Saturday, December 06, 2003

Projecting violence

Glenn Reynolds links approvingly to this classic bit of conservative projection from Gerard Van Der Leun, "Where Bush Hate is Heading." In it, Van Der Leun inflates a toss-off line from Eminem into evidence of the growing virulence and potential violence underlying "Bush hatred."

These posts raise a few questions:

-- Since when, exactly, did the notorious homophobe Eminem become an official spokesman of liberalism?

-- Indeed, I thought that, according to John Leo, conservatives are supposed to be the "cool cats" among young people today. Wasn't Andrew Sullivan just telling us that Eminem is one of those "realist" "South Park Republicans"?

-- Were Reynolds and Van Den Leuven likewise concerned -- nay, alarmed! -- when such genuine conservative spokesmen as Jesse Helms and John Derbyshire made similar remarks aimed at the Clintons? What were their reactions when Ann Coulter, in her 1998 book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, suggested the only viable discussions for dealing with Clinton came down to whether we should "impeach or assassinate"?

-- Where, exactly, were Reynolds and Van Der Leun a couple of weeks ago when nationally syndicated conservative columnist Kathleen Parker approvingly quoted an anonymous military man's wish that the nine Democratic presidential candidates be "lined up and shot"?

Oh, that's right. "Rowdy Yates" would never bite the hand that strokes his ego.

Problem is, the Parker column is only one example of many instances of the escalation of antiliberal rhetoric into outright (and violent) eliminationism. As discussed earlier, the instances of this behavior range from prominent conservatives like Ann Coulter to Parker to any number of lesser lights. It appears in conservative blogs like the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, Mark Byron, and IMAO, and is a staple of the commentary at such Websites as Little Green Footballs and Free Republic. It is also becoming a staple of letters to the editor.

Indeed, continue reading the commentary to Van Der Leun's post: It is rife with the desire to do violence unto liberals, including one such post from the owner of the Rottweiler site, and another that explicitly fantasizes about someone inserting a gun into Eminem's mouth and pulling the trigger.

I've also pointed out that there is no real parallel to this behavior from the left. Moreover, as Misha (who is prolific in posting this kind of hatred, including a recent contribution here) rather ominously point out, it is the folks on the right who tend to have all the guns in this country.

What is particularly interesting about this kind of projection by conservatives is that it then (as the comments indicate) becomes a pretext for even further eliminationist rhetoric against liberals -- and eventually, for exactly the kind of "acting out" of rhetoric that Van Der Leun foresees from liberals.

[Thanks to reader Jeff K. for the tip.]

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