Guns don’t kill people, metaphors do. It’s true. Words have consequences. I tested it: Used a sports analogy just yesterday and a pick-up game of hoops broke out.
This is liberal-think. Silly, isn’t it?
Yes, words can have consequences. Except for when they don’t. As we soon learned – and as officially “not stupid” people already knew – the horrific shootings in Tucson on January 8 had exactly nothing to do with “tone,” “political discourse” or “incendiary rhetoric,” and had everything to do with mental illness, individual responsibility and raw evil.
Not only did Jared Lee Loughner turn out not to be a Sarah Palin-loving, Tea Party-attending, “right-wing” talk radio hound; he ended-up a Bush-hating, “lefty pot-head,” 9/11 “truther” whose favorite books included the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf.
So does this mean that liberals are “accomplices to mass murder” due to their well-documented history of “dangerous political rhetoric”? Well, yes, if you apply liberal-think. No, if you apply reality.
Still, this hasn’t stopped the dinosaur media, left-wing politicos and bloggity-blah-blahs in PJs from using this tragedy to whip together a frothy mix of feigned indignation, slimy politicking and “progressive” puerility.
In a not-so-thinly veiled effort to lay blame at the feet of all things – and all people – conservative, they’ve baked-up a steamy meme of “violent rhetoric” pie. It’s been ugly.
That said, we’re now to the point where the left’s disgraceful political exploitation of this national tragedy has sunk to such low-rent absurdity that it’s worthy of little more than ridicule.
Conservative pundits and mental health experts have broadly and effectively diagnosed, deconstructed and discredited this obtuse “blame-everyone-but-the-bad-guy” pablum to the point where reasonable America – left, right and center – has shared a collective eye-roll. It’s backfired magnificently.
Yet there are people, entire “news networks” in fact, who evidently believe that using metaphorical war imagery in the game of politics – something done since Eve first lobbied Adam to put the seat up – is likely to cause some nutcase to go postal (although I suppose that could be why Cain went-off on Abel).
Take CNN, for instance: In a recent broadcast CNN anchor John King issued an immediate apology after a guest used, on air – and appropriately so – the word “crosshairs” in a political discussion about the Chicago mayoral race.
We were just having a discussion about the Chicago mayoral race. Just a moment ago, my friend Andy Shaw… used the term ‘in the crosshairs,’ in talking about the candidates out there. We're trying- we're trying to get away from that language. … We won't always be perfect. So, hold us accountable when we don't meet your standards.
Alright, Mr. King, I’m holding you accountable. Where’s your apology apology? After all, when you begged forgiveness for airing the word “crosshairs,” you repeated the word “crosshairs.” Shouldn’t you have said “the CH word” or some other such nonsense?
This is political correctness. Silly, isn’t it?
But apparently Republicans have also caught the PC bug. While publicly addressing the now passed House version of the officially tagged “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” they’ve dropped the words “job killing” and now use “job destroying.”
Here’s an idea: Rather than capitulating to its dictates, perhaps the best way to “destroy” political correctness is to place it in your “cross-hairs” (um, metaphorically) and then “pull the trigger” (er, figuratively).
Political correctness is a barrier to truth and honest debate. It’s the soft-sell, beat-around-the-bush catalyst for our escalating American wussification. We’re now lectured by the left as ironically as possible that it’s “insensitive” to use such war imagery and “incendiary rhetoric” in political discourse.
Well, Nancy-boy, life’s insensitive. Truth’s insensitive. Politics are insensitive. This isn’t badminton. We’re at war, here. It’s a war for our culture – a war of ideas. It’s a battle for the heart and soul of a still great nation.
Conservatives, now’s not the time to play touchy-feely. It’s the time for a full-on, no-holds-barred, shock-and-awe frontal assault. Because when the good guys self-censor in the name of political correctness, the bad guys win.
I know its cliché, but guns don’t kill people. If they do, then my nine iron sucks at golf. Neither do metaphors kill people. No, evil people kill people. And if you think words are to blame, then brush your teeth.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).