Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't Worry, You're Perfectly Safe

We have the greatest news ever, my friends!

I'm not sure why it is so necessary that we identify a culprit in all of this. What good does it do us to know that he is, say, a paranoid schizophrenic?...A terrible thing happened. We live in a universe in which terrible things happen. That's no one's fault--or maybe, everyone's fault. Either way, I don't see much in the way of solutions coming out of this--only terrible, terrible sadness.

Indeed, Megan McArdle. Indeed.

Toning down the political rhetoric would be useless, as nobody/everybody is to blame. And just because someone approves of firearms at public political functions and uses scare tactics doesn't mean they are to blame for people actually becoming paranoid and actually using firearms at public political events. The two are totally unconnected and Megan McArdle is not in any way to blame for the actions of any individual at any time. Therefore she can say whatever she wants, since words do not have any effect.

You might be a bit confused right now since you may remember that McArdle castigated others for rhetorical violence before she realized that it's perfectly okay.

Call me a vaporing language nanny, but I thought it was pretty creepy when Jon Chait described another liberal journalist, Michael Kinsley, another journalist, as "curb stomping" economist Greg Mankiw for, yes, daring to suggest that higher marginal tax rates might have incentive effects. Woo-hoo!

But why stop with curb-stomping? Wouldn't it be fun to pile ten-thousand gleaming skulls of supply-siders outside the Heritage Offices? We could mount Art Laffer's head on a rotating musical pike that plays The Stars and Stripes Forever! Then, in the most hilarious surprise ending of all, the mob could turn on Jon Chait, douse him with gasoline and set him on fire, and then sack the offices of the New Republic!

Somehow, that's not actually funny. Neither is curb stomping, as Ezra Klein pointed out.

Our best guess is that McArdle feels that hate speech is regrettable but unavoidable, while hyperbole is deeply offensive. But let's not get sidetracked. McArdle can tell everyone that health care insurance reform will kill millions of people and it doesn't matter, which is just awesome. Since there are no consequences--none that can be definitively determined, that is--and since the shooter was mentally ill and ideologically incoherent, hate speech or creating an atmosphere of fear and paranoia is A-okay!

That is such a relief. We have always refrained from attacks that we feel are too personal or vehement, since such words might inspire others to action. We worry that whipping people up into a frenzy of loathing might have negative consequences for McArdle. Boy, do we feel silly now!

McArdle again points out in the comments of her recent post that her rhetoric was utterly unrelated to what actually happened, which is absolutely true.

If this guy had been openly carrying, you would have a point. This is what I wrote in the follow-up post:

"Do I think guns should be near Obama? I think that is for the Secret Service to say, and I would support whatever decision they rendered. But we don't know where this guy was, or if he ever even saw Obama.

But if I had to guess, I would say that I do not think that anyone openly carrying a weapon is likely to pose much danger to the president. Why? Because the Secret Service knows he is there. You can bet they have at least one guy watching the fellow with the AR-15, and that if he had taken it off his back and begun to raise it to firing position, he would have been immediately taken out. The people who I worry about are the ones who carry concealed weapons, the better to get a shot off before the Secret Service notices. Or the ones who have found a good hiding place with a sightline to the president. Etc.

It is entirely possible that some nut will shoot someone at a protest, or try to shoot the president (indeed, I expect at least one assassination attempt, as that seems to be par for the course). But I have no reason to think that the fellows brazenly carrying pistols on their hip will be among those nuts. Nor, I think, do the people hysterically accusing them of some pretty evil intentions."

And indeed, it seems to have been someone carrying concealed, which is what I predicted. I separated the two issues even back then; you're conflating them in an attempt to score points on your political opponents. Given the circumstances: for shame.

She wanted people to be able to carry guns openly at public political meetings to demonstrate support for our Second Amendment rights. The shooter hid his gun until he used it to try to assassinate a politician. It is totally unfair to McArdle to say that she is spreading paranoia and fear by encouraging people to openly carry guns at political meetings or telling people that Obama will kill them. I'll bet that if a white male showed up at a political meet-up today carrying a rife or wearing a pistol, nobody would even blink an eye! And won't the Democrats feel foolish when that happens.

And when a media personality is assassinated by a nut--which is going to happen sooner or later--it will not be because the right has been attacking and vilifying the media for years. If some nut walks up to some well-known blogger or journalist that they've seen on tv (but isn't important enough to have security) and shoots them in the head, it will just be one of those things, terribly sad but utterly unpreventable.

Because nobody can know anything ever, and nothing is ever anybody's fault.


Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

Speaking of how Health Care Reform is going to kill millions of people, treatment for mental health issues and addiction are part of the Essential Benefits package.

Even if we accept ME-gan's self-serving hypocritical arguments, there remains the existence of unhinged nutcases that may snap and go on killing sprees. I've got a pretty active imagination, and I can't think of a single way Teh Free Market can do anything about it.

Therefore: nationalized mental health services paid for by the government. Either that or tax cuts, because it's been scientifically proven that high marginal tax rates cause schizophrenia.

Brad said...

Indeed, if only we could accept that terrible things happen we could quit wasting taxpayer dollars trying to identify and punish the culprits. It takes a bold libertarian like McArdle to point out that the criminal justice system is nothing but a big-government boondoggle.

Susan of Texas said...

McArdle's libertarianism is much weaker than her sense of self-preservation. She doesn't mind keeping throwing money to the natives to keep them quiet.

Susan of Texas said...

But Brad, we have to protect McArdle for the good of society.

Downpuppy said...

I'm shocked, Shocked! that Megan has put out a post on health care repeal that claims that nobody really knows how much it will cost.

UncertaintyVicePrincipal said...

"That's no one's fault--or maybe, everyone's fault."

That sounds like Megan McCardle's usual margin of error using a calculator.

"The answer is either zero, or three hundred million. Somewhere in that region."

Anonymous said...

Well,it's the usual story with these folks. They thought all that "open carry" stuff and "lock and load" rhetoric was the bees knees.

But now that it appears that all that might have contributed to an overcharged political climate which practically guaranteed something like the Giffords shooting was going to happen, they get all hurt and defensive, and claim that they're the victim:How DARE you say we had anything to do with it! You can't prove Jared Loughner shot those people SPECIFICALLY because of something Sharon Angle said!

Yep, these people can dish it out, but they sure can't take it...

Kathy said...

Conservative pundits got their talking-points within minutes of the murders and assassination attempt, didn't they? More evidence that they are all owned and instructed by the same people, the mega-billionaires who are looting and destroying the country.

The Palins and Becks and sLimebags are just paid distractions, so people will ignore the real crimes being done to us, or blame the wrong group when they do notice the country is broken. And Murdoch and BofA and Wall Street bigwigs will get away with all the loot, and never be punished.

Kathy Whitmire said...

Cool. The commenters are just as brainwashed as Susan.

Susan of Texas said...

Any minute now I'm going to get a comment from Mickey Leland.

Clever Pseudonym said...

When it comes somebody who constantly rails against people who accept athority whithout question, submit to those they see as their financial and social betters, or make excuses and dismiss the criminal and/or unethical behavior of others as long as they have a house in the Hamptons and enough zeros in their salaries, "brainwashed" is the first word that comes to mind. [eyeroll]

Hmmm...another graduate of the Megan McArdle School of Self-Awareness. There's some brainwashing going on around here, but it sure isn't Susan's or her readers.

Ezekiel Cullen said...

It's not about social betters or financial gain or the Hamptons, although that does say alot about your cleverness. But this blog is a perfect example of submitting to authority...the authority of so-called progressive line. It's just as dogmatic as MM's libertarianism. I mean can you not tell from the title of Susan's posts where the diatribe is headed? Same with the comments. It's all so boilerplate. You all might as well be "dittoheads". are! Nonetheless, observing a crypto-stalker is amusing. Keep up the good work!

Susan of Texas said...

It's not about social betters or financial gain or the Hamptons, although that does say alot about your cleverness.

Don't keep me in suspense, what does it say? Also: "a lot"

But this blog is a perfect example of submitting to authority...the authority of so-called progressive line.

Please illustrate with examples.

It's just as dogmatic as MM's libertarianism.

The last thing her libertarianism is is dogmatic. Opportunistic, yes.

I mean can you not tell from the title of Susan's posts where the diatribe is headed? Same with the comments. It's all so boilerplate. You all might as well be "dittoheads". are!

Yet you can't/won't bother to refute it.

Nonetheless, observing a crypto-stalker is amusing. Keep up the good work!

A secret stalker? With a blog open for anyone to see? Your Greek-fu is weak, grasshopper.

Susan of Texas said...

Next time I suggest "Howard Hughes."

The Allen Brothers said...

At least you still have a sense of humor!