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February 07, 2013

If It Will Save a Single Life, We Must Get Piers Morgan's Stupid Fat Face off the Television

It is said that this manifesto was more than a theory, that it was an incitement. Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief, and, if believed, it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between the expression of an opinion and an incitement in the narrower sense is the speaker's enthusiasm for the result. Eloquence may set fire to reason. But whatever may be thought of the redundant discourse before us, it had no chance of starting a present conflagration.

-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, joined by Louis Brandeis, dissenting in Gitlow v. People

The case involved a communist manifesto which urged, as they do, the violent overthrow of government. The opinion blessed jailing the man for the manifesto, claiming it was an "incitement."

Which provoked Holmes to reply: Every idea is an incitement. That's the whole point of them.

I bring this up because of the repulsive dishonesty in media reporting concerning the intersection of violence and politics.

If a conservative commits violence -- and, actually, you'll have to remind me when the last time that happened was, exactly; but if he does -- the media begins calling for the right to "tone down its rhetoric."

After all, this might "incite" people to commit violence. Eloquence might, as Holmes said, "set fire to reason."

And as Holmes might say: That's the whole bloody point of eloquence.

Now, the media claims the right must "tone down its rhetoric" -- make its rhetoric less inciting -- in order to Protect the Public Safety. Any pungent, tough-worded bit of rhetoric could spur a nutter to do something violent.

True enough. I can't argue with that. History is filled with nutters who read something and then shot someone. For God's sake, John Lennon was killed by someone who got really, really incited by Catcher in the Rye.

But what you can't help but notice is that the media never makes a similar demand of those on the left to "tone down their rhetoric." Like, for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map," which, it turns out, quickly became a leftist's Kill Map.

There was some incitement going on there, it turns out. Based on the incitement contained on the SPLC's website -- branding millions of citizens as "haters" and oppressors, for the mentally unstable to obsess over -- Floyd Corkins got himself a gun and set out to shoot innocent men and women at the Family Research Council.

He also brought Chick-fil-A sandwiches with him -- his intent was to smear the faces of the dead with Hate Chicken.

Incitement, yes? Eloquence -- well, let's not dignify it as eloquence; let's call it what it was, crude fundraising hair-on-fire fear-peddling -- did in fact "set fire to reason."

So where are the calls for SPLC to take down its Kill Map?

There hasn't been a single call from the media. The Kill Map remains up.

The calculation on the part of the media is simple: the SPLC's speech contains value and hence we'll just have to accept that the occasional hateful lunatic might be incensed by it and kill someone.

That -- those murders, those losses of human life -- are just a cost we'll have to pay. Free speech is too important to be restricted due to such concerns.

Yes, in this case, free speech outweighs the value of human life.

Now, consider conservative political messaging. Suddenly, in the media's eyes, the costs which could flow from incitement are not worth it.

Why? Simple: Conservative speech is valueless, or, at least, of relatively low value compare to liberal speech. While the potential of inspiring murder is not sufficient to suggest that liberal speech be controlled and moderated, that same concern is plenty sufficient to require that conservative speech be controlled and moderated.

This is the underlying assumption that they simply will not confess, for if they did confess it, it would be game over for them. All of their conclusions -- all of their bias, all of their double-standards -- flow from this premise, which they will not admit, but will only dance around.

The premise is simply that liberal speech is much more valuable than conservative speech and this is of course because liberal politics are much more valuable than conservative ones.

Once you accept this premise -- liberal speech is high value, conservative speech is very low value -- then you can see that all the conclusions make logical sense (although the syllogism remains invalid, as it's based on a false premise).

Of course there is distinction between how we treat liberal and conservative speech -- just as there is distinction between how we treat jewels and how we treat human waste! One is precious and one is refuse; of course the two are treated differently!

Of course, having vastly different levels of value, one might be worth a certain toll in human lives, and of course the other one would not be!

They won't say this.

But this is our fault -- because we don't ask them.

This weekend, a dozen Republicans and conservatives will sit face to face with David Gregory, George Stephanolopolous, and the rest of the progressive clownshow.

And not a single Republican or conservative will put the question I have outlined to their faces.

That's the only way to compel an answer to a question someone doesn't even want to acknowledge -- you embarrass him into answering it. You put him on the spot. You make him squirm. You either make him answer, or let the world see his babbling evasions.

You get an answer or your expose him as a liar or a fool.

But we won't do that. Our Polite Company Conservatives will continue appearing on these shows only to answer David's and George's questions, never to ask questions themselves.

And David and George should be asked questions. They are more important political actors than 90% of their clock-watching guests are.

Political actors should be asked, early and often, about their politics, and their too-shameful-to-be-confessed unstated assumptions and secret agendas, and their hypocrisies, their lies, and their evasions.

Is that our job? To be interrogated as if we were suspects? To assume, and to confirm, the media's self-vaunted status as the Judges of Truth and the Priests of Righteousness?

Why would we ever concede that to them? Just because a lunatic believes he's Napoleon does not mean we should dress in kepis to indulge him.

You think we're lying? Get this: We're certain you're lying.

You don't trust our motives? Let's talk about your motives -- motives demonstrably corrupt and dishonest.

You think we're religious zealots who adapt our perception of the world to agree with the word of our so-called God? Yeah, some of us do.

But none of us are so irrational and stupid to worship a profoundly mediocre dilettante named Barack Hussein Obama, as you do.

Do we ever swing the hot light around and begin Watching the Watchmen?


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posted by Ace at 04:18 PM

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