In case you missed it, a would-be terrorist was arrested last week for allegedly plotting a massive, multi-faceted attack on the White House. The plotter, 21-year old Hasher Jallel Taheb, hails from Cumming, Ga. His motive appears to have been jihad.
Might this story have been a tad bigger if the alleged perpetrator hadn’t been a Muslim and “person of color?” Might it have been bigger yet if the sitting president had been a Democrat?
Of course it would have. It might even have gotten a fraction of the coverage that last October’s letter bomb scare received.
But wait, there’s more:
The reason I pose these questions is not to point out blatant media bias, which is so glaring at this point that no one who wasn’t trying could possibly miss it, but to ask how the current “climate of hate” in this country contributed to this Taheb’s blood lust, and what we as a society are doing about it.
Until fairly recently, I strenuously disagreed with this notion, and to some extent I still do. Climates, much like guns, do not kill people. People kill people. Blaming a climate lets the perpetrator off the hook because, when the killer’s agency is minimized, so too is his culpability. What else can a passive receptor of hate-filled messaging do except to kill the person whom he is told to despise?
The other reason I have resisted the idea of killer climates is that it seems to lead, like night into day, toward censorship. If climates kill, then our words, even our thoughts, must be policed. Preemptive measures must be taken. Children must be indoctrinated in government schools to prevent dangerous ideas from occurring in the first place. Adults must be shamed, doxxed, and fired from their jobs for fear of what other people completely unknown to the speaker might do upon hearing their words. I am on record saying that the blurring of distinctions between speech and violence is eroding our right to express ourselves, and I still believe that.
But in recent years, I have started to reevaluate my beliefs about killer climates. When a soak-the-rich socialist named James Hodgkinson attacked a group of Republican congressmen and staffers at a baseball practice in 2017, I couldn’t help but notice that he was feted by certain segments of the internet, most notably the Facebook groups we know he belonged to.
James Hodgkinson doesn’t strike me as a particularly bright individual, which tells me that he probably doesn’t do much of his own thinking. We know that he was a fan of Rachel Maddow, whose program appears on the network that pioneered the “24-hour hate” — a slightly elongated version of the “two minutes hate” that George Orwell spoke of — and it seems unlikely that his suggestible mind was not affected by it.
Read the whole thing. Exit question: Does the nonstop violent rhetoric against Trump and his supporters mean that leftists don’t actually believe that a “climate of hate” leads to violence — or that they do?