The Wages of Extremism

We can argue about whether the right’s continued practice of fanning the flames of Islamophobia actually leads to death. But here’s something that’s substantially more definite:

Because Republicans either incite — or fail to discredit, at leadership levels — the persistent “Birther” rumors, at least two members of our armed forces have concluded that the President is a traitor, and decided not to follow his orders. That’s not a thing you can do in the armed forces, and both soldiers’ careers are now over.

So much, then, for honor and duty.  We use them as the backbone of a life spent defending something. (YouTube) They use them as pawns in a political game of chess, to be sacrificed as necessary.


  1. Nonsense. The cool thing about humanity is free will. I might think my boss is terrible at his job. If I fail to do mine in protest then my fate is my personal responsibility.

    Oh wait, I just said ‘personal responsibility’ to a liberal. Do I need to explain that one?

    1. Mike,
      get a new meme. Liberals exercise personal responsibility all the Da&% time, and we are not in any way shape or form wanting to take it away from anyone. We just don’t however, tend to want to hold people responsible for things thay can never actually be responsible for. And we don’t byuy the fiction that Corporations are people either.

      1. “We just don’t however, tend to want to hold people responsible for things thay can never actually be responsible for. “

        The problem is that the Left has a much longer list of what fits into that description than the Right.

      2. I’m not talking legal responsibility. I’m talking social responsibility. Which is a thing.

        I love how you’re all, “people are responsible for their actions,” but then, “NOTHING CRAZY WE SAY EVER HAS ANY EFFECT.” Some tension, ne?

        1. I believe that crazy people sometimes latch on to certain rhetoric and use it as an excuse to do crazy things. I also believe sometimes they do it because they think Jodie Foster will notice it and come visit them. What I don’t believe is that any speaker has the power to turn sane people into crazy people.

          The Nuremberg Defense was discredited 60 years ago.

        2. This isn’t about the Nuremberg defense. This is about the duty that all writers, and especially politicians owe to the world to educate, and encourage good citizenship.

          Is that not a thing, where you come from?

          1. Would you say that Stephen King has a social responsibility? His books are effed up.

          2. Theres’ a recognized distinction between advocacy speech and speech for the sake of art. A kid who kills a bunch of people after playing Halo 3 can’t blame the game — although most on your side of the aisle think he can, remember — in the same way that a soldier, falsely told that his commander-in-chief is a traitor, can blame the person who told him that lie.

            1. If a soldier is that easily duped – he’s welcome to try and lay blame. But going AWOL based on nonsense isn’t the fault of the Birthers – it’s the stupidity of the soldier.

    2. And — now I’m no big city lawyer — but I thought multiple people could bear responsibility for a single act. We accept this theory all the time. We blame the mullahs who incite terrorism, AND the actual terrorists. Why not here, too?

      1. I don’t blame the mullahs. I choose not to believe in brainwashing.

      2. So you’re cool with those guys just sitting around and yelling crazy stuff?

        Not legally, mind you — as a matter of personal responsibility, you think nothing they’re doing is morally wrong?

        1. “So you’re cool with those guys just sitting around and yelling crazy stuff?”

          I read your blog. Case closed.

        2. Okay I actually laughed out loud at that. Well played :).

          But seriously, these are different levels we’re talking about!

          1. In a way it’s the same. I could use your liberal ramblings as an excuse to do all kinds of terrible things. But that wouldn’t make it okay.

            1. Nor does it relieve Ames of the obligation to take care in what he “rambles” so as to advance the whole of society, instead of getting the lunatic fringe an open pass to do . . . lunatic things.

              1. I don’t think Ames has any obligation or responsibility in his writings to anyone other than himself

                …and maybe to the guy at the DNC that sends him the checks every month ; )

  2. All else aside, I must say about the only thing more sad than deliberately going AWOL over the birther issue, is failing to do so because you’re already being discharged. These people, really…

  3. Har har. Personal responsibility is fine, but think causation. If a guy buys a stock, based on the company’s press release, stating that it’s valuable, but the stock turns out valueless, who do we blame?

    This is an issue of responsibility. But it’s as much about everyone’s individual responsibility to be reasonable, as it is about thought leaders’ duty to lead responsibly.

    1. If you buy stock only based on a press release, I would actually say you mostly have yourself to blame.

    2. Ames – this sounds a lot like your rhetoric right after the Giffords shooting. You claim that personal responsibility trumps all else blah, blah, blah but then you try and talk about ‘causation’. That doesn’t compute. If you accept the idea of personal responsibility then the conversation ends there. No linkage between the two items.

      1. How do you divorce these two concepts? IS a person’s actions – for which s/he is ultimately responsible – above any outside influence or causation? Is there no force that can compel someone to make a decision? Really?

        1. Sure. If I threaten you with a gun and you shoot me first that is causation that created an action. You could argue that you were given two voluntary choices (shoot first or die) or you could argue that the choices were involuntary because neither was agreeable and you took the lesser of two evils.

          So I guess Ames could attempt to make the case that these two brainwashed soldiers were given two disagreeable choices by the Birthers (go AWOL or serve a false president) and therefore causation let to involuntary action. I would argue not and I think I would win.

  4. A GOOD Soldier does NOT get involved in politics while on active duty. never … ever! I gave up 8 years in the military after forming an opinion about our Wars in general, deciding we didn’t have the right to take something from another country our American companies needed or wanted. War is nothing more than HUMAN FAILURE of the smartest guys in the room on a huge scale!

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