Monday, November 30, 2009

Casual, conversational eliminationism

The other day I spent a few minutes in conversation with someone who was perfectly polite and friendly, yet within the course of the conversation this individual casually made a joke about wishing Al Gore to be assassinated and stated later that the state of California doesn't deserve to live (because it doesn't have the death penalty.)

As I've said before, the reason that I focus so much on the conservative movement is that I do not appreciate the way that it spreads venomous hatred into our society.

Here's a case in point: Andrew Breitbart casually calling for NASA climate scientist James Hansen to be executed for treason.

The "treason" Breitbart speaks of? Someone hacked the e-mails of the climate scientists at England's University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (where Hansen doesn't work) at which point movement conservatives quote-mined the e-mails until they could stupidly convince themselves of the nefarious conspiracy they already believed in. I've intended to write a post on this topic (of the hacked e-mails) so I won't go much further into it than to say that it's another instance of the never-ending stream of manufactured controversy and outrage that such persons traffic in.*

So let's instead focus on how casually Breitbart called for James Hansen's death. I've noted before how readily movement conservatives would apparently put persons to death for specious charges of treason, but I don't recall ever coming across any such call as utterly absurd as that of Breitbart's. Even were the accusations true, how would employees of a climate institute at a UK university falsifying data mean that treason has been committed in the United States by James Hansen of NASA? (Hansen actually offered some mild criticism of the behavior of the climate researchers involved.)

I have lost count of the number of times I've made the following point, but I marvel again how it is that somone such as Breitbart can make comments that are so profoundly ignorant, vile, and extreme all at the same time and be paid well to do precisely that.

*See here for Kevin Drum's summary of the non-scandal "scandal."

Update: Breitbart also called for the execution of Brad Friedman for challenging him on the facts relating to global warming and the hacked e-mails. After Friedman responded that when you're short on the facts, you can always call for the murder of your political opponents, Breitbart responded, "capital punishment after a fair trial by your peers isn't murder!" Friedman's response:

Still no hint at the "crime" for which I am to face the possibility of being murdered after being given my "fair trial." But perhaps "Calling Out Fact-Challenged Liars and Propagandists" is now a crime in Breitbart's little fantasy world. I suspect Breitbart's brain-washed readers see little necessity for either a trial, or any laws to be broken, before meting out their own justice as they see fit. It's a Wingnut World --- we just live in it.

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