The political Left and violence: An uncomfortable, subconscious symbiosis

I recently set up a Twitter account (you can follow me here; you can follow Notes On Liberty here) and after a couple of days of using its newsfeed I’ve decided to tally up the number of tweets from Leftists that either call for outright violence or allude to violence against their political enemies. Now obviously these guys are joking and I don’t think that any of them actually mean what they say, but the fact that this project even struck me as something to do is flabbergasting.

I think the fact that there are so many allusions to violence – against political enemies – in my newsfeed, combined with the recent labors of the media to rid the Colorado school shooter’s political leanings from the narrative of that particular story, has put me at unease* and made me particularly sensitive to the culture of ‘high’ media.

The allusions to violence harbor an authoritarian tendency that I think often goes unnoticed. I didn’t notice anything until a couple of days ago. Yet they are there, in plain sight. You can find these appeals and allusions to violence on the Right as well, but not from the people and organizations I follow on Twitter.

For example, I don’t follow rednecks or Party activists but rather professors, journalists, wonks and publication outlets that I think provide great, in-depth insights into the world around me. Most of these individuals and organizations are Left-leaning, and I have yet to ever (ever) see an appeal to violence coming from an intellectual conservative or libertarian organization. I see it from the intellectual Left so often that I am now going to start tallying such outbursts.

This is worrisome for a bunch of reasons, but three stand out to me:

  1. Joking about violence is not very funny; Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert don’t do it, and now we know why
  2. The hypocrisy coupled with the veiled and not-so-veiled threats against political enemies is nothing short of barbarism
  3. It convincingly shows just how shallow Leftist thought has become; resorting to violence in an argument is, as we all know, a sign of defeat

Added together, these three major reasons make a solid foundation for a fascistic political movement. Look at my most recent ‘favorited’ tweet, from an assistant editor for The New Republic:

“If I were running Bloomberg View…the thing I would most want would be for Bloomberg to get hit by a bus.”

Ha. Ha. This is hilarious, right?

These are the same people who, in the wake of many mass shootings, have claimed that one of Sarah Palin’s campaign websites was indirectly responsible for senseless acts of violence (because of animated target signs that hovered over a map).

Disgusting, and yet there is a definite silver lining in all of this. Reason #3, as outlined above, is largely responsible for the intellectual Left’s impotence and fetish for domestic political violence.

Violence and the lust for power have gone virtually hand-in-hand with Leftism since the mid-19th century, of course, and this is largely because their plans for humanity are simply not feasible. And these plans, in turn, are not feasible because they are not congruent with reality.

Let me see if I can illustrate my point by digressing for a moment. Benito Mussolini was a Leftist his entire life. National socialism for German workers was a child of the Left. Maoism and Leninism were Leftist to the core. All were violent. All failed miserably and yet I see the underpinnings of these philosophies – these worldviews – in the rhetoric of the present-day American Left.

Not good. Nor is it good that the present-day Left denies its own bloodlines. Conservatives and libertarians are often quick to fess up to any historical misdeeds done in the name of their ideologies. Not so with the Left. I think this may have to do with the fact that while Leftist regimes were responsible for hundreds of millions of unnecessary deaths in the 20th century alone there are very few historical misdeeds perpetrated in the name of classical liberalism.

At any rate, I’ll keep you all updated on my tally. In the name of justice I will also keep a tally on tweets of violent fantasies that go out in the name of libertarianism or conservatism. My sampling size is small, of course. I only follow intellectuals and publications that give voice to intellectuals. This will be interesting.

* The fact that an evil person’s political views have been marginalized is not what is important. I think such views (if any) should be, as there is obviously something other than a shooter’s political leanings that is responsible for the horrific violence. What is important is the fact that if this shooter had been a self-identified conservative or libertarian it would have been plastered all over the news and it would still be getting air time as you read this.

3 thoughts on “The political Left and violence: An uncomfortable, subconscious symbiosis

  1. Lovely post and I’ll be interested to see the results.

    I would like to posit a respectful disagreement with one portion of the post. You mention you don’t follow rednecks. Well, the stereotype of redneck may be violent, but the reality is far from it.

    I am bathed in rednecks where I currently live and they are some of the most peaceful people I’ve ever lived around. As for the rednecks on line, I’ve seen them construct wonderful arguments against violence to the innocent.

    Even Ted Nugent, who the left paints as a monster, if you watch videos of him and read his stuff, he does not advocate violence except for retaliation of force, and the man is incredibly smart. He’s truly an intellectual and I’ve seen him stump many a liberal interviewer.

    If I were you, if I may be so bold, I’d consider maybe following some intellectual rednecks. 😉

    After having ‘said’ all that, if I have misinterpreted your meaning, please forgive me.

  2. Hi Holli,

    Thanks for stopping by! You definitely don’t have to worry about offending me. I’ve got a very thick skin.

    I suppose I don’t follow rednecks on Twitter because I don’t really need to. Like you I’ve got plenty of redneck neighbors and they’re never short on advice or philosophical musings. Theirs is the lifeblood of our nation, and while this realization makes me very happy, it is not enough satisfy my curiosity about the world.

    Rock starts and comforting slogans are what makes America bad ass, but they don’t go far enough for me, if this makes any sense.

  3. A couple of quick comments:

    1. Those who lack theoretical backing and/or historical evidence to support their views may turn to violent rhetoric out of frustration.

    2. In face-to-face encounters we are often restrained in our comments by conventions of civility that are not present when we are typing away on our computers. Let’s hope that conventions for online civility evolve.

Please keep it civil

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