‘It was not about you, it was what this place stands for.” So said gay-rights activist Floyd Lee Corkins II after opening fire on a security guard at the office of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. FRC among other things opposes gay marriage, a position shared with just under half of all Americans including, until about five minutes ago, President Barack Obama. For this alleged instance of extremism, FRC was in 2010 labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
That the SPLC cannot distinguish between a traditional-family organization and the guys in the white sheets and swastika armbands says a great deal about that organization’s intellectual depth, which is measured in millimeters. Organized homosexuality’s relentless crusade to align itself with the civil-rights movement of the 1960s is on the face of it absurd — such insults as homosexuals have suffered in this country do not include chattel slavery — but the SPLC has been happy to play along, in the course of the past decade or so transforming itself from a watchdog on extremism to a peddler of liberal pieties.
It is fashionable on the left to attempt to tie acts of violence to conservative political rhetoric: Bill Clinton shamefully insinuated that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was inspired by Rush Limbaugh, and a diverse bouquet of self-beclowning Democrats tried to pin the shooting of Gabby Giffords on Sarah Palin’s taste in graphic design. Of course McVeigh turned out to be no kind of talk-radio man, and the man who shot Giffords is an incoherent psychotic with no political agenda. For that matter, it was a man of the Left who shot John F. Kennedy, but a shocking number of otherwise respectable liberals treat the assassination as part of a right-wing conspiracy. So convinced are liberals that the Right is harboring dreams of political violence that irresponsible commentators immediately began speculating about whether the Colorado theater shooter was a Fox News viewer. As it turns out, he thought he was the Joker, not the Gipper.
An exercise in tit-for-tat would be tempting here, but conservatives for the most part know better. Given the routinely violent, anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynist rhetoric associated with the Left — as seen at any Occupy encampment or protest directed at Israel, Clarence Thomas, or Sarah Palin — it is worth remarking upon the hypocrisy of the Left’s trying to blame talk radio or tea-party protests for acts of violence. (And never mind that rhetoric was replaced by actual acts of violence at Occupy events, not at tea-party rallies.) There is in fact remarkably little political violence in the United States, a fact for which we should be grateful.
What is remarkable here is the intellectual dishonesty: The Left seeks to discredit conservative criticism as “hate speech,” while at the same time engaging in the wildest sort of excess. One example of left-wing rhetorical excess is of course the attempt to brand the FRC a hate group when its employees are the targets of political violence, not the perpetrators of it. Life is full of little ironies.