A man with a history of violence, steeped in Rachel Maddow conspiracy theories and Bernie Sanders ideology, tried to kill Republican Congressmen simply because they were Republican. This was the latest occurrence in escalating violence and anti-democratic tactics by the Left. The questions raised by this shooting include: Are Democrats and their allies in the news media responsible for this? What should the Right (and Republicans) do to stop it?
The idea that the Right is Fascist and the Left can do anything necessary pervades the Left’s worldview. Otherwise mild people are convinced that Donald Trump is a unique menace to the United States. This worldview is summed up in the prevalence of the self-described #Resistance movement.
Doesn’t the Right embrace the idea of individual responsibility? Is the Democrat Party’s worldview responsible for the shooting of GOP officials? Yes and no. Directly responsible? No. Blameless? Certainly not.
Words are just words, not actions, not force. But words are also orders, and encouragements, and goading. “I was just following orders” is not an excuse. You are responsible for what you do. But “my hands are clean, I didn’t pull the trigger” is also not an excuse. At some point, words expressing intent should be taken seriously
I hate to go here, but I have to: Hitler didn’t personally kill 6 million Jews.
He stirred up hatred, accused them of selfishness, blamed them for all of Germany’s problems. He said it was okay to punch them. And worse.
Don’t forget, Obama used religious imagery to tell his followers they were righteous. Told them to punch “back” twice as hard. He threatened financial executives with mobs and pitchforks if they didn’t cooperate with his goals. He praised the Occupy movement, stirred up anger and hatred in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The inevitable rise of Leftist violence should have been expected when Obama hung around with a Leftist terrorist who had gained enough status to never be held accountable for his crimes. The Right tried to use it politically: “Obama pal’d around with terrorists”, but we didn’t draw the lines to see where it would lead. And, of course, the Left’s control of the Overton Window was used to protect their Lightbringer: Obama having an unrepentant terrorist as a mentor was downplayed; if mentioned at all, Bill Ayers’ current status as an accepted leader for the Left was seen as a repudiation of Ayers’ past rather than the approval it was.
But even the strongest critic of Obama didn’t realize it was leading to the overt Leftist violence we see today.
We should have realized when the news media looked at polite, peaceful Tea Party gatherings and called them violent racists, that it was an indication of more than just partisan rhetorical sniping. They were building the case for violence against the Right. Distorting views of our character. De-legitimizing our concerns. Demonizing us.
Mainstream news outlets have pointed out the shooter had no ties to any violent extremist groups, as if that is exculpatory. In fact, it is damning. This man was unremarkable in his associations, but felt justified to shoot Republicans just for being Republican.
This is just an escalation of the general attitude on the Left. Remember, Obama ensured his IRS subordinates would face no penalty for targeting conservatives just for being conservative. He shielded any and all his subordinates from penalties for their actions in support of the Leftist cause, to include Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and her aides (for Benghazi, and for divulging secrets), Bradley Manning, and all his officials who broke Federal Records laws by using private email accounts to conduct business as a blatant ploy to avoid citizen oversight (again, to include Hillary Clinton).
So what do we do about this?
There seems to be two sides. 1) Use the same tactics the Left uses, against the Left. 2) Keep doing what we are doing, hold to our principles.
I find both tactics to be unsatisfying.
Two intelligent, thoughtful participants in this debate are Jim Geraghty and the anonymous Ace of Spades blogger. I don’t have a link to the twitter debate they had, but Geraghty references it here, as well as summarizing his argument.
I can’t disagree with Geraghty for distinguishing between words & actions, but the best argument against Geraghty’s point was made by Geraghty himself mere days before he debated Ace of Spades: At what point is Islamic rhetoric criminal? Applying that to the #Resistance, at what point does the rhetoric of Democrats and their news media allies actually become responsible for the violence the Left is committing?
The thing is, Ace of Spades makes a compelling argument that the Right cannot simply sit endure and outlast Leftist violence and destruction of democratic values in the US. Read this article summarizing the violence by the Left and how the Left encourages it. The rise of violence was telegraphed by Hillary’s campaign deliberately instigating violence, but we responded to it only in the political sphere, and not even much there. And even after the shootings, some Democrats are still encouraging more violence. (all three links are to thought-provoking Ace of Spaces HQ articles)
And this list of violence by the Left against the Right truly is mindblowing, to see it all in one place.
Whatever the Right has been doing, it isn’t working. We need to hold the Left responsible. The simple fact, is that most political violence is perpetrated by the Left. Endemic to Marxism, encouraged by Alinskyism. It has always been that way throughout history.
“By any means necessary” & “The ends justify the means” are ideas rejected by the Right, but embraced by the Left since the original rise of the Communist movement.
In some ways, it is a process vs outcome argument.
The Left only cares about process if it gets them what they want. The Right sticks to process even if outcome is against them.
The Left exploits this. They know they can depend on the Right to keep following the rules. Even as the Left doesn’t recognize any rules.
That’s why we have this violence. That’s why we have porn. The Left is losing power in normal processes.
This just leads us right back to the debate between Geraghty and Ace of Spades: what do we do about it?
One major proponent of following the new rules set by the Left is Kurt Schlichter, who not only predicted this escalating wave of Leftist violence, but makes strong arguments for embracing those new rules, simply because the Left wants them. To be accurate, he isn’t just arguing for Tit-for-Tat like Ace of Spades, he’s arguing that if these are the rules the Left applies to itself, let there be no double standards.
In some ways, Schlichter’s argument fits with the Right: we follow processes, we follow the rules. His argument is that we stop thinking the process/rules are what’s written down, and start thinking of the processes/rules as demonstrated by the Left.
All respect to Kurt Schlichter, but I’m not going to shoot Democrats. I’m also not going to call for violence on them. It isn’t really that I don’t want to stoop to their level, or fear I lose my soul if I use their tactics to win. I simply can’t do it. I can’t kill, I can’t advocate violence to install my preferred political outcomes.
But continuing to follow the processes and rules, as written, while they attack and kill us? No.
My take: continue to follow the rules, because that is our most basic nature.
But change the written rules. Strengthen and improve the processes to make them serve the democratic process, rather than help the Democrats seize and wield power un-democratically, as they do now. We have unprecedented power at all levels: control of the Presidency, Senate, House, SCOTUS, governorships, and state legislatures. But we are barely using this power to enact our political agenda.
We should be using this power to enhance criminal penalties on the Left’s current tactics.
Use every democratic process at hand to change rules to to allow dismissal of judges. Then fire ones who don’t rule based on Constitution. Use democratic processes to change rules to to allow dismissal of bureaucrats more easily. Then fire the ones enacting Left agenda.
There has to be a way to criminalize the heckler’s veto without damaging free speech. One idea that occurs to me is re-writing laws (and prosecutorial discretion policy) to penalize mob actions. Free speech is an individual right, not a collective right. If you are in a mob, and the mob shouts down a speaker, you aren’t using speech to counter speech you don’t like, you are using the mob’s power to shut down free speech. We can make that illegal, while still encouraging individual free speech, right?
We gotta do what we do: stick to the rules. But use our power to change the rules: increase transparency, liberty, and choice.
Change the rules to reduce non-accountable exercise of power. Change the rules to identify & reduce Marxist influence.
Then make them follow the rules and enforce them fairly, but fully.
Use Rule of Law to punish Leftist violence harshly. Every time.