11 January, 2011

Enough With the False Equivalence!

When Jerry Coyne said,
While it does seem that this kind of violence is whipped up more by conservatives than liberals (viz. abortion-doctor killings), conservatives too can be the targets of gun-equipped crazies. (Remember John Hinkley, who tried to kill Ronald Reagan just to get the attention of Jodie Foster?)

I realized it's time for a handy guide to determining if the left is equivalent to the right in terms of inciting violence.  So here we go:

1.  Is the violence recent?  

Incident less than ten years old - provisionally equivalent.  You may proceed to the next question.

Incident more than ten years old - NOT EQUIVALENT.  Full stop.

2.  Did the violence take place in a pervasive atmosphere of eliminationist rhetoric spewed by liberal political leaders, media outlets including network news channels, and activist groups embraced by elected leaders?

Yes - provisionally equivalent.  You may proceed to the next question.


3.  Is there more than one example of such violence?

Yes - you managed a miracle.  Please provide evidence to back up your assertion, because no one else has been able to find any.

No - NOT EQUIVALENT.  Full stop.

Perhaps someone with some time and more skill with graphics than I've got could whip us up an easy-to-use reference chart.

Outside of the false-equivalence quibble, which in this case was weak tea anyway, and the over-reliance on the "but he was ker-azy!" trope, the rest of Jerry's post is wonderful and thought-provoking and definitely worth reading in full.  I shall be returning to it later in the week, in fact.


george.w said...

More, related to point 2: Is the rhetoric to which you point some commenter on DailyKos, or is it a Congressman or Senator or candidate thereof, or major media personality? No? Not equivalent, full stop.

Jerry Coyne said...

To be fair, I DID say that the violence was whipped up more by conservatives than liberals, so there isn't really any "equivalence." All I was trying to do was urge caution before we ascribed this action to Tea Partiers.