Monthly Archives: April 2010

Silencing Tea Party & Talk Radio calls for Violence

If it’s proper to quiet calls to violence from Rush Limbaugh, et. al., what implications does that have for public policy in general?

Here is an interesting clip from the transcript of Rush’s show the other day. Not only are we to ignore the inseparable connection between Islam and violence, evidence (proof, really) thereof occurring some 15,000 times since 9/11 (yes, there have been over 15 thousand Jihad killings worldwide), we are to fantastically equate conservatism with violence.

CLINTON 1995: We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that—by their very words, that—violence is a acceptable. You ought to see—I’m sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of (pounding podium) reckless speech and behavior.

 

FOLLOWERS: (applause)

 

RUSH: That was Bill Clinton, blaming me for the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19th, 1995. Yesterday we had the tea parties, and the Drive-By Media (I’m sure to its great chagrin) is filled with stories about how festive and how peaceful and how unthreatening all of the tea parties were. The effort to infiltrate these tea parties fizzled. They have stories on that that they probably do not like having to report. And, ladies and gentlemen, it’s very clear that these citizen uprisings—genuine grassroots citizen’s uprisings—are far more powerful than an attempt to drum up fake opposition to them from the White House. Yet, Bill Clinton is back in the game, expanding that threat via this sound bite.

 

CLINTON 2010: There was this rising movement in the early nineties that was basically not just a carefully orchestrated plot by people of extreme right-wing views but one that fell into fertile soil because there were so many people for whom the world no longer made sense. They wanted a simple, clear explanation of what was an inherently complex, mixed picture full of challenges that required not only changes in public policy, but personnel conduct and imagination about the world we were living in. So demonizing the government and the people that work for it sort of fit that — and there were a lot of people who were in the business back then of saying that the biggest threat to our liberty and the cause of our economic problems was the federal government itself.

 

RUSH: So there you have it: Bill Clinton once again trying to rebirth his empty threat from 1995. He starts out tracing the plot that started in the eighties to “demonize government.” I have a question. We have two more sound bites of the president here specifying right-wing talk radio, but I have a question: How come we’re supposed to draw (on the basis of no evidence), a connection between conservatism and terrorism, conservative ideology and terrorism? Where is that connection? Yet we are told we must reject, despite tons of evidence, the connection between Islamist ideology and terrorism. So we can’t call Islamist fundamentalists “terrorists.” We can’t even use the word. But we can have ex-presidents and current presidents running around trying to associate conservatives with nonexistent terrorism at peaceful tea parties. Somebody needs to explain this to me.

So what should we think of all this?

Let’s assume, arguendo, that Timothy McVeigh was not only a talk-radio addict who listened daily to Rush crying out for violence, but a Christian right winger to boot. And let’s further assume that Timothy McVeigh shouted, when his bomb went off, “Praise be to Jesus, who shall smite our enemies.” Now, I hope you all recall that none of that is true. Tim was seeking retribution for Clinton’s WACO massacre. But, follow me on this.

Next, assume, arguendo, that I’m right about the Koran and that, in all its interpretations, the one aspect that remains true is Jihad against unbelievers. Assume, for the moment, that the text of the Koran actually commands that Muslims kill non believers.

OK, so now lets look at public policy. Taking my assumptions, would it be proper policy to outlaw conservatives’ calls to violence on talk radio and the violent-teaching aspects of Christianity? I doubt any of you would have a problem with the talk radio part, and you would probably agree that, if carefully done so as to not trench on the Constitution, we could outlaw those parts of Christianity that urged Tim McVeigh to do what he did. We would have to ensure that we didn’t prohibit the “free exercise” of Christianity as we took scissors to the bible and cut out the passages calling for death to government employees. But it seems to me excising calls to violence would be not only reasonable, but prudent. And a strong argument could be made that it wouldn’t violate the Constitution.

So, therefore, and again remember the assumptions, wouldn’t it be proper policy to do the same with the Islam?

Are you cringing?

Of course you are, because it’s hard to think straight through my wild assumptions. It’s had to assume, let alone believe, that a religion is diabolical.

But what if it is?

What if the fantastic assumptions are not assumptions at all. What if the Koran does, indeed, call for your death at the hands of any and all Muslims near you?