Writes Paul Krugman, manufacturing a phony problem.
It’s not enough to appeal to the better angels of our nature. We need to have leaders of both parties — or Mr. Obama alone if necessary — declare that both violence and any language hinting at the acceptability of violence are out of bounds. We all want reconciliation, but the road to that goal begins with an agreement that our differences will be settled by the rule of law.If Krugman had a sharper, fairer eye for what is really needed, he would have walked back his last column — the one where he attributed the Tucson massacre to "toxic rhetoric" on the right.
As Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff responsible for dealing with the Arizona shootings, put it, it’s “the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business.” The vast majority of those who listen to that toxic rhetoric stop short of actual violence, but some, inevitably, cross that line....Advocating violence is terrible, but it is also terrible to try to delegitimize vibrant criticism of the government, to have a biased view of where the least valuable speech is coming from, and to connect speech to violence when there is no connection. The truth is we should dismiss the massacre as the mere act of a deranged individual and go on as before. Why should we change because a madman shot people?
So will the Arizona massacre make our discourse less toxic? It’s really up to G.O.P. leaders. Will they accept the reality of what’s happening to America, and take a stand against eliminationist rhetoric? Or will they try to dismiss the massacre as the mere act of a deranged individual, and go on as before?
Ironically, saying that a massacre can change the course of American politics encourages massacres! Why would you put such a thought into the heads of madmen? Hell, sane men might put the pieces together and plan a massacre to disrupt the work of the politicians who won the last elections. We need to turn away from the bloody slaughter and go on as before.