Thursday, January 13, 2011


Doubling Down on Stupid

E.J. Dionne didn't take the hint from the President's decent speech (in a somewhat indecent venue) last night and stop the 'violent rhetoric' nonsense. He dives in head first. What a maroon!

Instead of promoting a sober conversation about the dangers of violent political talk, it [the Tucson shooting] has reinforced divisions between left and right.
What dangers of violent political talk? I'm serious. Name a violent act we know was caused by violent political metaphors. None in the column. I guess it's a lefty article of faith, not that it stops or even slows violent political talk from the left, also completely unmentioned. There's more.

Even responsible conservatives have dismissed any suggestion that Saturday's attack is reason enough to condemn the threats of violence that have become standard to the discourse at the extremes of their side of politics.
What threats of violence? Name one from a responsible conservative; show us any from the Tea party or from Sarah Palin. Crickets. Another article of faith, I guess. Bad start, but get ready for the big one.

We have not focused at all on how the militarized rhetoric on the right is tightly connected to our national failure to enact the gun regulations that might have saved lives in Arizona.

This statement is what us troglodyte types call a target rich environment. It's not militarized rhetoric on the right which prevents what E.J. would consider adequate gun regulation, it's the Constitution, as amended. Gun regulations do not save lives, to the contrary, they only disarm the law abiding. No gun regulation which passes Constitutional muster would have prevented this time's crazy person, not yet treated or even diagnosed, from obtaining a weapon, his Glock 19.

The descriptions of President Obama as a "tyrant," the intimations that he is "alien" and the suggestions that his presidency is illegitimate are essential to the core rationale for resisting any restrictions on firearms.

This is a non-sequitur at best. I don't think the President is either a tyrant or an alien, and I do think he won the election fair and square; but I still resist any unconstitutional restrictions on firearm ownership. This minor screed borders on absurdity it is so disconnected. So when the Democrats think son Bush's presidency was illegitimate because of the Florida vote, they were providing a core rational for supporting the Second Amendment as written? E.J. is not an intellectual heavyweight, is he?

E.J. goes on to quote Ron Paul and Paul Broun, both Congressmen (and one a Republican) who say accurately that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to arm the citizens so they could mount an effective, armed resistance to tyranny from their own government. E.J. seems not to buy this account, but it is true, particularly from Alexander Hamilton but from Madison as well. You could look it up.

Let's salute Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., for breaking with gun-lobby orthodoxy by suggesting legislation that would make it illegal to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of elected or high-ranking federal officials at publicly announced events.
Let's not salute Mr. King for his stupid idea that elected officials are some sort of royalty who deserve greater protection than the rest of us plebeians. It's as if Mr. King was saying some animals are more equal than others. The Constitution specifically rejected titles for American citizens. All citizens deserve to be protected from homicidal maniacs, which is another, different reason why the Second Amendment exists and why the God given rights mentioned in the Declaration form an incomplete list. It's telling that E.J. embraces this sort of elitist lunacy and Speaker Boehner rejects it out of hand. Oh, and Mr. Dionne, criminals about to murder someone, don't obey gun restrictions, which is part of the reason gun free zones, like schools, are so dangerous and gun filled zones, like gun shows, are so safe. Moving on.

But by Broun's logic, isn't King's proposal just a way for big government's servants to protect themselves from, shall we say, accountability?
No. It's an ineffective and therefore unconstitutional impingement on a God given right to self defense which pretends, et al. that it will protect anyone and that the people it seeks to protect need or deserve special extra protection.

And if the rest of us ask for comparable protection, this just proves to gun control's opponents that any single restriction leads down a slippery slope to eviscerating all gun rights -- and, eventually, to tyranny.

What? So if Mr. King proposed that it would be illegal for anyone with a gun to approach within 1,000 feet of any other citizen, that would be a better law? I can't follow the logic of these statements, because, I strongly suspect, there is none. It is merely history that tyrants seek to disarm the citizenry and indeed the disarming often starts with small, innocuous steps. Not too much more to go.

Of course most conservatives don't subscribe to Broun's theory.

I don't think Mr. Dionne knows any conservatives. It is indeed the belief of most conservatives that the Second Amendment is to arm the citizenry to protect against government tyranny, inter alia, and that belief is based on history, a history Mr. Dionne either doesn't know or pretends not to know.
What I don't understand is why the highest priority of so many who are not Brounites has been to resist any questioning of far-right rhetoric by pretending that doing so is the equivalent of holding those who speak that way responsible for what someone else did.

This is undoubtedly a true statement. Mr. Dionne has shown himself to be incapable of understanding what conservatives believe and their particular motivation here. We resist "questioning" protected free speech (far-right rhetoric), as opposed to meeting it with counter arguments, because to question a party's right to speak in a certain way chills that right, and we conservatives are passionate in our defense of free speech rights, even when the "questioners" are not government officials, who are prohibited from abridging one's right to say obnoxious (but not criminal) things. More importantly, however, we're not up in arms about the left's assault on the right's right to speak (even if it offends) based on any pretense that questioning of far-right rhetoric is the equivalent of holding those who speak that way responsible for what someone else did. We're up in arms because the left has specifically accused many on the right of actually being responsible for the actions of Jared Loughner. Mr. Dionne has to know this. It was on the cable news. It was in all the papers. It was in the New York Times.

No. Jared Loughner, the accused killer, is accountable for his own actions. His politics are confused at best and he clearly has mental health problems. That is what most liberals are saying.

Well, maybe now the left is backing off its attempt to blame the shooting on right wing rhetoric, but it's only because actual knowledge of the facts proved the attempt to be groundless and really stupid and therefore ineffective. Ready for the big finish?

But, yes, this is the time to acknowledge that there is something deeply wrong with the militarization of American conservative rhetoric.

Why is this the time? Why is there something deeply wrong with how conservatives speak? Is it because that sort of speaking causes nuts to shoot Congresswomen in the head and indiscriminately into the crowd around her? But wait, Mr. Dione falsely says that his ilk isn't making that claim. So what is he saying?

The approach to guns, violence and "tyranny" promoted by loud voices on the right has been instrumental in blocking measures that could at least have contained the casualties in Tucson -- or at Virginia Tech or Columbine.

Even if this were true, and it's not, what gun 'measure' could have at least contained the casualties at the sites of the mass murders named? Is he really so delusional as to think that a law is going to stop complete nut cases and/or just, in the case of Columbine, evil people eager to murder, none of whom give a fig for the law as they pull out the guns and start shooting? This is the core of the deception E. J. and his ilk try to pull off--pass a law which we know from experience has no effect on the problem, and which has deleterious effect on the law abiding, and you're doing something good, you're saving lives. Right. We've had this debate before and the Democrats lost and now, except for the especially stupid, have completely stopped talking about the issue. Now the Parthian shot at Barry Goldwater.

Extremism in defense of feeble gun laws is no virtue.

Yes, E.J., but vigilance in the defense of our guaranteed rights to speak freely and to own guns for reasons we, and not the government, decide, is an exemplary virtue. And, I might add, so is cogent thinking. You should try it.

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