Immediately after the monstrously evil, murderous rampage in Tucson last Saturday, leading voices on the political Left in media and government blamed the political Right. In particular, they blamed the TEA Party, along with commentators such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, for its lack of civility, for its hate-filled, “vitriolic rhetoric” that allegedly leads to violence. Leftist writer Paul Krugman has even claimed that the political Right has made many “calls, explicit or implicit, for violence.”
The one piece of evidence that Krugman offers is refuted here. I have watched Glenn Beck’s television program almost daily for more than a year, and have never heard him say anything even remotely resembling the many uncivilized statements from prominent voices in the mainstream, Leftist media. Moreover, Leftists have recently called for violence not in anger or in jest, but in cold, sober terms. See this interview, with an approving interviewer, on MSNBC. And note this passage from an article by City University of New York Prof. Frances Fox Piven, a long-time politically influential Leftist, in The Nation last week:
Local protests have to accumulate and spread–and become more disruptive–to create serious pressures on national politicians. An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.
In the riots in Greece, people have been killed. In the “student protests” in England, police were injured and hospitalized.
Harry Binswanger has an excellent philosophical summary of the aftermath to the massacre in Tucson, explaining that the TEA Party is ideologically against the initiation of force, while the Left is ideologically for it. I want to add just a personal point.
In criticizing the political Right on television on Thursday, Galina Espinoza, co-president and editorial director of Latina Media Ventures, asked rhetorically, “Do we want to be promoting hatred and violence?” Many on the Left expressed similar sentiments, as in the aforementioned piece by Paul Krugman entitled “Climate of Hate.” Indeed, Leftists seem to hate hate.
Since a basic premise of Leftist political philosophy is that most individuals are incapable of reason and are instead driven by emotions—therefore requiring the government to do the important thinking and decision-making for us (and then forcing us to comply)—it is natural for Leftists to assume that emotions such as hatred cause acts of violence. But it is not hatred per se that causes violence; it is the choice not to think, the choice to reject reason and instead indulge one’s emotions (even emotions such as love), that causes violence.
Do I hate socialism and all its fascist, communist, and Nazi variants? Yes. Do I hate America’s current President and those in his Administration for moving America significantly closer to a socialist/fascist/Nazi state? Yes. Would I consider committing acts of violence against these people, or violating their individual rights in any way? Of course not. I would not, for the same reason that I hate them: My reason has taught me to hold individual rights as a profound value, to respect the individuals rights even of those I hate. In the absence of a society that respects individual rights, most if not all of the people I love would be dead; if by some miracle I remained alive for a while, I would not consider my life worth living.
I hate many of my political enemies because their actions are violating individual rights. But my hatred is not blind and indiscriminate, and it does not direct my actions. My actions are directed by reason.
As my colleague Glenn Marcus says, a rational man will have violent emotions.
I—along with far less radical right-wing individuals such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and virtually all TEA Party Americans—are exemplars of citizenship, civility, and civilization. I exemplify the principle that no matter how much anger or even hatred he feels, a civilized individual respects individual rights and does not resort to coercion of any kind. All may see and learn from my example and the example of the TEA Party.
Moreover, I will not attempt to hide or subdue my anger and hatred. Doing so would sanction evil. To be polite and respectful toward those who engage in tyranny implies that tyranny is reasonable and respectable, which it is not.
It is good to hate evil, and I do.