Permissible and Impermissible Incendiary Speech? By Victor Davis Hanson for American Greatness
For many on the Left, what most see as incendiary and violent rhetoric is simply contextualized as the necessary talk of social justice.
United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hit the airwaves to connect the recent assault on Paul Pelosi with “fascism” and “white nationalism.” She insists that both are now ubiquitous. And both prompt increasing politically motivated violence. (Ocasio-Cortez remains oblivious to the greatest sustained political violence in our recent history; the 120 days of Black Lives Matter and Antifa-fueled rioting, arson, looting, and mayhem of summer and fall 2020—often cheered on or defended by public officials and social media.)
The deplorable violent attack on Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), has been described as the logical reification of increasing bitter political discourse. Shrill accusations spread even as full details of the attack are still not known. But the general picture of the assailant is one of an unhinged conspiracy freak of all flavors. He seems to have been a lunatic, drug-crazed white supremacist and anti-Semite, a former hemp jeweler, and nudist, who was either homeless or was living in a cluttered hippie-like commune in Berkeley plastered with pride and BLM flags.
Nonetheless, almost immediately the Left has seized on the attack to blame supposed right-wing political rhetoric as the cause.
As we enter the final week before the midterms and likely near-historic Democratic losses in Congress, this effort to manipulate violence in the news for last-minute political advantage will increase—but certainly it is not new.
In late October 2018, after the despicable mass lethal shooting of worshipers in the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue, the Left immediately blamed Donald Trump and his supporters. That useful pre-midterm narrative insisted that Trump had provided the rhetorical fireworks that set off anti-Semite and conspiracy nut, Robert Gregory Bowers.
The killer came from an atrocious family background. He was a known loner and outsider who came to embrace white nationalism. But in his incoherent rants and postings, he had made it clear that he was also no fan of Donald Trump. He considered the president pro-Jewish (Trump’s son-in law is Jewish and his daughter a Jewish convert) and a “globalist.” That fact, apparently, was of no importance. For the next week before the midterms, the media saturated coverage of supposed Trump culpability for Bowers’ crazy violence.