January 28, 2011

JAMES TARANTO: The Politics of Bloodlust: Barbara Ehrenreich, Hendrik Hertzberg and the left’s disturbing preoccupation with violence. “America’s liberal left is preoccupied with salacious fantasies of political violence. These take two forms: dreams of leftist insurrection, and nightmares of reactionary bloodshed. The ‘mainstream’ media ignore or suppress the former type of fantasy and treat the latter as if it reflected reality. This produces a distorted narrative that further feeds the left’s fantasies and disserves those who expect the media to provide truthful information.”

Of course, nowadays that last group is known as “suckers.” Taranto continues:

But wait. How has it escaped Ehrenreich’s notice that the past two years have seen the greatest flowering of grass-roots democracy in America since the civil rights movement? We refer, of course, to the Tea Party movement. To be sure, you won’t see any Molotov cocktails at a Tea Party gathering. You may see some guns–a normal part of life in most of America–but they will be borne lawfully and not used violently.

Since the Tea Party advocates individualism and not socialism, we may assume that Ehrenreich strongly disapproves of it (as does her pal Piven). But to bemoan the dearth of grass-roots activism in America without even acknowledging the Tea Party’s existence suggests a detachment from reality bordering on the clinical.

Even odder, many on the left have advanced a false narrative in which the Tea Party is violent. The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg did so in a column last week, in which he was still trying to justify the media’s falsely blaming the right for the attempted murder of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. . . . Hertzberg is saying no more than that liberal journalists like himself are justified in perpetuating the myth of conservative violence because they promulgated it in the first place.

Perhaps he is right that it is not the product of opportunism but rather of sincerely held prejudice. But would it be a defense of, say, Theodore Bilbo or Joseph McCarthy to say that they sincerely believed the prejudices and falsehoods they espoused? What’s more, Bilbo and McCarthy were politicians. Why is it so hard for journalists to remember that their job is to tell the truth?

It’s never too late for one more shot at blood libel, I guess. Read the whole thing. And remember: One could ask Joe McCarthy “Have you no decency?” With Piven, Hertzberg, Ehrenreich, et al., there’s no need to ask.

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