Monday, August 24, 2009

Loony As a Way of Life

Op-Ed Columnist - The Guns of August -

Note this is not from some fringe rag or wingnut blog, this is from the NYT. Mr Rich is convinced that any minor whiff of thought that doesn't agree with the lefty view of the world means that we are on the verge of armed conflict. He doesn't say what we ought to DO about this horror, but it is implied in various columns that confiscation of weapons, controls on any group that is somehow identified as "right wing", maybe "education" (forced?) ... it is all very fuzzy, but at least to Mr Rich, we have a "Clear and Present Danger".

Oddly, I'm sure he has probably "forgotten" that Reagan was actually shot and easily could have died, Gerald Ford was shot AT by ex-Manson follower Squeaky Frome -- but in true lefty fashion, she missed entirely (thankfully). My point here would  be that while Rich seems to think that violence is an affliction only of the right, any sort of perusal of the facts is going to make that case hard to support.

No, the biggest contributor to this resurgence of radicalism remains panic in some precincts about a new era of cultural and demographic change. As the sociologist Daniel Bell put it, “What the right as a whole fears is the erosion of its own social position, the collapse of its power, the increasing incomprehensibility of a world — now overwhelmingly technical and complex — that has changed so drastically within a lifetime.”

Bell wrote this fine analysis in '62, but the panic on the left that somebody still thinks differently from them is just as great. JFK was shot by a Castro supporter that had visited the USSR -- not PRECISELY what one might call a "right wing attack". Sirhan Sirhan claimed that he shot RFK because of his support for Israel -- Sirhan was born in Palestine. James Earl Ray was a poor repeat criminal with no identified ideology. I must admit that there is some strong evidence that the 1979 swimming rabbit that attacked Carter in GA was a member of a radical fringe militia group -- so I'll grant him one!

Note also how it is somehow "the right" that can't handle "change". One might argue that globalization, the internet, the end of the USSR and much of the various technical revolutions had much more to do with "the right" than with the left. Is it simply because Rich is certain that "left = smart, right = stupid" that he is convinced of the right's inability to deal with complexity? I know a whole bunch of guys that Rich would call "rightists" that design and code operating system software for a living -- is that less complex than writing bad opinion for the NY Times?

Can a rational person look at the facts of the past 50 years and conclude that there is any significant danger from the right in this country? The war protests, the campus bombings, the race riots in cities, union violence and rampant crime. What of that is a phenomenon of "the right"? Sure, there is Timothy McVeigh and some abortion doctor killings. So the "right" is going to have some crackpots as well. In many ways, Rich ought to be saying "Thank God" -- if Timothy McVeigh didn't exist, it was almost getting to the point that the left ought to have faked him in order to keep them from looking bad!

Of course, how can you really look bad when you have the NYT on your side!