Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Human-Caused Climate Change

It's going to take time to sort out everything about today's shooting of several people at a Republican Congressional baseball practice by an apparent Bernie Sanders supporter and volunteer, and I could use that as an excuse not to write about it now.  But one thing seems clear to me.  For the past year and more I've been watching liberals, progressives, and leftists fantasize aloud about and even endorse violence against Republicans and other right-wingers, from the video clip of a football player tackling a Trump lookalike (shared on Facebook by my friend A, who unfriended me soon after I called her out on it) to the widespread kvelling over the punching of Richard Spencer.  Whatever the facts about James T. Hodgkinson turn out to be, I think it's indisputable that liberal Democrats have been energetically fostering what they call a "climate of hate" when it's fomented by the Right.

They'll do their best to evade responsibility for their words, of course, just as the Right did after the shooting of Gabrielle Gifford.  They'll try to claim that Hodgkinson was mentally ill, a lone nut, and that the vitriol liberals and some leftists have been spewing in public for the past year -- and especially since the election of Donald Trump -- had nothing to do with his crime.  Maybe so, maybe not: Hodgkinson died in the hospital after he was shot by police, so he can't speak for himself; but apparently he had a rather vivid social-media presence.

I believe that we are responsible for our actions and our words, and that words mostly are not actions.  We can't be held responsible for everything that happens after we've acted or spoken, because it's not always certain whether something like this crime was a consequence of public rhetoric.  But it's notable that liberals and progressives have insisted often that the Right's rhetoric made such crimes more likely -- that "climate of hate" -- while giving themselves a pass for their own intemperate and often hateful rhetoric.  The denial that is so by many liberals, like the person in the photo that heads this post, is not only illiberal but a declaration of war on the principle of free speech.  I've often told liberals who claimed that "hate speech" isn't constitutionally protected that they should be glad it is, because otherwise they themselves would be in deep shit.

But then the rest of us are in deep shit too, as both mainstream US political factions gleefully drag the country (and the rest of the world) down.  "The creatures outside looked from pig to man," at the ending of Orwell's Animal Farm, "and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

P.S. Yes You're Racist has been active in fostering a climate of hate on Twitter, joining hands with the white supremacists he purports to despise, so this morning's retweet was almost funny:

It is okay to spread toxicity if it gets retweets and favorites on Twitter apparently.  Some of us don't need to "rethink things," though.  A rich white lady got hurt a few years ago, after all -- has YYR already forgotten Gabrielle Giffords and the eighteen other people shot during a constituent meeting in Arizona six years ago?  Six of them died, including a rich white guy and a little girl.  YYR and his ilk are paradigm examples of what so many left writers call "tribalism," the belief that only our side's lives matter.  If it's not okay to spread toxicity, it doesn't matter who gets hurt.

And, of course, some in the liberal media are blaming Putin for Hodgkinson.  Why not?