s supporters are crybabies for responding to that accusation.

      2. Being that Obama hung out with terrorists and Palin had nothing to do with the actions of Jared Loughner, it makes perfect sense that Palin is a bad person for responding to these false accusations… if you are a fucking moron.

      3. Re: Tony,

        Yes, nothing like the measured, reasonable accusation that Barack Obama hung out with terrorists.

        You certainly have a penchant for the non sequitur, Tony.

        1. And you have a real talent for misapplying names of logical fallacies. It’s more of a tu quoque.

    2. “Put [Rick Scott] against the wall and shoot him.” – Paul Kanjoriski (D)

      You okay with this?

      1. Well that is a D after his name, is it not?

  26. For years politicians have been blaming computer games, music, tv, films for stuff like this.
    Its good to see them hoist by their own petard

  27. “She is the perpetual victim. Each time the slightest criticism is made of her, it’s not because she did something stupid or wrong, it’s because of a vast media conspiracy against her.”

    You’re talking about Hillary now, Tony?

  28. “And my point is that while the shooter may not have ever heard of Sharron Angle, he was following her instructions. I don’t care if there is a causal link.”

    Works for me every time!

  29. What the fuck is Big Sis doing, quoting the bible at this memorial? WHAT ABOUT CHURCH AND STATE???!1!ONE!

    I’d still fuck her, though.

  30. There almost seems to be a power that the left has to morally condemn any speech that they don’t like. They say its bad and everyone cowers from them as if they have some holy power to decide what is right and wrong. Its as if we live in a tribe and they, being the tribal priest, can decide what members of that tribe are bad or good.

    1. As opposed to the right, who took up torches to try and prevent a mosque being built.

  31. Very interesting article for designer.I was awaiting many year for this article.This is a good and interesting idea.I might borrow.

  32. tony, your posts amount to nothing more than “but they do similar things too!”

    i know you think that two wrongs make a right (welfare, racial quotas, etc), but seriously, wtf?

    and you admit SP and the tea party had nothing to do with it, yet you say its the right time to discuss this heated language. that seems awfully fishy that you would say now is the perfect time, when we are in the middle of hysteria about such speech. if you had said the topic was valid, but we should wait until cooler heads prevail, i wouldnt think you are such a transparent partisan hack.

    1. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before I acknowledge that both sides are equally bad. They’re just not, and I have no interest in rewarding the worse actor by pretending they are.

      We probably should wait till cooler heads prevail. Since Republicans won an election, perhaps they will advocate less for armed revolution.

  33. Mr. Harsanyi….that was perfect. Thanks.

  34. This is the first time I’ve ever commented at this site, but I just had to say that Tony is a real piece of work.

  35. “Be heartened that a new CBS poll found that 57 percent of respondents believed the political tone in the nation had nothing to do with this particular madman’s rampage…. ”
    ————
    Oh boy, a whole 57 percent. That only leaves 43 percent of the public (millions of people) who have a system of thought defective enough to be dangerous to and our life and liberties, when they attempt to rationalize the restriction of free speech, firearms liberties, or both under the rubric of preemptive protection.

    And just in case you did not get the memo, lest you think no legislator could possibly resort to such a knee-jerk reaction, within just a few days time of the incident in question, the aforementioned is exactly what they proposed to legislate. One was some crackpot liberty-infringing scheme to quash free speech, and the other was a liberty infringing scheme to quash firearms rights. The fact that these violent knee-jerk reaction laws likely won’t be passed is very much beside the point that these people (the legislators and public alike) are out there, and they will try damn hard to see such laws passed.

    The statistics mentioned in the article, quoted above, should give us more than sufficient pause to take the threat very seriously, as this is no easily-dismissed “1 percent” minority of crackpots that follow this kinds of reasoning. It’s a whole hell of a lot of them. And even though of that 43 percent, only fraction of them may actually support a liberty infringing law if they are allowed to think about the situation in retrospect, when cooler heads prevail, the very fact that their first inclination was to look for a scapegoat shows how erratic they are when it comes determining ethical culpability, and it’s no stretch to estimate that a fair portion of those 43 percent could be persuaded into accepting numerous First and Second Amendment curtailments when they are sufficiently egged on by the so-called “1 percent” of truly pernicious people.

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