Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hyperventilation and Violence

Conservatives were quick to lay the blame for the reprehensible shooting of Representative Scalise and other Republicans at the feet of Democratic commentators who in their opinion are "hyperventilating" over the threat Trump poses to the Republic, thereby inspiring that troubled nut job to act. Here's the thing: Everything that conservatives say qualifies as hyperventilating was the exact position the majority of Republicans held before Trump got nominated: that he is manifestly unfit for office; that he is an ignorant bully; that he shouldn't be trusted with the nuclear code; that his conflicts of interest are potentially the worst in US history; that he's a narcissist who delights in simplistically putting other people down; that he is compromised by ties with Russia; and so on. So now we are supposed to stop saying these things, though they are simply true, and that not saying them would be a dereliction of one's duty as a citizen.

The ironic thing here is that the left largely ended their infatuation with violence after the 60s. Now it's more of right wing thing. I don't think all those militia groups voted for Hillary. And it's not liberals who go around quoting Jefferson that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," or who glibly romanticize "second amendment solutions." To the extent that any group left or right thinks violence is part of the answer, they are to that extent mistaken. The commitment to nonviolence makes even inflammatory discourse possible.

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