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The Presumption of the Know-it-All Left
Demanding conservatives apologize for rhetoric on the right,
they regularly ignore (if not excuse) on the left

In his various comments to my post, The conservative violence in left-wingers’ heads, william (sic) makes much of the failure of conservatives to denounce the rabid rhetoric of a handful of right-wing extremists.  As he wrote in commenting to a previous post,

Take some moral responsibility for the violent rhetoric of your movement. Maybe if more people on the right actually had the conscience or guts to call out the hyperbole and extremism within their own movement, the rest of the world wouldn’t have to. And it’s not just the left-wing that wonders if you’re all a bunch of foaming crazies, it’s mainstream America that is getting scared of the rage you and your leaders are trafficking in. For most decent Americans, the rabid vitriol and arms-bearing at the August tea-tantrums was unsettling and repugnant . . . .

First, his assumption about mainstream America are far off the mark, with Republicans polling better at the beginning of September than they were at the end of July, and with public support for the President’s health care plans (the issue which go so many of the supposedly foaming crazies so agitated this summer) plummeting.

Second, why is it that conservatives need to denounce the “hyperbole and extremism” of a handful of fringe activists (and one occasionally loose-lipped talk show host), when Democrats and liberals seemed somehow relieved of that obligation during the 1990s?

william is not alone, indeed, he is representative of a certain strand in left-wing thought (see, e.g., left-wing blogs) thundering about conservatives’ silence in the face of angry rhetoric on the right.  And throughout the first eight years of this decade, some of this very same left-wingers remained silent or actively engaged in the same sort of rhetoric they now denounce.

But it takes some presumption for a left-winger to demand that we do so, particularly if he can provide no evidence that he denounced his name-calling fellow travelers who protested so loudly, so angrily, marching alongside those carrying posters advocating violence against the President when a Republican served in the White House.

Comparing the President to Hitler, something that currently gets william et al. so incensed?  A staple of anti-Bush protests (and blog posts) from 2002 onward.  Perhaps I might take his feigned outrage at conservative silence in the face of hateful rhetoric from a handful of extremist more seriously if he could provide evidence that he and liberal bloggers regularly denounced the regular expressions of anti-Bush vitriol and frequent advocacy of violence at left-wing protests in the George W. Bush era.

And not merely do william and his fellow travelers thunder on as if advocacy of violence were a defining feature of conservative protests (and criticism) of the incumbent President, but they make assumptions about conservative which betrays an incredible ignorance of our movement.  That critic pulled out the Oklahoma City bombings as a prime example, apparently oblivious to the fact that none of the conspirators in that plot were ever involved in any conservative organization nor were they welcomed or heralded by even the most conservative voices of the day.

You’ll rage about the Weather Underground, but you’ll gloss over Oklahoma City. Never mind the time difference, never mind the body count disparity.

Conservative rhetoric did not fuel Timothy McVeigh’s rage.  He’d been conjuring up such schemes long before the election of Republicans to Congress in 1994.  That such rhetoric lead to his actions has been a standard left-wing talking point for over fourteen years, based on no evidence, but only left-wing eagerness to smear the conservative movement.

And while Timothy McVeigh never found favor in any circles on the right, a member of the Weather Underground has, in the past, befriended and worked with the incumbent President of the United States (who once wrote a favorable blurb about that violent man’s book).  Ayers remains close to many leading Democrats in Chicago, enjoying a social and intellectual prominence that none of of the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing ever enjoyed.  That, my friends, is the real disparity.

Yeah, there is some angry rhetoric on the right and there may well be a danger in it (as william ominously inveighs), but we on the right don’t excuse the violence of those acting in the name of the ideas we support.  Have left-wing bloggers (and pundits) denounced the union thugs who beat up Kenneth Gladney?  Or the Obamacare activist who bit off the finger of counter protester?

Yes, there has been some mean-spirited, nasty rhetoric on the right.  It is entirely inappropriate and hurts rather than helps the cause they espouse.  And perhaps more mainstream conservatives should more regularly denounce it (though many already have).

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21 Comments

  1. Great minds think alike. Lloyd Marcus, Mark Steyn and Powerline have written about a similar topic:
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/09/024609.php

    From Marcus:

    The Left published a cartoon depicting former black Secretary of State Condolezza Rice as an Aunt Jemima; another depicted Rice as a huge-lipped parrot for her Massa Bush. Neither were considered racist by their creators or publishers, or even widely condemned on the Left.

    In opposition to black Republican Michael Steele’s campaign torun for U.S. Senate, a liberal blogger published a doctored photo of Steele in black face and big red lips made to look like a minstrel…

    Powerline adds:

    And, of course, the radio show jokes, t-shirts, “art” works and movies about the desirability of the assassination of President Bush are another variation on [left-wing incivility]…

    RTWT, if you haven’t already.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 29, 2009 @ 2:15 pm - September 29, 2009

  2. Thanks for the good word, ILC, though I was certain you’d be all over my previous post (on competition).

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — September 29, 2009 @ 2:17 pm - September 29, 2009

  3. Well more bad news for Tano and Obama.

    Comment by The_Livewire — September 29, 2009 @ 2:19 pm - September 29, 2009

  4. I was certain you’d be all over my previous post (on competition).

    Due to various personal constraints, I am in more of a “react” mode these days. I was waiting for some silly lefty to say something dumb over there. They just did, and I was just on it. ;-)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 29, 2009 @ 2:41 pm - September 29, 2009

  5. Vile rhetoric is apparently okay for the Left, but must be denounced loudly if ever used against it. I remember during the “anti-war” protests frequently seeing a sign that read (essentially), “We support our Soldiers when they frag their officers.” Now, far be it for me to restrict someone’s freedom of speech, but that kind of incitement to murder strikes a little too close to home. And yet things like that were hardly denounced by the Democrats and their Leftist allies.

    Comment by SSG Christopher Whitaker — September 29, 2009 @ 3:08 pm - September 29, 2009

  6. William, unless I missed a comment, has yet to provide any evidence of this “rhetoric” we’re supposed to apologize like Chairman Obama for. What is it, exactly, we’re supposed to denounce?

    However, we can go on and on listing all the moonbatshitcrazy rhetoric of the liberal douchebag left.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 29, 2009 @ 4:11 pm - September 29, 2009

  7. #3

    Not to mention their congress approved of it, Zelaya’s own party approved of it and it’s my understanding the Catholic Church in Honduras approved of it.

    So who cares what Chavez and Chairman Obama think about it? Their own people and government were behind it.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 29, 2009 @ 4:14 pm - September 29, 2009

  8. #3

    Which part of Banana Republic don’t you understand? (Not Honduras, I mean the White House.)

    Comment by heliotrope — September 29, 2009 @ 6:13 pm - September 29, 2009

  9. This is rather like the Spanish Inquisition sketch.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 29, 2009 @ 7:37 pm - September 29, 2009

  10. TGC,

    One assumes you are talking about the Python sketch, but the Mel Brooks skit from “History of the World Part 1″ also comes to mind.

    Comment by SSG Christopher Whitaker — September 29, 2009 @ 7:46 pm - September 29, 2009

  11. I always forget about the Mel Brooks bit. But yeah. I was thinking of the little old lady, in the Python sketch, saying “But I don’t know of what I’m being accused” or some such.

    William and his lemmings keep bitching about denouncing “vile rhetoric”, or whatever, but can’t seem to provide any evidence or quotes.

    I mean, if Rush had called for armed confrontation with the liberals, surely they could find a quote and wouldn’t have to rely on MediaMorons to make one up. But this all smells just like the “FEMA death camps” turd they unloaded.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 29, 2009 @ 10:44 pm - September 29, 2009

  12. Sonja Schmidt, over at PJTV adds her thoughts to the discussion. It is well worth your viewing time!

    Comment by Croft — September 29, 2009 @ 11:10 pm - September 29, 2009

  13. #11, it’s ‘how dare you use our own tactics against us!’ Same thing with the ACORN busts.

    Sending undercover news people into Food Lion and editing footage to present them in the worst possible light, journalism.

    Going in and runnin unedited footage of people promoting child prostitution… That’s horrible!

    Comment by The_Livewire — September 30, 2009 @ 10:26 am - September 30, 2009

  14. I’m relieved that you’ve decided to post on this issue again. And I’m pleased to see you end your post with this: “Yeah, there is some angry rhetoric on the right and there may well be a danger in it…” And this: “Yes, there has been some mean-spirited, nasty rhetoric on the right. It is entirely inappropriate and hurts rather than helps the cause they espouse. And perhaps more mainstream conservatives should more regularly denounce it (though many already have).” And I was glad to just see your post condemning the Newsmax “bloodless coup” article.

    Now, as angry as it might make you, you simply can’t rewrite history on Timothy McVeigh – there was plenty of right-wing rhetoric for him to feed on before 1994. Here are some of his words:

    “The government is afraid of the guns people have because they have to have control of the people at all times. Once you take away the guns, you can do anything to the people. You give them an inch and they take a mile. I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control.”

    “Go ahead, take everything I own; take my dignity. Feel good as you grow fat and rich at my expense; sucking my tax dollars and property.”

    “Taxes are a joke. Regardless of what a political candidate “promises,” they will increase. More taxes are always the answer to government mismanagement. They mess up. We suffer. Taxes are reaching cataclysmic levels, with no slowdown in sight … Is a Civil War Imminent? Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn’t come to that. But it might.”

    Nope, nothing right-wing about those words. Eerily similar to some of the heated tea-party rhetoric, I’d say.

    Anyway, I’m sorry you’re defensive that someone from the left chose to press this issue, and if it will make you feel better, I do denounce the finger-biter, all violence, rhetoric that encourages or insinuates violence, and Hitler hyperbole on either side of the political spectrum. But I’m certainly happy you are acknowledging that the right has both a problem and an obligation to address that problem.

    Here’s Rick Moran, another voice from the right that you might find inspiration from… the link:

    http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2009/09/29/silence-equals-assent-why-pointing-out-conservative-lunacy-must-be-done/

    And here are some quotes:

    I reject arguments that one shouldn’t criticize one’s own side and “do the left’s dirty work for them”…. I believe that one of conservatism’s major problems these last few years has been a failure of self-examination – and I include myself in committing that sin. Unless one constantly challenges one’s beliefs by examining the underlying assumptions of what we truly believe, testing them against what is happening in the real world, and using the logic and reason granted us by our humanity to determine if they still pass muster and are consistent with our principles, we fall into the trap of being inconsistent in the application of our philosophy.

    You don’t have to be an “intellectual” to accomplish this. All it takes is to read and listen to opposing viewpoints once and a while. To close one’s mind to alternative points of view is, by definition, unconservative. And to take the position automatically that liberals have nothing of interest you want to hear is beyond illogical – it is ignorant….

    THEN HE QUOTES FROM ANOTHER WRITER ON THE HOW TO TAKE BACK AMERICA CONFERENCE:

    In the past weeks you’ve heard me talk about the How to Take Back America Conference being held in St. Louis this Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, with speakers like: Gov. Mike Huckabee, “Joe the Plumber,” U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Steve King, R-Iowa, Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Dr. Tom Price, R-Ga., and Three-Star Gen. Jerry Boykin. But someone who’ll be there that you didn’t hear about is Kitty Werthmann. Kitty was 12 years old when Adolf Hitler took over Austria.

    She is 83 with a “vivid memory” of what happened in her homeland next. She witnessed the government take over the banks and the auto industry. Sound familiar? In the last nine months, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have successfully orchestrated the government takeover of Chrysler and General Motors along with countless banks. She witnessed the “compulsory youth” service and indoctrination. That sounds a little like Obama’s call for “mandatory volunteerism” for America’s youth.

    The government takeover of the schools immediately replaced crucifixes with pictures of Hitler and Nazi flags. “All religious instruction was replaced with physical education,” said Werthmann. No prayer was allowed. That all happened here decades ago. It is interesting, however, that Obama’s speech to the captive audience in the government schools – complete with the essay assignment about how students could help him achieve his political goals – was replaced once the American people got wind of it. And speaking of government control of education, if the Senate agrees, all student loans will be government issued, according to a bill that passed the House last week.

    NOW BACK TO MORAN:

    Before commenting on the substance of what the author actually believes is solid evidence that Obama wants to set up a Fourth Reich, I want you to look at that list of Republicans who will be giving their imprimatur to a conference that features such idiocy. Those are not “fringe” players. They are all considered “mainstream” conservatives. Should they be taken to task for attending a conference that features such off the wall lunacy?…

    THEN MORE DESCRIPTION OF WERTHMANN’S SEMINAR…

    Is there any way to logically address Mrs. Werthmann’s points? The answer is no. And the reason is because she is living in a different reality than the rest of us. To 95% of the world, what Obama and the Democrats are doing you can agree or disagree with, but it is being done by the all-American way of Congress proposing, and the president disposing. Even Obama’s executive grabs like taking over private business finds precedent in American history among presidents. Obama is dead wrong. But he is not a Marxist, or Nazi, or even a socialist. He is a far left American liberal which, by the way, puts him considerably to the right of the Euro-left.

    To casually toss about the terms “Marxist” and “Nazi” shows that those who do so are wildly exaggerating what the liberals are doing. Mrs. Werthmann may be a witness to history but her analogies are childlike in their logic. Exaggeration is not argument. It is emotionalism run rampant. And at its base is simple, unreasoning fear. Fear of change, fear that the powerlessness conservatives feel right now is a permanent feature of American politics, and, I am sorry to say, fear of Obama because he is a black man.

    The emotional state of conservatism now coupled with the hyper partisan atmosphere in the country (and the already excessive ideological nature of the opposition to Obama) is a combination that afflicts the reason centers of the mind and is proving to be a block to thinking logically. What is there to “fear” about Obama and the Democrats? They are proposing the same liberal crap that the left has been promoting for more than 30 years. We have fought them before using reason and logic. What is so different now?

    I agree with the left to a certain extent that the right – especially on the internet – has become something of an echo chamber (it’s true on the left too but their crazies have already been marginalized). This has resulted in what might be termed a “negative feedback loop” where the more exaggerated claims about dastardly Democrats go around and around, becoming ever more outrageous and illogical, until we get overflowing crowds at a seminar where the most fantastically stretched and mangled analogies to Nazis and Communists are taken seriously.

    I don’t know how to say it any other way; those conservatives who don’t see a problem with this, or don’t think it “representative” of a significant portion of the conservative movement, or who don’t believe this sort of thing should be taken out, examined, and criticized as forcefully as possible are fooling themselves into believing this kind of thinking doesn’t matter. It is poison coursing through the body of conservatism and we either use reason and logic as an antidote or it will end up killing us.

    To my mind, there is no alternative. Ignore it and it only gets bigger and more outrageously out of touch with reality. This is why I write about it. This is why you should join me in condemning and marginalizing these crazies, inoculating conservatism against contracting this plague on rational thought.

    Comment by william — September 30, 2009 @ 3:55 pm - September 30, 2009

  15. william, please show me where any mainstream conservative praised McVeigh or where he worked with any such organization.

    As to condemning right-wing crazies, please see my post on the guy at Newsmax favoring a coup. Despite a busy morning, I managed to get that up.

    But, as per my post, I don’t see you condemning the angry rhetoric on the left–or providing any evidence of such condemnation when a Republican was in the White House, subject to such vitriol that makes the most extreme conservative criticism (nasty as it is) almost seem tame by comparison.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — September 30, 2009 @ 4:08 pm - September 30, 2009

  16. I did praise you for your Newsmax post, didn’t you see that? Should I praise you again? Also, I did condemn violence and violent-tinged rhetoric, left and right. Should I do it again? I’d be happy to.

    Funny, though, I don’t recall an entire television “news” network devoting entirely to bringing down the Bush administration, nor do I recall too many mainstream Democratic politicians and leaders attending conferences based on the idea that Bush was Hitler (see the Moran post). Nor do I recall the number of daily death threats to the President being quite this high back then (4 times less, in fact).

    In any case, since you still seem to be in deep personal pain over the horrific injustices done to Bush and Republicans over the past eight years, I’ll offer you a formal and blanket acknowledgment and apology. For any and all over-the-line comments and vitriol from the left. For the 400% fewer death threats to President Bush, too. For all the baseless media coverage devoted to the issue of whether or not Bush was a citizen. For whatever lunatics you know about and I don’t that showed up to a Bush rally bearing arms, with lots of other people bearing arms, and proudly displaying them to the local news.

    But, seriously, I reject your false equivalence. If you’re not adult enough to see that what’s going on with the right is qualitatively and quantitatively different, then, well, I really am sorry about that.

    Also, re: your revisionism on McVeigh. I don’t think that mainstream conservative praise for an act of terrorism is the only criteria for calling that act right-wing (which you seem to object to, all evidence to the contrary). I mean, is that really what you’re suggesting? Randall Terry and some of the more moderate anti-abortion movement people came out and condemned Tiller’s killer, but the killer’s tactics and ideology were clearly the product of Operation Rescue. I’m not saying everyone on the right shares Timothy McVeigh’s crazy, but the right is undeniably where his ideology came from. He was a registered Republican, after all. And his words, again, sound very much like what we’ve been hearing at the (right-wing) tea parties.

    Comment by william — September 30, 2009 @ 5:22 pm - September 30, 2009

  17. william, do you even watch FoxNews. The entire network is hardly devoted to bringing down the Obama Administraiton a you suggest. And they regularly have guests defending the President and his policies–contrast that to MSNBC.

    False equivalence? Hardly. What you see as going on with the right is nothing but a fringe not embraced by the mainstream–only exaggerated by the left-wing blogs and supposedly main stream media. My, my, my how you have to insult me for not being an adult because I don’t see the world the same way as do the editors of the New York Times and th bloggers at the DailyKos.

    You can spin the McVeigh thing as much as you want, but you have yet to provide any evidence that conservatives or our ideas pushed him to do what he did. Yeah, so what that he had the same small-government ideas? What does that show? That he had the same ideas, but he didn’t choose to promote them by working within the system as have we.

    The only reason you bring him up is to discredit us. Fine, keep it up with your ignorance and malice, but you are as informed about modern American conservatives and James Dobson is about the people he calls homosexuals.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — September 30, 2009 @ 5:33 pm - September 30, 2009

  18. Well, I was sort of hoping you were rising to the occasion, beginning to acknowledge the issue of a rise in violent and unhinged emotional rhetoric on the right… but I fear that you’re re-trenching into a “nothing to see here/not a problem” defensiveness. Oh well. Anyway, just read the Moran piece if you have a chance – I think you’ll find it helpful, when you’re ready for it.

    [Wow! What smugness, William! What incredible smugness. Assuming that left-wing talking points define reality. I’m not the one who need to rise to the occasion. You do. Yeah, I’ve acknowledged [and regretted and criticized] the angry rhetoric on the right, but it hasn’t come close to that on the left which prevailed from about 2002-2008.

    Have I ever said it’s not a problem? If you read one of my past posts (and I’m not going to take the time to look for it for you, given your insistence on using anything I say to insult me, save when I grovel and accept your view of the world), you’d know that I’ve pointed out there is frequently an extreme fringe to political protests.

    And please, if you want me to take you seriously, please provide evidence that you decried the the violent and unhinged rhetoric on the left while Bush was President. If you do so, then and only then will I take you seriously. For you, it’s all about trying to show how depraved (and tolerant of depravity conservatives are.

    If you really think we’re so bad, how come you spend so much time on your site. And please address the points I made to rebut your own instead of faulting me for not groveling in the manner of the accused in Stalinist show trials. — Dan]

    Comment by william — September 30, 2009 @ 5:47 pm - September 30, 2009

  19. Funny, though, I don’t recall an entire television “news” network devoting entirely to bringing down the Bush administration

    That’s because there wasn’t an network; there were several networks devoted to bringing down the Bush Presidency, starting with ludicrously-slanted coverage and going to actual forgery of documents in coordination with the DNC and the Kerry campaign.

    Anyway, I’m sorry you’re defensive that someone from the left chose to press this issue, and if it will make you feel better, I do denounce the finger-biter, all violence, rhetoric that encourages or insinuates violence, and Hitler hyperbole on either side of the political spectrum.

    Doesn’t matter. You can condemn it, but those tactics and ideology were clearly the product of the hate rhetoric, bigotry, and prejudice against conservatives and Republicans practiced by you, your Barack Obama, and your Obama Party.

    And before you start babbling and whining that you can’t be held accountable when you condemned it, eat this:

    Randall Terry and some of the more moderate anti-abortion movement people came out and condemned Tiller’s killer, but the killer’s tactics and ideology were clearly the product of Operation Rescue.

    You want to play these games; you can play by the rules you impose. Your rule is that it doesn’t matter if you condemn it or not; you are still responsible.

    And if you can’t, that merely demonstrates what a foolish hypocrite both you and your Barack Obama are.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 30, 2009 @ 10:10 pm - September 30, 2009

  20. Jezus H, William. What color is the sky in your world and what’s with the Castro-like bloviations you’re wasting space with.

    Can you just skip to the point of proving that Chairman Obama is so weighted down with alleged threats to his life? Wading through piles of bullshit is not my forte, so if you could just skip a little.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — September 30, 2009 @ 10:44 pm - September 30, 2009

  21. Oh:

    Nope, nothing right-wing about those words. Eerily similar to some of the heated tea-party rhetoric, I’d say.

    [Citation Needed]

    And anyway, the part about “growing fat and rich” sounds more like douchebag liberal class envy.

    Furthermore, bin Laden and Zawahri sounds just like the DNC, often parroting the same old lying points bullshit one might hear from Madcow or Olberfrau.

    So, based on your logic, I think it’s safe to say that the liberal left’s rhetoric incited 9/11, the Bali attacks, the USS Cole, the embassies in Kenya & Tanzania and various other terrorist attacks worldwide.

    Wanna go down that road?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — October 1, 2009 @ 2:16 am - October 1, 2009

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