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View Diary: Glenn Beck's exterminationist talk (352 comments)

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  •  Wait a minute, zephron. (0+ / 0-)

    You're railing against an argument that was never made, certainly not by me.  

    The original comparison in this thread was absolutely not equating the Tea Party with Rwandan genocide.  My point above was quite specifically about the ability of extremist talk on radio and tv to inspire acts of violence.  No one here, as far as I can tell, ever said that therefore the Tea Party is genocidal.  So while I appreciate your vividly creative evocation of the amount of time it would take to count the dead in Rwanda, it is absolutely irrelevant to the conversation at hand.

    The point was, and still is, that we have a climate of increasing alarmism and violent rhetoric spewing from the right in this country.  And it very well could--perhaps already has--spur certain listeners to violent action.

    So please read carefully what people are actually saying here before you saddle up on your high horse and start lecturing everyone.  I, for one, resent your moralistic, condescending tone.  I fucking know what genocide is.

    Thank you.

    Nothing in the world, however base nor however good, nor however theoretically admirable, can justify murder as an act of policy. - James Cameron (journalist)

    by Jimbo47 on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 08:47:55 AM PDT

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    •  I understood your point. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't even disagree with your point, as you may notice from my other comments on this thread.  Free speech is dangerous for a lot of reasons.  Censored speech is worse.  The cure for hateful speech is more speech.  And that's in part what we are all doing right now.

      But when people say, "yeah, what about McVeigh", they most certainly are comparing it to the Rwandan genocide.  Read their comments again.  They were pretty clear responses trying to justify that comparison.

      Look, this has a lot of the feel of comparing contemporary politics to Nazi Germany.  And it's about as appropriate.

      Justice deferred is justice denied. -MLK

      by zephron on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 10:26:57 AM PDT

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      •  There you go again! First Rwanda, now Nazis! (0+ / 0-)

        What is it with you?  You keep assuming that someone making a specific comparison of the relationship between hate speech and violence is necessarily equating that with some much larger moral disaster, like genocide. This time it's Nazis.  You keep reading what people say, inflating it to the 100th degree, and then responding to that.  Are you feeling okay?  It's like you're having an argument with yourself.  

        I did re-read the postings, and guess what?  The first person to even bring up Rwanda was you, zephron.  From there, people were continuing to make the connection of media commentators to certain violent acts that they may have instigated.  Your claim that someone mentioning the violence of Oklahoma City was "most certainly" comparing it to the Rwanda genocide is just not true--what they were doing was still talking about the original topic--again, media commentators instigating violence. No one was "justifying" anything, because no one made that argument in the first place.

        Nothing in the world, however base nor however good, nor however theoretically admirable, can justify murder as an act of policy. - James Cameron (journalist)

        by Jimbo47 on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 12:17:43 PM PDT

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        •  You're too funny. (0+ / 0-)

          The question is when will Fox itself be (63+ / 0-)

          pulled off the air? It is no more than a slick version of Radio Rwanda with higher production values.

          You don't bring a knife to a gunfight and you don't bring a chicken to the doctor.

          by beltane on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 02:24:38 PM EDT

          Right at the top of the thread; in fact, the very comment too which I first replied.

          As far as Oklahoma?  Well context matters.  But whatever.  This is hardly an argument worth pursuing.

          Cheers.

          Justice deferred is justice denied. -MLK

          by zephron on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 07:40:15 PM PDT

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          •  Okay, I owe you an apology, there. (0+ / 0-)

            My bad, in the midst of the 100's of comments I somehow missed the original reference.  While I would agree with you that it isn't necessarily helpful to the discussion to infer, for instance, that there is going to be a "genocide against liberals" (now that's an overt reference, made by another poster)--I also do think there is still a valid comparison to be made on the specific topic of how escalating rhetoric can lead to violent acts.  But you're right inasmuch as very quickly the discussion can get derailed into invalid comparisons with a scale of evil totally unrelated to the unpleasantness here in America.

            I look forward to reading your dissertation that follows.

            Best,

            Jimbo

            Nothing in the world, however base nor however good, nor however theoretically admirable, can justify murder as an act of policy. - James Cameron (journalist)

            by Jimbo47 on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 12:04:23 PM PDT

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        •  You know, I thought about this, and maybe (0+ / 0-)

          you really are confused.  On that assumption, I'll try here to explain why the very first comment in this thread (the one I copied above) was inherently dishonest, and in my opinion inappropriate (which is why I responded).  I believe the subsequent discussion can then be more easily understood.  As I said, context matters.

          Now, before we get into Rwanda, let me take a moment to explain why Nazi references are generally bad.  I do this primarily because I suspect you will have an easier time understanding in this case.

          First off, there is Goodwin's law and its corollaries.  But more importantly, it is almost always a logical fallacy, and a dishonest one at that.  The purpose of invoking Nazis is almost always to inflame, tarring some subject or action with the horrific outcomes of the Nazi regime.  For example:

          You: I like water.  It's good to drink.

          Me: What?!? Hitler loved water!  He made sure all the Nazis drank a lot of it!  Whad'ya think of that, eh?

          You: WTF?!?

          See what I did there?  I took the completely innocuous act of drinking water, which Hitler and most Nazis certainly did, and attached to it the atrocities of the Nazi regime, with the implication that the Nazis did the terrible things they did in part because they drank water.  This is ridiculous.  More importantly, it is offensive.  It belittles the atrocities committed by the Nazis and dishonors their victims.

          Of course, that was a ridiculous example.  How about this one:

          Me: Violent rhetoric is dangerous!  These bastards are playing with fire.

          You: Yeah, it sounds like 1930's Germany.  Hell, they're even breaking windows and the Teabaggers are practically brownshirts.

          Me: WTF?!?

          Now that's a little less obvious.  The difficulty here is that the propaganda efforts were indeed an integral part of what made the evil committed by the Nazis possible.  However, the problem is that it implies that unchecked, right-wing propaganda is directly responsible for what the Nazis did.  I know, you're saying, "What? That's not what I said!".  But it is.  See, there have been lots of instances of violent, right-wing rhetoric throughout numerous countries, including our own (see Father Coughlin), during the past century.  We did not, as it turned out, single out various ethnic minorities and proceed to exterminate them.  (Well, we did, but not in the 20th century).  So, while again the comparison is strictly accurate, in practice it is again playing upon the horror of the Nazis to tar the previously described actions with consequences far beyond those that are actually imminent, with the specific intention of inflaming.  Again, it is dishonest to do so, offensive, belittling and dishonors the Nazi's victims.

          That's the Nazis.  What about Rwanda?  Well, the very first comment in this thread said:

          The question is when will Fox itself be pulled off the air?  It is no more than a slick version of Radio Rwanda with higher production values.

          What is the commenter doing here?  Calling for censorship (yes, that's what the first sentence is doing despite being phrased as an interrogative) based upon the assertion that Fox is essentially identical to Radio Rwanda.  Why choose Radio Rwanda?  Is it because of the local African content on Fox?  Or that it sounds like a radio station?  No, of course not.  It is precisely to imply the consequences that followed Radio Rwanda, namely the horrific murder of nearly a million innocent people, is the inevitable consequence of Fox news.  To paraphrase the comment: "Censor Fox, otherwise we'll end up like Rwanda!"  This, of course, hyperbole, and dishonest.  Worse, it is an offensive misuse of the tragedy.

          Now, you would be forgiven for saying, "But, those were the consequence of Radio Rwanda!  And Fox does marginalize and dehumanize the opposition in the same way!"  Indeed.  But the consequences of hate speech are dependent upon many things beyond the speech itself, and to suggest that the speech is solely responsible is sloppy.  Besides, would it really have been so much less compelling to say:

          The question is when will Fox itself be pulled off the air?  It's no better than the shit that drove McVeigh to kill 168 people.  If they keep it up, they'll have more blood on their hands.

          Or, reference Dr. Tiller's murder.  Or the murder of the Pittsburgh police officers.  Or the burning of black churches in the 60's.  Or any number of other domestic terrorism incidents, which are more appropriate in scale and share the cultural and economic issues at play here.  That is, a more honest comparison.

          Okay, so what about the comments that followed?  Well, let's see.  In short we have, in paraphrase with my interpretations in parentheses

          Commenter1: Fox is like Radio Rwanda (Failure to shut up fox leads to horrific genocide)

          Me: WTF?!?  That's bull.  Radio Rwanda was directing death squads!

          You: Well, Radio Rwanda did a bunch of shit slowly and bad shit happened.  Bad shit could happen here. (Radio Rwanda wasn't always abject evil.  At one point it was just crappy, like Fox.  Bad shit could eventually happen.)

          Commenter2: Well, Fox is already directing crazy shit! (See!  It's almost like directing stuff, like Radio Rwanda did!)

          Me: You can't be serious.  Teabaggers != death squads.

          Commenter3: Well, McVeigh did kill a bunch of people. (Teabaggers = death squads, in fact!)

          Me: The comparison is without merrit. (You are on fucking crack!)

          Commener4: Teabaggers love them some McVeigh. They threw him a party!  (No really, at least Teabaggers want to = death squads)

          Me: WTF!?!

          [queue our interesting interaction]

          Now maybe I misread that.  Most of those were probably off-the-cuff, poorly thought out comments.  Doesn't make it any better.  It's all a bunch of sloppy thinking.  Sloppy and offensive thinking.

          Hope that helps.

          Justice deferred is justice denied. -MLK

          by zephron on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 09:14:20 PM PDT

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          •  Thanks for your clarification. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zephron

            That there is hyperbole on DailyKos is a given at this point.  Much of what is posted here is pretty much "rallying the base" type stuff--to be sure, there is plenty of useful info, too, but one does need to wade through quite a bit of over-the-top language to get to the nuggets of truth.  

            I suppose when I read these threads I simply put my hyperbole filtering glasses on and try to focus on the real topic at hand.  If some people were actually making an explicit comparison to genocide, it eluded me.  And frankly, I really am a bit worried at this right wing rhetoric.  It's not just Beck, listen to the ever-escalating venom emanating from Mark Levin on AM radio these days--in many ways he outdoes Beck.  And yes, I do believe it is already inciting some woefully ignorant listeners to take violent action.  No, I do not think there should be censorship.  Never did suggest that, though others did.  But my worry is that it's almost like an addiction for these blowhards, they have to keep topping themselves with outrageous behavior to keep getting the same effect.  Have they crossed the line into outright "directing?"  Not yet.  But I won't be a bit surprised if it happens.

            Nothing in the world, however base nor however good, nor however theoretically admirable, can justify murder as an act of policy. - James Cameron (journalist)

            by Jimbo47 on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 12:19:53 PM PDT

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            •  Violent rhetoric is bad. (0+ / 0-)

              Period.  It debases the debate and divides people along imaginary lines.  It should be denounced in the harshest possible terms.  And, yes, it's on the rise again.

              However, have faith!  Look at Father Coughlin.  Look at the crap spewed across the South in the 60's (where it came to a head).  This is not the worst it has been by any stretch of the imagination, and that is a comforting, if not particularly satisfying, thought.

              Justice deferred is justice denied. -MLK

              by zephron on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 02:41:11 PM PDT

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