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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Glenn Beck and the incitement of violence

Some may be aware of the incident involving Byron Williams, who was stopped with a carload of weapons en route to the Tides Foundation and the San Francisco ACLU, and who claimed Glenn Beck's invective against  these organizations had prompted him to "take action." If we consider the kinds of things Beck says-- that those he demonizes, the progressive left, in particular-- are attempting to subvert the very structure of the nation, then taking action against them, even forceful action, would have to be justifiable. We on the left assume the things Beck says are so ridiculous they refute themselves, and this ought to be the case, but it's not.

There must be something holding the millions of Beck  followers back-- perhaps they are only partially persuaded by his message, perhaps their whole  connection to Beck is a form of romantic, right wing escapism, complete with tri-cornered hats and historical reenactments, or perhaps they're not yet ready to act. It seems comparable to the pro-life position that abortion is akin to murder; the partisans seem to believe the rhetoric, but they don't act upon it the way we'd expect of true believers. The few who  do-- the Byron Williams', the Michael Enrights, the Andrew Jospeh Stacks , are deemed nuts-- by Beck and the right more vehemently and swiftly than anyone else-- are perhaps not so much crazy as the most deceived  and committed.

Here is a blog I found that takes up the issue of the cabby attack, blaming the left for speculating on a right wing incitement of anti-Muslim violence. The blogger takes comfort in the NY Post's observation of there being fewer than 100 such acts of violence against Muslims per year, and has the gall to make the shocking claim that there is no cresting wave of bigotry about to roll over Muslims in America, right when Americans were taking to the streets to denounce the building of the Islamic Center-- shamelessly tying the religion of 1.2 billion people, and by extension, all 1.2 billion of them-- to the 9-11 attacks. 


The blogger goes on to make a jerk of himself by accusing Imam Rauf of plotting to bring oppressive and barbaric Sharia to the U.S.  


What's hard to predict is the degree to which this element of the right is going to ascend along with the fiscally conservative wing. It's possible we can get one without the other, but I'm worried. 

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