Saturday, January 8, 2011

The left now blaming "vitriolic" public discourse for the actions of a madman.

Political assassinations have no place in a free society. Political and social revolutions, if they come at all, come from the soap box and the ballot box, not the ammo box. An attack on a duly elected member of congress is an attack on us all because it is an attack on the constitution and the free society that it makes possible. This man will be held accountable. Here in Arizona we have the death penalty, and he will surely receive it. It is unfortunate that he can only be executed once.

No one instructed this man to murder. To blame Fox News or other conservative outlets for his actions makes about as much sense as blaming Quake and D&D for the actions of the Columbine shooters, or Ramparts and The Nation for the actions of Kathy Soliah and others of her ilk.

Even if we were to momentarily entertain the ludicrous assertion that political speech causes violence, it must be noted that 300 million Americans are continually exposed to conservative arguments, ideas and sentiments, and yet only only man has acted to murder an elected official from the Democratic party. Making a cause and effect argument on that basis is not merely weak, it is dishonest.

Using a crisis to dishonestly demonize (and thereby silence) those with whom you disagree is a tactic that smacks of desperation and impotence. Those with strong and valid arguments to make don't need to resort to such measures. Those who seek to know and live with the truth do not fear ideas with which they disagree or seek to silence their expression. The truth is not found by obscuring disagreeable ideas or by twisting those ideas into misshapen caricatures in the hope they will be disregarded. The truth is born in the crucible of open debate where all ideas are honestly represented. When someone has to lie in order to "win" an argument, they are wrong. Worse than that, they have forsaken the honest pursuit of truth, which is man's fundamental task upon this earth.

Strong ideas stand on their own. They do not need to be shielded from competition, but are in fact strengthened by it. Neither are strong ideas undermined when those who champion them are slandered. So go ahead and blame Fox News and other conservative voices for the actions of this murderer. Doing so may score you points with those who share your political sentiments, but it will do nothing to convince anyone who does not. If you want to convince median voters to support your ideas, you will have to come up with persuasive arguments.

Attempting to connect this tragedy to Sarah Palin is especially peculiar. Why is the left so fixated on her? What makes her so special? Yeah, I'd like to do naughty things with her, but beyond that she's nothing to write home about. Her political career ended when she resigned as the governor of Alaska. She is unlikely to be elected to any other comparable office, let alone the presidency. Her value is as a political commentator, and she is only as successful in this as her words and deeds resonate with the public. In other words, she succeeds or fails in this role on the strength of her arguments. Attacking her for her NON-association with a political assassin and terrorist isn't going to convince anyone of anything except that you dislike her enough to paint her with any brush that is convenient regardless of how absurd it is.

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