Saturday, March 22, 2003

Peace Protesters and Criminals

Clayton Cramer, an apparently junior member of the Volokh Conspiracy, has decided that Leftists should be ashamed of the fact that, by bringing molotov cocktails to peace protests, they are costing the state money that could be better spent on things like "hungry children, homeless people, and mental illness treatment."

What "prominent Second Amendment historian" Cramer seems to be missing is one very important point:

People who bring explosive devices to peace protests are not "Leftists." Nor are they "Right-wingers." They are "criminals."

It's a worthless exercise to try to associate a large political group with the criminal actions of one or two members; worthless, that is, unless you're trying to score cheap rhetorical points with people who already agree with you.

This kind of thing smacks of Rush Limbaugh's joyful ravings about the suspected terrorists arrested in Buffalo last year being registered as Democrats (the Smoking Gun pointed out the fundamental flaw in this kind of smearing: it works both ways).

Perhaps sounding like Rush Limbaugh is an acceptable method of discourse in Mr. Cramer's household, but I cannot believe that that kind of thing goes over well in Volokh-land. Perhaps Eugene should assign Clayton to Conspiracy latrine duty.

Sidenote: If the anti-war movement was founded on a predominantly violent ideology, this kind of guilt by association would have some merit (as in the case of the Right wing and the Patriot movement- Orcinus has huge amounts of material devoted to making this kind of connection in a rational manner befitting adults). But as any rational observer knows, the whole idea behind most of the peace movement is non-violence (and the remainder of the movement is made up of people who generally support war with Iraq, but do not trust the President not to screw it up...hardly a group of violent anarchists).

Update: Why am I not surprised that the Mr. Reynolds has swallowed Cramer's line of thinking without question?

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