Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Will Krugman Blame Sarah Palin for the Boston Bombing?

So far, there has not been any commentary from Paul Krugman on the bombing at the Boston Marathon Monday, and given his incendiary remarks from previous tragedies, I admit to being surprised.

When Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded and a number of others killed in the shooting in Arizona in January, 2011, Krugman made this declaration:
A Democratic Congresswoman has been shot in the head; another dozen were also shot.

We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing.

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

Update: I see that Sarah Palin has called the shooting “tragic”. OK, a bit of history: right-wingers went wild over anyone who called 9/11 a tragedy, insisting that it wasn’t a tragedy, it was an atrocity.

Update: I’m going to take down comments on this one; they would need a lot of moderating, because the crazies are coming out in force, and it’s all too likely to turn into a flame war.
When the shooting turned out to have been done by a hardcore leftist with a history of mental illness, Krugman apologized to no one. Instead, he found a way to blame his political adversaries, anyway:
It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.
However, even Krugman (so far) has not blamed Sarah Palin or Ron Paul for the Boston bombing, although I suspect that if the perpetrators do turn out to be from a right-wing group, he will find a way to put it on Palin's shoulders.

I also would like to point out some words of wisdom from Jesse Walker of Reason Magazine, a person I am sure that Krugman would think of as a violent right-winger because his economic and political views do not line up with the editorial page of the NYT or the Princeton faculty. Writes Walker:
As I write, no one has claimed responsibility for the blasts. The police, meanwhile, are keeping their suspicions close to the vest. This could turn out to be a right-wing or Islamist attack, but it could easily turn out to be something completely different. A movement doesn't need to be big or famous to commit murder. It doesn't even need to have a membership larger than a single disgruntled asshole. The history of domestic terrorism is filled with figures like George Metesky, the generator wiper who was injured in a boiler explosion and denied workman's compensation, and who then spent 16 years planting bombs around New York to get his revenge. For now I have no idea who committed this crime and, more to the point, neither do any of the alleged experts speculating on television.
I have commented not only on the bombing but also the larger point that American officials have engaged in what clearly are terrorist bombings in places like Pakistan with their infamous drone strikes, including the tactic of firing a first missile, and then waiting until the "first responders" came onto the scene to deal with survivors.

I also wrote these comments, which I am sure would infuriate people like Krugman, but I believe that they should be said:
Anyone reading this post right now almost certainly does NOT know who was responsible for the despicable bombing today at the Boston Marathon. Yet, given that the USA is a hopelessly-politicized country, I am sure that accusations already are being thrown about like so much else of the ignorance that is spewed on various venues these days.

I AM sure, however, that the people at the Southern Paranoia Law Center (SPLC) are hoping, HOPING! that the perpetrators were "white supremacists" so that the SPLC immediately can send out fund-raising letters to turn this sad event into a cash cow. (And I am sure that Paul Krugman would love to be able to blame the Tea Party or maybe even Ron Paul supporters.)
I have made similar comments on my Facebook page, including a reminder not to jump to any conclusions about the "Saudi national" who was detained and (I am sure) falsely accused by police officers before they came to realize the guy had nothing to do with it. Perhaps people just need to step back and see what transpires.

Unfortunately, the USA is so hopelessly politicized that people like Krugman, Glenn Beck, the Fox News and MSNBC crews, and others are hoping and hoping and hoping that people associated with the political groups and individuals that they hate will be responsible. And no doubt, someone, someplace will find a way to blame Sarah Palin or Ron Paul.

I will add one more thing. Whoever did this thing committed a despicable act. Many of us had friends who participated in the Boston Marathon, and they had loved ones and friends with them. In 1972, when Palestinian militants engaged in their infamous massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich, I had teammates and coaches (University of Tennessee) in the Olympic Village who were placed in harm's way.

There is no political cause that justifies violence against the innocent. But I also will add that there is nothing that permits governments to attack the innocent, either. Sometimes we forget that latter point or are so enmeshed with a "cause" that we seek to find ways to justify the unjustifiable.


Ben Gross said...

Well stated, Professor Anderson.

I'm a regular reader of yours and was a few blocks away from the explosions on Monday. My perspective was similar...

William L. Anderson said...


Good commentary. The country is so damned politicized that people want their villains to be of a certain ideology -- or else they will create those villains themselves.

And you are correct; it is not an issue of right or left. It is both, like a tag team.

Cato said...

I'm a little torn.

On the one hand, if the drones are killing innocent people, I'm against them.

On the other hand, if they were built with stimulus funds, they are helping keep our economy long and strong.

Well, strong anyway.

Pulverized Concepts said...

This bombing can be considered a despicable act all right but the fact is that the US is engaged in a war, or perhaps multiple wars, and to expect its enemies to refrain from carrying the combat to the US itself is the height of naivete. The bombing itself, while a tragedy to those in the immediate area, is relatively meaningless, physically, in a larger context. What it will do, however, is create a government response, just as the 9-11 incident did, that will affect the day-to-day lives of ordinary citizens, both by increasing inconveniences and by putting them at odds with authorities. Adventures in other lands will have a cost that everyone will be forced to bear, regardless of their own opinions.

William L. Anderson said...

Yeah, I hadn't though of that. Furthermore, by causing all sorts of destruction in Pakistan, the US of A stimulates that country's economy.

Under Keynesian thinking, the bombers in Boston also created new economic opportunities and new jobs, unleashing the blessings of destruction. Oh, Bastiat! Thou livest still!!

I love good satire. Thanks, Cato.

William L. Anderson said...

In answering Pulverized, someone is going to have war declared on them. If the bombers are domestic, then I am sure that Obama and the Left will declare that anyone who believes in peaceful exchange and believes that government should not be intervening everywhere, which will trigger even more laws and more violent domestic intervention and escalate things.

If the bombers are foreign (and I doubt that they are), then this will give Obama an excuse to ratchet up the "war on terror." So innocents will be killed on that side, too.

To me, much of this goes back to Waco. Clinton's massacre of 80 people met almost full approval of Democrats and a lot of approval from Republicans. Janet Reno's popularity skyrocketed.

So, it is not that the Left and much of the Right is anti-violence. It just holds that government violence against people is a good thing, and that we should support it.

Anonymous said...

I am sure most people would hope that criminals who commit atrocious acts do not think anything like themselves. People want to be as disconnected as possible from these criminals.

Could you please provide the specific views held by Jared Loughner; I haven't done much research on his views. According to wikipedia, the Anti-Defamation League found that Loughner had a "distrust for and dislike of the government." Loughner believed that the government was creating "infinite currency" without the backing of gold and silver.

He believed NASA was faking spaceflights and other conspiracy theories like those publicized by David Wynn Miller.

He believed women should not hold positions of power.

Do you know anything else he specifically wrote or said? Any comments that could be labeled as "hardcore leftist?" Pro-Obamacare? Pro-communism? Or is it simply a generic label given by his former classmate from 2007, Caitie Parker? Could she have meant classical liberalism?

William L. Anderson said...

Yeah, classical liberalism always leads people to commit murder. A worldview that says people should engage in peaceful exchange sets the seeds for mass shootings. Why hadn't I seen that before?

Anonymous said...

I had thought Jared Loughner was an apolitical paranoid schizophrenic. Your statement was the first I had heard that he was a "hardcore leftist." I actually believed you were going to produce more evidence than what came from his high school classmate, Caitie Parker. Your comment was a surprise. I expected more.

Anonymous said...

Where is the empirical evidence that Jared Loughner is or was a "hardcore leftist?" As a scientist, does empirical evidence mean much to you or is evidence only about gut feelings? I would hope that you are interested in the truth.

I am a libertarian. I also believe that people should engage in peaceful exchange. This includes the peaceful exchange of information. Wrong information has zero value for those of us who are only interested in the truth. It is only of value to those who wish to deceive. If you are interested in the truth, you would either provide the empirical evidence or correct your statement. People make mistakes--nobody should hold that against you.