January 15, 2011

A RESPONSE TO THE BLOOD LIBEL OF 1860 by Abraham Lincoln:

You charge that we stir up insurrections among your slaves. We deny it; and what is your proof? Harper’s Ferry! John Brown!! John Brown was no Republican; and you have failed to implicate a single Republican in his Harper’s Ferry enterprise. If any member of our party is guilty in that matter, you know it or you do not know it. If you do know it, you are inexcusable for not designating the man and proving the fact. If you do not know it, you are inexcusable for asserting it. . .

Sounds a little like this:

To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

In both cases, interestingly, the blood libel was aimed at Republicans, by Democrats. Some things never change, I guess.

Related: “The effort to drag down Sarah Palin for using the term ‘blood libel’ has backfired.”

Plus, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Sarah Palin Is Right About ‘Blood Libel’: Judaism rejects the idea of collective responsibility for murder. Of course, what we have here is collective non-responsibility for murder, which makes the libel even more libel-y.

UPDATE: Reader Vito DiPaola writes: “Has anyone commented on the fact that some of the people criticizing Sarah Palin for using the term ‘blood libel’ are the same people that use the term ‘deniers’ when criticizing global warming skeptics?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joe Pompeo writes: “Based upon the Lincoln quote it would appear that Sarah Palin, rather than acting ‘unpresidential’ in her response this week as her critics claim, was acting quite presidential after all. Even Lincoln-esque.” Does this mean that if we elect Sarah Palin President, New York, Massachusetts and California will secede?

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