The Fifth Column

Does Rhetoric Influence Violence? The Fifth Column Debates

Plus: Notes from a man who recently interviewed Alex Jones yet generated very little controversy

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I'm a little behind in notifications here about the doings of The Fifth Column, the weekly podcast I co-host with Kmele Foster and Michael Moynihan, which airs (in adapted form) on Sirius XM POTUS (channel 124) Saturdays at 11 a.m. ET then Sundays at 1 a.m. and 3 p.m.

On June 8, as I was mucking about with Rand Paul, my co-conspirators recorded an episode with Timothy D. Snyder, author of the hot new book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. You can listen to that serious conversation here. Then for those who prefer a little more ssslur in the letter "s," we followed that up with a group effort the next day, influenced by some State of Jefferson rum, covering the UK election, Trump/Comey semiotics, plus an extended and worthwhile rant from Kmele Foster about Bill Maher's apology tour.

Our latest effort, recorded Wednesday night, tackled that day's congressional baseball shooting, particularly the contested question about the links between political rhetoric and violence. We also throw some shade at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, engage in a series of questionable Bill Cosby impersonations, and look at the Alex Jones/Megyn Kelly controversy through the lens of Moynihan's open jealousy that his own recent interview with Mr. InfoWars failed to generate talks of boycotts and journalistic malpractice. You can listen to the whole episode here:

And you can watch Moynihan's Vice News segment with Jones below:

More Fifth Column stuff is availabile at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, wethefifth.com, @wethefifth, and Facebook.

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NEXT: 5 Clichés Used to Attack Free Speech (New @ Reason)

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  1. Smartest guys I know on the internets. Keep being marvelous K.M.M!

    1. Katherine Mangu-Mard is not involved with this podcast.

      1. He meant Khalid Mangu Mohammed.

  2. One of their better episodes. MM compares himself to Elle McPherson. Kmele claims special racial knowledge. Matt reports death threats at Reason.

    As if.

    1. Matt reports death threats at Reason.

      what is dead can never die

      1. Gilmore, you know full well that with strange eons, even death may die.

        And those eons just keep getting stranger…………

  3. You guys are all 100% right that the blame for the shooting lies with the shooter, and that the hyperbolic speech that has been flying around lately is protected.

    But I do think this shows the importance of perspective. Last week when you had that historian on to talk about the parallels between the rise of 1930s fascism in Europe and the modern US, Moynihan asked him if it wasn’t also very important to talk about the differences between then and now. He basically said no, not when you are being an activist instead of a historian. Well, here is a good example of why the differences *are* important.

    When serious and informed people talk seriously about the similarities between Trump and Hitler or the modern US and Nazi Germany, but they don’t talk about the differences, it shouldn’t be surprising that less serious and less informed people might get scared and act on that fear.

    This should give everyone pause, and maybe make them tone down the rhetoric. Or, if those on the left really are sincere in their fears of fascism, and they think these Republicans are aiding and abetting the rise of violent fascism in the US, then they should have the intellectual honesty and moral courage to stand up and and say that this type of violence, while regrettable, is justified. Because violence would be justified to resist real totalitarianism.

    But instead we’ll get hyperventilating about gun control and a temporary decrease in hyperbole…maybe.

    1. That is a very good post.

      1. I don’t usually post at Reason anymore, but when I do, I post gold.

        1. Modest, too.

    2. …it shouldn’t be surprising that less serious and less informed people might get scared and act on that fear.

      It shouldn’t be surprising as well that less less serious and less less informed people might stop taking that activist historian seriously. That guy was so far up his own arse that I really wanted some more push back from our hosts, but I know time constraints made that unseemly.

    3. Excellent, LP1477!!

    4. The problem is that a lot of the troubling rhetoric I see is not just overblown Nazi or totalitarian claims. Some of the worst responses to this have been along the lines of, “Well, when does something like this count as self-defense?” Followed by a reference to health care policy, civil rights laws, hate crimes, etc. I haven’t gone digging in to the shooter’s social media history, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he talked like that more often than making references to 1933 Germany.

      It’s one thing to get prominent voices to rebuke rhetoric about Nazism, but how do you get Bernie Sanders or Nancy Pelosi or anyone running for high office to not cast opposing policy as dangerous and life-threatening and all that junk? It’s central to effective campaigning, and every party will inevitably resort to it to some violence-justifying degree. Remember, taxation is theft!

      1. I haven’t seen those types of responses, but that’s a good insight.

        1. I don’t know if anyone influential has responded that way, but Internet losers like Hodgkinson have.

    5. Last week when you had that historian on to talk about the parallels between the rise of 1930s fascism in Europe and the modern US, Moynihan asked him if it wasn’t also very important to talk about the differences between then and now. He basically said no, not when you are being an activist instead of a historian.

      And where to “Journalists” fall on that scale of ‘responsibility to be honest & put things in context?’

      speaking of which, here’s an article from huffpo about how “A violent response to Trump is as logical as any

      1. *speaking of responsibility, ‘logic’, etc.

        the article is (of course, its huffpo) littered with absurd non-sequiturs and assertions unsupported by the citations

        just as a random example =

        e.g. ” There’s been an upswing in anti-Muslim hate crimes that correlates with his candidacy” –

        …which links to another story which links to this study… which clarifies in its methodology =

        “”” we examined two distinct but overlapping time periods: January 2015 through December 2015… and March 2015 through March 2016 (2016 presidential election season)””

        so, not really ‘correlating to Trump’s candidacy’ at all.

        and i’ll spare you the surprise of learning that there was a decline between 2015 and 2016.

        or that CAIR is the source of the data. and (whoops!?) its not actually “hate crimes”, they’re ‘incidents’ which range from actual violence, to ‘threatening social media posts’ (and of course they don’t break them out).

        and they attribute the short spike in Dec 2016 to Trump’s rhetoric. Not, you know, the mass murder in paris which happened just before then.

        wash, rinse, repeat.

        I think this idiot has every right to spew gibberish. What i would take issue with is that Huffpo should ever be treated as anything more serious than Weekly World News.

      2. And where to “Journalists” fall on that scale of ‘responsibility to be honest & put things in context?’

        Well I would like everyone to be honest and responsible. But certainly anyone that actively claims to be honest and responsible should strive to actually be so. Journalists absolutely fall into that category.

        1. Journalists absolutely fall into that category

          yet they cite things like SPLC claims without so much as a mild qualification

          and then they pretend they’re *better* than Alex Jones.

          1. I never said they actually were honest. Though based on what I’ve heard about Alex Jones (never listened to him myself), they are better than him. But that’s a low bar.

    6. When serious and informed people talk seriously about the similarities between Trump and Hitler or the modern US and Nazi Germany, but they don’t talk about the differences, it shouldn’t be surprising that less serious and less informed people might get scared and act on that fear.

      When serious and informed people talk seriously about the similarities between Santa Claus and your dad, but they don’t talk about the differences, it shouldn’t be surprising that less serious and less informed people might get scared and act on that fear.

      When serious and informed people talk seriously about the similarities between Mexico and Venezuela, but they don’t talk about the differences, it shouldn’t be surprising that less serious and less informed people might get scared and act on that fear.

      When serious and informed people talk seriously about the similarities between Heaven and Hell, but they don’t talk about the differences, it shouldn’t be surprising that less serious and less informed people might get scared and act on that fear.

    7. it shouldn’t be surprising that less serious and less informed people might get scared and act on that fear.

      Correction: fewer serious and less informed people.

      1. Don’t jump the gun, Stannis.

  4. Does Rhetoric Influence Violence?

    Shouldn’t you be asking some ISIS members?

    1. Nice.

    2. I think the answer is ‘yes’. I think it logically has to be. If speech didn’t influence things, it would have no value as a method of communication.

      The question is, should we care and if we do, is there something that can be legally done about it that doesn’t jeopardize all speech.

  5. Sure the speech is protected, and just as surely it influences people. Violent mass movements don’t happen in a vacuum. Members of the Jacobin Club didn’t all sit around in meditation until they simultaneously came up with the same idea – governing through violence and terror. Obviously the rhetoric from Robespierre and others convinced them that chopping off heads was the way to go.

    Keep talking about how evil Trump and Republicans are, and many people receptive to that message will eventually agree that shooting them is a good idea. Then people who don’t like the idea of fanatical leftists running the country will start shooting back.

    1. That is absolutely correct. Especially for the progressives, who lack any real strong moral code (Their belief system is largely based o the lack of one). For their kind, it’s a quick trip to violent crime, sedition, or even treason. After all, it was progressive Sen. Ted Kennedy himself who had no problem conspiring directly with the Kremlin in 1983 to bring down sitting president Ronald Reagan.

      Which isn’t really shocking, as many of their movement are hardcore Alinskyites and communists whose greatest dream is to shred the constitution and subvert the republic to some kind of Soviet, or Maoist regime. Being driven to some level of violence by a gestalt of shrill hyperbolic claims and marxist rhetoric is unsurprising.

      The bottom line is that progressives are easily influenced to do what comes naturally for their kind. Just look at everything they’ve done since November, from Berkeley to the baseball diamond.

      1. James T. Hodgkinson spoke to the former Democratic mayor of Alexandria and worked on Bernie Sanders campaign. He surely spoke his opinions and views.

        Nobody that met him before said he sounded crazy after he shot Congressmen. So his views were perfectly acceptable the the people he spoke with.

        Goes to show how the left is okay with using violence to usurp the constitution and freedoms we enjoy in the USA.

        1. It’s their way. The same way that conservatives, agree with them or not, are largely compromised of people with far stricter belief systems with established moral codes. Not a group that approves of, or encourages most violent criminal activity. Which is why It irks me when some people make claims of equivalence between the two groups when there is none. Just the way libertarians are not given to violent activity. It just isn’t part of the group DNA.

        2. Or it could be that he didn’t actually say anything that would lead anyone to believe that he intended to commit acts of violence. You seem to be assuming an awful lot based on very little.

          1. He probably did keep his specific plans to himself. I’m more interested to find out if he was known to advocate for violence in general. I suppose we will find out more soon.

          2. *Or it could be that he didn’t actually say anything that would lead anyone to believe that he intended to commit acts of violence*

            Yeah all those Facebook groups he belonged to would have NEVER tipped anyone off that he considered anyone to the right of V.I. Lenin a bacillus that needed eradication.

      2. “Their belief system is largely based o the lack of one”

        Well there it is, the dumbest thing I’ll see all day and it isn’t even noon yet.

        I may not be a fan of Rawlsian consequentialism but is a well fleshed out moral framework.

        1. “Rawlsian consequentialism”

          You won’t find that phrase on Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones so it doesn’t exist! /sarc

          1. In fairness, I suspect that people who don’t get into the weeds of Rawls’ fine distinctions don’t really see any point in parsing it out any further than calling it “Utilitarianism,” which notwithstanding Rawls’ protests to the contrary, is what “Rawlsian Consequentialism” really is, broadly speaking.

            1. And Utilitarianism is a consistent moral code, whatever else you think of it.

              1. Yes.

        2. You’re pulling that one small parenthetical chunk out, as if it is supposed to stand it’s own. In it’s entirely:

          “That is absolutely correct. Especially for the progressives, who lack any real strong moral code (Their belief system is largely based o the lack of one).”

          The idea being that they have no intrinsic moral code. I’m not sure if you just don’t like what I have to say and decided to intentionally use a portion of my quote out of context to denigrate me Or maybe you just lack reading comprehension. I’m inclined to believe the former. So you’re just a snide asshole, with an inferior intellect who can’t make an honest intellectual argument.

          And no, the prog have no real internal moral code. Which is why its a quick trip to assault, rioting, and murder for them.

          1. I think you’re talking past SKR.

            He’s not wrong that “Rawlsian Consequentialism” is a “well fleshed out moral framework,” but you’re not wrong that it’s a “moral framework” that seeks to strip morality of any interiority, instead affecting to be able to evaluate the moral value of external consequences without reference to transcendental moral categories.

            It’s a deeply confused moral framework that ultimately has a hard time identifying a basis for its moral claims, but it nevertheless is a moral framework. At least an attempt at describing what an objectivist moral framework might look like in a soulless, mechanistic universe.

            1. moral framework that ultimately has a hard time identifying a basis for its moral claims

              I’d argue that all moral frameworks/codes suffer from the same problem. Ultimately, they all come down to feelings, axiomatic claims of self-ownership, appeals to divine beings or utilitarianism.

              Obviously, I think that putting individual rights and self-ownership before anything else is the best foundation for a moral structure. But ultimately, that’s as much of an unfounded assumption (or article of faith to those of a more religious persuasion) as anything.

              1. I’d argue that all moral frameworks/codes suffer from the same problem.

                Except, of course, for LeVayan Satanism. ; )

                But yeah – I was actually struck randomly by some thoughts of William of Ockham on this doing some research on an unrelated topic some years back.

                He opined that a universal moral code that could be used to evaluate each individual action couldn’t really be had on a human scale. Ockham superficially agrees with Rawls in that there is no “ideal observer” (at least no human one) who has all the information to decide whether or not an act is “moral,” and even making that call is something outside the purview of our ability to decide what is and what is not “The Good.”

                It’s an uncomfortable spot, because it leaves us with the instinct that we all have that there is such a thing as “right” and “wrong,” but no objective yardstick for measurement.

                This is why Ockham settled back on the principle that casting moral judgment on others’ actions is almost always hypocritical and narrow-minded.

                1. I think, for example, of the case Ken is bringing up in another thread about the girl who talked her boyfriend into killing himself.

                  It’s not impossible to imagine that she knew him better than anyone else, knew he was absolutely miserable and would never be happy, and knew that suicide was actually the best option for him.

                  There’s no moral framework to argue that in a court of law, however, and we can’t actually know that this is what happened rather than that the girl is a sociopath who got off on convincing a boy to kill himself, and as a jury you have to pick some scenario whether you can be sure about it or not.

              2. It’s all passions and instincts and subjective justifications, but what matters here is that progressives are not some uniquely immoral or amoral species. They’re a collection of people who come to progressivism through a variety of moral codes and considerations, just as libertarians do. There are libertarians who are selfish anti-social assholes, conservatives motivated by racism and misogyny, and progressives who think the ends always justify the means and will excuse any top-down command if the intentions are correct. And it’s easy for any ideologue to find justifications for extreme measures. The commentariat effort to diagnose The Progressive Mind is embarrassing.

                1. There are libertarians who are selfish anti-social assholes,

                  SO?!?!??!?!?!?!

                  The commentariat effort to diagnose The Progressive Mind is embarrassing.

                  I tend to agree with you.

                  I think it’s also important to remember that this shooter, like all those who aspire to be mass shooters, are mentally ill.

                  1. I think it’s also important to remember that this shooter, like all those who aspire to be mass shooters, are mentally ill.

                    I don’t think it *necessarily* follows that everyone who aspires to shoot lots of people is mentally ill. If you honestly believe a group of people pose a direct threat to your rights and that peaceful avenues for removing that threat have been exhausted, then violence may be appropriate.

                    Of course, you can be sane and still be wrong.

                2. Libertarian and conservative thinking is not naturally given to violent behavior. Progressives are. Just look at all their violent behavior. then show me all the riots and other violence staged by conservatives and libertarians.

                  While cons and libertarians might be dickheads sometimes, they just aren’t very violent.

                3. The commentariat effort to diagnose The Progressive Mind is embarrassing.

                  ^ This.

                  It’s one of the recurring themes around here that I find the most tedious, especially among folks who claim not to be collectivists.

                  I can see where LotS is coming from as far as the standard indictment of “post-modern” left-wing ethics as wanting to deny the existence of a moral center while still self-presenting as the Only Morality.

                  But this is one small and very confused corner of “The Left.” There’s legitimate debate to be had about whether there’s a deontological basis for morality, but it’s not a “Left-Right” divide.

                  In fact, IMHO, the “Left-Right” divide is an illusion, anyway, both creating controversy where none is necessary, and washing over heterodoxy with the drama of “Good vs. Evil.”

                  1. both creating controversy where none is necessary, and washing over heterodoxy with the drama of “Good vs. Evil.”

                    Like the recent, futile Sharia Law protests?

              3. Thanks Zeb, posts like this are why I still check in on Reason comments these days.

            2. Yes, I was responding to SKR. Also, you make some good points. When I speak of a lack of morality on the left, I am talking about several things:

              1) They don’t like judging most forms of behavior relative to social norms, except where it deviates from their groupthink.

              2) They have no consistent set of behavioral standards. Which is showcased daily by their constant hypocrisy. Which is an intrinsic part of the socialist system (i.e. Socialism is for everyone else, not the socialist).

              So they have no morality in the traditional sense, but I can see what you’re saying. Good analysis.

              1. The reason you see their actions as inconsistent and hypocritical is because you are focusing on a different aspect of the moral decision making process then they are. To them, they are being perfectly consistent. You are looking at the rule that prohibits a certain action they are looking at the sequence that prohibits a certain outcome. So you may see violence as taboo even if not engaging in that violence leads to suffering but as long as you don’t initiate violence you are being consistent. They’ll look at you and think that you are a hypocrite because sometimes you prevent suffering but other times you let it happen by not acting.

                1. Their ethics are situational, which are not really ethics. Functionally more like the rationale used by a sociopath.

              2. So they have no morality in the traditional sense

                I think this statement is accurate within its idiom, but as SKR points out, what you’re expressing is really the fundamental difference between deontological and consequentialist modes of morality – i.e. that the deontological view has a set of behavioral standards, where the consequentialist view evaluates each behavior in terms of consequence – not as an essence in itself.

                This means that the consequentialist often see behaviors that follow a rigid set of standards regardless of consequence as immoral, and thinks that “consistent sets of behavioral standards” judged “relative to social norms” often only provide a feeling of morality when nothing in the consequence of the action can really be called “good.”

                Like the Buddhist method of execution by leaving people in the wastelands to die of exposure. No violence committed, right?

                That’s why I say that you’re not wrong to say “no consistent set of behavioral standards” or “no morality in the traditional sense,” but this does not mean that people who subscribe to consequentialism have no moral system at all.

          2. I bet this SKR fella doesn’t have a moral code either. He certainly doesn’t believe in honesty!

            1. Lol, I’m honest to a fault.

              1. Only a liar would say that!

          3. That’s ludicrous. You are presenting a false choice logical fallavy. The options being, either your moral code is a deontological one and therefore strong or intrinsic, or you don’t have a moral code. But as others have pointed out your deontological moral code is just as arbitrary if not more so than a utilitarian framework. A commitment to limit suffering can be expressed in a very strong and rigid way as evidenced by vegans who extend suffering protections to non humans. You are just falling into the old trap that if someone doesn’t share the same moral framework it is tantamount to not having a moral framework.

            1. Part of any moral code is consistency. Progressives have a shocking deficit of it. Hence their excessive hypocrisy. And yes, they lack a cohesive moral code. Everything is the’ history of now’. Have you noticed how rapidly their views on what is politically correct about things like homosexuality and transgendism have changed in just a few years?

              I’m not falling into trap regarding false choices. Are you sure you aren’t struggling to find equivalence where there is none? Sometimes an ideology is just rotten to the core.

              1. Prog moral code: Ends justify means.

      3. For the love of Christ, get help Shitlord. Seriously.

        1. Just ignore him. His whole schtick is to post deliberately outrageous commentary so as to get people to stare at him.

          1. Not to Godwin the thread, but the dude seriously sounds like Hitler describing the Jews in Mein Kampf.

            1. Actually Eric, Its more like I’m the Jews, describing what Hitler is trying to say in Mean Kampf. Since they’re the ones who ultimately want to put everyone who doesn’t agree with them in ovens, and I’m someone with whom they disagree.

              Not sure how you can get that so turned around. Do you really not see how increasingly vicious they are to those that dissent against them?

              1. Mean Kampf.

                Mean Girls II:

                1. Needed more nudity and girl on girl sexual situations.

              2. “Since they’re the ones who ultimately want to put everyone who doesn’t agree with them in ovens”

                Yes, we know. And conservatives want to force women to be barefoot and pregnant. And libertarians want everyone to get sick and die and think Somalia is a libertarian paradise. We get it.

                1. No, you DON’T get it, clearly, and 100 million dead over the last century AND COUNTING isn’t enough to make you get it.

        2. I’m not the asshole who shot up Scalise.

          1. That was meant to respond to Eric. For you Jeff., well, fuck off. Of all people you say a nothing but stupid bullshit, and are generally reviled for it. YOu’re barely a half rung up the ladder from Tony.

            1. No you weren’t. It was a fucked up mentally unstable man who was so politicized that he lost the ability to see his neighbors as human beings….simply for their beliefs. Seems to be going around.

              1. Is there any evidence he was mentally unstable?

                1. Good point. Clinically he may be considered sane. Which makes it all the more scary that otherwise sane people are coming to the conclusion that acts of violence are a valid option.

              2. Funny, I’m the one you’re condemning, but they’re the ones that shoot republicans, burn Berkeley, regularly commit acts of violence in place like Seattle, shut down campuses like Evergreen, random attacks on Trump supporters……the list goes on. They’re the only ones doing this. Yet you continually speak as if this is an isolated incident, committed by an extreme outlier. It really isn’t. These people have been going this direction for years. Remember the ‘Occupy’ movement, and all their violent crimes?

                But sure, I’m the bad guy. Keep thinking that when a gang of those pukes kicks the shit out of you or burns your house down.

            2. To be reviled by you is a compliment.

              1. Jeff, EVERYONE reviles you.

  6. Of course rhetoric influences violence, it’s the purpose of rhetoric to stir passions. But it has to cross the “fighting words” line to elicit an immediate reaction to bring about an incitement to riot or breach of the peace charge. Beyond that, there’s an assumption that a reasonable person understands persuasive arguments are indeed arguments intended to persuade and is capable of reasoning for himself whether or not to find the persuasive argument persuasive. Sure, there are morons who think Froot Loops are made of fruit and that’s what makes them part of this nutritious breakfast, but most of us understand that advertising is designed to sell you something and every speaker is trying to sell you something, too. The foaming-at-the-mouth partisans are the equivalent of the screaming Crazy Eddie’s used car salesmen and who the hell wants to buy a car from a lunatic?

    1. “there’s an assumption that a reasonable person understands”

      Um…half of the people are below average. More are not gifted with reason. Violent language is legal, but unseemly, and should be called out.

  7. [blockquote]Sure, there are morons who think Froot Loops are made of fruit and that’s what makes them part of this nutritious breakfast,[/blockquote]

    Take that back, otherwise we are in fighting words territory.

    1. wtf?

  8. This episode was what I like to call the Battle of the Slurs. Or maybe that was last episode. They all run together.

    1. I can’t listen to it right now. Do you mean racial slurs or drunken slurs? Either way, i’m into it.

      1. Can’t it be both?

        1. I liked that it could be either or both.

  9. I’m not convinced that raping is worse than pants-sagging.

    I’m going to need to hear more debate on this to convince me.

  10. Trigger-happy asshole pulled the trigger all by his lonesome regardless of what he listened to prior.

  11. Of course rhetoric influences violence, but violence isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s used to silence critics. Sometimes it overthrows vicious dictators.

    Even when violence is a bad thing, we should still tolerate the speech that inspires it–so long as the speech itself doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.

    The First Amendment is like the Second Amendment in that way. The Second Amendment doesn’t authorize us to violate someone’s rights with a gun, and the First Amendment doesn’t authorize us to violate anyone’s rights with our speech.

    The First Amendment doesn’t protect saying, “Empty the cash register or I’ll shoot you in the face” any more than the Second Amendment protects shooting someone in the face for not emptying the cash register. Conspiracy to violate someone’s rights with a gun isn’t protected speech either–because that’s all about violating someone’s rights.

    Directing an angry mob to do something specific that violates someone’s rights isn’t protected by the First Amendment either, but advocating violence in a general way against no one individual in particular isn’t violating anyone’s rights. Yeah, it might influence violence, but our rights include the right to say and do things that aren’t in everyone’s best interests–or they aren’t really rights at all.

    The real question shouldn’t be whether rhetoric can influence violence but whether the rhetoric in question actually violated anyone’s rights. Those are two different questions.

    1. The real question shouldn’t be whether rhetoric can influence violence but whether the rhetoric in question actually violated anyone’s rights. Those are two different questions.

      Unfortunately we now live in a climate where getting your feelings hurt is a de facto violation of your rights.

      1. They may feel like it is, but it isn’t really.

        A rights violation is a real thing in the real world–like a table or a chair.

        Our rights are a right to make a choice. The arise naturally as a function of our agency. Violating someone’s rights is violating their right to make a choice.

        When Conor McGregor punches an opponent in the face, he isn’t violating anyone’s rights–because his opponent chose to fight him.

        Rape is rape because the victim didn’t get to make a choice.

        I should add that violating people’s rights has consistent and predictable consequences in the real world. Censorship has a chilling effect in 1st century Rome and in the 20th century USSR.

        The snowflakes can pretend that hurting someone’s feelings is violating someone’s rights, but they can’t actually make it so in the real world. All they can do is provoke the same kinds of consequences violating First Amendment rights have provoked cross culturally and throughout history.

        1. *The snowflakes can pretend that hurting someone’s feelings is violating someone’s rights, but they can’t actually make it so in the real world.*

          Oh, but YES THEY CAN.

          All they need are 5 like-minded black-robed tyrants in a room in DC to make it so.

          1. You’re overestimating their power.

            It doesn’t matter what the legislators or the courts say–violating Rosa Parks’ rights means segregation is doomed.

            It didn’t matter what the government or the judges said–the USSR imploded anyway.

            We can continue to suffer the abuses of the drug war, but don’t think that this country isn’t paying for violating all those people’s rights. Violating our rights has real consequences in the real world. You can choose to suffer those consequences, but you can’t choose to systematically violate people’s rights without negative consequences in the real world.

            Don’t think they have any more power than we give them. The reason things like segregation and the drug war persisted for so long was because so many people supported them. When the public’s support for violating people’s rights dies, so does the rights violations.

            The black robed tyrants can sign off on conscription or internment camps, but if the American people don’t support those things, what the black robed tyrants decide is meaningless.

            Go ask Gorbachev how that works.

  12. Count me as one happy nigga.

    It looks like Moynihan also had a piece on Evergreen last night, so I have a few Vice segments to catch up on. I’ll admit I kinda checked out after his first piece, when he was wearing skinny jeans and pristine sneaks in the hills of Idaho.

  13. Holy cow. I never realized how deranged Alex Jones really is.

    1. Yep, nuttier than a Payday bar.

  14. In related news, the girl who encouraged her friend to commit suicide was found guilty.

    “Carter was also on the phone with Roy for nearly an hour while he was killing himself, and she urged him to get back in the vehicle when he hesitated.

    “You already made this decision, and if you don’t do it tonight you’re gonna be thinking about it all the time and stuff all the rest of your life and be miserable. You’re finally going to be happy in heaven,” one of the texts read.”

    http://tinyurl.com/yc7ub3u2

    The real highest law of the land?

    If one in twelve jurors won’t stand up for what you did, it might as well be illegal.

    1. first-degree encouragement wtf?

      1. Beating him up to get back in the car when he hesitated apparently didn’t go over well.

        Again, the question for me is whether she used her speech to violate his rights.

        My understanding in that case is that she certainly had mens rea–in that she wanted him to kill himself. She communicated to people that she wanted to get all the sympathy after he died. She wanted to be the girlfriend of a boyfriend who killed himself. She thought it would make her popular.

        Certainly, her speech appears to have resulted in something like violence.

        The question to me is whether she actually violated her boyfriend’s rights.

        He’d tried to kill himself before. She knew he was in a sensitive state, and she may have done what she did in the hope of it killing him.

        “Afterwards, she lied to family and friends about her role on Roy’s death, presented herself as an anti-suicide advocate and set up a memorial baseball game in Roy’s memory — all in an effort to gain sympathy as the “grieving girlfriend,” Flynn said.

        “If they read my messages to him, I’m done,” she texted to another friend.”

        http://tinyurl.com/yawqlkrn

        If I were her defense lawyer, I might have argued insanity. She appears to be a psychopath.

        1. >>>she used her speech to violate his rights

          sticks and stones, baby. i’d be the holdover on that jury until the cows came home. but I’m in the “words are sound-waves and action is action” camp on speech, so…

          (because I’m new here and in general are in agreement with the spirit of your posts don’t take this as argumentative…as opposed to mere commentary)

          1. “[The question for me] is whether] she used her speech to violate his rights”

            That’s what I actually wrote.

        2. Being a psychopath won’t meet the standard for legal insanity anywhere in the US. The overarching definition in jurisdictions that provide for an insanity defense largely define legal insanity as being unable to understand the nature and/or quality of one’s actions.

          She clearly understood that her boyfriend was a living human, that her actions were for the express purpose of convincing him to end his life, and that he would be permanently dead.

          I’m not even sure that a judge would allow her defense team to offer insanity as defense theory. It would probably be a loser anyway.

          I could be wrong. I’m not a lawyer, but everything I’ve ever read shows that historically, insanity as a defense is a steep hill to climb.

          1. “Being a psychopath won’t meet the standard for legal insanity anywhere in the US”

            The standard is whether one in twelve jurors will buy it.

            A trial isn’t a symposium on physics.

            1. SO…roll the dice on a mistrial if that’s the best option? Not a bad point. It just worked for Cos.

        3. The argument would be that he children de to listen to her, and what she did doesn’t constitute coercion.

          There are some difficult legal implications of course. If a mob boss orders his Utterly loyal Luca Brandi to kill someone and he does it, we generally hold the boss legally accountable. But what if the mob boss orders His henchman to kill himself and he does it? In both cases the order and the obedience of the henchmen are the reason for the act, but legally, it seems in one case the buck stops at the henchman, in the other at the boss.

      2. “If they read my messages to him, I’m done,” she texted to another friend.”

        Mens rea?

        Check.

        1. Its that kind of stuff that goes to my previous statement about an insanity defense. She understood what she was doing.

  15. I don’t understand college SJWs’ claims that their lives are constantly in jeopardy. They have some of the cushiest existences in human history. Fuck those fascists.

  16. I’m a little behind in notifications here about the doings of The Fifth Column,

    (randomly starts smashing things)

    LOOK WHAT YOU MADE US DO

    1. for those who prefer a little more ssslur in the letter “s,”

      (calms down)

      yay.

  17. What I really enjoy about the podcast is the random impersonations – more Fat Albert, or Fat Albertian, is desired – and the inebriated rants that last just a bit too long, because fuck it, you’re drunk, so why not?

  18. Also, Matt, kinda silly to interrupt Kmele so as to conflate socialism with ‘democratic socialism’ in Europe. Bernie and friends may want to claim the label socialist for generous welfare states, but I thought it was clear to everyone what socialist rhetoric and proposals Kmele was talking about. I was hoping for some pushback on your point, because I don’t think we should let that conflation persist.

    1. i’d think the fault rests with the people who cling to the term “socialism” when what they really mean is “European welfare-states”

      meaning, i think people should be called what they call themselves.

      if they (e.g. the bernie types) want to call themselves ‘democratic socialists’, its not really beholden on everyone else to endlessly caveat it and say, “remember, its not *real* socialism, but rather just…..” etc.

      and, not to cite will wilkenson for anything ‘actually good’…but in one of his series of pieces making “The Libertarian case For Bernie Sanders“….

      ….he incidentally pointed out that, in fact, most of what the Bernie/proggy types actually call for isn’t really like European ‘faux-socialism’ at all, when you get past the headline details. they’re much more bullishly pro-regulatory state/control-economy, whereas the european model is more ‘leave the private sector alone, but tax it to death’. Bernie and his ilk routinely say things like “who needs 23 brands of deodorant”, which is far closer in spirit to bona-fine Socialism than its watered-down ‘Democratic’ cover-story.

      1. whereas the european model is more ‘leave the private sector alone, but tax it to death’.

        Byzantine EU regulations are on line 1, and they’d like to have a chat with you.

        1. +1 curved banana

      2. Right, my complaint is that Matt sanctions the bitter clingers by saying that some socialist states are democratically elected and stable (IIRC, I listened last night). Reason has regularly been pointing out that the ‘democratic socialist’ states have a lot of market-oriented characteristics but large welfare programs. Those are called ‘social’ programs and they address certain socialist concerns, but it’s still missing so many elements of Socialism that conflating the two is unwarranted. It’s like people saying the US, or the US during the Gilded Age, was libertarian.

      3. they’re much more bullishly pro-regulatory state/control-economy, whereas the european model is more ‘leave the private sector alone, but tax it to death’.

        Only if you contort yourself into harebrained pretzel logic mixed with fantasy. But it’s still a distinction without a difference.

        There is no third way.

    2. European socialist countries that have privatized air traffic controllers…

      Really though, when people say socialism they mean one of two different things (though usually they want or oppose both): 1) redistribution of wealth through taxation and entitlements and 2) state regulation of production and distribution of goods. The former is the extent to which one wants a welfare state, the latter the extent to which one wants a command economy.

      Usually the two go hand in hand, but in principle they are distinct policy platforms.

      1. 1) redistribution of wealth through taxation and entitlements and 2) state regulation of production and distribution of goods.

        One imposes costs on production and distribution and the other imposes costs on distribution and production.

  19. I this podcast, Matt Welch sounds a bit like Nicolas Cage in Matchstick Men.

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