Liberal Hate Speech

John blueoval at 1SMARTISP.NET
Mon Jan 3 10:44:19 MST 2005

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More liberal hate speech

More liberal hate speech

AS IT DOES every year, the empty folder I labeled "Liberal Hate
Speech" in January had grown to a thick sheaf of clippings by
December. 2004 wasn't even a week old when two videos explicitly
comparing George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler appeared on the website
of the liberal group MoveOn. They were entries in a contest
soliciting "really creative ads" that would help voters
"understand the truth about George Bush."
So began another year in which liberals engaged in, and mostly got
away with, grotesque slanders and slurs about conservatives -- the
kind of poisonous rhetoric that should be beyond the pale in a
decent society. Once again, too many on the left -- not crackpots
from the fringe, but mainstream players and pundits -- chose to
demonize conservatives as monsters rather than debate their ideas
on the merits.

As in years past, Republicans were almost routinely associated
with Nazi Germany. Former Vice President Al Gore referred to GOP
activists as "brown shirts." Newsday columnist Hugh Pearson
likened the Republican National Convention to the "Nazi rallies
held in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler." Linda Ronstadt
said that the Republican victory on Election Day meant "we've got
a new bunch of Hitlers." Chuck Turner, a Boston city councilor,
smeared National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as "a tool of
white leaders," like "a Jewish person working for Hitler."Such
Nazi labeling is no less disgusting when it comes from
Republicans, of course. According to Bob Woodward, Secretary of
State Colin Powell described Undersecretary of Defense Douglas
Feith as running a separate government out of his "Gestapo
office." Commentator Ralph Peters, writing in the New York Post,
accused Democrat Howard Dean of using the tactics of Hitler and
Goebbels to silence his competitors. Too ma!
ny conservatives and libertarians refer to antismoking extremists
as "tobacco Nazis," or to the humorless critics of fast food as
"food Nazis." Whether it comes from the right or the left,
language like that is vile.Overwhelmingly, though, political hate
speech today comes from the left. It has increasingly become a
habit of leftist argumentation to simply dismiss conservative
ideas as evil or noxious rather than rebut them with facts and
evidence.That is why there was no uproar when Cameron Diaz
declared that rape might be legalized if women didn't turn out to
vote for John Kerry. Or when Walter Cronkite told Larry King that
the videotape of Osama bin Laden that surfaced just before the
election was "probably set up" by Karl Rove. Or when Alfred A.
Knopf published Nicholson Baker's "Checkpoint," a novel in which
two Bush-haters talk about assassinating the president. "I'm going
to kill that bastard," one character rages.Bill Moyers warned a
television audience on Election !
Day that if Kerry won narrowly, "I think there'd be an effort !
to mount
a coup, quite frankly. . . . The right wing is not going to accept
it." Chevy Chase, hosting a People for the American Way awards
ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, slammed Bush as "an
uneducated, real, lying schmuck." A cartoon by the widely
syndicated Ted Rall described Pat Tillman, who gave up his NFL
career to enlist in the Army and was then killed in Afghanistan,
as a "sap" and an "idiot."So many examples, so little space. A
political flier in Tennessee, depicting Bush as a mentally
disabled sprinter, bore the message: "Voting for Bush is like
running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still
retarded."The St. Petersburg, Fla., Democratic Club took out an ad
calling for the death of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "Then
there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq, `We have our good days and our
bad days,' " the ad read. "We should put this S.O.B. up against a
wall and say, `This is one of our bad days,' and pull the
trigger." Fantasies of murder likewi!
se animated British pundit Charlie Brooker, who ended his Oct. 24
column in the Guardian with a plea for Bush's death: "John Wilkes
Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. -- where are you now
that we need you?" Brooker later assured readers that he "deplores
violence of any kind" and had meant his call for an assassin only
as "an ironic joke."But the "joke" of left-wing hate speech
stopped being funny a long time ago. There is room in the
marketplace of ideas for passionate, even angry, rhetoric, but
there are also lines that, as a matter of decency and civic
hygiene, should not be crossed. The violent invective so often
hurled at conservatives pollutes the democratic stream from which
all of us drink. Democrats no less than Republicans should want to
shut those polluters down.


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