There is an argument raging on the blogs and elsewhere as to what caused Jared Loughner’s murderous rampage. It is starting to settle down to the an argument about political speech, the Left pointing to the legion of violent and eliminationist statements form the Right and the Right throwing anything they can up to prove that Loughner was really a Lefty who flipped out.
The problem with this, as with all arguments with those on the Right is it becomes a pie fight with simple answers offered to a complex problem. You get idiocy like that from David Frum who insists this whole thing hinges on Loughner being a pot head. Which gets traction even though the usual stereotype of stoners is they can’t get off the couch, let alone plan to assassinate a sitting Representative.
I am going to make a more complex case that a portion of the blame for this and the other shooting rampages belongs squarely in the Republican and Conservative camp, but it will take a little time. I hope you’ll stick with me as I lay it out.
All of the recent rampages including Arizona seem to be people who have snapped. They have reached the breaking point and start to act out against society. What causes these kinds of outburst? Well, feelings of isolation, feelings of despair and feelings of worthlessness of ones own life. These combined with an external group or object to blame and access to the means to strike at that external object are all the swamp from which violent rampages rise.
As sad as it is for me to write, we can trace most of these back to the rhetoric and policies of the Republican Party as it is has been shoved to the radical right by its fringe elements.
For the last 30 years or longer the Republican Party has divided the people of the nation with the meme of utter self-reliance. It was has been the argument against all the of the social safety net programs. They have said that you should not think of yourself as part of a society that helps those down on their luck with welfare or unemployment. They constantly talk about the iconic ideal we can do everything for ourselves, all of us can be Horatio Alger and go from rags to riches all on our own. . . .