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.

Woozle said...

Aren't conservatives always disparaging liberal pacifism? ...until something like this happens, and then it's all "but liberals are violent too!"