Archive for January 15th, 2011


The Civility Diversion and Justificatory Closure

January 15, 2011

Balloon Juice has a really nice post that, I think, buries its insights a wee too deep in the weeds. Here’s a cut:

The reason that hundreds of angry people came to town hall meetings in my Congressional district in 2009, and the reason that police had to be present where they had never been before, wasn’t because someone was “uncivil”. It was because their media heroes and party leaders told them a pack of lies about death panels, federal funding for abortions, Medicare being taken away and free insurance for illegal immigrants. The questions that my Congressman took at those hate-filled meetings weren’t reasonable queries about limited government, deficits and healthcare outcomes. They were questions about why he wanted to kill grandma, let the government pay to abort babies, and take away Medicare.

Here’s my attempt at translation.

Palin, Beck, and the rest of the banshees have been engaged, for years now really, in a project of deception that implicates politicians in the disintegration of the fabric and soul of America (whatever the hell that is). They have told all manner of untruths to make their point, and in making this point, have either explicitly or implicitly stated that the guilty politicians must be stopped or taken out. They use guns and gun sights and invoke the revolutionary war and the second world war to underscore the extent of their dissatisfaction. They continue to do it. “If those wars were justified,” they imply, “the only natural conclusion is that this current fight, and the side that represents the side of the good, the side we’re on, is also justified.”

A prevailing presupposition, then, is that war and violence and assassination are sometimes justified. Such acts are justified, for instance, in cases like the revolutionary and the second world war. I think many people agree with this. Certainly, many self-respecting Americans agree with this. (Others, perhaps, not so much.)

It is one thing to argue that a position is justified, yet another to imply that violence in the promotion or defense of that position is justified.

Click on the jump for more…

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