Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On Right-Wing Violence

Yet another shooting spree makes the news: this time in DC, at the Holocaust Museum. It should surprise no-one that the suspected shooter is identified as someone who thinks the Holocaust was a good thing.

and Washington Monthly both have posts on this latest event. In the latter, Steve Benen states:
There are key differences between violent right-wing radicals and mainstream Americans who happen to be conservative.

I have to take issue with his statement. The mainstream of US conservatism may not be ready to run out and create the kind of mayhem reported of late, but the tone of the rhetoric that has predominated conservative spheres of late has at least been of apologist tones for such incidents if not overtly supportive of such attacks. There has been no-one in the group Benen presumes to exist who has denounced the violence in any believable fashion, called for an end to such assaults on such targets or taken any truly meaningful action to end the cycle. The closest we have heard to date is the sort of "horrifically regrettable necessity" language used by the far right to subliminally defend a "by any means necessary" approach to achieving their goals.

If "mainstream Americans who happen to be conservative" expect to maintain any respectability in the wake of the Tiller murder and today, they need to be more obvious in their distancing themselves - in deed as well as in speech - from the advocates of the recent violence. Without such steps, the acquiescing silence of such individuals will only reinforce the fringe's impression that their actions are condoned, and will encourage more such lunatics to indulge in similar violent episodes.

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