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"Fear will keep the regional governors in line..." - Elf M. Sternberg
elfs
elfs
"Fear will keep the regional governors in line..."
Jay Lake recently pointed me to an article from Orcinus, a coda to his recent series on eliminationism, in which Orcinus quoted about two dozen different instances of various forms of eliminationism.

What is "eliminationism?" Orcinus describes it as "Expressing a desire or a demand for extermination, removal, or infliction of harm on political opponents; identification of political opponents with national enemies; identification of political opponents as a target for retaliation or incarceration; expressing a desire for or approval of genocide or murder; identification with vermin or disease." Orcinus's coda is a chilling catalog of quotes from such members of the Right™ as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Lee Rogers, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Dinesh D'souza, as well as others.

One of Jay's commentators then said, without irony, that right-wing commentator Morgan Freeberg "has a different take" on Orcinus's article.

Freeberg's article claims that it is the left which indulges in eliminationism, and not the Right. Freeberg's one and only piece of evidence? That the Boy Scouts were required to obey the founding law of the land and were forbidden from taken public funds while those funds being are used to advance a religious point of view.

That's it. Freeberg's only evidence that "the left" wants to "eliminate the Right" is that Americans want Americans to obey the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Meanwhile, he neither disclaims the quotes Orcinus puts forward, disclaims their speakers, or attempts to show that they are in any way unusual. Freeberg embraces Rush Limbaugh even as Rush says, "I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus -- living fossils -- so we will never forget what these people stood for."

Freeberg's article, however, illustrates something deeper, and it's something I don't think Freeberg intended: eliminationism is a popular subject of the Right. It isn't just that Ann Coulter wants to kill everyone not like her. Thinking about committing vengeful violence is only half the thrill. The other half, and this is the half Freeberg embraces, is being fearful of eliminationism. It's something they think about a lot; it's in their air and water, and it's part of their mindset.

When right-wingers talk about "us vs. them," when they talk about "slagging Iraq," killing every last Muslim because not enough of them are "righteous" (whatever that means), they're talking about a sense of pre-emptive defense. "We have to kill them there to prevent them from killing us here," as the refrain went. There is no middle ground. There is no negotiating. There's no humanity. There's just Kill (thrilling!) or be Killed (thrilling!). The entire mindset of the Right could fit in a Steven Segal film.

And Freeberg is as blind, and as foolish, as any of the people Orcinus quotes. When Orcinus wants to make his point about how vicious the Right is, he quotes someone from the Right. When Freeberg wants to make a rhetorical response, he quotes... someone from the Right. Orcinus' shows us what's going on in the echo chamber. Freeberg is merely playing the role of minor echo.
As a side note, it's rather sad to see just how badly Karl Rove has ruined techniques of discourse and how Rovian the Right has become. Freeburg, presented with evidence about the Right's vicious underbelly, immediately went for the Rovian instinct of attributing that viciousness to others, and portraying himself as the victim, rather than a member of the perpetrating tribe. He didn't bother disclaiming it. He tried to power right past it, without giving you time to pull him back and say, "But, what about the evidence?"

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slutdiary From: slutdiary Date: August 3rd, 2008 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
And when these fools use such violent verbage, it's incredible how very few of them has ever seen a dead body, how few know what a shreik of horror over bodily harm sounds like, how few know first hand the smell of fresh spilled blood or fresh exposed viscera.

Few of them indeed have been inches from the threat of the criminally insane or within the self-aware grasp of sudden death themselves.
mrf_arch From: mrf_arch Date: August 3rd, 2008 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
As a side note, it's rather sad to see just how badly Karl Rove has ruined techniques of discourse and how Rovian the Right has become. Freeburg, presented with evidence about the Right's vicious underbelly, immediately went for the Rovian instinct of attributing that viciousness to others, and portraying himself as the victim, rather than a member of the perpetrating tribe.

Is this really "Rovian", or did the turd blossom merely systematize and put a level of discipline to (and money behind) a pre-existing instinct?
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: August 3rd, 2008 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Back when I was wasting time arguing with liefties on USENET, I would get some varient of "we would be better off without people like you" about every other month.

I remember that, and it's a deep part of my understanding.
mikstera From: mikstera Date: August 3rd, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
As we see, the application of the "the world would be better off without you" sentiment isn't the sole province of any ideological segment of the population.
elfs From: elfs Date: August 3rd, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
The difference that I see is that FallenPegasus was arguing with some ditz on Usenet, Freeberg couldn't even find an example of leftist eliminationism...

... and Orcinus demonstrated that eliminationist rhetoric is institutionalized on the Right and a routine part of their biggest and loudest media outlets.
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