Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DHS Was Right (about Right-wing extremists)

Here come the extremists. This type of thing is terrorism, pure and simple. The fact that our current President is black may be one of the factors that's tipping these nuts towards more direct action, but there's no question that on the Right side of the political debate there is way too much militarism. I've written here before (mostly in the comments) about hate speech on the Right being a precursor to violent actions. I expect more of the same; so does Mr. Tiller's killer (note the date on the article's byline).


Andrew said...

...Man, does anybody who reads this blog (and by anybody I mean the Conservative readership) buy into the idea that Hitler was actually a Leftist? I'm just trying to figure out how far the stupid has spread; it's infected Beck et. al. on cable and across the Right side of the blogosphere.

peter said...

I think it can be argued either way…I’ve read evidence from both sides that is pertinent. describes a political ideology compass as opposed to a continuum and this blurb on Wikipedia,, discusses the place of fascism on the political spectrum. Both indicate that in different cases Hitler's "side" changes. Trying to label past leaders based on current philosophies is difficult. Would Hitler have considered himself a revolutionary or reactionary? Why does it matter?

Your contempt for conservatism is obvious. However, implying racism is a conservative philosophy is uncalled for. Both ends of the continuum have their nut jobs and I think it is better to decry the actions of extremists from either side as unacceptable rather than trying to affix blame and identify right-wing extremists with normal conservatives in an attempt to marginalize conservatism and promote a political agenda.


Andrew said...

I'm not implying, rather I'm saying the Conservative nut jobs are out in force. So does this guy who's been following it for years:

I don't need to marginalize Conservatives, they've done that themselves with the way they handled government over the last eight years. And, uh, right from the top of the same Wikipedia definition:

"Fascism, pronounced /ˈfæʃɪzəm/, comprises a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology[1][2][3][4] and a corporatist economic ideology.[5] Fascists advocate the creation of a single-party state.[6] Fascists believe that nations and/or races are in perpetual conflict whereby only the strong can survive by being healthy, vital, and by asserting themselves in combat against the weak.[7] Fascist governments forbid and suppress criticism and opposition to the government and the fascist movement.[8] Fascism opposes class conflict, blames capitalist liberal democracies for its creation and communists for exploiting the concept."

People can cover their ears and pretend they're not hearing what's on Fox News or Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh every day, but the truth is they preach violence and extremism. Perhaps there is some secret moderate Conservative news source that has a much larger audience than those three; if so I have yet to see it. There certainly isn't the same chorus of voices on the Left calling for seceding from the Union or interviewing Minutemen who "protect" our borders. At worst most of the outspoken "liberal" websites and news outlets have called for investigations or incarcerations of people involved in what they think are crimes. You are engaging in a common sort of "he said/she said" form of debate, where you assume at side A is just as bad as side B without providing any sort of evidence. I agree that there are lefty nut jobs out there, but they don't have microphones and access through radio and television to an audience of millions.

peter said...

Hmm…authoritarian nationalistic…sounds like Maoist China and Chavez’ Venezuela…single party state…again, China and Venezuela, forbid and suppress criticism to the government…oh yeah, China and Venezuela. And last time I checked, China and Venezuela are communist…that would be on the left. As I said, it’s a more complex problem than just, “was Hitler left or right.” It is not that easy to neatly classify it into one box or another…or we can just say that the extreme wings of either side have a lot in common. That being said I ask again…why does it matter what wing Hitler was from?

I hope that you and all the other liberals continue to believe that conservatism is a marginal movement (despite the fact that Obama did not win by a landslide) because the inevitable conservative back-swing will be that much more unexpected to you.

I deplore extremism that leads to violence, as do the vast majority of conservatives, and I hope that no one else is hurt by any fringe element. (But Rush Limbaugh better watch out since Wanda Sykes wished death upon him…I mean, that’s basically a call to arms, right?)

And as for the other stuff…it’s not worth my time to try and discuss it because you are already cemented in your conservative conspiracy theories. It’s easy to write off what Limbaugh, Beck, and Hannity are saying as “extreme” because then you don’t have to deal with their content. I don’t agree with all their content, but they have many good points to make. But go ahead and write them off just as you have conservatism. I appreciate the debate that happens on this site, but I’m done on this particular subject…and remain convinced that your perceptions on this issue are flawed.

One more thing…

“I agree that there are lefty nut jobs out there, but they don't have microphones and access through radio and television to an audience of millions.” Guess no one really wants to listen to them. (Sorry Olberman and Maddow)

peter said...

Sorry...forgot to sign it.


Andrew said...

Maddow and Olbermann don't call for violence against those they disagree with. That's a huge, and very important, difference.

You conveniently skipped over this part:

"Fascism opposes class conflict, blames capitalist liberal democracies for its creation and communists for exploiting the concept."

Fascism is, very plainly, strongly opposed to Communism and "liberal" (small l, not necessarily meaning "Liberal") democracies (i.e., our own). I don't know where the reading comprehension problem lies, but that's about as plain as words can be.

We will agree to disagree then about whether or not those commentators incite violence. I strongly believe they do, and they feed off of some of the fringier stuff that bubbles up to the mainstream.

In the meantime, more fruit from the same tree. Again, I expect to see more of this. It is almost guaranteed to continue happening so long as extremism is tolerated by the conservative side of the media.

Andrew said...

...Adding, here's a gem from O'Reilly that aptly demonstrates the kind of rhetoric I'm talking about. More like this, and we'll have shootings happening every week instead of every 20 days or so.

peter said...

What is your point? O'Reilly made no mention of violence of any kind. He is advocating changing the law and protesting. You made my point, not yours.


peter said...

"Fascism is, very plainly, strongly opposed to Communism and "liberal" (small l, not necessarily meaning "Liberal") democracies (i.e., our own). I don't know where the reading comprehension problem lies, but that's about as plain as words can be."

No reading comprehension problem at all. "Liberal democracies" refers to countries governed by constitutions and is therefore not indicative of a "wing." So your arguement is that because Fascists don't like Communists, they are therefore on the right-wing? Pretty weak if you ask me.

By the way, I've never said that fascists weren't the extreme of the right wing (and just as bad as the communists on the left), I just said it was debatable. And you've never mentioned why this issue was so important.


Andrew said...

From O'Reilly:

"Wednesday night on this broadcast, a pro-life advocate told us that Tiller injects poison into the baby's heart while it is still in the womb, then removes the dead baby and cremates it. We have not been able to confirm the cremation assertion, but a letter purported to be from Tiller himself describes the injection."

"Now even if you are pro-choice, you must see the ramifications of this barbaric display. If we as a society allow an undefined mental health exception in late term abortions, then babies can be killed for almost any reason. And in Kansas hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies have been aborted by Dr. Tiller — the price is $5,000 dollars each."

The "ramifications of this barbaric display", and that he's doing this to hundreds or even thousands of "babies"... It's not that he directly says "go out and shoot Dr. Tiller", it's that this sort of tone is entirely confrontational and inciting people against Dr. Tiller. It's a game of draw your own conclusions -- if a guy is out there killing thousands of babies, what are you gonna do about it? Are you going to sit there, or "negotiate" or legislate the problem away, or are you going to take action?

"America is in the middle of an intense culture war, where the lives of babies are at stake. This has nothing to do with reproductive rights or any other euphemism. This has to do with terminating the lives of viable babies, because the mother wants to back out of the pregnancy in the late stages."

"If we allow this, America will no longer be a noble nation — a country that stands for human rights and protection of the innocent."

Again, the implication is clear -- the very future of America depends on stopping this man from "terminating the lives of viable babies" (assuming, of course, that they're actually alive at that point).

It is one thing to think that late-term abortion is wrong. It is entirely another to use inflammatory rhetoric such as this to incite people to take action. The whole concept on his site of being a "Culture Warrior" is in a similar vein; it's a thinly-veiled call to arms. If you take the whole thing together, the message is pretty clear -- go stop people from doing "bad" things, using force if necessary.

The "Nazi" thing is important because Conservative media types don't want to be associated with them. They don't want people to think that, just maybe, they take things too far and contribute to extremist violence. My whole point as that guys like Dr. Tiller's killer and Von Brunn and the gang in Arizona who tried to kill a whole family are all connected strongly to the Right, and that the more "mainstream" Conservative commentators either don't get or don't care that they're contributing to the problem.

Andrew said...

...Adding, of course, that DHS already predicted that these things would happen. These same commentators all cried foul when that report came out, and it's no surprise why; the people committing these crimes are part of their base of support.

peter said...

First of all, this is a “Mormon” website and let’s be clear, the church is against abortion with possible exceptions for rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. No one has stated when life begins, but they have unequivocally stated that abortion is wrong. So let’s not play any nuance games on abortion.

With that in mind, everything O’Reilly said is correct. Would you rather that he said, “Well, abortion is wrong, but there is nothing you can do about it so let’s just learn to live with it?” That might be nice for the liberal cause, but would be untrue to the fact that we should be working on changing what is happening in America…babies are being killed for convenience.

He said nothing about violence…that is all in how you read into it and your conservative conspiracy theories. The way I see it, you just want anyone who doesn’t agree with your perception of the world to shut up. But instead of saying you don’t agree with their views, you accuse them of leading nut jobs and equate their silence with making the world a safer place. Conservative commentators are not responsible for the actions of the fringe. They don’t condone those actions, they don't hope for or want violence, they want change. Change we can believe in. :)


(But I promise that if they ever do start advocating violence (read: "take your guns and go shoot people"), I'll admit I'm wrong.)

Andrew said...

"The way I see it, you just want anyone who doesn’t agree with your perception of the world to shut up."

Hardly, but I do feel strongly that these guys take things way too far. I'd like to see a well-researched and fact-based argument against late-term abortion. Unfortunately, such a thing doesn't exist. That doesn't mean I agree with it as a moral issue, but what you believe in morally and what you legislate are two different things (at least in my mind). If a law is going to govern everyone, regardless of personal morals, then I believe it should have some sort of solid foundation in reality.

For example -- "Don't buy stuff you can't afford" is a great argument for personal fiscal discipline (although national finances aren't quite so simple) and has been used effectively by fiscal conservatives for generations. In fact, I believe it's a good idea strongly enough to try and live it myself. It is an example of a good conservative principle that has lots of real-world support and, therefore, can be used effectively for making policy.

Abortion, on the other hand, is much fuzzier. The Church has its position, I have my position (basically in line with the Church's), and then there's the matter of what do we do as a society. Mr. O'Reilly and his ilk do no favors by "opposing" abortion -- all they present are emotional arguments meant to stoke fear or hatred or both. There are no facts there, no medical reasons why abortion is bad for the mother. Since we don't have any clue, really, about when "life" starts, then in my mind that means the mother's decision should hold sway in public policy until science provides a better generally-accepted answer to the question. Doing so won't stop me from or anyone else from living according to the teachings of the Church, and it will afford those who don't believe as we do the freedom to act according to their own conscience.

peter said...

Your premise for deciding that abortion should be legal is that no one can prove when “life” begins. It is interesting to me that people who are so concerned about the lives of minnows and other small creatures are so unconcerned about human lives. Shouldn’t we want to err on the side of caution when legislating about human life? I would submit that the burden of proof should be on those wishing to have abortions legal to prove that the fetus is not “alive” than to blithely abort until some proves it is “alive.” Besides, the people who are pro-choice are forgetting the choice that got them to this point…the choice to take their procreative powers lightly. (And I am excluding those who are choosing abortion for previously stated, church-approved exceptions.)

I have a hard time understanding how you can leave morals out of legislation. Should religion be left out of government? I think so. No organized religion should be promoted or hindered by government, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) leave your morals parked at the door when you talk about public policy. Right is right and wrong is wrong and we must stand up for what is right. In Eph. 6:10,12 Paul said “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might…For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”

President Hinckley and a host of other church leaders have said that though we can’t be arrogant, self-righteous, or argumentative, “We must stand firm. We must hold back the world. If we do so, the Almighty will be our strength and our protector, our guide and our revelator. We shall have the comfort of knowing that we are doing what He would have us do.” President Hinckley, Ensign November 2003.

Now I’ll readily admit that Bill O’Reilly is argumentative, but the issue he is championing is the right one and very relevant. We should always stand for the things we believe are right no matter if the world accepts them or not. I worry that if we don’t speak out that our silence will be perceived as apathy and tacit acceptance of practices that are morally wrong.


“Doing so won't stop me from or anyone else from living according to the teachings of the Church, and it will afford those who don't believe as we do the freedom to act according to their own conscience.”

What about when they legislate that physicians and pharmacists have to perform abortions or give out birth control despite their personal beliefs in order to have these things widely available to patients? It’s been discussed.