Wednesday, January 05, 2005

David's Back

The redoubtable David Neiwert comes back swinging from his Christmas hiatus. Thank God for that.

I've been talking for some time about the course that eliminationist rhetoric on the right would eventually take by the force of its own nature: pretty soon we'd go from talking about liberals as traitors to overtly wishing for violence to be visited upon them and discussing locking them up, followed in due course by such violence and incarceration becoming a reality.

Well, it is now becoming a commonly spoken sentiment on the right to wish for violence against liberals and to simultaneously suggest they and all "traitors" (including Muslim Americans) should be locked away. We're firmly into Phase II now.

Now, you won't hear this talk on the upper levels of the conservative movement. People like William Bennett will call for a "national renewal" aimed at enforcing a new moral code, while Ann Coulter will explain to her readership, a la the title of her most recent "bestseller", that the "preferable" way to address a liberal is with "a baseball bat." [Ha ha. Whatsa matter, you don't think that's funny? Someone should beat you up.]

And if you talk to supposedly "reasonable" conservatives, who will claim that talk like this remains relegated to the fringes and is just so much "hot talk." I've been hearing this for a long time, but I keep hearing more and more of the eliminationist talk.

You hear it when conservatives -- especially those red-state cultural conservatives from the working class who are most likely to vote against their own self-interest, and then blame liberals for how lousy their lives are -- get together among themselves for their communal liberal-bashing hatefests. They'll say it when they think no one else is listening. You can hear it from "fringe" radio figures like Michael Savage. Or you can read it in the unpublished letters to the editor that most publications choose not to run.

It's the natural outgrowth of the kind of rhetoric we've gotten from the national conservative punditry, manifesting itself on a less sophisticated but more direct and plain-spoken mode.

My very clear impression of the rank-and-file American right is that many if not most of them, at the behest of their leaders, now believe that opposing George W. Bush and the Iraq War, as well as his handling of the War on Terror, is an act of genuine treason worthy of the ultimate social condemnation, including incarceration and execution. They feel not only vindicated but profoundly empowered by the election result, empowered to silence their opposition, by force if need be.

These aren't just my impressions from hanging out in Deep Red Country. The evidence is abundant elsewhere as well. Consider, for instance, some of the letters to the editor received by Editor and Publisher after it published a piece by former USA Today publisher Al Neuharth (who is not exactly a liberal) questioning the administration's handling of Iraq.

These lunatics now believe they have a mandate; they are more dangerous than ever before. David is watching; too bad the rest of the media is off searching for the next Scott Peterson.

David also has a long and important post up about the Washington state election controversy. Check it out too.

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