Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why The Vitriol?

For years now, it’s been apparent the modern left is driven by hate. In fact, it’s ingrained in the left’s ideology, which is entirely premised on taking from people it considers evil or undeserving. But their outpouring of hate in the past few days has been breathtaking. So why is the left so angry about this? There are several explanations for the left’s current vitriol and, as you might expect, the answer likely involves a combination of each factor. Let’s consider the possibilities:

Reason One: Exploitation Plain and Simple.

When Rahm Emanuel said “never let a good crisis go to waste,” he was saying something that has been at the core of leftist thinking for decades. The left puts little value on human life and no value of human dignity (their self-serving protestations to the contrary notwithstanding). Indeed, their entire political philosophy is based on the idea that society is more important than the life, rights, or dignity of any individual, and that we are all expendable for the greater good, i.e. their agenda. Add in other leftist ideas like the Black Panther slogan, “by any means necessary,” and you have a philosophy that will happily exploit any tragedy to further their political agenda. Hence, it’s been no surprise that gun control groups began pushing legislation within minutes of the shooting, that leftists took to the net and the airways immediately to slander their enemies (even after they should have known better), or that Democrats would use this in fundraisers before the bodies are even cold.

This is who the left is, and people need to realize that. The vitriol is all just part of the show. The left understands that its recent sales job to the public about the Tea Party being a bunch of klansmen fell on deaf ears. So now they are trying to raise the volume and intensity of the debate in the hopes that the public abandons the Tea Party.

Reason Two: Guilt Transference.

A second possible explanation involves psychology. One of the most common behaviors of the left over recent years has been that they routinely deny their own actions, and then they accuse others of the very things they pretend they have not done. In psychological terms, this is called transference, and it’s a defense mechanism that lets the individual avoid the responsibility for their own actions. You see this used in Hollywood when a gay-bashing character turns out to actually be gay, but is unwilling to admit it to themselves. It’s the same idea here:

At some level, the left must be aware that it engages almost constantly in hateful rhetoric. It also knows that this is wrong. To avoid the logical conclusion that, therefore, it is guilty of wrongful behavior, the left transfers this behavior onto the right by accusing the right of acting in the way that the left actually acts. This helps leftists cleanse their consciences. The stronger the guilt that must be cleansed, the strong the attack. Over the past 8-10 years, the left has been guilty of an incredibly high level of hateful rhetoric. Hence, the incredibly high level of vitriol in their current attack.

Reason Three: Fear.

The next possible explanation involves fear. The left has for decades engaged in guerilla tactics. This involves smearing their opponents, disrupting political events, spreading lies to trick the “ignorant masses,” and electoral fraud. This also includes making life incredibly unpleasant for people who oppose them.

That has taken the form of shouting down people who dare oppose them (politicians or otherwise), protesting at their homes or businesses, seeking to have their opponents fired or taken off the air, and using threats or implied threats to scare their opponents. Indeed, anyone who paid attention to the Townhall meetings saw this when union thugs intimidated speakers with violence. Similarly, most right-wing radio personalities and writers routinely receive death threats. Disruptions of political speeches and college commencement speeches often include death threats, bomb threats, physical attacks, threats against the speaker’s children, and other suggestions of violence.

But here’s the thing. This has been 100% the domain of the left. In other words, they’ve been getting away with it consequence free.

If the left honestly believes this shooter came from the right, their vitriol could indicate that they are terrified that this could (or will) become a trend. Indeed, with the right already adopting many of their other tactics, like turning out to protest en masse or giving the Code Pink treatment to the reading of the Constitution, this could easily be evidence that the right is about to adopt the same guerilla tactics. This would a terrifying prospect for the left as they would now begin to face personal danger for their political views. Hence, the vitriol is in direct response to their fear.

Reason Four: Lashing Out.

Finally, we come to what appears to be the main reason: the left feel personally betrayed by America, and this vitriol is them lashing out.

For years, there have been growing hints of hate boiling over on the left. And when I say hate, I mean it. People use the term "hate" far too lightly, just as they misuse other words. Real hate almost can't be described except with the word "hate." It's fiery, it's nasty, it's violent, it's irrational.

As victimology took hold on the left, the hate followed. Blacks who subscribe to victimology hate whites. Feminists hate men and housewives. Socialists hate capitalists and the rich. Etc. And when I say “hate,” I don't mean "dislike." I mean when you get these people started, they end up foaming at the mouth saying things that often end with them trying to find the nastiest way to wish some dead.

Then Bush came along and gave them something specific to focus their hate upon. And hate they did -- very publicly. Indeed, there was so much open hate that it soon became acceptable in leftist circles to talk about assassinating Bush or Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Rumsfeld, Tom Delay, or Bill O’Reilly (later add Palin and Beck).

Then 2008 happened and suddenly leftists thought the world had changed. The clouds opened up, a rainbow appeared, and America finally accepted them. But things went wrong almost immediately. They got nothing. And at the first opportunity, the public thoroughly repudiated them (probably for several generations at least). Suddenly, what seemed like a dream come true victory became a humiliating defeat that indicated to them that they would never succeed in America.

So now it’s January 2011. You’ve got years of boiling hate, which reached a level where expressing it in its vilest form has become acceptable. You’ve got a crushing defeat inflicted upon these self-defined enlightened leftists by a public that they see as ignorant, and a fear that they are doomed to perpetual failure because that same public will never accept them. That is a recipe for an epic tantrum. Suddenly, you have this shooting and an opportunity to focus that tantrum on one thing. In one fell swoop, they could unleash all their hatred on the ignorant public that they blame for their failure and they could target the various bogeymen and bogeywomen they’ve come to despise over the past couple years. Hence, the vitriol.

It’s possible that some are hoping that by spewing forth, they might encourage other unstable people to assassinate their bogeymen, but for the most part I think this vitriol is the result of a personal desire by most on the left to “get even” with the ignorant public that shattered their dreams and the evil conservatives who made that happen.



Tennessee Jed said...

a nice article, Andrew and I would agree. Certainly the political operatives exploit. Many of them are less ideological and perhaps not as prone to the emotions.

Guilt Transference: That certainly is a real phenomanon and I don't doubt it comes into play for some. Still, many ideologues probably think that they know they are guilty of the conservative "sins" or greed, racism, blah, blah, blah" but look to liberalism to lift them to a higher level.

Fear: In this regard, I agree they genuinely fear losing their power and the gains that have been made since the days of "the great society."

Lashing Out - this is a human condition. Like the alcoholic, nothing is ever their own fault. "They" did this. Interestingly, while blaming Limbaugh, O'Reilly, etc. they fall pray to their own voices like Keith Olbermann etc. which fuels that fire. Tea Partyers lash out as well, I just think they/we do it in a more constructive way.

Joel Farnham said...

One thing Andrew, the public isn't as ignorant as it was two years ago. Part of it is the Internet, the other part is the efforts of the Tea Partiers and blogs like Commentarama, Legal Insurrection and the like.

Most of the public, something like 60%, don't believe the Left's rhetoric. I believe it is more the way the Left jumped on this tragedy than anything else. People stop reacting to the drama queens after a while.

You are spot on about their hatred. I attribute the high level to Bush's reluctance to defend himself against the bullies of the left. Bush's "High Road" emboldened the bullies. No one opposed them for many years.

This false accusation and naked hatred will end badly for the left.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Cautious in our responses is imperative.

An old adage comes to mind;

When you get into a mud slinging contest with a pig, everyone gets muddy and from outside the fence all look the same.

T_Rav said...

Using totally made-up percentages, I would say that of your four categories, it's about 40% exploitation, 40% lashing out, 10% transference and 10% fear. Mainly, I just don't see psychological guilt factoring into it that much. I've never been totally sold on the concept in the first place, and I wouldn't suspect most leftists even believe they're really to blame. It might be self-deception, but it's a genuine self-deception.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed. I agree that many on the right are guilty of similar issues. These are human conditions, not just tied to ideology. BUT, these conditions have really come to the fore with the left in recent years.

Regarding your specific comments, I certainly agree about the political operatives. Some are deeply ideological and some aren't. Some simply put their fingers into the wind to see where their best chance of joining the ruling elite can be found.

On the guilt transference, that's part of the condition to think that if you do something wrong, it's only because the other side made you. It's like the thug who beats up a stranger and then insists that they were acting hostilely and the thug thought they were going to be attacked by the stranger.

In terms of fear, I actually mean something a little stronger. I'm talking genuine fear. They have spun the right as this heavily-armed, group of brutes who are ready to start killing "undesirables" (like themselves) at any moment. They have been playing with fire with their tactics, and if they think that the right has finally decided to start doing the same, the combination of an angry right and a well-armed hateful right means that they are all in personal danger. So it could well be real fear that this will be the first in a string of right-wing beating and death squads.

Alcoholism is a good comparison to the lashing out. It's not their fault. It's not their fault that they bought the stuff or drank. It's the fault of society, the guy who sold the booze to them, those who didn't stop them from drinking, etc. In this case, I think there is an amazing amount of pent up rage and humiliation just waiting to get out, and this was it's moment.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think the internet has been a nasty surprise for them. First, for years, their allies in the MSM have been framing the debate and that's not possible anymore, so their whole world is suddenly upside down. Secondly, many on the hard left thought the internet would be a way for them to get their message out and people would fall in love with them. But people went the other way -- another nasty surprise.

I think you're right that the hate is turning people off. In fact, I'm already seeing the media trying to adjust away from it because they've come to realize that the public didn't buy their line that the right is to blame, and the left was losing ground. So suddenly you're seeing stories like "no one knows why this shooter did what he did but what can we do to stop these people?"

I think you're right about Bush. I always felt that his refusal to fight back and to call people out for making inappropriate statements was basically a green light for nasty extremism on the left. That's the same thing that's spawned the current "environment of hate."

I would add too that Hollywood deserves a big role in that. In particular, a guy like Michael Moore created the "environment of hate" with his falsified, nasty "documentaries".

AndrewPrice said...

Tom, Very true. And I'm a very happy to have seen conservative blogger after blogger (the supposed hotheads of the right) ALL say, "this is a tragedy and we should not politicize it." The right has clearly acted like adults in this whole mess.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Transference is a form of self-delusion, it's a way of avoiding blame for your own actions.

And while I don't disagree with your percentages, I would say that you can't underestimate the effect of transference here. There is a real disconnect in many leftists between how they act and what they say versus how they think they act and what they claim to believe. And I've spoken with enough of them to realize that this is a genuine disconnect, it's not an sales job offered up for political purposes.

Indeed, I've spoken with quite a few who will say racist or sexist or murderous things about people on the right, and when you confront them with their own words, the first thing they say is: "I never said that!" And they mean it. And if you prove it to them, they will say, "well, that's not how I meant it," and they will blame you for taking their words out of context. And if you keep pushing, then they will say, "well, that's what the right says about us, so I'm only firing back with what's already been fired at us" -- i.e., they made me do it.

Very few will stick with their statements and admit that they said what they said. And again, I'm not talking about them lying. In many instances, I've known these people well and they aren't lying, they just honestly do not see themselves as they truly are -- a very human condition.

This has been very common among many on the left, though usually the moderate left -- not the hard left. The hard left actually embraces the idea of silencing their opponents.

So in terms of the percentages, I would say that it's more selective than just percentages. I would say the moderate left (the liberals who drifted left in the hateful environment created during the attacks on Bush) fall into the transference. The lashing out is probably everyone except the moderate left. The exploitation is all of them as well. And fear is probably their activists who aren't in the violent fringe, but who know the violent fringe. So I would say the percentages are 100% lashing out, 100% exploitive, 10% fear, 10% transference.

T_Rav said...

By the way, here's how pathetic the Left's attempt to blame conservatives for this has become: After attacking Palin for her use of crosshairs on Democratic districts such as Giffords', the Dems--specifically, the DCCC--is defending their use of red bullseyes on a map of GOP districts by saying that the image is "not threatening since it used an image that is also associated with Target, the national retail chain." Unbelievable.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, let me add, in terms of where this is all headed, Obama is the key and he is letting the left down.

Rather than running out and turning this into an issue to use to attack the right, Obama has (surprisingly) correctly struck a tone of "let's come together". That is in fact the tone he should have struck, and thus I commend him so far.

BUT, this is cutting the legs out from underneath the left and will anger them even more because "he's giving cover for the evil right." It's going to be interesting to see if they follow his lead on this or not?

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, That's pretty pathetic.

In the article I did yesterday, the Canadian "journalist" who wished Michelle Malkin dead actually said tried to defend her statement by saying that she mentioned Dick Cheney as the marksman because Cheney wasn't a good marksman, so she really meant that the "marksmen" she hoped would take "Malkin" would miss. Uh huh.

You have to think we're really stupid to believe either that assertion or the one about Target.

I wonder what Target is going to say in response?

Anonymous said...

The left is willfully blind to its own vicious, "revolutionary" and menacing rhetoric. It also ignores the vileness in its own ranks while at the same time ignoring the fact that conservatives condemn the lunatic fringe in their own ranks. When they condemn their loons the way we condemn the Westboro Baptist Church, I might consider that they actually mean what they say.

I intend to continue to ignore their attempts to squelch free speech (i.e., speech that disagrees with their agenda), and I'm guessing that most of America will follow my lead. The old leftists tactics are failing along with the MSM that supports them.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. The left has been remarkably good at ignoring their nasty fringe. In fact, I would argue that they're good at following the lead of their nasty fringe. I think that's part of the reason they've lost whatever ideology they may have once had. Gone are the days of economic and social theory and in it's place you now have this angry tribalism, with small hate groups each trying to get their own prejudices jammed into law and funded by the treasury.

Until that changes, the left really has nothing to offer.

AndrewPrice said...

UPDATE: It turns out that the left's sales job on this has failed. A CBS poll (which always slants left) has found that 57% of Americans think "the harsh political tone had nothing to do with the shooting". Only 32% think it did.

Even among Democrats, only 49% think it had an effect. 69% of Republicans and 56% of independents say it didn't. Only 19% of Republicans and 33% of independents think it had an effect.

Notawonk said...

you know my sorrow over the discovery of the left's true agenda of hate this past weekend. i'm a person who gives the benefit of the doubt, one who hopes for and believes in the best, one that believes in redemption and the possibility for change, but this weekend was a monumental awakening for me. these people hate. what they are doing is evil. and it astonishes me to write those words #1 because i now believe them and #2 it's dangerous for those who don't understand.

good lord, what has happened to these people that hate is their go-to? they have lost sight of God, that is for sure.

fear of losing power and greed seem to play heavily in the left's decisions. it's, they are, shameless and i see it for the first time.

horrifying, isn't it?!

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I know that you're shocked and I think a great many people share your shock this week. It is very difficult for most people to understand, because they've gone through life dealing with their friends, neighbors and colleagues, all of whom are living normal lives where politics only intrudes once in a while, and who would not (or could not) base their lives on hating others -- it's just not a normal human condition to sustain unfocused hate.

But I went through college at a time when much of this was taking hold. I saw the pure hatred when a conservative speaker came to campus, when the idiot leftists would throw rocks at CIA recruiters or at the Army recruitment office, or even in class when students tried to shout down and intimidate others who didn't share their leftist beliefs. And I've seen this move into the business world as black-racists and feminists who were on partnership tracks and earned six figures a year complained that white men kept them down and prevented them from getting ahead. I've seen gay groups tear up churches or spit on cops and claim they had AIDS. This is the kind of hate I've seen the left display for twenty years now, so none of this is new to me.

What is new to me, is that it's become so public -- in the past it was usually confined to colleges or small meetings of leftists. Under Bush, it really became acceptable to hate in public.

And the massive outpouring now strikes me as simply the culmination of what I've seen personally from the American left for a long time now.

So while I fully understand how shocking this is to people who haven't experienced it over the past twenty years, I can assure you that it's very real and has been there for some time.

Ed said...

Great article! I've seen this with the union guys in my area. They are militant and they think it's great when someone beats up an opponent. But the last thing in the world they want is someone to fight back. Like all bullies, they're cowards who rely on the fact that the other side won't back.

That poll is gratifying too, because it tells me that the American people are done playing the liberal games where all they need to do is yell "racist" or "hate monger" and everyone cringes. Good for America!

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I think the days of Americans giving up their rights and running away out of fear of being called names by the left are over. They've cried wolf so often and so falsely that I can't see anyone letting this get to them anymore.

People know what's real and what's made up, and the left's cries of racism, sexism, hater, whatever are all made up. Everyone knows it.

DUQ said...

It was reported earlier the shooter was opposed to Bush and supported Kerry in 2004. But I just saw an article about the space shuttle and the first comment on it from a few minutes ago was an anti-Palin diatribe by some leftist crank. They are saying what they want and they don't care at all what the facts are.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I heard that this morning. And the friend who is reporting this said to Mother Jones journal, a far-left leftist rag. So the conclusion is becoming inescapable that this guy was not a rightist by any means.

Because of this, you're now seeing the media switch to plan B -- "who knows what he really believe?"

Will this cause self-reflection on the left, now that they've wrongly tried to tar the right with him and they've spewed forth millions of examples of hate speech? I doubt it.

Ed said...

I see that too. People just don't react the same way anymore to being called racists. Ten years ago, people would run and hide if someone used that word. Today, everybody rolls their eyes. No one believes it anymore.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, That's what happens when you cry wolf over and over. People stop believing.

Doc Whoa said...

Excellent analysis. This entire affair really breaks my heart and it angers me so much that they are exploiting it to score political points. Shame on the MSM shame on the Democrats.

Ed said...

Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders is using the shooting in his fund raising materials. Here's the quote:

What should be understood is that the violence, and threats of violence against Democrats in Arizona, was not limited to Gabrielle Giffords. Raul Grijalva, an old friend of mine and one of the most progressive members in the House, was forced to close his district office this summer when someone shot a bullet through his office window. Another Democratic elected official in Arizona, recently defeated Congressman Harry Mitchell, suspended town meetings in his district because of the threatening phone calls that he received (Mitchell was also in the cross-hairs on the Palin map). And Judge John Roll, who was shot to death at the Giffords event, had received numerous threatening calls and death threats in 2009.

In light of all of this violence – both actual and threatened – is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are able to participate freely and fully in the democratic process? Have right-wing reactionaries, through threats and acts of violence, intimidated people with different points of view from expressing their political positions?

Ed said...

Here's the link:


Doc Whoa said...

@Ed, That's very disturbing. Thanks for the link. Does anyone knwo if Red Bernie's the only one using this for fundraising?

Ed said...

Doc, No. Here's another one from a group created by Tom Harkin:

Why did he shoot Rep Giffords?

We don't know yet.

But we do know that she seems to be surviving this outrageous attempted murder. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, however, was only one victim of this shocking attack, she along with eighteen others were wounded while six others were killed. The details of what happened are just now becoming available, but we are united in our grief and disbelief over these unfolding events. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless act of violence.

We also know that Sarah Palin and Rep. Giffords' opponent used violent imagery last year urging her opponents to "target" her. Last spring, after she voted to expand health insurance coverage to working families and cut drug costs for senior citizens her office was violently attacked.

Members of 21st Century Democrats helped elect Rep. Giffords in 2006 and re-elect her 2010 because she wasn't afraid to fight for working people -- or listen to them at the neighborhood supermarket. She voted for health care; Wall Street reform, job creation, and much more.

She stood with us -- and we need to stand with her in her toughest hours.

Please join us in sharing your thoughts and prayers to the Congresswoman and her family by visiting our website where we have set up a page for you to do so.


Ed said...

Here's Sander's response to the criticism he got:

This was an e-mail letter that the senator's campaign sends out, and will continue to send out, to supporters in Vermont and around the country on a regular basis. This quite long newsletter gives the senator's views on the major issues facing our country. Most of the space in this newsletter dealt with the senator's views on the economic implications of what will be happening in the new Congress. Given the enormity of the tragedy in Arizona, however, it would have been absurd not to comment on what happened there.

The main point that the senator made about Arizona is that given the fact that Rep. Giffords' office was attacked last year after her vote for health care reform, that a protester had previously brought a gun to an event she held, that Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva had to close his district office when someone shot a bullet through his window, that former Rep. Harry Mitchell had to suspend a town meeting in his district because of threatening phone calls and that Judge John Roll had received numerous threatening calls and death threats, one should not have been completely surprised by the tragedy of last Saturday. There is clearly a pervasive climate of fear and violence in Arizona and the senator very much hopes that the state's leading public officials will do what they can to create more civility so that people there can express their political views without fear.

As he always does, the senator devoted one sentence in a four-page newsletter to thanking his supporters and another sentence indicating that their support in the future would be appreciated.

AndrewPrice said...


Thanks. I saw these -- one was linked in the article.

Here are the links.

The first group is called "21st Century Democrats" and here is the link to their fundraiser: LINK

The second is a link to an article discussing the Sander's e-mail. I found it at Huffpo: LINK

Here's your link from above to the Washington Examiner story: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, Thanks. I agree, shame on the MSM for exploiting this. I think they're backing off significantly now. In fact, I've seen several left-leaning news papers that are even attacking groups like The Politico for exploiting this. I'll try to find the link, I saw it early.

As Ed says, there have been a couple instances already of which we are aware of people using this tragedy for fund raising. I suspect you'll see a lot more, especially the gun control crowd.

Ed said...

I didn't know where to post this, so I put it here and in the last article. I hope that's not a problem.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, That's fine. I updated the links in the second article as well. Thanks for the information!

DUQ said...

I saw a list of stupid proposals today by politicians to protect themselves -- everything from banning Rush to encasing the Capitol in plexiglass. What a bunch of jerks.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I saw that too. I've been thinking about writing a post about it.

CrispyRice said...

This is very good Andrew. Your articles are always insightful and give me something to think about. Thanks!

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome Crispy! Thanks for commenting.

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