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Tilting at Windmills

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January 12, 2011

'PROMOTING A PARANOID CULTURE'.... There's been an ongoing conversation the last several days about the effects of rhetorical excesses in our political discourse, with many wondering the extent to which such talk might lead to violence. Harold Meyerson has a terrific column today, suggesting a separate question that may have more salience.

For example, Glenn Beck suggested he'd shoot public officials who tried to take his children if he didn't give them flu vaccines. Erick Erickson said he'd point a shotgun at those who tried to prosecute him for resisting the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. In Grown-Up Land, of course, neither scenario reflects reality -- no one seizes children from parents over flu vaccines and no one arrests those who blow off the American Community Survey.

The gun-related rhetoric is worth considering in its own right, but another angle is just as important. From Meyerson's piece:

The primary problem with the political discourse of the right in today's America isn't that it incites violence per se. It's that it implants and reinforces paranoid fears about the government and conservatism's domestic adversaries.

Much of the culture and thinking of the American right -- the mainstream as well as the fringe -- has descended into paranoid suppositions about the government, the Democrats and the president. This is not to say that the left wing doesn't have a paranoid fringe, too. But by every available measure, it's the right where conspiracy theories have exploded. [...]

As much of the right sees it, the government is planning to incarcerate its enemies (see Beck and Erickson, above), socialize the economy and take away everyone's guns. At the fringe, we have figures like Larry Pratt, executive director of the Gun Owners of America, who told a rally in Washington last April that, "We're in a war. The other side knows they are at war, because they started it. They are coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They are coming for everything because they are a bunch of socialists."

It matters whether such nonsense contributes to a toxic climate that might even lead to violence. But a related question is how the nonsense reflects a deeply paranoid right.

This isn't entirely new. Those who remember right-wing rhetoric in the Clinton era may recall overheated fears of black helicopters and the White House handing over power to the United Nations.

But much of this has gone mainstream in the Obama era. For example, given recent events, there's been a fair amount of talk about Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) talk about her allies being "armed and dangerous." But let's also note that this is the same loony lawmaker who said the Census may lead to "concentration camps," and AmeriCorps might be used to force young people into "re-education camps."

Indeed, it's hard to avoid the paranoia running through contemporary conservatism. As they struggle with legitimate policy debates, they're stuck manufacturing make-believe policy ideas that suit their worldview. Obama supports death panels! He wants to adopt a global currency! He's going to impose a tax on every time we flip a light switch! The fears are absurd, but on the right, they're ubiquitous.

Meyerson concluded:

American politics and culture have a rich history of paranoia, as historian Richard Hofstadter and many others have documented. Many of the incidents of anti-government violence over the past couple of years -- flying a plane into an IRS building in Texas, shooting police officers in Pittsburgh and carrying out last weekend's savagery in Tucson -- came from people who, however individually loony they may have been, also harbored paranoid visions of the government that resembled, though by no means entirely, those put forth by the Becks and the Ericksons.

That doesn't make Beck, Erickson, Rupert Murdoch and their ilk responsible for Tucson. It does make them responsible for promoting a paranoid culture that makes America a more divided and dangerous land.

Steve Benen 2:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Comments

Ive been thinking about the hysterical hypersensitivy of wingnuts.

Some guy on another thread was trying to insist 'both sides do it too' and his example was one gag on Bill Maher.

I once had a memorable exchange with some doofus who was complaining about people objecting to hundreds of thousands of people killed and tortured in Iraq by saying 'Yeah, what about Chappaquidick! What about Ted Kennedy!',

or some other goofball who's a strident freaked out Republican, she says, because Hilary didn't divorce Bill.

Being a Republican is a medical diagnosis, not a point of view.

Posted by: cld on January 12, 2011 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

All this reminds me of the connection between global warming and more severe storms. Scientists will state (correctly) that global warming puts more energy into the atmosphere, which produces more severe storms, but we can't say that any one severe storm is "caused" by global warming.

The conservative response in both cases is "you can't prove a direct connection, so it's ridiculous and biased to talk about any connection," when in fact it's biased to dismiss any connection out of hand.

Posted by: Redshift on January 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

You guys have hit the nailed on the head, paranoid delusions. My local wingnut, when confronted with policy always answers in hypothetical paranoia. HCA for example, it is "designed to force the Insurance Companies bankrupt, ushering in single payer, which is what Obama wants". His evidence? A utube of Obama in front of I think the AFL-CIO saying he favored single payer, during an election. It boggles the mind. Wouldn't here my explanation that it was very close to the Hillary alternative, that all it amounted to, in it's simplest form, was In. Co's getting more customers for more regulation.
Nope, it's a Gubbamint take over in the minds of the paranoid right.
By the way, the flip on the light switch tax reminds of a Christine O'Donnell speech I heard. She mentioned every delusional fantasy they have. My head hurt from laughing and trying to figure what the f@@@ she was talking about.

Posted by: KK on January 12, 2011 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

This type of paranoid thinking is nothing new. I recall during the Clinton era there were all sorts of conspiracy theories about Bill: He had Vince Foster murdered, he was a drug kingpin, and so on. I recall Ann Coulter (or someone line her) on a talk show back then coming up with the most unbelievable string of suppositions about some nefarious thing Bill supposedly did and arguing that this was grounds for impeachment. Her logic was "Well, it COULD have happened, so we need to impeach!"

You can't argue with these people. They say "It COULD happen, therefore it DID happen, or it WILL happen" and then the discussion must end. As we say in the tech biz "You can't put new data into read-only memory."

Posted by: Eeyore on January 12, 2011 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Larry Pratt (what an appropriate name!) you're right; "they" *are* coming. Only they're not coming for your money or kids. They're coming... well...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnzHtm1jhL4

Posted by: exlibra on January 12, 2011 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

The damaging rhetoric of today is directly tied to Ronald Reagan's pronounced war on government when he ascended to the presidency, having just emasciated the great state of California! Today's lessers cannot pull off the nuance and finesse Reagan and his team were able to foist upon us back in the early post-Carter years.

Ours is a government by, for and of the people, and our malcontents on the far right haven't learned the value of such a concept is expansive for all of our citizens, no matter their ethnic, cultural, or linguistic background.

A real American will leave his/her guns at home when attending a political rally, and not relentlessly protest such a common sense measure as "they're trying to take my guns away" as we've heard ad nauseam now, without one scintilla of evidence that this is indeed what our government by the people, for the people and of the people wants to do!

I'm tired of the ignorant, manipulative straw men appearing so often in our political discourse.

I'm a believer that most of the time we have nothing to fear than fear itself! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 12, 2011 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

The sad truth is that these pathetic imbeciles CAN NOT FUNCTION WITHOUT THEIR DELUSIONS, SCAPEGOATS, OR ANYTHING THAT THEY CAN POINT TO AS THEIR 'ENEMY'.. all of this in order to avoid taking an responsibility for their own lives, or to in any way have any meaningful self examination within themselves .. it's just the way these fucking imbeciles are .. given that fact what the fuck can ever change what is going on ?

Posted by: stormskies on January 12, 2011 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

And every conservative is as if genetically programmed with the ticking bomb scenario, almost every topic can inevitably lead right to some variation of 'what if there's a time bomb ticking somewhere and you have only an hour to find it?' so we have are forced to do the most grossly draconian thing, which thing we should institute as ordinary behaviour in all circumstances just in case, because --you never know!

Posted by: cld on January 12, 2011 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Voter fraud. Fluoridation. Islamofascism. Liberal Media.

Two overriding aspects of today's right are, as you note, paranoia, but also hate. Bad combination.

Posted by: Mudge on January 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Eeyore, but those Clinton conspiracies were not discussed in the mainstream -- and that's the difference.

Posted by: karen marie on January 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you think speed freaks are paranoid?

Why are Creationists so cold?

America is fractioning into smaller clumps of self-righteous humans, who seem to believe that it's their way or the highway.

Healthy ecosystems thrive on diversity, paranoic thinking tends to want to make things simpler, less chaotic.

It's easier to grasp a world in which only Christians exist.

Simplify.

That is the problem; folks thinking that their worldview is the only one that matters because god says so.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

When the republican party(and NRA) repeatedly tell their supporters that Obama is coming for their guns, which is followed by record gun/ammunitions sales, outside observers are going to make the logical connection.

When the republicans continually feed their supporters conspiracy theories about government control, which is followed by a spike in militia membership, outside observers are going to make the logical connection.

The power brokers on the right wanted a movement to help them gain back control of the government. They could have used an inspirational message to accomplish it, but decided to go another route. Now they have to take responsibility for the mob mentality and other unintended consequences.

Posted by: Holmes on January 12, 2011 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I have to say it - and I am dead serious, I really believe that Glenn Beck is mentally ill, I know he is a rabid right winger, but there is something different, I truly think he is ill. Not to be
joking or anything like that, I think he comes from a family known to have mental illness.

Posted by: Joan on January 12, 2011 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else noted the element of sexual fear (and aggression inherent in Erik Erickson's comments (and others). Atheists are "namby-pamby"; someone else is a "little twerp."

Posted by: John Tomas on January 12, 2011 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

John Tomas, Erickson recently said the left's rhetoric over the use of gun metaphors was the result of them being "self-neutered wimps".

Erickson and Limbaugh have similar issues, IMO.

Posted by: Holmes on January 12, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Obligatory Hofstadter link.

He wrote that in 1964, by the way.

Not long after that, the Republicans ejected the John Birch Society radicals from the public face of their party. Now, of course, the John Birch Society radicals are running the Republican Party. And the so-called "liberal media" pretends they're mainstream.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2011 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I have every right to be paranoid. My great grand pappy said no n*gger would ever get elected to be president of this country, and yet here we are.

Posted by: TeaBaggerSmith on January 12, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK


"The fears are absurd, but on the right, they're ubiquitous."

The obvious next question is: How do you put half a country into psych wards?

Posted by: Seould on January 12, 2011 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I think that the "lefties do it too" has a lot better to point at than one Bill Maher joke for various paranoid tendencies.

Halliburton
Fahrenheit 9/11
Cheney runs the Bush administration
Handmaid's Tale and other theocracy porn
Bush assassination jokes, books, plays
2000 election was stolen
2004 election was stolen
The right wing is going to assassinate Obama

The list is not exhaustive.

Posted by: TMLutas on January 12, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I've mentioned a former friend of mine a lot on here who is a text book example of the delusional right wing. We couldn't even mention anything political around each other. During the 2008 primaries, she broke the rule and brought up politics. She told me that I couldn't vote for Obama. "If he wins there won't be one white person left in the government. He'll purge the government of whites and then they'll come after us." I will never forget the absolute seriousness with which she told me that. College educated, owns her own business...

Posted by: SaintZak on January 12, 2011 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think there are topics of paranoia among the left that need self-monitoring and self-restraint.

No, GWB did not know about 9/11 in advance (literally). No it was not an inside job, or a Mossad job, or anything other than an al Queda job.

And, yes a fair amount of what got described as evil, sinister, conspiracy from 2001-2009 can be more logically and realistic chalked up to extreme incompetence, ignorance or indifference.

The difference is that there's no "respectable" platform for left-wing paranoia. It's not part of the mainstream...in fact it's so far out of the mainstream that conservatives can't even gin up equivalents to their brand of paranoia.

And we don't know that difference in how paranoia translates into actual threat on the left versus the right...would need more data to show.

Posted by: Mark on January 12, 2011 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

re TMLutas...

Your list may not be exhaustive, but it is really hard to fathom what you are referring to!

Halliburton? - Are you referring to the FACT that Dick Cheney continued receiving payments from them while he was VP?

Fahrenheit 9/11 - The Mike Moore movie should be rewatched in view of currently available FACTS. It was highly accurate!

Cheney runs the Bush administration - The FACT is that Cheney had a level of influence over Bush Lite that is beyond anything historical from previous administrations.

Handmaiden's Tale & Bush assassination jokes, etc - NO idea what you are talking about, but it appears that you don't either

2000 & 2004 elections were stolen - The FACT is that there is empirical evidence that Gore would have won Florida if the vote counting had been allowed to continue. That it was repukes, in the form of the Brooks Brothers Rioters, who phyically intimidated the vote counters in Broward County. The FACTS are that there are valid questions that can be asked about the vote counting in Ohio in 2004.

Posted by: SadOldVet on January 12, 2011 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

The Firebaggers do get a bit hysterical at times. I'll admit that.

Posted by: KK on January 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

I posted this comment yesterday afternoon to Tuesday's Mini-Report. It seems relevant, yet there seems to be no awareness of the conflict between public statements of fear and paranoia having no influence on people's behavior and public statements by advertisers designed to influence people's behavior to purchase goods and services.


"If the blathering idiots of the political right, mostly, aren't having an effect on people's behavior, why do companies spend billions every year to place advertisements on the same media that is projecting the fear and hatred that purportedly doesn't lead to violence and acting out? Are they wasting their money on a fruitless campaign to influence behavior? If I scream hate and violence 24/7, nobody will respond; but, if I produce sophisticated manipulative ads for useless products, in many cases, I will reap the rewards of people purchasing this stuff just to satisfy their carnal desires.

I get it!"

Posted by: st john on January 12, 2011 at 1:03 AM

Posted by: st john on January 12, 2011 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

No, GWB did not know about 9/11 in advance (literally).

He did, however, received a briefing titled Bin Laden determined to strike in US. The Bush Administration initially attempted to conceal the fact, but was eventually forced to admit it to the (/11 commission. We know the briefing specifically mentioned the threat of a skyjacking.

(Which is why the administration's initial denials of responsibility morphed from "there was no warning" to "there was no specific warning" -- since the hijackers were rude enough not to send the administration an engraved invitation.)

And so far as the 9/11 commission was able to determine, or any of Bush's apologists have since established, Bush took no action whatsoever in response. None at all.

Bush apologists would much rather pretend his critics all claim he knew specifically about 9/11 in advance then defend his baffling inaction in the face of a specific briefing on the threat. Given the obvious evidence of Bush's incompetence, I can't say I blame them for that preference.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

there is empirical evidence that Gore would have won Florida if the vote counting had been allowed to continue

There's also the issue, of course, that the Bush v Gore decision stunk to high heaven -- a fact the SCOTUS itself acknowledged in its sheepish plea not to use the fact that it appointed its preferred candidate as a legal precedent.

Posted by: Gregory on January 12, 2011 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Less than 1% of the population are diagnosed with clinical paranoid schizophrenia. But most human traits are distributed on a normal curve, with 68% of the population in the middle, and 16% at each of the tails, the high and the low. Only individuals at the most extreme tails--3 standard deviations out--are so non-functional that they qualify for a clinical diagnosis. But it is a continuum so folks in that bottom 16%, while not clinical, also exhibit symptoms of paranoia, just not as many and not as strongly. But they too are suspicious, delusional, rigid, and so on. Along with the delusions is an inability to scale, their lack of perspective. (and, as cld upthread points out, yes, hypersensitivity.)

I've become convinced that the Republican base, the right wing who flock to the Tea Party, draws heavily from the 16% of the population who trend towards paranoia and delusions. Once you start legitimatizing them, taking their delusions seriously, a culture of paranoid delusions is stimulated. The plutocrats who misinform and exploit them, on the other hand,...well, they should be ashamed but I guess, being lacking shame goes along with lacking a heart.

Posted by: PTate in Mn on January 12, 2011 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

We live in a capitalist society, so at the root of everything is money. Ask the question, "who is profiting from this?" and things become clear.
For instance, the wild eyed GuanoNutz who wave signs and hang tea bags on their hats are just puppets, and their strings are being operated by people like Dick Army, like the Koch Brothers. For profit.

Posted by: DAY on January 12, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

To expand on my earlier comments: Why do political candidates and their financiers spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle on advertising to influence the public to cast their votes for them? Is that advertising meant to influence the behavior of the consumers of this advertising? Get them to vote for the candidate or the proposition? Then, why wouldn't public comments by those same candidates not influence people's behavior? Why do Sarah Palin, Rush, Glenn, Olbermann, Rachel, etc. spend so much time talking if no one is going to listen and act on what they are saying? Why do they receive millions in salary and fees for service if no one pays them any attention? And, finally, why is this not a topic of discussion among pundits and the media regarding the influence of public discourse on the behavior of people, whether they are "sane" or not? The purveyors of violent and paranoid speech deny any influence. Yet, they are paid handsomely for that speech.

One Wonders how stupid "they" think we are.

Posted by: st john on January 12, 2011 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

First, although there have always been paranoid folks, there hasn't always been a media that provided platforms for those paranoid folks, nor an entire party leadership that kowtowed to the leaders of the paranoid folks. Today right-wing paranoia is treated with respect by the media. I'm not a historical expert, but it seems very McCarthy-hearings era-like to me. There is an active effort by the right-wing to bully and frighten their opponents, and their violent rhetoric is continually given a pass by the media. Yes, we get the occasional "lets all tone it down" statement from the right, but those efforts are completely drowned out by the relentless nastiness that emanates from them constantly, and is duly distributed by "respected" outlets. Erik Erickson on CNN?

Secondly, although it may not be possible to draw a direct line from Palin's and others' eliminationist rhetoric and this AZ tragedy that does not automatically mean that no connection exists. People who have influence, who have a platform, and who spew violence and hate continually do not get to pretend that their rhetoric has no effect. As usual they want to have their cake and eat it too -- they can use shooting imagery but must not be blamed when someone shoots. This tragedy happened to Democrats at a Democrat sponsored event. No one is shooting Teabaggers or Republicans.

A very interesting diarist on DailyKos talked about Stochastic Terrorism, which was discussed on OpenLeft (http://www.openleft.com/diary/21377/stochastic-terrorisma-powerful-highly-accurate-new-meme). Basic idea: widespread violent rhetoric will predictably result in violence. The violence is predictable, the "who carries out the violence" is not predictable. I.E. - we don't know who will bite, but someone will. As indeed, someone always does.

The right-wing has been fomenting this for years and now want to be absolved of blame.

Nope. Nuh-uh.

Posted by: PA on January 12, 2011 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Thought the Meyerson piece was spot on and sums up my point about "blaming" Palin and the rest of the scum that comprise the right wing hate machine. Not much to add, other then, it must be absolutely terrifying to be a conservative. They see existential bogey men absolutely everywhere.

Posted by: Vince on January 12, 2011 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

To elaborate on the points st.john makes, to say that continuous right-wing violent rhetoric has no effect would be the same as saying that advertising has no effect.

The right-wing has a media machine: FOX News, a troop of hate-radio personalities, magazines, think tanks, publishers - all reiterating the same messages. They advertise hate, intolerance and violence. That's their brand. That's their product.

And their messages reach their target audiences.

Posted by: PA on January 12, 2011 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Look, liberal pundits can keep trying to reshape this argument in twenty different ways... but it simply doesn't fit the realities of what happened in Tucson, where a man with what is probably a severe mental illness did something that, in his mind, made sense. This was not the act of a rational personal, and continually trying to force-fit rational, political minded accountings won't ever fit.

Rather than trying to trump up a "discourse" argument that has little to do with the facts of the case, I'm amazed that healthcare-minded lefties can't see an opening to make headway on an issue that's been a liberal winner: taking mental health care seriously and doing more to help the mentally ill. Jared Loughner needed treatment and care, not a better political discourse. One we can give; the other we can't. At a moment when much could be accomplished, why not focus on what we can do, and less on what we can't?

Posted by: weboy on January 12, 2011 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

That's exactly right, if we had a serious health care system someone this nuts would have been identified ages ago.

Posted by: cld on January 12, 2011 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

Weboy: Nope. Certainly the issue of mental illness and lack of healthcare can be brought up in the wake of this tragedy, but that does not in any way relieve right-wingers of their responsibility in this and other violent events that have occurred and have been threatened.

Republican leaders are well-educated people with access to all kinds of information - people who should be perfectly well aware that there are unstable people in our society with easy access to guns. These disturbed people are vulnerable to suggestion and in search of ways to express their paranoia.

Knowing that, right wing luminaries continue to use inflammatory, eliminationist language and symbolic actions that will sooner or later find the right "carrier". But they then disclaim any responsibility for the outcomes they work so hard to create.

The rightwing media machine exists because it works. It reaches millions of people and they absorb the messages they're fed. It uses media and the tools of media to spread it's message of hate, fear, blame, and violence. It deliberately creates "the other" and actively foments resentment and anger against "the other".

To excuse this is to be part of it. To condone it is to be part of it. To try to split hairs over it is to be part of it.

Rationalize all you want, you can't wash the blood off your hands until you admit your culpability, repent and cease.

Posted by: PA on January 12, 2011 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

It deliberately creates "the other" and actively foments resentment and anger against "the other".

Yes, we know that.

Now what do we do?

Posted by: cld on January 12, 2011 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Vince said:

"They see existential bogey men absolutely everywhere."

In this they greatly resemble the fanatic fundamentalists who see Satan everywhere (and attribute to him more power than they do to God). That sometimes the two types are in the same person is certainly not an accident.

It is a style of not so much thinking as being: Hofstader's classic book was titled "The Paranoid Style in American Politics".

Posted by: jrosen on January 12, 2011 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

cid says:
It deliberately creates "the other" and actively foments resentment and anger against "the other".

Yes, we know that.

Now what do we do?

I think one of the things we do is stop trying to be reasonable about the unreasonable actions of others. I'm not saying that we trade violence for violence or hate for hate. But I do think that we should, in strong terms, characterize what the right wing does as what it is: hate speech which will inevitably end in violence. And Right wingers who loudly condone or silently assent, should be considered equally responsible.

It's more than clear now that the republican party today is NOT "our father's" republican party. Supposedly "reasonable" people who remain loyal to the party as it is today are supporting hate and violence, period. They should, in the strongest terms and continuously, condemn the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Sarah Palins, Fox News and all the rest. And if the party bites them back they should leave it.

The right has made it socially acceptable among an ever larger group of people to be racist, sexist and generally hateful. We need to make people ashamed for expressing those views, let alone holding them.

It has been an extraordinarily depressing spectacle to watch the media treat people like Rush Limbaugh with respect over the years (and so many others of his ilk). He should never be on TV, period. The media should see him, perfectly accurately, as a truly contemptible excuse for a media personality. It's not a matter of censorship - it's a matter of responsibility. No one invited Jared Loughner on TV to spew his views. Rush and gang are no different.

In addition, at minimum, NO figure on the left with any influence should in any way encourage the meme that "both sides do it". That is simply false, besides being a non-argument. There are plenty of strident voices on the left - and they aren't calling for shooting republicans. They swear, they argue, and they call names (in addition to debating and posting actual arguments). But they don't talk about Second Amendment remedies and they don't invite constituents to shoot at depictions of their political opponents at fundraisers. There's no left wing cable channel literally lying 24/7.

I'm not talking about demonizing the right, ie. not acting or talking as though right wingers are less than human, even though right wingers talk about "liberals" in the most opprobrious terms all the time. But I am saying we should separate the people from their words and actions, and then condemn those words and actions as loudly and often as possible.

In larger political terms, I think its always important to remember that most of the public is apolitical. For various reasons they just aren't that interested, and they most definitely aren't well-informed. They take their cues from the overall zeitgeist. If they receive the message that hate speech is fine, they begin to accept it. If they receive the message that it is verboten, they begin to reject it.

Is Rush Limbaugh a professional hater? or a media personality? or a comedien? I think it's time for him and all of his followers to be characterized as professional haters, and not excused as being comediens.

Someone has to push back. I think it has to be us.

Posted by: PA on January 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

I agree entirely with every word of that.

Posted by: cld on January 13, 2011 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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