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Chilling effect(Political thuggery)
The American Thinker ^ | October 23rd, 2004 | Thomas Lifson

Posted on 10/23/2004 8:26:21 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind

Political thuggery is on the rise in America. Because most of it is directed at the right, the legacy media does not find the trend towards organized political violence of much interest, beyond briefly noting individual incidents, particularly if videotape happens to be available. That is why the wave of attacks on Bush-Cheney campaign offices and supporters, including bullets fired, has not inspired front page articles all across America.

A thought experiment: imagine that all across America offices of the NAACP or Planned Parenthood were attacked. Do you really think that the New York Times would not feature the campaign with numerous front page articles, while the editorial page thundered against the violence?

The latest wrinkle comes in the guise of pie attacks. Thursday night, high-profile writer Ann Coulter was assaulted by two men while speaking at the University of Arizona. The rushed at her and each threw a pie in her direction. The incident was captured on home video. It has received a certain amount of play, therefore. The miscreants were arrested and now face charges. Ironically, the most serious among their criminal liabilities relates to damaging the black muslin scrim backdrop, which, because of the $3000 in damage, qualifies them for felony charges. For attacking Ann herself, and attempting to silence her political speech, they only face misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct.

Make no mistake, throwing a pie at a speaker in front of a crowd is no prank. It is an attempt to intimidate and humiliate the speaker. It thus has a chilling effect on future political speech. If there is an established danger of getting a pie in the face, how many people will be willing to go in front of audiences? Who wants to have clothes and hair ruined, and become an object of laughter? Who wants to have pictures forever living on the internet, of wiping goo off face and hair, looking ridiculous, like a wet puppy, only funnier?

The damage to our political culture of this chill on free speech far exceeds the cost of a piece of muslin cloth, or even the entire auditorium where the speech took place.

This morning on Fox & Friends Saturday, guest host Mike Gallagher, a radio talk show host himself, revealed that he had spoken Friday in State College Pennsylvania, as a counter-speaker to Michael Moore, who had been paid $30,000 to speak to students. He revealed that a campus group had offered a bounty of $1500 to anyone who could hit him in the face with a pie. This seems like a clear-cut incitement to violence. No details were offered, but I cannot understand how law enforcement would not immediately move to arrest someone publicly offering money for the commission of an act of violence.

Astonishingly, regular program host Julian Phillips remarked that he always finds pies “funny.” He quickly backed away from any implication that he was advocating attacks, but he repeated the word “funny.”

I was appalled.

As I grew up and studied history, I struggled to understand how it was that a modern and cultured nation like Germany could descend into Nazi barbarism. How could ordinary Germans just stand by and let the Nazi madmen take power? I came to the conclusion that organized political violence had a lot to do with it. The opponents of the Nazis did not dare speak up because they feared for their safety.

We are on a slippery slope if America tolerates political violence. It is a crime against democracy and liberty. The specifics of the weapons involved are less important than the intent to use violence as a political weapon.

If the worst charge that can be brought against the wielder of political pie-in-the-face is a misdemeanor – unless he is unlucky enough to damage the scenery – then we need new laws. Stealing or damaging property is a less serious crime than creating an atmosphere of fear in the political discourse.

If we do not defend our free speech rights, we will surely lose them.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: allleftistallthetime; anncoulter; bushcheneycampaign; leftisthate; moreleftiststuff; politicalterror; terrorism; thugs; violence
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Last sentence right on the money.
1 posted on 10/23/2004 8:26:22 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind
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To: ride the whirlwind

I was just checking to see if this had been posted!! thanks!! hes right....we republicans deserve what we get if we dont START STANDING UP for each other and STOP being polite and mannered as we were raised and take off the gloves and give them BACK what they do to us...Voter fraud all this crazy lying about SS and the draft etc, all the nutz on tvs ranting and hollering liar at war heros....its time to draw a line in the sand and lock n load if you ask me!!...


2 posted on 10/23/2004 8:30:35 AM PDT by ArmyBratCutie ("Four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:soap, ballot, jury, ammo in this order!")
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To: ride the whirlwind

Maybe we'll get lucky, and one of those apes will try a pie attack on G. Gordon Liddy or a like-minded conservative. (I say "lucky" because it'll be the last pie attack they ever try.)


3 posted on 10/23/2004 8:32:43 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Ha! You might have something there!


4 posted on 10/23/2004 8:36:21 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: ride the whirlwind
The South East Arizona Republican Club is reporting that Phillip Edgar Smith, a University of Arizona student, and William Zachary Wolff, both 24, have been charged with criminal damage, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and assault.

They'll get off with a slap on the wrist (if that). The same evening, in Flagstaff, AZ, Republican Party Headquarters was broken into and thoroughly trashed. Local rag, Flagstaff Arizona Daily Sun encourages violence, says it's OK because both sides do it which is pure and utter horse pucky but typical of the source. In other Arizona news, Republican Party HQ in Havasu City received a bomb threat Friday morning. Arizona under attack from Leftists? Naah! Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.

5 posted on 10/23/2004 8:37:36 AM PDT by NaughtiusMaximus (I'd RATHER Vote Republican)
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To: ArmyBratCutie

We've never seen an election like this one is shaping up to be. Fasten your seat belts!


6 posted on 10/23/2004 8:37:59 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: NaughtiusMaximus

(Shaking my head)


7 posted on 10/23/2004 8:39:41 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: ride the whirlwind
"The opponents of the Nazis did not dare speak up because they feared for their safety."

There is a word for what you have described in your article, it is "terrorism". Whether it is being done on a large scale by the Nazis, the Viet Cong, the terrorists of 9/11, the terrorists in Iraq, or on a smaller scale as the KKK did, or those on an even much smaller scale, FOR NOW, who trash RNC offices and intimidate people in voting lines.

8 posted on 10/23/2004 8:50:03 AM PDT by LZ_Bayonet
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To: LZ_Bayonet

Good point. In fact, I've added "terrorism" to the Keywords.


9 posted on 10/23/2004 8:59:30 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: LZ_Bayonet

"There is a word for what you have described in your article, it is "terrorism". Whether it is being done on a large scale by the Nazis, the Viet Cong, the terrorists of 9/11, the terrorists in Iraq, or on a smaller scale as the KKK did, or those on an even much smaller scale, FOR NOW, who trash RNC offices and intimidate people in voting lines."

Don't forget: that extends to pie throwing, as well. We need to stop the insanity, or the leftists will win this election. If they win it, America not only HAS lost, but IS lost. God help us if sKerry ever gets in the WH.


10 posted on 10/23/2004 9:00:25 AM PDT by Monkey Face (Time-Warner aka AOL aka Disney aka ABC did it for the good of the people.)
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To: ride the whirlwind

Doesn't this qualify as a hate crime committed against a woman?


11 posted on 10/23/2004 9:17:12 AM PDT by CenturionM (No man in the wrong can stand against a man in the right who keeps on coming.)
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To: All
In case anyone missed some of the latest dem thuggery, here are some links:

Early voting brings cries of bullying--"Democrat Thugs flooding Florida Polls"

Bush/Cheney Headquarters in Cincinnati Robbed

Windows smashed at Bush campaign headquarters (Portland, Ore.)

Ann Coulter Target Of Pie-Throwing Leftists During Campus Speech

12 posted on 10/23/2004 9:20:15 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: CenturionM

To my thinking it certainly does.


13 posted on 10/23/2004 9:20:52 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: Slings and Arrows
Maybe we'll get lucky, and one of those apes will try a pie attack on G. Gordon Liddy or a like-minded conservative. (I say "lucky" because it'll be the last pie attack they ever try.)

Ann Coulter told Sean Hannity on his radio show that other members of the audience chased these mooks down and beat the crap out of them after they threw their pies at her. I was pleased to hear that - that may be the worst punishment they get.

I'd imagine that the media out there is probably shreiking about them getting beaten up by the crowd, howling about "thuggery" and "mob rule." Talk about out-of-hand projection.

14 posted on 10/23/2004 9:22:16 AM PDT by CFC__VRWC (I've got a tagline, but I'm too lazy to type it out.)
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To: ArmyBratCutie

Okay, I've read many, many times about articles having already been posted. What does that mean? Is it just bad form? Is it something to do with space on the server? Some people get downright upset that an article has already been posted. I don't unnnnderstannnnd... Please explain to me why it's such a hot potatoe.


15 posted on 10/23/2004 9:23:29 AM PDT by toomuchcoffee
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To: NaughtiusMaximus
The same evening, in Flagstaff, AZ, Republican Party Headquarters was broken into and thoroughly trashed. Local rag, Flagstaff Arizona Daily Sun encourages violence, says it's OK because both sides do it which is pure and utter horse pucky but typical of the source.

Damn why can't I live in one of these districts?

HAVE COT AND GUN. WILL TRAVEL.

16 posted on 10/23/2004 9:26:11 AM PDT by HoustonCurmudgeon (I early voted 18 Oct 2004 and took a car full with me.)
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: whatever___whatever

Like the title says - CHILLING


18 posted on 10/23/2004 9:34:17 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: ride the whirlwind

We simply cannot accept the intimidation and thuggery that are going on now, or it will get steadily worse and have profound effects. When that happens, America is lost and will become the next Nazi Germany.

The fundamental principle of intimidation of any sort is to isolate the victim, psychologically and physically. Isolation leads the victim to feel that they cannot fight back and the intimidator almost always wins. This principle works on a cultural level as well as a personal level. With the leftist media in lockstep with the left and actively participating in the psychological bullying of the right across the entire country, the sense of isolation becomes even more profound.

The antidote to all this is for the intended victims to organize quickly, think about responses, and fight back as a unit. There are many things that can be legally done, but it will take organization and a firm determination on the part of people who oppose this to fight back. All of this is going to require a quick strike, because these episodes happen without warning, then the perpetrators move on to another tack. Before we know it, the election will be lost to organized thugs and bullies because we didn't react soon enough and well enough.

I am fully prepared and have the equipment to drive to Florida and become part of a convoy taking voters to the polls from central dropoff points, and videotaping and photographing events at the polling places from the relative safety of my vehicle. Voters need to organize and go to the polls in groups if that adds to their sense of safety.

Every neighbor you take to the polls with you to increase their and your sense of security strikes a blow for freedom. And if you can take pictures or get audiotapes of thuggery, you will have truly struck a blow for freedom.

Forewarned is forearmed, people, so let Florida be a warning to the country. Expect this everywhere and anywhere and be prepared for it.


19 posted on 10/23/2004 9:35:14 AM PDT by JustaCowgirl (Terrorists will "global test" us right off the planet)
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To: toomuchcoffee

I don't think this person was saying it had been already posted. I think she meant that she was about to post it but then saw this one. :-)


20 posted on 10/23/2004 9:36:12 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: JustaCowgirl
Isolation leads the victim to feel that they cannot fight back and the intimidator almost always wins.

And this can work on many levels. Obviously on a large scale like this article mentions..... or just a conservative college kid who can't keep a Bush/Cheney 04 sign on his dormitory door because he's so outnumbered by slick Kedwards supporters! (This happened to my son yesterday)

21 posted on 10/23/2004 9:42:43 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: CFC__VRWC

Good. I wish I'd been there - I can't throw much of a punch, but when 200 lbs. of p*ssed-off Jew lands on you, you notice it.


22 posted on 10/23/2004 9:44:37 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: ride the whirlwind

What about the thuggery committed against Sinclair Broadcasting?


23 posted on 10/23/2004 9:46:32 AM PDT by FreedomSurge
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To: ride the whirlwind
I pray the left doesn't get violent after they lose on Nov. 2. The backlash will not be pretty.

5.56mm

24 posted on 10/23/2004 9:46:55 AM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: ride the whirlwind

Exactly. It's happening on every level, from cultural to individual. And it's going to take strength and sticking together to fight it.

Does anybody think that the screaming raving lunatic show that O'Donnell put on against John O'Neill last night was anything but mass intimidation? He might not have succeeded in intimidating O'Neill, but how many conservatives and pro-military, anti-Kerry viewers could be intimidated by that, even unconsciously? Maybe more than we like to think. And O'Donnell will go totally scot-free from payback for that, because there's no one holding him accountable for it.


25 posted on 10/23/2004 9:53:28 AM PDT by JustaCowgirl (Terrorists will "global test" us right off the planet)
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To: ride the whirlwind

These are only a few of many incidents, including bullets through the window, theft of laptop computers, beating up precinct workers, closing down of theaters trying to show "Stolen Honor," and the like. I've seen more than a dozen such incidents posted here, and I'm sure there are many more that the MSM have managed to ignore even locally.


26 posted on 10/23/2004 9:54:01 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: ride the whirlwind

Bump


27 posted on 10/23/2004 9:54:55 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Slings and Arrows
Maybe we'll get lucky, and one of those apes will try a pie attack on G. Gordon Liddy
or a like-minded conservative.


It will be interesting if such an event were caught on tape.
Then the nation would get to see what a couple of sharped #2 pencils can do.
28 posted on 10/23/2004 9:56:03 AM PDT by VOA
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To: M Kehoe
I pray the left doesn't get violent after they lose on Nov. 2. The backlash will not be pretty.

First we have to make sure they lose. Worry about the aftermath later.

If the leftists and union thugs can get away with this at voting places in Florida, imagine what they will pull in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. We'd better start preparing for that.

29 posted on 10/23/2004 9:56:23 AM PDT by JustaCowgirl (Terrorists will "global test" us right off the planet)
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To: Cicero

Oh yes, I know that. It took long enough to link those 4 very recent ones. Link some more if you want......it's sickening, isn't it.


30 posted on 10/23/2004 10:03:52 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: M Kehoe
I pray the left doesn't get violent after they lose on Nov. 2. The backlash will not be pretty.

I may be getting cynical and grumpy in my old age...but part of me hopes the left does pick a fight.

The waiting is killing me ;-)

31 posted on 10/23/2004 10:05:53 AM PDT by Wormwood (Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!)
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To: M Kehoe
I pray the left doesn't get violent after they lose on Nov. 2. The backlash will not be pretty.

If they go completely nuts, they can kiss many more elections goodbye!

32 posted on 10/23/2004 10:06:38 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: ride the whirlwind
Needless to say, the Libertarians would decry 'statist' laws which punish people for what could happen from a non-consensual albeit harmless pie toss. "Let the so-called 'victim' sue for her laundering and coiffure fees if she wants to, and leave the rest of us liberty-loving people alone! If anyone fears standing up and speaking their opinions in the face of growing political violence, then that's their problem!"
33 posted on 10/23/2004 10:15:20 AM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: All

Imagine what they'll do to us if they win.


34 posted on 10/23/2004 10:16:57 AM PDT by JesseJane (~On November 2, keep in mind what mattered most on 9-11.~)
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To: JustaCowgirl
I copied the following from an enemy site -


After what happened to Gore, the Kerry team has prepared extensively for a close election with recounts, disputed ballots, electronic machines, and voter disenfranchisement. Check it out:

Sen. John Kerry, bracing for a potential fight over election results, will not hesitate to declare victory Nov. 2 and defend it, advisers say. He also will be prepared to name a national security team before knowing whether he's secured the presidency.

Six so-called "SWAT teams" of lawyers and political operatives will be situated around the country with fueled-up jets awaiting Kerry's orders to speed to a battleground state. The teams have been told to be ready to fly on the evening of the election to begin mounting legal and political fights. Every battleground state will have a SWAT team within an hour of its borders.

The Kerry campaign has recount office space in every battleground state, with plans so detailed they include the number of staplers and coffee machines needed to mount legal challenges. (!)

"Right now, we have 10,000 lawyers out in the battleground states on Election Day, and that number is growing by the day," said Michael Whouley, a Kerry confidant who is running election operations at the Democratic National Committee.

On Election Day, Whouley will head the so-called "boiler room," probably in Washington, that tracks vote counts and ensures Kerry doesn't concede too soon. Whouley was the aide who, after noticing Florida was too close to call in 2000, called Gore's team in Tennessee and told them to put the brakes on the concession speech.

35 posted on 10/23/2004 10:19:57 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: ride the whirlwind

Anyone who thinks a pie in Ms. Coulter's face is funny is a simple minded simian. Let us hope the lemmings
awaken before Nov. 2.


36 posted on 10/23/2004 10:43:00 AM PDT by Paperdoll (.........vote for GWB "early and often"!)
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: Cultural Jihad

CJ, you're obsessed by libertarians. I do suggest that you do NOT put words in the mouths of libertarians and misrepresent what libertarians stand for. The foundation of libertarian philosophy is the rejection of the use of agressive force, such as assaulting people with pies. Tell the truth or shut up!


38 posted on 10/23/2004 10:54:03 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Michael Moore: Will lie for food and I stay busy!)
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To: Jabba the Nutt
Hence the statement that all the big deal is about laundering and coiffure fees rather than the Libertarian-approved "right" to destroy our institutions of self-governance.
39 posted on 10/23/2004 11:03:22 AM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: VOA

Yup. Probably why it will never happen - for the same reason that PETA freaks throw paint on old women in fur coats and not Hell's Angels in leather jackets.


41 posted on 10/23/2004 11:16:58 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows (Am Yisrael Chai!)
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To: whatever___whatever
Thanks for the Scripture.

But it ain't the vehicle's fault that it belongs to a slob democrat, and I'm no slob democrat, so I restrained myself from damaging the vehicle.

No.....we don't want to sink to their level!

42 posted on 10/23/2004 11:19:21 AM PDT by ride the whirlwind (“You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.” – Joseph Conrad)
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To: Cultural Jihad
I don't want to seem uninformed here, but what in the blazes are you talking about:

"Hence the statement that all the big deal is about laundering and coiffure fees rather than the Libertarian-approved "right" to destroy our institutions of self-governance."

You know CJ, it's right there in the Declaration of Independence: the People have the power and authority to 'alter or abolish' governmental institutions and replace them with institutions more suited to their needs. Do you reject the American Revolution and Independence? I'm guessing this is part of what you're talking about. But who knows, it's coming from left field.

43 posted on 10/23/2004 11:24:31 AM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Michael Moore: Will lie for food and I stay busy!)
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To: Paperdoll

Even if covered in pie, she would still be gorgeous. In fact... (never mind)


44 posted on 10/23/2004 11:27:22 AM PDT by broadsword (Weren't there a couple of giant Buddhist statues in Afghanistan? What happened to them?)
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To: M Kehoe

My thoughts exactly. As Ann noted on Hannity - they want a street war, they've got it. We have the guns, the real men, and we don't miss.


45 posted on 10/23/2004 6:47:46 PM PDT by CenturionM (7.62x51, 168 gr. Matchking. Any questions?)
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To: Jabba the Nutt
There was a vanity thread somewhere else wherein a self-avowed Libertarian claimed that the mere act of voting was participating in state-sponsored violence. Hence when we see the spread of Brownshirt tactics to suppress political discourse and hear calls to counter such poisonous acts with stronger laws, the Libertarian ideology as usual come up short.
46 posted on 10/23/2004 8:24:02 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad
Huh? CJ, you simply are not being logical. How does the one libertarian's opinion not to participate in voting connect with the charge that Libertarian Philosophy would not support laws against violence and assault?

Libertarian Philosophy is based on the idea of opposing aggression, whether open violence or under-handed fraud. A libertarian society would be much tougher on violence than our society, where some violence is ignored because it serves the purpose of some people in power or why has Jesse Jackson never been indicted for extortion?

Secondly, one Libertarian does not equal Libertarian Philosophy. Again, I ask why you are obsessed by libertarians? They're the big threat today?

47 posted on 10/25/2004 8:25:02 PM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Michael Moore: Will lie for food and I stay busy!)
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To: Jabba the Nutt

There are already laws against assault. The article posits the idea that violence motivated by politics causes far worse damage to our liberties, and it is that very idea where the libertarian ideology falls far short in being able to address.


48 posted on 10/25/2004 8:34:02 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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To: Cultural Jihad

For the sake of argument, let's say I accept your last statement as true. Seems to be small beer, the difference between both views prosecuting assault, while one side believes that political violence is especially damaging to our liberties. Where does the obsession and venom that you have for libertarians come from? Has to be more than this.


49 posted on 10/27/2004 5:56:45 PM PDT by Jabba the Nutt (Michael Moore: Will lie for food and I stay busy!)
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To: Jabba the Nutt
You are mistaken. It is not the libertarian ideology per se, but the fact that it champions humanist moral-liberalism, which results is so much cruelty and unneeded suffering and a diminishing of the ability of people to be free and self-governable.
50 posted on 10/27/2004 6:09:46 PM PDT by Cultural Jihad
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