THE ROBERT W. WHITAKER ARCHIVE

archives
articles

SELECTIVELY RIGHTEOUS ANGER | 1999-09-18

On CNN's Crossfire, the attorney for Ken McVeigh said that if the government had come clean in the first place, there would have been no Oklahoma bombing. Senator Frank Lautenburg, a liberal Democrat, was deeply incensed. He said that McVeigh's lawyer was trying to excuse McVeigh's actions.

The lawyer's argument certainly sounded a bit thin to me, but I don't think Lautenburg had any reason to get upset. After all, Democrats have been saying exactly this kind of thing for forty years. Back in the early sixties liberals were excusing black rioting and killing with just such language.

And not just black killing. Back then, the line on every college faculty was that "so-called criminals" were actually victims of an unjust society.

Liberals like to say that was then, and this is now. They say they no longer excuse crime the way they did in the sixties. But when a black man got on a New York subway a year or so ago and committed mass slaughter with an automatic weapon, nobody blamed him. It was the GUNS that were to blame.

When a white supremacist went around killing nonwhites, it was all racist. But the black guy killing whites was all the fault of the guns. Nothing has changed.

Then McVeigh's lawyer used the same old line liberals have always used. Lautenburg went ballistic. When someone starts murdering people for a LEFTIST reason, everybody agrees that HE should be given the benefit of the doubt. But for a non-leftist to USE the same justification is BLASPHEMY!

I saw a cartoon some time back that portrayed this situation beautifully. It showed a bunch of people lined up on one side. Some were in Klan robes, some were in swastikas. Each one had "right wing extremist" written on him. On the other side, out by himself, was the Unibomber. He was labeled, "Unibomber". There is no such thing as a "left wing extremist." The Unibomber did his bombing for the cause of environmental extremism, but no one connected him with Al Gore or anyone else on that side.

In other words, there is such a thing as "right wing violence." But there is no such thing as "left wing violence." You may be sure the respectable conservative commentator on Crossfire pointed none of this out. When will a respectable conservative force a liberal like Lautenburg to explain these contradictions? Don't hold your breath.