Seamanship Quotation

“In political activity, then, men sail a boundless and bottomless sea; there is neither harbour for shelter nor floor for anchorage, neither starting-place nor appointed destination.”
— from Michael Oakeshott's
Political Education” (1951)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jared Lee Loughner’s crazy violence and partisan rhetoric

This tragedy will, at least for awhile, wring some of the sexiness out of the violent rhetoric of the last few years. Muskets and rebel garb too will probably go back to the rec-rooms and costume boutiques from where they came. “Manning up” and “re-loading” may lose their power to amuse. Once again violent language will remind us of real violence and will offend.

However, directly connecting Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and Arizona’s political climate to Loughner’s motives feels unfair and naive.  Crude and hateful rhetoric should be shunned at the polls, not named as an accomplice to a crime.

The mystery behind Mr. Loughner’s crazy act is embedded in his environment and, in part, in all he absorbed from what he read. It is ridiculous to pull out and high light that he read Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto and it’s mischievous to connect his primary target to Sarah Palin’s hit list in the congressional elections.

According to MySpace, his favorite books also included:  Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Pulp, Through The Looking Glass, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver's Travels, and The Republic.
We are about to learn a lot of details that may, for some, fill in the puzzle behind this crime. Who knows? We are very unlikely, however, to find that Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh were his inspiration.

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