Monday, June 1, 2009

Tragic games and political gamesmanship: the absence of intellectual integrity

Stung, apparently, by the post in which I responded to him [I still don't know why exactly my feet should get washed], Delawaredem counters with his own long-winded self-justification for conflating political speech he doesn't like with potentially violent extremism. And trust me, I know long-winded....

Here's the crux of his argument:

Wrong. I am not playing a game. Like I said above, a person can think abortion is murder, even though I disagree with it. A person can think an economic stimulus package is tyranny, even though I think that person killed one too many brain cells in college, or at least missed one too many History classes.

The only time we connect our political opponents to the truly dangerous, nutcase, violent extremists is when they make the connection themselves, whether by instigating or provoking violence, or by celebrating or failing to condemn it when it happens. That is when I conflate, Steve.

On which I call bullshit.

First, note the use of we, which I take to mean in its restrictive sense at least the rest of the bloggers with whom DD posts. This is important, because Delawaredem establishes three criteria for the only time they would so conflate:

1) the group instigates or provokes violence

2) the group celebrates violence

3) the group fails to condemn violence when it happens

[For the record, that last one is pretty damn tenuous, as it has become evident at Delawareliberal throughout the day that it is not sufficient to condemn violence, but that one must condemn violence in precisely the form they approve in order for it to count.]

At any rate, let's look at the record with Delawareliberal and SCCOR, which jason again today managed to include as a violent, anti-American group, even though SCCOR has absolutely nothing to do with radical anti-abortion advocacy or promoting violence.

Delawaredem, I have been back through virtually every post written at DL and here regarding the Sussex County Community Organized Regiment [which can be accessed here by following all the links]. I have found your peers and co-authors arguing that one must read between the lines to discover the violent intent of SCCOR. I have found jason calling for Federal surveillance and the confiscation of their property. I have found nemski arguing that the mere use of the terms "keep your powder dry" and "regiment" automatically makes these folks violent rightwing extremists rather than social conservatives with different political opinions.

What I have not managed to find is a single post or comment by you that says, Wait a minute, it's only acceptable to conflate socially conservative political rhetoric when there is a threat of violence or a celebration of violence, and nobody has yet shown any evidence of that with SCCOR.

What I've found from you is silence while your co-authors literally conflated a local group with secessionists and violent extremists.


It has to work both ways for you to get up on that high horse of yours and pontificate about tragedy and political violence.

I believe you are genuinely passionate in your denunciation of violence as a political tool, but your actions and the actions of those with whom you associate speak louder than your words. It has become a game, a deadly serious game played out across this country in an attempt to channel debate in only certain acceptable directions, primarily by tarring your rhetorical opponents with demands that they recant violence they never advocated.

Are there people who deserve to be called out, as individuals and specific groups? Damn right. What's interesting is that you don't seem interested over there in being specific, only in making gigantic generalizations. Otherwise, where's your moral outrage and your condemnation when jason says

I’d be very happy to never have to write about a Republican shooting up an abortion clinic or Unitarian Church service ever again.

But thanks to the modern GOP and cheerleaders like FSP (state sovereignty PR stunt anyone?) , you can’t swing a dead cat in this country without finding some outraged wingnut.

Funny, I can't find it. You--despite your fine-sounding words in your declamatory post--are apparently quite all right co-blogging with a man who uses Republican as a regular synonym for violent extremist.

So again: I call bullshit on your outrage that you get accused of playing games.

People who have never advocated political violence have no moral responsibility to condemn that violence at each and every occurrence to satisfy your personal demands. David Neiwert's blatant attempt to reframe American history as some sort of progressive v. eliminationist dynamic aside [funny, how the book lacks any relevant scholarly reviews to validate it], you don't acquire the moral standing to dictate the acceptable parameters of political debate just by standing on your bloggy soapbox and asserting it.

1 comment:

Miko said...

I've always thought of the spying on your political enemies (e.g, opening MLK's mail) and HUAC-style witch hunts as being more of a right-wing thing. It's distressing to see this kind of authoritarian thought from the left.