Ed Driscoll

Hearts of Darkness

At the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher asks, “What’s with all the death threats, libs?”

I’m going to assume this guy’s name is Mike Clark, and his Twitter bio says he’s in Memphis, TN. Sending somebody a death threat is dumb to begin with, but doing so via a Twitter account with your name and location on it? That takes a special brand of stupid.

Ann Althouse just received a direct threat to her person as well. Like O’Keefe, Althouse has raised the ire of the left by videotaping them in action. Tell the truth and they call it lies. Make your point nonviolently and they threaten you. It’s like clockwork.

And it doesn’t stop there. John Nolte at Big Government has put together a compilation of the last three weeks of left-wing threats and bullying in Wisconsin. It’s getting so bad that honest liberals (no, it’s not an oxymoron) like Lee Stranahan are fed up with the media ignoring these threats. “Don’t retreat, reload” is considered violent rhetoric if a conservative says it, but “I’m going to kill you” isn’t considered violent rhetoric if a liberal says it. I keep trying not to attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence, but are all these big-brained reporters really that inept?

Which brings us to James Taranto, who writes that thanks to those big-brained reporters at the New York Times, “‘Civility’ Was Always Dead:”

Here is the concluding line from another Times editorial, published one month ago today, denouncing Gov. Walker for proposing to curtail government union privileges:

The unions should make their voices heard and push back hard against this misguided plan.

“Push back hard” is not literally a call for violence, but it’s not much of a stretch to say that Jim Shankman and the others were following the Times’s exhortation. Not only does the Times act with disregard for the truth, it does not even follow the standard of civility it falsely accuses conservative media figures of violating.

But as far as why, here are two explanations, beyond the existential, “this is who they are, this is what they do,” response.

One is that in terms of tactics, Ace recently noted that a threat aimed at a specific person is much more powerful than attacking an entire, and often somewhat amorphous group:

The left likes talking about particular people, making particularized threats, because you can’t really threaten an amorphous group like the Tea Party. Well, you can, but no particular person in the Tea Party will be strongly alarmed by the treat, being that it would be a generalized sort of blanket threat.But you can threaten individuals and penalize their participation in the political process by physically harming them, threatening such harm, or just conducting general terror campaigns against them. You only need to suggest the possibility of violence — or creepy, stalker-ish watching — to take away a person’s usual feeling of basic safety.

So I don’t think the Koch brothers are being attacked, personally, just to gin up counter-fundraising on the left. I think they’re being attacked, and threatened, in order to drive them from the public square entirely, and even more importantly, to let the next high-profile donor know in no uncertain terms: This could happen to you.

Maybe it’s just best to let liberals get their way, eh? Otherwise — shame if something happened.

Beyond that, as far as the underlying reasoning, as Glenn Reynolds noted today, “My theory is that they’re all about displaced anger at Obama. He’s been a failure, but they can’t bring themselves to hate him, yet. So they turn the hatred elsewhere.”

But unlike previous Democratic presidents, when Obama ran, plenty of otherwise rational adults got a serious case of religious fever. They start describing a hack Chicago politician in near-rapturous terms, and well, God Can’t Ever Fail. And those who declared Obama as the Second Coming aren’t likely to be introspective enough to say, “whoops — we sure misjudged him, didn’t we?” Which means that his vision could only have been thwarted by evil forces — and those forces must be vanquished.

And then, the eschaton can at last be immanentized, as was promised in 2007 through the beginning of 2009, and joy can be returned to newsrooms and union halls across the land.