Enough With the False Equivalence!

When Jerry Coyne said,

While it does seem that this kind of violence is whipped up more by conservatives than liberals (viz. abortion-doctor killings), conservatives too can be the targets of gun-equipped crazies. (Remember John Hinkley, who tried to kill Ronald Reagan just to get the attention of Jodie Foster?)

I realized it’s time for a handy guide to determining if the left is equivalent to the right in terms of inciting violence.  So here we go:

1.  Is the violence recent?  

Incident less than ten years oldprovisionally equivalent.  You may proceed to the next question.

Incident more than ten years oldNOT EQUIVALENT.  Full stop.

2.  Did the violence take place in a pervasive atmosphere of eliminationist rhetoric spewed by liberal political leaders, media outlets including network news channels, and activist groups embraced by elected leaders?

Yesprovisionally equivalent.  You may proceed to the next question.

No –  NOT EQUIVALENT.  Full stop.

3.  Is there more than one example of such violence?

Yesyou managed a miracle.  Please provide evidence to back up your assertion, because no one else has been able to find any.


Perhaps someone with some time and more skill with graphics than I’ve got could whip us up an easy-to-use reference chart.

Outside of the false-equivalence quibble, which in this case was weak tea anyway, and the over-reliance on the “but he was ker-azy!” trope, the rest of Jerry’s post is wonderful and thought-provoking and definitely worth reading in full.  I shall be returning to it later in the week, in fact.

Enough With the False Equivalence!

3 thoughts on “Enough With the False Equivalence!

  1. 1

    More, related to point 2: Is the rhetoric to which you point some commenter on DailyKos, or is it a Congressman or Senator or candidate thereof, or major media personality? No? Not equivalent, full stop.

  2. 2

    To be fair, I DID say that the violence was whipped up more by conservatives than liberals, so there isn't really any "equivalence." All I was trying to do was urge caution before we ascribed this action to Tea Partiers.

  3. 3

    Aren't conservatives always disparaging liberal pacifism? …until something like this happens, and then it's all "but liberals are violent too!"

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