Republican Representative from the state of Arizona, Trent Frank, when asked on Lawrence O’Donnel’s show, The Last Word, about the recent Tucson shooting, was quoted as saying that rhetoric and Sarah Palin have nothing to do with the violence that ensued.
Ideas ARE responsible. We live in the information age. Back thirty years ago, people with mental illness were kept in basements, died young, or ended up in institutions that ironically, in the state of California, in which I live, were dismantled by Ronald Reagan. Nowadays, people with schizophrenia, dimentia, manic disorders, and paranoia ALL have access to social networking. They have cable, radio, iPods. They have access to the same enraging hate speech as everyone else. No, ordinary people don’t pick up a gun to solve their problems, Mrs. Palin, but people without self-control do!
You cannot say the “rhetoric is not the problem”. That is fundamentally irresponsible and ignorant.
But let’s disregard the notion that the gunman in question was mentally ill. Let’s assume he was a perfectly normal human being of average intelligence. He listens to Glenn Beck because he likes the IDEA that there’s something going on in the world, something that explains the problems he’s having, something that escapes his own cognition, but a something he perceives is known to Mr. Beck. He listens, he watches. The more Mr. Beck’s theories explain, the more our gunman feels secure in his definition of reality.
It has been shown, numerous times, that repeated exposure to a thing, builds structures in the brain, a memory, if you will. Further exposures are linked to that original exposure, until a whole CHUNK of your brain is devoted to that particular thing. Ideas that reveal truth about the nature of the universe are in many ways, the most pervasive, because they allow people to blame others, find an easy solutions to difficult issues. Tea party members have come to believe that lowering taxes will save them, but that is impossible.
So our gunman has an entire section of his brain devoted to rhetoric, and this informs his everyday life. All further information is filtered through this concept of reality. He turns over rocks and twists facts, without even realizing it, because his brain is now built to see those patterns. His memetic evolution has indicated that this mode of viewing the world is correct and easy, and so it is latched onto with vicious and brutal force. It is a black lens, and soon all his misfortunes and those of society are seen through it. Eventually his survival is threatened. Eventually, our Average Joe, will try to find a solution, even if that solution is as small as teaching his children to blame the government, or blame blacks, or blame foreigners. The venting will happen, whether by force, or by mis-education.
This seems, on its face, completely and totally obvious.
This whole “Rhetoric isn’t the problem” “Don’t make a Blood Libel” argument seems a bit under-informed. A bit, dare I say, staged.
This issue is not just a debate on the consequences of negative memetic procreation. This campaign of “don’t blame the gun or the words, blame the mental illness” is in fact, a memetic virus. They are attempting to hack our concept of the events that transpired. Just as people exposed to hate speach can eventually be expected to exhibit hatered, they think that if they say it enough, it will build itself into our brains.
It would probably work, if not for the fact that there is no way a smaller magazine in any way impinges on a person’s right to bear arms. They know this flaw, and so they refuse to speak on this issue. They avoid, as strenuously as possible, any meme that might countermand their own.
Rhetoric is the problem, sir. It is exactly the problem, and when you rebutted by saying we should “all see each other as children of god”, can you deny you were not relying upon the massive memeplex of Christianity to make you look good, to slip in to our brains by a kinder, gentler back door? You cannot hide the fact that you are working for votes and funding and endorsements behind God. It shows people like me you are in NO WAY what you say you are.
Rhetoric IS the problem. Read a few books, sir, and then have a conversation with me. I will guarantee you that I can point out every meme you harness for your ridiculous ontological argument.