A reader made this point before, but it's worth making again. Palin's key point in her video is that no words can inspire or enrage or mislead or whip up someone to murder another person:
"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them."
But then she directly contradicts this by arguing that airing concerns about violent rhetoric after such an incident - rhetoric that Giffords herself personally flagged as dangerous - "serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn." But if violence cannot be incited by language, then no harm could possibly come of such a discussion.
More poisonously, it seems to me that the history of the blood libel against Jews is a very powerful rebuttal of the loopy case that rhetoric cannot lead to or inspire violence. If you read "Hitler's Willing Executioners" by Daniel Goldhagen, or a unforgettable book like "We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families," by Philip Gourevitch, on the Rwanda genocide, you will learn that eliminationist rhetoric is, in fact, a necessary condition for pogroms or genocides to occur. Palin takes the example of ancient anti-Semitism to invert the lessons of history.
The ignorance and narcissism are staggering. But they do not surprise me. How could they, after all we have learned about this farce of a public figure over the past two and a half years?
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