TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2011
Why the Right uses hate speech and violent rhetoric
By Gaius Publius on 1/11/2011 05:56:00 PM
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The Tucson shootings, the reaction to them, and a private conversation with an otherwise intelligent right-wing follower, have made clear for me the dynamic of right-wing hate speech. It's complicated, more than our own reaction shows. And there's a danger in ignoring this complication.
The situation — there is not one right wing, but two. There are right-wing leaders (for example, Rush Limbaugh) and right-wing followers (all of his listeners, along with Michelle Malkin's readers, Atlas Pam's droolers, Peter King's voters and supporters, and on and on).
The interests of the leaders is different than the interests of the followers, and each should be treated differently.
As illustration, consider the following. Here's Glenn Beck on murdering Michael Moore:
Hang on, let me just tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if 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?
And now Rush Limbaugh on the firestorm surrounding the Tucson murders:
Do not kid yourself. What this is all about is shutting down conservative media. That’s what this is all about. Shutting down any and all political opposition.
And finally my right-wing friend, a smart high-tech professional, in the course of a software discussion:
ME: Did you know that the GoodStuf software program is now developed in India? They fired the whole San Jose engineering department and rebuilt it in Bangalore. That's why they can make such big changes to that old code; it's now cheap to do it."
FRIEND: "We are so screwed, aren't we." [Huh? My ears pick up.]
ME: "What do you mean?"
FRIEND: "All of us, the whole country. All our money's going to Asia, and all our jobs. I don't think we'll ever get it back."
ME: "Can't argue with that. So, where do you think the problem is?" [I'm fishing for her economic awareness, so I know where to start.]
FRIEND: "Why, the Democrats of course." [I stare at my coffee in shock.]