Sunday, 19 June 2016

Outrageously suggesting that actions have consequences

Sometimes rhetoric has consequences. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realise any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen.
Alex Massie on the predictable consequences of using fear and scapegoating as tools of political persuasion. Massie makes the connection between using incendiary words and the burning feelings of injustice and hate such words can aggravate in the minds of people who are already feeling angry and hard done by.

Which is either a perfectly reasonable point to make, or - according to the idiosyncratic and highly selective form of logic used by Massie's fellow Spectator pundit, Douglas Murray - an insult to "decency." Apparently it's rude to point out the dangers of screaming "fire" very loudly in a crowded building and Murray warns darkly that such disrespect will have "bloody long-term" consequences. So can everybody please stop thinking about actions and consequences right now and get back into reflexive fight or flight mode, otherwise unspecific bad things will definitely happen.