On this week’s first COMMENTARY podcast, Abe Greenwald and John Podhoretz say yes and Noah Rothman says no. Noah makes a valiant effort at being sensible but I’m not sure he prevails over my and Abe’s hysteria. Give a listen.

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Members have made 3 comments.

  1. Profile photo of dicentra Member

    The better parallel to the Alexandria shooting vis a vis rhetoric is McVeigh, who was definitely politically motivated and whose actions were blamed on the miasmas and penumbras emanated by Rush Limbaugh.

    Here’s where the comparison would break down: McVeigh was reacting to lives actually taken due to atrocious behavior by the government — it didn’t take the mediation of talk radio for McVeigh to see Ruby Ridge and Waco as events meriting retaliation.

    On the other hand, any lives lost from Trump’s agenda (Paris withdrawal, Obamacare repeal) are likely to be hypothetical both now and in the future, so it DOES take overheated rhetoric to elevate the events to something meriting retaliation.

    So what’s “irresponsible speech”? Telling the Stasi where the Jews are hiding makes the teller directly responsible for their deaths; smearing your political opponents as “practically Hitler” is incitement only if you know ahead of time that violent people stand ready to eliminate any target you identify.

    Maddow, Sanders, et al. did not know that the shooter was fixin’ to go out in a blaze of glory. Should they have known that such a man existed? Well?

    I don’t know.

    • #1
    • June 19, 2017 at 10:08 pm
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  2. Profile photo of OccupantCDN Coolidge

    For me, an example of irresponsible speech, is speech that identifies and incentives violence.

    Like a dude “I’ll pay you $50g to kill my wife” – for example. Or a preacher “Those people are our enemies – there is a special place in heaven for those who kill them!” (pick whatever religion you think works for that quote)

    To me, both examples above are “Murder by Proxy” a real crime – people do real time when they commit it – and yet one example will be prosecuted 100% of the time, and the other is never prosecuted.

    • #2
    • June 19, 2017 at 10:41 pm
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  3. Profile photo of Merrijane Member

    I really enjoyed this one, because I go back and forth myself on whether or not to be hysterical. I had two thoughts about some of the things discussed:

    1. Regarding culpability for speech that incites violence: If the devil tempts you to do something bad, you are culpable for your own actions if you succumb, but that doesn’t let the devil completely off the hook. Because of free will, you can’t say, “The devil made me do it,” but neither can he say, “My persuasions have absolutely no effect on anyone’s behavior.” It is possible for everybody to be bad at varying levels of badness.
    2. Regarding whataboutism: When my husband was growing up, his father had a fly-off-the-handle temper and liberally applied corporal punishment. (He mellowed out later.) As a result, if anyone was accused of breaking a rule and thus became the target of his wrath, the immediate response was to redirect attention to a sibling by saying, “Yeah, but he did this much worse thing!” I think whataboutism is closely related to self preservation/justification and is an ingrained part of human nature, never to be eradicated. Now I’m going to make myself a target—I even think it’s at the heart of the argument over “black lives matter” versus “all lives matter.” Whatever you think of the official organization (and I don’t think highly of it myself), the statement “black lives matter” is meant to draw attention to a particular issue—they believe law enforcement doesn’t value black lives as much as others. They don’t judge the phrase “all lives matter” by it’s literal meaning, but as an attempt to divert attention from what they see as the underlying problem. Is it? Based on the people I know who say “all lives matter,” I don’t think so. They are good-hearted and well-meaning. But in a political atmosphere where everyone is acting like the kid who doesn’t want to get hit or criticized, we tend to reflexively attribute the worst motives to the other side.
    • #3
    • June 20, 2017 at 9:54 am
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