Monday, January 10, 2011

We Can Handle The Truth

Just so you know. I have only one or two house rules around here, otherwise it's pretty much all Voltaire, all the time.

So I'd encourage the individual who posted a comment to the blog, then deleted it, to reconsider the decision. Your words are valued.

UPDATED: The comment wasn't meant to be deleted, but the poster is having trouble with internet access. We may post the comment in another way. Stay tuned.

UPDATE TWO: The comment that the blog ate (or got lost in the ether) follows. It's from our friend Amanda, who not surprisingly takes a contary view of the events of recent days. The WSJ article Amanda references is here. Her response:


The WSJ article? I'm actually trying to type despite choking on irony, here. HE'S calling out dishonesty?! Right.

My favorite response to that comes from a Shakesville post today:

Faced with the overwhelming evidence of the violent rhetoric absolutely permeating the discourse emanating from their side of the aisle, conservatives adopt the approach of a petulant child—deny, obfuscate, and lash out defensively.

And engage in the most breathtaking disingenuous hypocrisy: Conservatives, who vociferously argue against the language and legislation of social justice, on the basis that it all "normalizes" marginalized people and their lives and cultures (it does!), are suddenly nothing but blinking, wide-eyed naïveté when it comes to their own violent rhetoric.

They have a great grasp of cultural anthropology when they want to complain about progressive ideas, inclusion, diversity, and equality. But when it comes to being accountable for their own ideas, their anthropological prowess magically disappears.


It might have been a little different if "Catcher in the Rye" promoted not 'retreating in the favor of reloading,' etc etc. But it doesn't. That's why nobody linked Salinger to the assassination attempt.

But accusing Liberals of taking the position that violent rhetoric is directly the cause of the shooting is being obtuse (the idea is, that the rhetoric creates a culture, encourages such behavior - there IS a difference). It's also a refusal to take responsibility for the fact that in the VERY least, the tragedy highlights the incredibly poor taste of violent rhetoric.

However, this article in particular documents so-called isolated incidents, intertwined with the violent rhetoric that *totally didn't* cause or contribute to them! Argue of course, about the bias of the organization who compiled it, but the news articles and quotes are certainly verified by other sources.

The shooting was caused by many things - this was a mentally unbalanced individual, and one who had access to guns, thanks in part to some super-relaxed gun laws. The shooting was also perpetrated by an individual who lives in a culture of highly incendiary language and hostility. Mentally unbalanced, or whatever his condition is, doesn't make him less of a human who can and will absorb such things.

To accuse people of making cheap political points after the tragedy about gun laws, or mental illness, or a culture of violent rhetoric in this country, is like saying that these people should die/be injured without any impact or pledge to make this a world a place in which deaths like that couldn't happen. We CAN have stricter gun laws (YOU CAN KEEP YOUR HUNTING RIFLES FOR GOODNESS' SAKE), we CAN create better access/treatment for mentally ill individuals. And we can quit talking about murdering anybody who disagrees with us. Even metaphorically!

Conservative (and any) hate speech does NOT exist in a void. I know that we can all be better than that.

Finally, I just want to say: I know that you are all good people here, and equally horrified over this tragedy, in addition to whatever other tragedies would take place if people actually took the language of politicians and the like literally. Why not join those who are asking politicians and the media to eject violent rhetoric from their speeches and comments? What harm could it do? I only see positivity, in that kind of a culture.


W.B. Picklesworth said...

"the overwhelming evidence of the violent rhetoric absolutely permeating the discourse emanating from their side of the aisle"

So we've heard ad nauseum. It's an article of faith on the Left. It's a lie. Creating that impression would be very helpful for their electoral prospects, however. And it would also be great for pursuing some of their policy goals like enacting tougher gun control and limiting political speech.

The cynicism and hypocrisy taints their call for what most Americans would agree are laudable goals: more civility and less violence. We can see that they are actually trying to do violence with their words and that they are bearing false witness against their neighbors.

Gino said...

amanda: why is it that the best way to cure this sort of vitriol in an increase in liberal policies when its been the liberals who doing the violence?

maybe when 'progressives' practice what they preach we wont have this kinda stuff going on, and a 9yr ld girl would still be alive.

(heh, verification word: commies)LOL

Mr. D said...


My only comment is this:

There is a difference between the "Catcher in the Rye" connection to Chapman and the Palin map connection to Loughner. We are certain that Chapman had seen Salinger's book. We have no evidence to date that Loughner ever saw Sarah Palin's map.

That's the problem -- as you know, correlation does not equal causation. But in this case, we haven't even established correlation.

But I'm glad you're willing to let people keep their hunting rifles. That's nice of you.

Bike Bubba said...

The trick regarding the gun laws is that the man gave ample evidence of mental deficiency, but not apparently enough to rule him to be mentally defective. So what new law, short of the handgun bans found unconstitutional in Heller and MacDonald, would suffice?

By the way, "you can keep your hunting rifles" is not a reflection of the logic of the Founders regarding the 2nd Amendment--they felt it was a way to prevent tyranny. Rather, "sporting purposes" was implemented in Weimar Germany gun laws and tightened in 1938 by an Austrian corporal.

Bike Bubba said...

Regarding the proposal to eject violent rhetoric; if rhetoric led inexorably to violence, every football game would be a bloodbath, no? The big problem here is that we route 45% of all funds in our country through the political process, and then we wonder why we squabble over that money in the political process.

As if anyone would not have something very important to say about nearly half their pay. You want peaceful politics, you've got to lower the stakes by lowering spending and government involvement.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

BB makes a great point with that last comment.

Chuckwagon Boy said...

Good point, BB!