There is something profoundly wrong with many self-styled conservatives these days. It's as if the dysphoria surrounding the ascendancy of Donald Trump has festered in the minds of ordinarily rational people and produced an intellectual palsy. Once enlightened minds have become insensate to factual or contextual analysis. In fact, you'd rightly be justified in leveling the withering charge of liberal at many mood-makers but for their vague and distant association with conservatism. We are in danger of becoming eidolons.
Sarah Palin came to know the crushing weight of the mob stirred to derangement. But, "Palin derangement syndrome," as it came to be commonly called, was an ailment of the liberal left. These days the syndrome has migrated and found new hosts, populating the skulls of many in the new media. Currently, New York Times best selling author Brad Thor is the object of the deranged but righteously indignant.
In March of 2010, Sarah Palin perpetrated the unconscionable by producing and publishing a map of 20 congressional districts that featured a crosshairs target reticle. The blatantly murderous iconography was accompanied by a slogan, "Don't Retreat, Instead -- RELOAD." Clearly Palin and the entire Republican party were calling for the mass assassination of Democrat party members. The liberal media launched into the apoplectic with headlines such as, "Did Sarah Palin's Target Map Play Role in Giffords Shooting?" Apparently, the shooter in the Giffords incident saw the Palin graphic and was thereby compelled to attempt murder. That is what passes for logic, analysis, and intellectualism among liberals.
Recently, Brad Thor made statements during the course of an interview with radio personality Glenn Beck that has become the focus of a Palin-like derangement syndrome. Last week Thor said:
"I am about to suggest something very bad. It is a hypothetical I am going to ask as a thriller writer. With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President? If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitution-mandated authority as president, I should say. If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office, because you won’t be able to do it through Congress."
The devil is always in the details and suspicion should always be cast on sentences corralled between quotes. Even a high school student knows that a text without a context is a pretext. But, this simple truth seems to elude the chattering class. Listen to the complete interview here. Thor is speaking within the context of a hypothetically rogue Trump administration and posits the rather unpalatable circumstance of a feckless congress, flaccid to exercise its constitutional impeachment authority. At least there were no references to "crosshairs."
What Thor does hint at in his hypothetical is something that Patrick Henry himself would have approved of, namely, the exercise of a patriot's inalienable right to dissolve a social compact which has grown unbearable by the exercise of tyranny. Henry's words were far more incendiary, "An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us...but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!" With these words, Henry stamped rhetorical crosshairs on the forehead of every English tory. Are we not the posterity of Washington, Jefferson, Henry, Mason, and many other founding fathers who boldly set their seal to liberty's founding document? Or have we grown to be pallid creatures that shrink before conflict and eschew the very mention of dissension? Compromise and timidity have come to characterize our national leadership and this ignoble example has diminished the national soul. Rhetorical cowardice has become the norm and honest, vigorous debate is squelched by a shrieking appeal to victimhood and political correctness--these are no longer the exclusive stratagems of liberals.
In his statement to Beck, Thor nowhere hints at violence as his detractors accuse. In Thor's hypothetical, there may be no "legal means available." Indeed, there may be no jurisprudential remedy but it does not logically follow that one is inevitably led to illegality, much less assassination. Wild conjecture of this nature is usually left to the tabloids. But, sadly, major conservative news and commentary sites have reduced themselves to the insipid.
A few days after his now infamous interview with Beck, Thor clarified to GatewayPundit, "I am so sad that this election has destroyed so many friendships. I wish Andrew Breitbart was still around – for all of our sakes (both Pro Trump and Anti Trump). … If you listen to my interview with Glenn, you will see we are talking about a hypothetical dictatorship situation where a president suspends the constitution and Congress does nothing. To say Glenn and I discussed a patriot take out Donald Trump because “he might abuse” the office of the presidency – is flat out false. That was simply never said..."
Perhaps, Thor's words could have been selected with more precision, but for Trump supporters imprecision is the soul of wit. Trump is infamous for his wild imprecisions when referencing the origins of a woman's vital fluid, panting grotesque rhetorical images of blood oozing from multiple orifices. Much of Trump's appeal lies in his unscripted manner, which makes him vulnerable to fits of passion and the utterance of manifold indelicacies. In any case, rushing to dogmatism regarding authorial intent usually leaves would-be grand inquisitors under the dunce's cap. These days, those who unquestionably know better take up the mangy mantle of media buffoon far too readily. Given all this, why don't we cut Brad Thor a little slack?