It would be almost a redefinition of “understatement” to say that political discourse has been in steady decline for the last few years. The collective nervous breakdown that the American Left began experiencing on Election Night 2016 remains untreated and is greatly worsening.
Saturday’s New York Times Opinion page features an editorial written by “an assistant human rights professor” that reaches a new low even in this era of histrionics-filled opinion pieces.
The article begins with an irresponsible headline and steadily deteriorates from there:
“Likely.” So maybe, maybe not. Probably the latter.
The setup for what the author uses to justify what she proposes involves likening agents working to deal with the crisis on the border to war torturers and Nazis. After making sure she dehumanizes her targets, she begins rolling out her plan:
This lack of personal investment means that these participants in atrocities can be much more susceptible to pressure than national leaders. Specifically, they are sensitive to social pressure, which has been shown to have played a huge role in atrocity commission and desistance in the Holocaust, Rwanda and elsewhere. The campaign to stop the abuses at the border should exploit this sensitivity and put social pressure on those involved in enforcing the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
At first glance this idea is bad enough. The author is advocating for publicly shaming family people into losing their incomes. She takes it up a notch from there:
The identities of the individual Customs and Border Protection agents who are physically separating children from their families and staffing the detention centers are not undiscoverable. Immigration lawyers have agent names; journalists reporting at the border have names, photos and even videos. These agents’ actions should be publicized, particularly in their home communities.
This is not an argument for doxxing — it’s about exposure of their participation in atrocities to audiences whose opinion they care about. The knowledge, for instance, that when you go to church on Sunday, your entire congregation will have seen you on TV ripping a child out of her father’s arms is a serious social cost to bear. The desire to avoid this kind of social shame may be enough to persuade some agents to quit and may hinder the recruitment of replacements.
Claiming that this isn’t “an argument for doxxing” is like telling someone to hit another person with a baseball bat and saying “this is not an argument for violence.” Professor Human Rights is dancing around a technicality here, as some of the agents are already known to lawyers and journalists. They may not have to engage in actual doxxing to reveal the identities of the agents, but the end result is the same.
Violence is not specifically called for in the article, but I can take off my glasses, close one eye and still read between the lines rather easily.
After ratcheting up the hyperbole in this game of “ends justifies the means,” the professor winks and pretends that the responses will be just enough to get the job done. In an era where frothing leftists form mobs outside the homes of the hosts of cable opinion shows, assuming the best is either pathologically naive or completely disingenuous.
This op-ed perfectly showcases what a fetid cesspool of unhinged political partisanship both academia and the mainstream media have become. No doubt the Times’ faithful will nod in agreement with this piece and pretend it is most thoughtful. In reality, it reads like the manifesto of someone who has already snapped and is plotting something nefarious.
It is a call for lawlessness and it is being distributed via the most prominent newspaper organization in the United States.
Remember that the next time anyone says it’s the crazy right-wingers who are what’s wrong with America.