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The politicization of evil

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:37 pm - July 22, 2012.
Filed under: Media Bias

Throughout human history, spiritual leaders, philosophers, scholars, poets and other artists have pondered the nature of human evil, why some individuals harm other individuals, particularly those whom they have never met and about whom they know nothing — or about whom they have heard only rumor.

Sometimes, as in Burgas, Bulgaria last week, a nefarious ideology motivates the killer to act against his fellow man.  In those cases, we can say that the evil is clearly politically motivated.

In all too many cases, as this past Friday in Aurora, Colorado and last January in Tucson, Arizona, the murderer did not act to further some cause, but instead sought to exorcize his own personal demons.

Despite the absence of evidence tying the killer to any causes, certain voices, particularly prominent in our culture, opine that he was motivated by some cause they suspect or insist on using his action to attack their ideological adversaries. Instead of helping us understand the killer’s motivations, these individuals only reveal their own prejudices.  They act as if their partisan opponents seek to further evil — or perhaps just promote violence.

There has been no evidence that Tea Party protesters advocate violence, yet some of our friends in the legacy media have been all too eager to tie them to violence and murder.  It is doubtful that these folks ever rushed to blame left-of-center or anti-Western groups for similar actions.

Some do believe, though, that all violent acts have conservative causes.

There was, however, Paul Mirengoff laments, a time

when no one attempted to tie mass murder by random sickos to politics. For example, I don’t remember anyone wondering about the politics of Richard Speck, the killer of Chicago student nurses, or Charles Whitman, the University of Texas shooter.

Perhaps, until recently, people appreciated that there are some things of which we simply cannot make sense.  It is only human to want to make sense of the world.  Indeed, the great Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed we could bear any suffering if we could find its meaning.

We may not be able to find meaning in the Aurora murders — or in the Tucson shooting.  And it is unfortunate that some would seek to give them a political gloss. (more…)

Why is the Obama campaign spending so much on polling?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:44 pm - July 22, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Like some of our readers and other conservative friends, I have long been wondering what the Obama campaign’s internal polling shows.  Even though the incumbent has generally enjoyed a slight edge in polling over his presumptive Republican rival in the race for the White House, he has not been campaigning as the frontrunner and does not seem confident on the campaign trail.

Yesterday, Daniel Halper reported in the Weekly Standard that

Campaign disclosure forms for Obama for America, President Obama’s reelection team, reveal a heavy emphasis on public opinion polling. According to the forms, in the month of June alone, Obama for America spent a whopping $2,639,265.72 on polling.

This appears to be a record this election cycle. And it does not include money spent on polling by the Democratic party in the month of June.

Emphasis added.  Citing Halper’s report, Ann Althouse asks:

What are they finding out? Why isn’t that information giving them more useful ideas about how to win? Reminds me of the stimulus program, dumping huge amounts of money on things that done even pan out.

And what exactly does their internal polling show?  Does it show, as some conservatives suspect, that Obama’s support is very soft and that some Obama supporters could change their minds and back Romney — or that the overwhelming majority of the undecided/independent voters are not too happy with the incumbent and seriously considering Mr. Romney?

Perhaps they’re finding something similar to this tidbit in a Rasmussen poll: Obama Job Approval Is At 29% Among Uncommitted Voters.