FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Losing Our Uncivil Liberties

The Matrix has avidly seized on the bloodshed in Tucson to further restrict political debate, the solemn injunction now to “tone down the rhetoric,” the implication being that anything “inflammatory,” from the “margins,” left or right, is now out of bounds. The call for “civility” in our public discourse is a call for a particular form of adult responsibility that fits within the boundaries of MSNBC and The Wall Street Journal. Even FOX network, or elements of FOX, is dangerously close to violating the new rules of speech, transformed by horrific domestic events into even sharper delineation and tighter restriction, accelerating a process begun with the Patriot Act. We now have a TSA screening of everything we say. Sarah Palin’s political career is likely finished. The Matrix, far more dangerous than the idiot from Alaska, reasserts its control.

Shocking as the events in Tucson were, they pale in comparison to the bloody deeds of state routinely carried out under the commands of responsible leaders and scarcely reported in the respectable media. On his third day in office, the Peace Laureate authorized a drone strike in Pakistan that killed twenty or more, including several children, the primary, cowardly purpose of which to establish his bona fides. This was a marginally newsworthy item. Since then his portfolio has only gotten bloodier, as befitting his office. In the world of discourse as defined by the Matrix the blood crimes of our leaders are not of interest. “Such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society,” intoned the president, who has overseen a major escalation of violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen during his stewardship. People who shoot down innocents in a public place are nut jobs, while those who order the slaying of thousands are sane and rational. These are oddities a child would notice but less likely than ever to be discussed in the sober and sensible corporate media.

It is rhetoric, not reality, that will come under increasing scrutiny, and this applies to the anti-capitalist left as well as the nativist disaffected right. We must keep our words civil and responsible, within the confines of what the Matrix has sanctioned. Its spokespersons, such as the Times’ Timothy Egan, have already laid it out: “The good news is that already, in just a few days time, this kind of talk from Beck, Palin and Angle is now being seen for what it really is ? something not to be touched by fair citizens or ambitious politicians. And the long-overdue revulsion is because such poisons ? death threats in place of reasoned argument, fetishizing of guns, glib talk of “taking someone out” ? were used so carelessly, as if they didn’t matter.”

So now the game for fair citizens and ambitious politicians is to cool the rhetoric. The Matrix will still try to “get” Julian Assange but discourages outright talk of elimination. Man-child Bush’s overheated boasting of “taking out” Saddam is replaced by Obama’s cool, understated, targeted assassinations that include citizens of his own free society. Violent entertainment, violent foreign policy, violent impoverishment and alienation, the militarization of culture all continue unabated, only now we must talk more civilly about it, or better yet, not at all, or not too deeply.

This is insane. There is a boiling, justifiable rage in this country that no amount of civility will rectify. Martin Luther King, who called for “creative maladjustment” in response to a profoundly sick society, was most uncivil when he called his own government the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. He was excoriated for those remarks and renounced by allies. The ugly threatening rhetoric of the right in this country is an abomination and obviously dangerous. The greater abomination and danger is a retreat from telling the ugly, uncivil truth, as loudly and insistently as we possibly can.

RICHARD WARD lives in New Mexico. He can be reached at: r.ward47@gmail.com

 

More articles by:

Richard Ward divides his time between New Mexico and Ecuador. He can be reached at: r.ward47@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail