WHICH SIDE REALLY INSPIRES VIOLENCE, THE RIGHT OR LEFT?
June 21, 2009
Is the right responsible for inspiring murder, such as that of late-term abortionist George Tiller by Kansas native Scott Roeder? Some certainly seem to think so. For instance, the Friday before last Bill O’Reilly had as a guest on his show Joan Walsh, the editor of leftist news site Salon.com. She appeared because she had criticized O’Reilly for engaging in what she called a “jihad” against Tiller. Her thesis is that O’Reilly and, presumably, the rest of us who are passionately pro-life are culpable in Tiller’s death.
Of course, this isn’t a novel idea among the left. If there is any kind of violent incident perpetrated by someone ostensibly a rightist, they blame their political opponents for stoking the fires of hatred. You can just count on it every time, be it an attack on an abortion center, a Timothy McVeigh, or . . . or . . . well, actually, there aren’t really all that many, are there? But don’t bother ideologues with the facts.
Now, Walsh, a woman of mediocre intellect and lacking moral fiber — she has lauded Tiller “the baby killer” as a hero — has been beating this drum hard. In fact, on June 10 she published a piece titled “Can right-wing hate talk lead to murder?” In it, she seems to draw a connection between James von Brunn, the 88-year-old white supremacist who murdered security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns at the Holocaust Museum, and fairly benign commentary about the effects of political correctness. She wrote:
In a debate with Buchanan [Pat Buchanan] a couple of weeks ago, he told me that what was happening to white men was exactly what happened to black men — he didn't give me any examples of lynching — and that it was open season on white men. Wealthy Sen. Lindsay Graham suggested an average white guy like himself wouldn't get a fair shake from Sotomayor, and now even the new face of the GOP, Michael Steele, has said the same thing. If I were a marginal, unemployed, angry, racist white man right now, I'd be hearing a lot of mainstream conservative support for my point of view. Can that help create a climate for more violence? I don't know. I hope not, but I don't know.
No, Walsh doesn’t know much. First, von Brunn isn’t a rightist — he is a “whitist.” In fact, he is quite the opposite of a rightist many ways, as Bob Unruh reports at WorldNetDaily:
The Moonbattery blog revealed von Brunn advocated the socialist policies espoused by Adolf Hitler and used Darwinian theory to support his anti-Semitism.
And in statements that later were stripped from an anti-religion website, he wrote, "The Big Lie technique, employed by Paul to create the CHRISTIAN RELIGION, also was used to create the HOLOCAUST RELIGION … CHRISTIANITY AND THE HOLOCAUST are HOAXES."
This probably would come as such a shock to someone as ill-informed as Walsh that she’d scarcely believe it; it’s just too contrary to her dogma. Yet I could have guessed it. Those who have actually studied the history of Nazism and the white supremacist movement know that, from Adolf Hitler in the 1930s to his fellow travelers today, its ranks have always harbored hostility toward Christianity. The reasons are simple: Whether you view Christianity as merely an outgrowth of Judaism or the fulfillment of it, it is the second part of Judeo-Christian. Second, like the ancient Romans, the Nazis viewed the faith of “turn the other cheek” (counsel which, mind you, is misunderstood) as an influence that militates against manly virtue. Lastly, a lie doesn’t find much acquaintance with the Truth.
Instead, white supremacists much prefer ancient Germanic pagan religions and even Islam. Just consider Hitler, for instance, and his dislike for the heroic Frankish (Germanic) warrior Charles Martel. What was Martel’s sin? He halted the Moslem advance into Europe at the Battle of Tours in 732 A.D. Paul Belien addressed this misguided passion of Hitler’s in the Brussels Journal, writing,
“‘Had Charles Martel not been victorious,’ Hitler told his inner crowd in August 1942, ‘then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world.’”
The Nazis’ dislike for Christianity was so great that, not surprisingly, they sought to destroy it. Leftists may scoff at a notion so contrary to their prejudices, but the evidence of this fact is now overwhelming. And of this evidence, perhaps the most compelling was uncovered by a Jewish attorney named Julie Seltzer Mandel, a woman whose grandmother was a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp. I addressed her discovery in my piece “Hitler and Christianity,” writing:
While a law student and editor of the Nuremberg Project for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion, Mandel gained access to 148 bound volumes of rare documents — some marked “Top Secret” — compiled by the Office of Strategic Services (or O.S.S., the WWII forerunner to the CIA).
After scouring the papers, she published the first installment of them in 2002, a 120-page O.S.S. report entitled “The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches.” Reporting on these O.S.S. findings in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Edward Colimore wrote: “The fragile, typewritten documents from the 1940s lay out the Nazi plan in grim detail: Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith — in Germany’s Third Reich.” He then quotes Mandel: “A lot of people will say, ‘I didn’t realize that they were trying to convert Christians to a Nazi philosophy.’... They wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity.”
To this day nothing has changed. If you examine the writings of contemporary white supremacists, you will find much hatred for Christianity, affection for paganism and sympathy for Islam.
Now, I ask you: Which is better characterized by this description, the right or left? When answering, remember that those euphemistically-named censorship bureaucracies of the left, “human rights commissions,” consistently silence those who dare criticize Islam, most notably Christians.
Getting back to von Brunn, we can ask a similar question: Given that he hated not only Jews but also George Bush and neocons in general, of whom is he more reminiscent, Newt Gingrich or, maybe, um, Barack Obama’s buddy Reverend Wright? Bear in mind that Wright’s serpentine tongue won him the spotlight again with that recent explanation we’ve all heard for why he is persona non grata in the White House. To wit: “Them Jews ain’t going to let him [Obama] talk to me.”
Now let’s return to the matter of the impact of words. The Walshes of the world say that many of us rightists are responsible for inciting violence. In response, many on our side will say that there is only one person responsible for an act of violence, the perpetrator, be he Scott Roeder, von Dunn, Timothy McVeigh or someone else. As to these theses, the Walsh position is childish and contradictory; the rightist defense is incorrect and contradictory. Let’s discuss the Truth.
In reality, virtually all of us understand that words can seduce, be they a lover’s syrupy overtures or a hater’s cynical appeals. This is why Edward Bulwer-Lytton said that “The pen is mightier than the sword.” We treasure freedom of speech not because words are meaningless, but precisely because they’re powerful. And we allow it despite and because of words’ potential to inspire, for the pen of virtue remains eternally sharp, while the sword of vice’s edge is always dulled by time.
So while we’re right to deny responsibility for Roeder, it’s not because, as many imply, that such a thing is impossible in principle; it’s just that, in this case, we aren’t responsible in the particular (I’ll address the reason for this in a moment). And Walsh is right to imply that such things are possible in principle; her childishness lies in her silly implication that only the right is responsible for them in the particular.
Of course, it’s quite reflexive for a person — even a good one — being tarnished by guilt by association to deny the reality of indirect culpability, but the reflexive is seldom beholden to reason It’s also reflexive for dishonorable people such as Walsh to very cynically seize upon a violent event and use it to tarnish opponents, and, more ominously, to provide a specious justification for Fairness Doctrine-like legislation in the near future and hate-speech laws a bit further down the road. But whether or not the Walsh set actually believes their rhetoric depends upon the completeness of their detachment from reality.
To understand more deeply the fallacies here, consider the innumerable instances of leftist violence we’ve seen over the years. Would Moslem convert Carlos Bledsoe have murdered the army recruiter in Arkansas had he not been exposed to the anti-white, anti-Western and anti-Christian rhetoric that prevails in modern America? Would Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, have perpetrated his acts had he not been weaned on the environmentalist radicalism so prevalent today? Would all the domestic terrorists who firebombed fur stores and vandalized SUVs and research facilities have done so were it not for this ideological force? Would Colin Ferguson have targeted whites in the 1993 Long Island Railroad massacre had he not been assailed with anti-white rhetoric from the Reverend Wrights, Jacksons and Sharptons of the world?
Now, you can take issue with my examples; you can quibble about the particulars. But many other incidents could be cited, and the details aren’t really the issue. The point is, would we really deny that the indoctrination people are subjected to influences their thinking? Are Palestinians born hating Jews? Do madrassah schoolboys have a gene dictating hatred for the West? As for Walsh, she may turn a blind eye to the violence authored by her ilk, but an affinity for relativism doesn’t change reality.
Now we come to the crux of the matter: If rightist rhetoric can inspire others to violence just like the leftist variety, what determines culpability? Well, we must ask the only relevant question about that rhetoric:
Is it the Truth?
Sure, you may warn that a new resident in the neighborhood did time in prison for child molestation, and an angry mob may kill him. But did you do wrong? On the other hand, it’s a different matter entirely if harm befalls someone after you wrongly and maliciously label him a child molester.
Thus, anytime you sound an alarm — whether it contains the ring of Truth or that of lies — it can serve as a call to violent action for some. But what should we do? Create a Fahrenheit 451 situation in which ideas are roundly suppressed and people are kept comfortably numb? No one wants that, and it wouldn’t work anyway.
At the end of the day, one who speaks the Truth may inspire violence against livers of lies just as one who speaks lies may inspire violence against the tellers of Truth. But this isn’t the fault of the Truth; it simply means that society needs more of it.
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So the moral of this story is that we all can inspire violence with words, but not all of us speak inspired words. Evil may be done in the name of good or evil, but it is only those who speak the latter who have blood on their hands. Paging Joan Walsh.
© 2009 Selwyn Duke - All Rights Reserve