Sunday, January 09, 2011

Defending the Indefensible: Free Speech and Rancid Rhetoric

I've been busy arguing with a lot of people over the right-wing rhetoric that they blame for the shooting of Rep. Giffords in Arizona - including debating the frankly terrifying suggestion of 'rethinking the 1st Amendment' (I'd take up arms myself over that one.)

But as usual, I'm left not entirely convinced there's a 'right' and a 'wrong' side of this argument (and definitely not convinced that I'm on the right side of it!)

Yes, it's ridiculous to blame a random politician for some nutjob with a gun. Likewise, any talk of censorship is offensive.

Yet, you know what? After a few Google searches you do indeed come up with some plum quotes from the right wing that are, at this exact point in time, inopportune:
  • Sarah Palin, Tea Party sweetheart, M.I.L.F.: “Don’t Retreat…RELOAD!”
  • Rush Limbargh, Talk Radio personality, drug addict: "I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for."
  • Phill Gramm, Republican Senator: "We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."
  • James Hansen, Republican congressman: (talking about Bill Clinton) "Get rid of the guy. Impreach him, censure him, assassinate him."
  • John Derbyshire, right wing alleged journalist, suggested that Chelsea Clinton had "the taint" and therefore she should "be killed."
  • Ann Coulter, right wing media personality, skank: "We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too."
  • Ann Coulter, right wing media personality, skank: "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."
  • Glenn Beck, right wing media tycoon, windbag: "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore. Could I could kill him myself? Or if I would need to hire somebody to do it? No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong?"
  • Sharon Angle, Nevada Republican: “There are 2nd amendment remedies to take down an out-of-control congress.”
Now, for the record, I don't think any of these statements are an incitement to violence. That's because we happen to live in a society in which the vast majority of people can tell the difference between hyperbole and hate speech.

But right now, with the uncompromising attention of the world's media on the more outspoken members of the right wing media, it doesn't make them look good. Not at all.

I don't think they should be censored - but even I'd admit that it would be a good think it they started to think considerably more seriously about just what it is they flippantly say on a radio or TV show.


paul mitchell said...

Roland, you should put up all the quotes from the President about bringing a gun, getting in everyone's face, pushing back twice as hard, etc.

Or maybe Daily Kos' comment on Giffords about her being dead to him along with the image of a bull's eye on her district.

Of course, it is hard to argue against the killer being a Communist when he stated himself that he was. You know, anyone that is a liberal is kinda twinked in the head anyway. He was just more so than most of y'all.

anonymousteapartier said...

Here you go Paul:

Susan said...

Here's the problem: the worst of this nation will end up determining our rights. It is like a classroom where a few kids talk, and the whole class has to miss recess. Most of us may be angry and afraid, but we deal with it differently--not necessarily in a better fashion. Since the recession began, domestic violence has increased exponentially. There are more suicides. There are more DUIs. People don't care about that. They start caring when they feel they are losing the right to go to a public place safely. Whatever position is taken, it will be the average citizen who will be screwed.

Straight Shooting Luke Smitherd said...

My plan/dream is to move to the states in the next two years. But more and more I hear about an increasing conservative culture over there and it really makes me rethink it. I wouldn't say I was a liberal, I just believe in people's individual freedoms to live whatever lifestyle they want and believe in whatever they choose. I thought America would be a place where I could thinks and act more freely and get away from English cynicism and reservedness; but it's starting to look like it's more oppressive in other ways. I want to get say from small minded idiots, not find a load more.

paul mitchell said...

Luke, the United States IS more open minded than Europe. Of course, we just had a whopper of an election that threw the haters out of Congress for the most part. When we get rid of the rest of the passive-minded Democrats, we'll become even freer than we were in the past.

Rule of Thumb in the US, when Democrats control DC, as they have since 2007, things get stupid and slave-like.

One Salient Oversight said...

"That's because we happen to live in a society in which the vast majority of people can tell the difference between hyperbole and hate speech"

True. But it is that small minority that will respond to such hyperbole with actual violence.

The key to understanding domestic terrorism is simple. Notice the links here:

Symbionese Liberation Army. Leftist. Revolutionary. Violent Rhetoric. Hatred of US government.

Weather Underground. Leftist. Revolutionary. Hatred of US Government.

Black Panther Party. Leftist. Revolutionary.

Oklahoma City Bombing. Right-wing/Conservative. Perpetrators believed that US was embracing socialism. Hatred of US Government.

Atlanta Olympics bombing. Right wing / conservative. Perpetrator opposed "global socialism" of Olympic games. Hated US Government.

Anthrax attacks. Right wing / conservative. Liberal Democrats and Mainstream media targeted by man with access to weapons grade anthrax in the wake of 9/11. Perp hated US government.

Giffords shooting. Perp hated US Government.

Notice what the commonality is between left wing and right wing violence? It is hatred of the US Government and oftentimes Revolutionary rhetoric.

So ask the question - which side of politics has been preaching hatred of government and "revolution" in the past few years?

paul mitchell said...

As usual, OSO is wrong. All of those that he listed were modern day anarchists, so was Loughner apparently. Even though common sense tells us that people that identify themselves as anarchists would be far right, today's anarchists march with the socialists FOR Democrats.

Go figure.

Of course, Loughner, the far left liberal that he is, has been stalking Giffords since 2007.

As far as preaching violence, obviously OSO has not been paying attention to the President and his calls for it since he was running for the office.

Susanne said...

My Syrian friend asked if we should not allow criticism of the government to avoid things like this. In his country, if you talk negatively about the regime, you disappear for a few years. Do we want to get to the point whee we cannot freely discuss our gov't because of a few nutjobs who take hatred to the extreme?

Andy said...

Paul, you've got to give OSO credit for his consistency.

This whole subject is silly. A nut-job shot up a crowd of people. Everybody around him knew he was a nut-job and did nothing to keep him from going off on innocent folks.

The very idea that this joker was somehow influenced by "speech" is just godamned retarded! Jeepers!

If some hard-core Democratic (and obviously this joker was not a hard-core Republican) went out and shot Boehner, or Palin, I would no more blame Obama and his statements than I would blame myself.

Nuts are NUTS...and need zero encouragement to act on their nuttiness! And, the very fact that this incident has even turned this discussion on proves one thing. NUTS run the media...and nutty bloggers fall in step with their foolishness.

StraightShootingLuke...stay in Europe. If you have ANY qualms about a "conservative culture," then you don't understand what America is about. This is nothing personal mind you...but we really don't need ONE more confused immigrant.

Hell, I'm a Libertarian myself. I don't want to impose my personal beliefs on anyone. And, I damn sure don't want some yoyo in DC using crap like this POS, and his insane actions to impose theirs on me, either.

Straight Shooting Luke Smitherd said...

Of course. No conservative culture in the states.

I must be confused.

paul mitchell said...

StraightShootingLuke, Andy did not say there was a conservative culture, he said you did not understand it. Huge difference.