Attempts by the left to popularize the notion that conservative ideology encourages violence is nothing new, as Mike McNally established in part one of this series.
Liberals quickly latched onto the murder of abortionist George Tiller to prove that point, despite the fact that it was almost universally condemned on the right and was the first such murder since 1998. The other high profile case discussed ad infinitum in the media and the blogosphere is the Holocaust Museum shooting which was carried out by James W. von Brunn, who could just as easily be described as a creature of the fringe left as the fringe right.
Von Brunn was a registered Democrat who hated George Bush, “neo-conservatives,” and Christianity. Reportedly, he was also considering launching an attack on the conservative Weekly Standard.
In all fairness, few people on the left or the right in the United States openly encourage violent attacks against their political adversaries. However, if we’re going to discuss the issue honestly, we need to deal with the elephant in the room:
Not only does more political violence occur on the left, but political violence is much more mainstream and acceptable on the left as well.
In the 1960s, groups such as the Weathermen and the Black Panthers were violent criminal enterprises that were winked at by liberals. In fact, David Horowitz traces his conversion from a diehard communist into a conservative from his time with the Black Panthers. He was a fan and helped a friend get a job with them. Here’s Jamie Glazov recounting Horowitz’s experience:
Horowitz came to the truth about the Panthers the hard way. In December 1974, the Panthers abducted and killed his friend, Betty Van Patter. An enthusiastic left-wing radical who was working for the Panthers at the time, Horowitz had recruited Betty to keep the books of a “Learning Center” in Oakland that he had created to run a school for the children of Black Panthers.
Betty had found something wrong with the Panthers’ record books and naively went to inform Elaine Brown, the leader of the Panthers at the time. She subsequently disappeared. In January, 1975, her battered body — with her head caved in — was found floating in San Francisco Bay.
Horowitz was devastated. He began to ask questions, but he faced only a disturbing lack of curiosity among his left-wing associates about Betty’s death. It became obvious to him that the Panthers knew what had happened to Betty — because they killed her. It also became obvious that his fellow progressive radicals were not interested in Betty’s murder. The sacredness of human life was not on their priority list; the ideal of what the progressive cause represented was.
In the end, Horowitz reconciled himself to the reality that the Panthers were just plain ruthless thugs who were involved in racketeering, prostitution, extortion, drug dealing, and murder.
It may seem odd to you that liberals were so cavalier about a murder committed by political darlings like the Black Panthers, but what you will find is that it’s part of a pattern.
If you need evidence of that, you need only look to Bill Ayers of the Weathermen. He was once part of a terrorist group that committed bombings on American soil — and he is to this day unrepentant about that part of his life. Yet Ayers is a respected figure in Chicago politics — more so now than ever since the current president of the United States began his political career in Ayers’ home.
Additionally, if you want to know what the left really thinks about political violence, consider the fact that Bill Ayers is a university professor. What does it say about the left that they are okay with terrorists teaching college kids?
Ayers isn’t the only Weatherman who has gone on to teach, either. Mark William Rudd and Bernardine Dohrn also went on to become professors.
This is no coincidence. The left has smiled upon fellow travelers who encourage the murder of police officers and the military, and those who have actually gone through with it. Violent statements, like this one from liberal professor Ward Churchill, have caused little consternation on the left:
For those of you who do, as a matter of principle, oppose war in any form, the idea of supporting a conscientious objector who’s already been inducted [and] in his combat service in Iraq might have a certain appeal. But let me ask you this: Would you render the same support to someone who hadn’t conscientiously objected, but rather instead rolled a grenade under their line officer in order to neutralize the combat capacity of their unit?
Similarly, compare the ferocious condemnation of George Tiller’s assassin, Scott Roeder, by anti-abortion groups, to the liberal embrace of cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, who murdered two FBI agents.
As a general rule, if you find a large liberal protest, you’ll find liberals carrying signs urging that Abu-Jamal and Peltier be freed. A Christian who murders an abortion doctor is treated as a disgrace to the movement. A leftist who murders a police officer gets not-so-silent support from the left.
It’s also no coincidence that the FBI says that “eco-terrorists and animal rights extremists are one of the most serious domestic terrorism threats in the U.S. today.” Eco-terrorists like ELF and ALF have done more than $110 million worth of damage since 1979 with arson and bombings — and they’re certainly not treated like pariahs by the liberal movement.
Ted Rall, whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and New York Times, among other prestigious liberal publications, wrote a column that was supportive of ELF:
That leaves consumers and dealers as the principal targets of radical environmentalists like the ELF. The idea is to make SUVs as unfashionable, and as scary to own, as fur became after the PETA-inspired spray-paint attacks of the ’80s. In an ideal world, American consumers could be convinced to do the right thing through an appeal to logic with public service messages like the “What Would Jesus Drive?” TV campaign, but the kind of people who would buy a car that increases the risk to other motorists in an accident can’t be reasoned with. They’re selfish and stupid. It’s unfortunate that drivers must worry that their SUVs are being targeted by insulting stickers and Molotov cocktails, but one thing’s for sure: It couldn’t be happening to a more deserving group of people.
Additionally, PETA spent $45,000 to help ELF leader Rodney Coranado, who was convicted of firebombing an animal research lab.
The left has certainly had its share of homicidal fringe misfits, too. We could point to “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, who sent mail bombs in the name of environmental extremism; HuffPo blogger Carol Anne Burger, who stabbed her former lover to death 222 times with a screwdriver; or even Marxist Jim Jones, who famously helped convince 900 people to drink the poison Kool-Aid.
But that misses the point.
Violent political nutcases have always been with us, but the left’s comfort with political violence and terrorism has bled over into the mainstream to such an extent that bombers are considered fit to teach students and pal around with the future president of the United States.
That’s about as far from the fringe as you can get.