Sunday, April 5, 2009

The only thing worse than faux outrage is faux moralizing....

To understand the context of hypocrisy, you have to read this entire post by jason at Delawareliberal regarding the shooter in the recent killing of three PA police officers:

For people like Dave Burris, politics is just a big game. When he pushed the GOP’s secessionist uprising talk on his blog, Delaware politics, he probably thought nobody would take that silly bit of GOP agitprop very seriously. He probably thought that a little tough talking gamesmanship was called for given the sad shape of GOP.

Who knows. What Dave honestly thinks about the secessionist uprising talk that he promoted on his blog is between Dave and God.

We can know this, however. We can know that some people who hear the rightwing secessionist uprising talk take it very seriously. I’ve always known that, but when I read the following quote I felt like I was punched in the gut.

“We recently discovered that 30 states had declared sovereignty,” said Mr. Perkovic, who lives in Lawrenceville. “One of his concerns was why were these major events in America not being reported to the public.”

I’m certain that reading that quote today has no impact on Dave. Being able to imagine that your game playing has no impact in the real world is a essential skill for Republicans.

Meanwhile, three fathers have been taken away from their children and three families have been introduced to Republican game playing.

And you'd have to know what Dave Burris originally posted at DelawarePolitics:

Eleven states have declared sovereignty under the 10th Amendment in response to the vast overreaching of the federal government on a variety of issues. As A.W.R. Hawkins puts it:

These states — Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas — have passed resolutions reminding Obama that the 10th Amendment protects the rights of the states, which are the rights of the people, by limiting the power of the federal government. These resolutions call on Obama to “cease and desist” from his reckless government expansion and also indicate that federal laws and regulations implemented in violation of the 10th Amendment can be nullified by the states.

When the Constitution was being ratified during the 1780s, the 10th Amendment was understood to be the linchpin that held the entire Bill of Rights together. The amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

We need to add Delaware to that list. Period.

What becomes instructive here resides first in jason's assertion that For people like Dave Burris, politics is just a big game.

In other words, we should always be careful of what we say because what we say can have dramatic consequences we didn't expect--something jason would actually know little or nothing about, as evidenced by this (among dozens if not hundreds of others):

In spite of the the fact that high profile wingnuts like Glen Beck and Michelle Bachman keep saying that they want to revolt against the government - I don’t think that the rank and file nutbags really want to revolt.

I think what they really want is just some excuse to shoot up a whole bunch of Liberals, Mexicans, and/or black people. A revolution would be like work. Shooting people would be fun.

But that's not the really interesting part of this little fake jason holier-than-thou post.

The really interesting part is that jason actually commented twice on Dave's original post, and he didn't raise any serious moral concerns--no dire warnings that this could lead to violence. He made fun of him. Check it out.

See, what's at stake here is an attempt to frame political speech that jason doesn't like as inherently dangerous and irresponsible--even when the speech is nothing of the sort. Dave Burris' original post about 10th Amendment protests is one of millions of pieces of discussion about this issue. It doesn't in any way shape or form argue for anything illegal, violent, or confrontational outside the usual norms of political dynamics.

But jason wants us to take the use of the word sovereignty by a nutcase who believes in a Jewish conspiracy and the idea that the Obama administration is bringing home troops to take away our freedoms, and create some kind of moronic false causal connection to Dave's use of the same word in his post.

[And jason could--with just about as much intellectual rigor--suggest that I was equally irresponsible to denounce the US government's intent to use the 3rd Infantry Division in domestic security operations. I'm sure he'll get around to it. Of course he'll have to sidestep the fact that one of his fellow bloggers covered the same issue from almost exactly the same perspective I did.]

Jason wants to suggest that there are political subjects his opponents shouldn't be allowed to discuss.

He and his, on the other hand, should be free to engage in any form of provocative hyperbole without any hint of recriminations.


Anonymous said...

It has been faux outrage, and faux moralizing, all because his pseudo intellect is so narrow and limited.

Hube said...

The hilarious thing is, Jack Markell feels the need to meet w/these mental midgets.

MArk H said...

Hube, Steve has mentioned this before, but I'm thinking that the meeting with Markell was pretty much just a sham. No serious questions asked, answered, etc. Kind of wondering if they drank Kool-Aid while they were there :)
I have always been of the opinion that Politics is a contact sport. :) What I mean by that is as far as words go, nothing is off limits
But then I'm a 1st amendment absolutist, so what do I know :)

Steven H. Newton said...

It is because I am a first amendment fanatic that jason's speech has to be met and countered--not stifled in the way he is attempting to convince other people that certain thoughts should be ruled out of bounds.

I'm already on record that Markell/Selander handled the bloggers quite handily....

Anonymous said...


There is NO place in Jason's post where he says that "certain thoughts should be ruled out of bounds" or that speech should be limited.

No place at all. Your implication that he is advocating such a position is despicable and indefensible.

His post was about his reaction to the killings in the news and how he sees it related to political rhetoric of the far right and its effects on some people.

But are you saying that the effect of right wing political rhetoric on marginally violent people isn't a legitimate topic of discussion or are you implying that that kind of speech "should be ruled out of bounds"?

Sorry, Steve. You read into Jason's post what you wanted to, not what he actually wrote. Perhaps next time you'll be a bit more careful and thoughtful in your analyses.


Steven H. Newton said...

Give me a break: first, I quoted the entire post.

jason, DD, 'bulo, and commenters like a. price have been consistently attempting to portray certain forms of speech they don't like as dangerous and even treasonous. This post is part of an ongoing attempt to link even fairly mainstream different ideas to outbreaks of violence.

jason has directly stated that Dave's post was the same type of what he considers irresponsible speech that is intended to instigate violence. What he is trying to do is deny the legitimacy of specific types of political speech.

Does he suggest in this post that such speech should be legally out of bounds? No. But he (and you and numerous fellow travelers) have been moving in that direction for several months.

Tell me: have you been completely comfortable with calls for people like Glenn Beck or Rush or Bachmann to be "tried for treason" if some nut quotes them and kills people?

You're usually perceptive even why I disagree with you.

Today you are merely tiring.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the clarification.

I may be missing something, but where in that post has jason "directly stated that Dave's post was the same type of what he considers irresponsible speech that is intended to instigate violence"?

What he did write was "Who knows" in regards to Dave's intention.

Inflammatory rhetoric on the right seems to increase ratings, sales, and the commercial value of the media that carries it. I think the question is not whether or not it should be allowed (it should, no question), the question is whether or not it is responsible and good for our society, as a whole.

But perhaps the more interesting question is when do the cumulative veiled rhetorical calls to violence become the societal equivalence of yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre?

Finally, to answer your question, I have not been at all comfortable with "calls for treason" for political speech by anybody, left, right, or center.


Delaware Watch said...

"I'm already on record that Markell/Selander handled the bloggers quite handily...."

And I am on record for saying that you are wrong as far as I am concerned. Show me otherwise.