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Ed Driscoll

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One of Jesse Walker’s central observations in his recent book, The United States of Paranoia is that it isn’t just the disenfranchised who are terrified of  shadowy forces pulling society’s strings from just offstage; those at the center of power can be awfully paranoid themselves.

We look back at the 1990s as a sort of interregnum decade between the end of the Cold War, and the dawn of The Global War on Terror (later known as the War on “Man-Caused Disasters,” and now our Carefully Planned Effort to bring Peace and Tranquility to the Middle East via our Harmonious Working Relationship with our Cheerful Russian Betters. Or Operation Clusterfark for short.)

But the 1990s was rife with conspiracy theories, this was despite – or as Walker astutely noted, because – of our peaceful time out:

Even if you set aside purely partisan fears, the 1990s, a time of relative peace and prosperity, were also a golden age of both frankly fictional and allegedly true tales of conspiracy. There are many reasons for this, including the not unsubstantial fact that even at its most peaceful, the United States is riven by conflicts. But there is also the possibility that peace breeds nightmares just as surely as strife does. The anthropologist David Graeber has argued that “it’s the most peaceful societies which are also the most haunted, in their imaginative constructions of the cosmos, by constant specters of perennial war.”

It’s true that the right had its share of conspiracy theories in the 1990s, including fever swamp investigations into Bill Clinton’s past. But the left, which had an iron grip on overculture until the rise of first Rush Limbaugh and then Fox News (the Blogosphere really reach fruition until 9/11 and its immediate aftermath), had a field day, driving itself insane over first shadowy rightwing militia groups, and then, in effort to aid Bill Clinton, a belief that talk radio – and shadowy rightwing militia groups! – caused Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Oklahoma federal building in 1995.

At the end of the decade, as Big Government’s Austin Ruse noted yesterday, the death of 21-year old Matthew Shepard in 1998 launched yet another attempt by the MSM to attack the right; which in retrospect perfectly fits the template employed by the left in recent years to politicize the shootings of Gabrielle Giffords and Trayvon Martin:

Almost immediately Shepard became a secular saint, and his killing became a kind of gay Passion Play where he suffered and died for the cause of homosexuality against the growing homophobia and hatred of gay America.

Indeed, a Mathew Shepard industry grew rapidly with plays and foundations along with state and even national hate crimes legislation named for him. Rock stars wrote songs about him, including Elton John and Melissa Etheridge. Lady Gaga performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” and changed the lyrics to include Shepard.

Thanks to a new book by an award winning gay journalist we now know that much of this narrative turns out to be false, little more than gay hagiography.

As gay journalist Aaron Hicklin, writing in The Advocate asks, “How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that the facts are slippery — that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And how does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?

This startling revelation comes in The Book of Matt to be published next week by investigative journalist Stephen Jiminez, who over the course of years interviewed over 100 people including Shepard’s friends, friends of the killers, and the killers themselves.

No wonder “More than half of Democrats, according to a neutral survey, said they believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks,” according to JournoList member Ben Smith. From the cause of the Kennedy assassination to their fever swamp fantasies regarding presidents Nixon and Reagan to their multiple conspiracy theories of the 1990s, the left had been taking national news stories and overlaying on them their most lurid thoughts about the right.

The template the left uses to take already horrific incidents such as the Giffords shooting (in which a judge appointed by Republican George H.W. Bush was killed), Travyon Martin’s attempt to bash in George Zimmerman’s skull (which might also involve homophobia, according to Martin’s associate Rachel Jeantel on CNN), and the killing of Matthew Shepard and turn the amps up to 11 to politicize them is fairly predictable. Also predictable is that it won’t be too long before another crime is politicized by the left to score cheap points. And while the right has talk radio, Fox, and the Blogosphere, the left still has a much, much louder megaphone, including both the “news” media and pop culture.

The next sucker punch is surely coming. How does the right fight back?

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Top Rated Comments   
I don't know or care if one of Shepard's killers had been his lover. I don't care if Shepard was murdered because he was gay.

It was murder, plain and simple, and the proliferation of "hate crime" laws was and is just plain old reactionary stupidity.

Murder is murder, period. The motive doesn't make it worse. Give the murderer a fair trial, and then punish accordingly.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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"Rough trade" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rough+trade) is an aspect of male homosexual life that those who wish to present homosexuality as a normal and acceptable "variant" tend to ignore. A popular Washington DC area public school teacher was murdered in the last couple of years by robbers with whom he "hooked up" in a chat room used to engage in such practices. His role in seeking violent encounters was ignored in the press reports.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
How does the right fight back? Wealthy conservatives start buying up newspapers, TV stations, and then hiring more conservative editors and jounalists (as opposed to JounoLists)...but until the right puts up, they can expect to be told to shut up.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, in some ways it doesn't matter how he died, since there's now nothing we can do about it.

What DOES matter is that these lies were taught as gospel and believed. I was a grade school student when he died, and my teachers did not hesitate to hammer it home as an example of America's failings. It is important to get the facts correct, especially in the wasteland of public education.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm more local to the Shepard story than most; I live in Billings. I've always understood it was a vicious robbery. Any gay-bashing involved was only icing on an evil cake.
If the parties involved were also involved in drugs and sex together, it does seem like the gay-bashing part would be a false narrative. Straight people have done terrible things to one another too. That a victim in a crime was gay, or female, or could be identified with any label, does not make the crime a hate crime. And some people who don't get protected by their labels -- white men especially -- may be victims of hate crimes that the "progressives" refuse to name as such.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The template was set with Horst Wessel.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Matthew Shepard: The story is way more Breaking Bad than Brokeback Mountain.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know or care if one of Shepard's killers had been his lover. I don't care if Shepard was murdered because he was gay.

It was murder, plain and simple, and the proliferation of "hate crime" laws was and is just plain old reactionary stupidity.

Murder is murder, period. The motive doesn't make it worse. Give the murderer a fair trial, and then punish accordingly.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The next sucker punch is surely coming. How does the right fight back?"
This tactic is called LYING. Fight back by calling it LYING.
If a person lies to you once there is an absolute guarantee, not only that that person will lie again, but also that person has lied before. Find their lies and discredit them publicly.
Of course in order to do this, one must not lie or deceive. So in making the accusation the Right cannot 'spin' or deceive either.
This is where we have lost it. Without honesty, trust and a fair free press we are doomed.
Current case in point is the Time magazine covers.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't fight back.

'“There are valuable reasons for telling certain stories in a certain way at pivotal times, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold on to them once they’ve outlived their usefulness.”' - At the end of the Breitbart article mentioned by Driscoll

You can't argue with someone who thinks this way.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
That quote is actually from the piece in The Advocate, written by Aaron Hicklin, that is referenced in the Breitbart article.

And, yes, it's hard to fight back against people who believe the ends justify the rhetorical means no matter how dishonest they have to be to get what they want.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Right don't fight back- turn the Channel & encourage your family & friends to do so, we no have 42 TV shows with gay lifestyles pounding the TV every week- which I can live with- but the Left media who out and out lie like Shultz & Chris whos ratings are at all time lows got to go & to get them to go is silence of the money for commercials as it dries up they lose money, with 19% in the US as modern liberals they try and control 100% of the media, buy they are losing much ground as people are turning the channel - Oh and Broke Back mountain was a POS movie, bad acting poor directing it was a stinker
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Left demonizes the Right with, and believes fervently in, such conspiracies such as Bush planned 9/11 or McVeigh was a rightwing militiaman, because they are things the Left would do if they had the guts and the power to do so. Blow up a few thousand of your own citizens to grab political power? Right out of the leftist political playbook from the last century. Random violence against a member (e.g. Shepard) of a minority group as part of an overall culture of hate? See Jews 1930s, or "This is for Trayvon."

And above all, never acknowledge the enemy has a point or facts on his side, so expect this new book to not find any mention in the MSM. It was known years ago that Matthew Shepard knew his killers and that at least one of them was his homosexual partner, but that did not prevent The Narrative.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liberals cannot live without Conservatives, we protect their rights, freedom for foreign monsters, our solders bleed for their freedoms they take for granted & don't care or understand that they cannot live without Conservatives who pay in taxes the money they waste
Conservatives on the other hand can live quite nicely WITHOUT Liberals
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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