Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The guilt by association game cuts both ways

Me oh my, how the worm has turned on the right wing blogosphere, and I will make no effort to disguise my sense of schadenfreude. Just a few short months ago  comments on this blog, and others, and posts throughout the RW blogosphere, but especially on Zioni blogs, were making the claim that the Iman in charge of the proposed Ground Zero mosque could not be trusted because of his unsavory friends and connections. (Less sophisticated writers denounced him simply because of his religion.) Smart people on both sides of the aisle denounced this guilt by association game.  Judge a man by what he says and does, we insisted. Do not hold him responsible for the behavior of certain lunatics who may share his faith or skin color.

Because God has an awesome sense of humor some of the guilty parties from last summer now find themselves under a similar microscope. The mass murderer from Norway, it seems, was a big fan of certain RW Arab hating blogs. In particular Atlas Shurgged, source of many of the memes, bad arguments and insults that our less creative bloggers cheerfully regurgitate, has been singled out as  one of the killer's favorite blogs.

Is Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugged responsible? Charles Johnson, of LGF thinks so. He writgs: the Norway atrocities, the responsibility is far more evident and direct. People like... Pamela Geller and the right wing blogosphere who spew apocalyptic rhetoric and refuse to denounce the extremists among them now have the very real blood of children on their hands.
I wouldn't go quite that far, but the irony is inescapable. No blood is on the hands of the bloggers, but the joke is certainly on them.  For eons, RWers like Pan (and to a lesser extent Seraphic Secret and other copycats) played the guilt-by-association game, condemning innocent Muslims for violence they didn't endorse and making hay out of connections and relationships between ordinary Muslims and terrorist groups that only speciously existed. Now these extra-condemnatory bloggers know how it feels. Suddenly, they are under the microscope. Suddenly, they are being blamed for connections they didn't know about, interpretations they didn't accept, and outcomes they never desired or foresaw. Suddenly, they are demanding charitable interpretations of their posts, charitable interpretations to which they are entitled, but were ever extended to Muslims.

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