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They want you dead

The biggest reason I value David Neiwert’s reporting is the simple, matter-of-fact way he reminds us that yes — the rhetoric of the right is extreme and unacceptable. His latest post on the subject is a great example. It’s so obvious: “I say start executing the leftists in our country, soon.” That’s flat out ugly and it’s not an exceptional case.

6 Comments

  1. saetto saetto

    I condemn — without reservation — any rhetoric that suggests or implies that dealing with one’s political opponents by murdering, imprisoning, or intimidating them is in any way acceptable.

    And, having said that, I consider it vital to point out that extreme and unacceptable rhetoric of this sort is not by any means the exclusive province of the right; to believe otherwise is at best wishful thinking.

  2. Nope, it’s not. But the right’s in power and the sports radio talk show hosts I listen to in the morning are calling liberals traitors. I also consider it vital to recognize that those guys are the #1 rated morning show in the Boston radio market, and they’re egging on people who think I should be arrested at the very least.

    Danger comes from the combination of rhetoric and power.

  3. anonymous anonymous

    Danger comes from the combination of rhetoric and the ability to put it into practice. That there may be some looney tunes on “the right” who think liberals should be imprisoned and executed is not much of a case for the idea that the people who are actually in power think so, too.

    I loathe the practice of labeling people who disagree with you politically as “traitors” — but I think most people who do that have not thought through what it really means, and I reject the implication that these radio show hosts, and most of their listeners, subscribe to the same far-out craziness as Niewert’s letter-writing whackjobs.

    I could probably find some fairly popular — by some metric or other — people on “the left” who would argue forcefully for the nationalization of the means of production and the imposition of a 100% income tax — but it would be disingenuous at the very least for me to tack up that straw man and pretend that the Democrats actually in Congress, or the vast majority of the voters who elected them, think that either idea should actually be implemented.

    On the other hand, all it takes is one guy with a rifle to make any number of “Oswald and Booth, where are you when we need you?” wishes come true. I consider that kind of rhetoric far more likely to come to fruition than fears about liberal concentration camps.

  4. saetto saetto

    (That was me. But you guessed that.)

  5. saetto saetto

    Oh, and let me offer this clarification: I don’t mean to suggest you are being disingenuous (deliberately or otherwise) in making the parallel argument. I think the belief that “they” on “the right” — to the extent that any group of people can be discussed en masse in this fashion — want leftists dead is almost entirely a mistaken one, and unfair and unkind to the vast, vast majority of “they” who want nothing of the kind; but I also think it’s a sincere belief, and, of course, the existence of a vast majority neither excuses nor erases the few who do want that.

  6. Fair enough. I disagree, because I think Niewart paints a convincing argument about Ann Coulter et al as transmitters of extreme rhetoric into the mainstream, s’all.

    I don’t think Bush and/or his policy people subscribe to those beliefs; while he’s an evangelical Christian, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think he’s the kind of guy who wants war in the Middle East in order to bring about Armageddon. What I find worrisome is the degree to which he’s willing to wink at people who do for the sake of votes.

    Now, if Kerry had won, I’d be worried about the degree to which he’s willing to wink at organized labor for votes. But he’s not the guy in power, Bush is. So I talk more about Bush. It’s funny; a lot of Democrats I know think I’m a fellow traveller because they’ve forgotten that I thought Clinton was a massive liar without self-control or integrity.

    Now, to be fair: there’s this. And there’s this. So yeah, it’s not limited to the right… but then again, Brooker apologized and the Guardian pulled the article, which is more than I can say for Ann Coulter.

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