January 15, 2011

Good for Charles M. Blow

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow deserves congratulations.
Tucson Witch Hunt

Immediately after the news broke, the air became thick with conjecture, speculation and innuendo. There was a giddy, almost punch-drunk excitement on the left. The prophecy had been fulfilled: “words have consequences.” And now, the right’s rhetorical chickens had finally come home to roost.

The dots were too close and the temptation to connect them too strong. The target was a Democratic congresswoman. There was the map of her district in the cross hairs. There were her own prescient worries about overheated rhetoric.

Within hours of the shooting, there was a full-fledged witch hunt to link the shooter to the right.

“I saw Goody Proctor with the devil! Oh, I mean Jared Lee Loughner! Yes him. With the devil!” 

As I've said before, conjecture, speculation, and innuendo in the immediate hours following an unexpected event are to be expected. The national press has obvious regional and race prejudices that boil to the surface when there are few facts at hand. Demonizing white Arizonans has been a major theme of the mainstream media since the spring of 2010, so it was inevitable that they would seize upon this seeming opportunity to reinforce the narrative.

What was truly dismaying was the doubling down on the original stereotyping once plenty of disconfirming evidence was available by later on on Saturday.
The only problem is that there was no evidence then, and even now, that overheated rhetoric from the right had anything to do with the shooting. ...

Great. So the left overreacts and overreaches and it only accomplishes two things: fostering sympathy for its opponents and nurturing a false equivalence within the body politic. Well done, Democrats.

Now we’ve settled into the by-any-means-necessary argument: anything that gets us to focus on the rhetoric and tamp it down is a good thing. But a wrong in the service of righteousness is no less wrong, no less corrosive, no less a menace to the very righteousness it’s meant to support.

You can’t claim the higher ground in a pit of quicksand.

In theory, no. In reality, you can often get away with a lot just by shouting angrily enough about how angry the other guys are.

37 comments:

Fred said...

Steve,

OT, but look what news was released overnight Friday: "Obama administration ends high-tech border fence"

$15 million per mile the article says this fake fence cost. They could have hired Toll Brothers to build a row of McMansions along the border for that much money, and sold them to Minutemen with low-money-down FHA loans.

Anonymous said...

One aspect of the assassin's motives that I have not seen anyone write about is an excessive focus on his own individualism. The theme that keeps appearing in his rants and his friends' descriptions of him is his delusional obsession with the idea that his 1st amendment rights were ignored and/or violated by teachers, and, in a visit to the Congresswoman's town hall meeting in 2007 where he asks "What is government if words have no meaning?," by Giffords herself. He seemed to believe that he was being punished for expressing ideas and opinions, but not necessarily political ones. If his speech had anything to do with causing him to kill, it was probably the the rhetoric from both ideological camps that encourage people to assert their individualism sometimes to the detriment of society as a whole. His philosophy of chaos is in keeping with an extreme interpretation of the importance of individualism coupled with the delusion that others are repressing your ability to express yourself. In this sense, his motives seem uniquely American.

Anonymous said...

an excessive focus on his own individualism... encourage people to assert their individualism... an extreme interpretation of the importance of individualism...

The culture of "self-esteem" in modern establishmentarian education is disastrous enough for normal children, but in the mentally ill child, it fuels a malignant narcissism the results of which can be terrible to behold.

sabril said...

I wonder how things would have turned out if Loughner had been raised by the likes of Amy Chua.

Maybe instead of shooting Giffords he would have thrown his violin at her.

Black Sea said...

"Demonizing white Arizonans has been a major theme of the mainstream media since" . . . well, at least since Governor Evan Mecham rescinded the state celebration of Martin Luther King Day in 1987.

Public Enemy even wrote a song about the controversy called "By the Time I get to Arizona" . . . "in which they describe assassinating the then Governor of Arizona Fife Symington III for his opposition to the holiday." (from Wikipedia).

anony-mouse said...

My Chua-Loughner question is:

'Why aren't there any Asian female murder mystery writers?'

Anonymous said...

"One aspect of the assassin's motives that I have not seen anyone write about is an excessive focus on his own individualism."

I wonder why anybody is trying still to ascribe motives to this paranoid schizophrenic that supposedly connect to the themes of our culture.

Perhaps there's some plausibility that the particular targets chosen such individuals have some murky, convoluted links to ideas and attitudes knocking around the larger world. But the most important fact about schizophrenia is precisely the deep thought disorder and logical deficits that characterize it. That is, precisely what makes them schizophrenics is that the delusions that overtake them and the "logic" that drives their thinking have no connection to reality. In essence, it is exactly their inability to connect dots in a rational way that makes them what they are. For others, after the fact, to somehow impose some rational or other coherent pattern on those thoughts and motivations is just to misunderstand what they are dealing with.

Maybe one can say that a Loughner type would, in another culture in which the role of government played less prominent a role, not have focused on a member of Congress as his target. Perhaps in that alternative culture he would have gone instead to Pima Community College and gunned down hated teachers, administrators, and students. Perhaps had he done so, it would have had somewhat less of a negative impact on the American body politic.

But what inference can one properly draw from such a possibility? That we should stop talking about the proper role of government? Does anyone seriously argue that the Greens should cease talking their anti-corporate, anti-industry and effectively anti-technology message because Ted Kaczynski, in his madness, took up a radical environmentalist view and turned it into violent acts?

It is often said that we can't allow terrorists to win by changing our culture dramatically in response to their acts. Isn't it, though, only a thousand times worse and more irrational to permit authentic madmen to win?

Thrasymachus said...

>>In theory, no. In reality, you can often get away with a lot just by shouting angrily enough about how angry the other guys are.<<

People are always asking "Why does the left do X?" and the answer is very simple, because it works. Pointing out that it's wrong, mean, bad, irrational, impolite, is all completely beside the point. Everything they do *works*. And no one has yet to figure out how to make it stop working.

Tony said...

He is related to Curtis Blow is he not?

Anonymous said...

"But the most important fact about schizophrenia is precisely the deep thought disorder and logical deficits that characterize it. That is, precisely what makes them schizophrenics is that the delusions that overtake them and the "logic" that drives their thinking have no connection to reality."


Here, here! It's called a "mental illness," folks, because the brain isn't working normally. End of story.

Why do we over-analyze the very obvious?

Anonymous said...

In all of this discourse there isn't much mention of the real dangers from people who don't agree with you politically.

The first one is of course Islam. I comment on this blog under a pseudonym. It's not an affectation. It's survival instinct. I made some remarks about US/Islam relations a couple years ago on another blog. The blog host "outed" me. He published my full name and a thinly disguised invitation for his Muslim colleagues to avenge the insult to the Prophet. I went under cover.

The HDB crowd also has reason to feel fear. The hate rhetoric against them is palpable. I'm sure Steve worries about this.

OTOH Republicans and Tea party members essentially never make threats. When this talk of right wing "climate of hate" first came up I thought it was a joke. What Democrat keeps guards to protect themselves from Republicans?

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"Everything they [the left]*works*. And no one has yet to figure out how to make it stop working."

Well, I surely wouldn't say "Everything." They did lose the last election.

The way to make "it stop" is to call them "ignorant, stupid, ill-educated." That really frosts them because it's their supposed brains and education that they use to mock those who haven't their Ivy educations and high-status connections.

Still, the public knows stupid when they see it and hear it. They know that some people have top-notch educations that result in the educated or trained person producing something of worth--that is, engineers can build bridges and carpenters can make beautiful cabinets for their kitchen, and scientists can come up with new treatments to better the quality of their lives, etc.--but they also know that most of the so-called "elites" produce nothing of worth unless you call "trouble" and "lack of common sense" something of worth. The effete produce nothing.

I think the other side needs to keep calling the left "ill-educated, stupid, and arrogant." I think to that the phrase should be added, "They've never produced anything but rot."

Anonymous said...

The rambling video that Laughner took as he walked through Pima College is back up on YouTube.

It's about 4 minutes of incoherence punctuated by creepy giggling.

Paul Krugman and his cronies ought to be locked in cell for 24 hours with this thing playing on a continuous loop.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/01/15/loughners-school-releases-video-they-suspended-him-for/

Svigor said...

I wonder why anybody is trying still to ascribe motives to this paranoid schizophrenic that supposedly connect to the themes of our culture.

When your opponent keeps throwing the kitchen sink at you, eventually you throw it back.

And laugh when he cries foul.

Kylie said...

From the article by Charles Blow: "So the left overreacts and overreaches and it only accomplishes two things: fostering sympathy for its opponents and nurturing a false equivalence within the body politic. Well done, Democrats."

In other words, his complaint is not so much that it was wrong in a moral sense as that it backfired in a practical or tactical one.

So when he continues, "Now we’ve settled into the by-any-means-necessary argument: anything that gets us to focus on the rhetoric and tamp it down is a good thing. But a wrong in the service of righteousness is no less wrong, no less corrosive, no less a menace to the very righteousness it’s meant to support.

You can’t claim the higher ground in a pit of quicksand."


I have to wonder if he would still made that argument had the left succeeded in blaming the right for these shootings.

And note he still assigns most of the blame for the potential for violence to the right when he says, "I have written about violent rhetoric before, and I’m convinced that it’s poisonous to our politics, that the preponderance of it comes from the right, and that it has the potential to manifest in massacres like the one in Tucson." [Emphasis added]

This as much as anything tells me we in this country are afflicted with irreconciable differences. Civil as Blow is, he just can't let go of that left=good/right=evil dichotomy long enough to say simply, "We f****d up" and leave it at that.

Good, maybe. But not quite good enough.

And more than ever, I think you are waaaaaaay too nice.

Nino said...

But keep in mind that Charles Bro wrote an op-ed identitical to Rich's 'you whiteys can't take your country back' column last yr. Bro is trying to have it both ways. He's completely in alliance with NY Times Jews to undermine white power but, Obamaesquely, he's pretending to rise about petty debates to 'go beyond ideology'. He doesn't fool me. This piece isn't so much about 'liberals are wrong', but 'I, the great Charles Blow, am the finest human for I rise about petty squabbles.'

Kylie said...

Does the left have this one in its crosshairs?

More ammo for the Dems:

GOP member goes on rampage, kills woman .

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Perhaps in that alternative culture he would have gone instead to Pima Community College and gunned down hated teachers, administrators, and students. Perhaps had he done so, it would have had somewhat less of a negative impact on the American body politic."

That wouldn't require an alternative culture, only a very minor alteration of circumstances. The odds seem pretty high that Loughner would indeed have shot up that college, if the administration there had not (very wisely) suspended him. In light of Virginia Tech, they took him seriously as a threat and dealt with him accordingly.

Mr. Anon said...

As no black people were involved one way or the other, I guess Mr. Blow figured he could afford to be magnanimous.

Whiskey said...

The way to make the Left's strategy to stop working is to attack their targets with counter-strategies: SWPL (and aspirational) White women.

White Women (particularly unmarried, now the majority, and professional class) form the basis for the final bloc in the Left's alliance of gays, Blacks, Hispanics, and elites. It gets them to 51% to 54%, depending on the break out and relative attractiveness of candidates.

The counter to the Left's assertion that "icky low class White people" were responsible for the shooting (class/snob/elitism appeal to SWPL White women and those who aspire to that class) is to push back that it was ...

An elite, privileged, hard Left family that let their lunatic son go kill people. Rather than commit him, by pulling strings.

Judo-esque political combat. Take the elitism appeal and turn it completely around: the people are dead because privileged political elites kept their crazy son out of jail or the funny farm.

The swing battleground (those who CAN be persuaded to switch votes) is as always, SWPL women.

Elbrac said...

http://www.vdare.com/taylor/110113_loughner.htm

Anatomy of an hysteria.

Anonymous said...

What a shame. Chau seemed like someone to be taken seriously after her first two books. Now she comes off like a nut in her memoir.

Big deal, so her kid played at Carnegie Hall-- so can your kid if you rent it for $18,000.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, SWPL women are being outbred like gangbusters. Some of them even get it and defect - no one wants to be an old maid, even if the new name for it is "career professional."

Anonymous said...

Actually, Loughner doesn't seem any crazier than the prophet Mohammed.

I wonder if the US will last long enough to keep him imprisoned for life.

ksoren said...

I don't have much to say on the actual topic because I can't get past the name Charles M. Blow. It's fantastic. It's the best name for a columnist since Lester Bangs. Charles M. Blow could be a rapper with that name. Kurtis Blow had to drop his real name to have a name like that. Of course for all I know, Charles M. dropped his real name and named himself after Kurtis.

One more thing - Charles M. Blow's wikipedia page refers to him as "current visual Op-Ed columnist for the once revered The New York Times." Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

Do you realize that you are agreeing with a black man??

asdfasdfa said...

http://www.therightperspective.org/2011/01/12/is-jared-loughner-jewish/

So, Loughner is NOT Jewish?

Formerly.JP98 said...

It's nice to see that someone at the Times has at least enough of a brain to realize that most people are not buying the Left's "poisonous rhetoric" argument.

* * *

Just this morning, I heard some columnist from a Miami paper saying that we can't "necessarily" attribute the shooting to partisan rhetoric, but the shooting is a valuable "wake-up call." Hey, Numbskull, IF TWO THINGS ARE NOT CONNECTED, HOW IS ONE A WAKE-UP CALL REGARDING THE OTHER?

David said...

>Public Enemy even wrote a song about the controversy called "By the Time I get to Arizona" . . . "in which they describe assassinating the then Governor of Arizona<

Didn't the video show a white actor/s playing the gov begging and pleading for his life from black gunmen? (Don't want to look for it, too disgusting.)

Anonymous said...

http://www.vdare.com/buchanan/110113_obama.htm

Obama is also trying to 'rise above politics' but don't you believe it. If poll numbers showed thatmost Americans blame the Tea Party, Obama would be milking this for all its worth. His advisors told him the mood of the American people is against liberal MSM so he's pulling this post-partisan schtick.

Anonymous said...

Compleatly off-topic: I think there is an article written by Steve about this issue:

"Hispanics single race were disproportionately represented among the long-term uninsured. While they represented 15.7 percent of the population under age 65, they represented 40.1 percent of the long-term uninsured for the period 2002–2005."

The rate on longterm uninsrance for whites 25 above is extremely low, closer to 3% than 15%.

http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st183/stat183.pdf

http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st183/stat183.pdf

Immigration, not aging, is the main cause that our health care system that worked fine until a generation ago is ruined.

persona au gratin said...

OT but here's an article attacking the recent reexamination of the role of culture in black poverty. The author is already making the connection you predicted. He compares the Harlem Children’s Zone to the Stolen Generations.

Instead, Wilson places all his bets on education—specifically, the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a schooling and social services organization predicated on the idea that the challenge is to “take the ghetto out of the child,” much as earlier missionaries and educators sought to “take the Indian out of the child.”


http://www.bostonreview.net/BR36.1/steinberg.php

Mr. Anon said...

"David said...

>Public Enemy even wrote a song about the controversy called "By the Time I get to Arizona" . . . "in which they describe assassinating the then Governor of Arizona<

Didn't the video show a white actor/s playing the gov begging and pleading for his life from black gunmen? (Don't want to look for it, too disgusting.)"

Public Enemy must have done that because that's what Martin Luther King Jr. (Excuse me, DR. Martin Luther King Jr.) was all about - execution style murder committed against whitey.

DYork said...

From your boy Blow:

Charles Blow said:

"She’s (Sarah Palin) like the ominous blob in the horror films: the more you shoot at it, the bigger and stronger it becomes."

David said...

>Public Enemy must have done that because that's what Martin Luther King Jr. (Excuse me, DR. Martin Luther King Jr.) was all about - execution style murder committed against whitey.<

Found it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrFOb_f7ubw

At 5:10 they gun down the white Arizona pols. (In tandem with a reenactment of MLK's being shot by James Earl Ray.)

What it's all about is incompatible races fighting over resources in the same ecosystem.

Who wanted to mix them? Well, who's behind this video and band anyway?

"Chuck D put out a tape to promote WBAU (the radio station where he was working at the time) and to fend off a local MC who wanted to battle him. He called the tape Public Enemy #1 because he felt like he was being persecuted by people in the local scene.[...] Bill Stephney, the former Program Director at WBAU, was approached by Sam Mulderrig and offered a position with the label. Stephney accepted, and his first assignment was to help fledgling producer Rick Rubin sign Chuck D, whose song 'Public Enemy Number One' Rubin had heard[...]In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine' ranked Public Enemy number forty-four on its list of the Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time." (Source: Wikipedia; links and emphases added.)

When living in NYC, I heard WABC talk show host Lynn Samuels praise to the skies Public Enemy's latest album "Fear of a Black Planet." She enthused sincerely: "Such a WONDERFUL title!"

I'm sure we all have little memories like that, buried beneath the PC thinking that may still cripple us.

Anonymous said...

"Goody Proctor" is a reference to 'The Crucible'. Wonder what Miller would have thought?

lesley said...

"When living in NYC, I heard WABC "talk show host Lynn Samuels praise to the skies Public Enemy's latest album "Fear of a Black Planet." She enthused sincerely: "Such a WONDERFUL title!"

Probably playing Shock Jock back then. Don't know much about her, but lately she has been vocal in demanding BO's birth certificate, and questioning his elegibility, so she's not a pc-bot. Wonders never cease.

Her type (they come in jew and gentile) always seem to think they live in metaphorical gated communities and are immune from repercussions.