Violence does not a conservative make

It may be a Spokesman-Review error that on the same day that George Curry’s editorial “Hate groups, their profile growing,” appeared on the 6th of April 2010, so did a letter by John Hagney of Spokane, who reiterated in about 200 words what Curry wrote at length. This editorial is actually not to castigate either individual. I actually agree with their sentiments about violent extremism in this nation. I do however disagree with how it is labeled.

When you call something “conservative” what is supposed to come to mind?  It would seem to me that in a democracy a conservative would support democratic institutions.  Or, if this is a person who pushes the idea of a limited government, a conservative would be consistent in not demanding as much of government as possible.  If it came to religion, a conservative would demonstrate what he or she understood about moral values.  In short, there could be no place for bigotry:  religious or racial in the conservative mindset.  There could be no place for desiring violence against known institutions in the country of one’s birth.  There could be no place for the hatred of one’s enemies to the extent that politicians should fear for their lives for voting on health care reform.  Therefore, to call something “conservative” that is literally the polar opposite of all of the above is to make an argument that what has become criminal even violent, is somehow legitimate.

Of course, I will disagree.

The mantra that more government is only bad if I am not the party in power is hypocritical.  “Conservatives,” read:  GOP during the last administration, did not regard government as too big.  Any spending as too much.  Putting the great grandchildren into debt up to their ears never crossed GOP minds.  It is only after the Democrats won big by 2008 that the GOP suddenly came to their “fiscally conscious” senses.  But as a matter of partisan politics, not because they learned from history.  So now onto the gist of Hagny’s and Curry’s positions:

Back when President Clinton was still in office, there was an extremist mindset that was being literally pushed by GOP politicians who were not only rankled that Clinton won over party fave George H.W. Bush but also against former Senator Bob Dole.  Hatred of government by politicians in government made possible Timothy McVeigh who killed 168 men, women and children in that Oklahoma city bombing.  And even further, McVeigh’s terrorist act was downplayed by people who said in letters to the editor (Spokesman-Review) that abortion providing doctors had killed millions of “babies” over a period of decades.  Which means what?  That a criminal act can be excused because we’d rather scapegoat women for what ever reason have abortions?  Maybe if McVeigh’s mom had aborted him?  But, even if McVeigh had never been born, an extremist would still have found some excuse to blow up that federal building and kill those people.  And the same people would have excused his horrible criminal act.  That should tell you something about the difference between conservatism and extremism.  When people ignore the impulse for law and order and root for the guy who could just as easily have made them a victim.  Because, even though they were never the victims of abortion providing doctors, they feel more threatened by them than the fellow who drives around with a truck bomb?  After all, extremism has its roots in radicalism.  Only radicals would fail to see the big picture.  And even further, fail to see the hypocrisy and even the irony of their own positions.

As noted by both Curry and Hagney, violent rhetoric has led to violent behavior among certain groups, whether GOP politicians as Hagney (and Curry) noted to talk show hosts such as found on Fox News.  Glen Beck, for example.  Curry, took note of the hate groups that rose up because illegal immigration got a lot of air time.  I quite frankly can not condone illegal immigration, but I am not going to blame illegal immigrants from Mexico for “trying to take jobs from Americans.”  I would instead blame federal policies that allows it to happen by the failure to regulate or enforce existing law.  Just as I would blame business interests who would hire illegal aliens instead of an American workforce.  The hate groups do not blame Bush administration policies that assisted for many a year business interests that preferred illegal immigrants over an American workforce, they instead blame illegal immigrants themselves.  Really?  These groups were hurt by GOP politics and the business interests those politics favored, but the hate groups turn on and seek to scapegoat illegal immigrants.  If you call yourself a conservative, you stand a good risk of getting soiled by the dangerous rhetoric (Hagney) of extremists.

For politicians among the GOP rank and file to encourage through violent rhetoric violence itself as mentioned in both Curry’s column and Hagney’s letter, while it is nothing new; it does beg the question about GOP pols in federal office who want violence against the very government which they represent?  Are they or are they not representative of government at the federal level?  And if they want to encourage violence against their fellow pols (for being Democrats) or the democracy that put a majority of Democrats into office by 2008 (throw bricks through Dem office windows because health care reform was passed) or look for scape goats in the news media (even though it is the voters who put Obama into office); why are they politicians themselves?  Even more, why would they want to run for office at the big bad federal level?  When it comes to radicalism, the people pushing it never consider the fallacies and vulnerabilities of their own relationships with the “thing” they hate.  They are only after all, as politicians, part of the problem.  Of course, they can only “hate” government as members of same because they aren’t currently in charge.  Of the radicalism of the groups both Hagney and Curry mentioned, those groups don’t seem to recognize the political manipulation of GOP congress critters.  Or the political manipulations of people like Glen Beck.

A word now about the IRS that Curry took the time to note, an  Al Qaeda style suicide attack on a federal  IRS office:  the IRS did not invent income tax.  They are there to supposedly enforce its collection.  You have to wonder why GOP politicians are so irate about the IRS and wanting that particular agency abolished “years ago” unless they are tax scofflaws?  There is only one way to abolish such an agency, and that is to massively rewrite tax laws.  But of course, it would take gvt to do so.


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