Non Sequitur Newt
Cross-posted from PoliBlog:
On This Week today, Newt Gingrich blamed “liberalism” for the VaTech shootings:
You went — you said, "I want to say to the elite of this country, the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite — I accuse you in Littleton of being afraid to talk about the mess you've made and being afraid to take responsibility for the things you have done, and instead foisting on the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don't have the courage to look at the world you have created." Do you stand by that prescription today? GINGRICH: Yes, I think the fact is, if you look at the amount of violence we have in games that young people play at 7, 8, 10, 12, 15 years of age, if you look at the dehumanization, if you look at the fact that we refuse to say that we are, in fact, endowed by our creator, that our rights come from God, that if you kill somebody, you're committing an act of evil. STEPHANOPOULOS: But what does that have to do with liberalism? GINGRICH: Well, who has created a situation ethics, essentially, zone of not being willing to talk about any of these things. Let me carry another example. I strongly supported Imus being dismissed, but I also think the very thing he was dismissed for, which is the use of language which is stunningly degrading of women — the fact, for example, that one of the Halloween costumes this last year was being able to be either a prostitute or a pimp at 10, 11, 12 years of age, buying a costume, and we don't have any discussion about what's happened to our culture because while we're restricting political free speech under McCain-Feingold, we say it's impossible to restrict vulgar and vicious and anti-human speech. And I would argue that that's a major component of what's happened to our culture in the last 40 years.
Newt’s statement is an utter non sequitur. There is no way to reasonably connect Newt’s assertions to this event.
Let the record show that I concur that kids of elementary school age ought not be playing violent video games or dressing as pimps and prostitutes for Halloween. However, what in the world that had to do with Cho’s rampage is beyond me. It is utterly unclear, further, how pimp costumes would lead to murderous rampages.
One can understand how one could try and connect violent video games to such an event, but there is still the fact that the vast majority of persons who have played such games who have never killed anybody. Indeed, the number of persons who have played and not killed is pretty much everyone who has ever played. Given the popularity of such games over the last decade the hypothesis that they lead to violence on the part of players would seem to be easily rejected based on the dearth (thankfully) of murder perpetrated by insane young men seeking to recreate Quake III (or whatever the current appropriate game would be).
I am utterly tired of the notion that any particular circumstance in the society can be blamed on vague set of ideas that can be broadly described by a label (e.g., liberalism, conservatism, etc.). In point of fact, while we frequently like to do the ol’ “us v. them” type of thinking, the odds are pretty good that we do not really have a well-developed definition of the Other in question. Gingrich clearly illustrates this above: he blames liberalism yet the best he can do in defending that position is to blame a vague notion of “situation ethics” and the video games/Halloween costume examples. For example, how do violent video games equal “liberalism”? I don’t really see such things as being, per se, an ideological issue.
h/t: Crooks and Liars, which has the video.