March 18, 2019

New Zealand Attack

“A gunman shot dead 49 people and wounded more than 40 at two New Zealand mosques on Friday, some as they were kneeling at prayer, livestreaming online some of the killings in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called an assault on the nation’s values.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left is calling for collective action against far-right extremism.

“The atrocities in New Zealand highlight three emerging trends in the West: Attacks against Muslim targets, the use of social media as a platform for terrorists to share livestream videos, and the violent targeting of houses of worship… 

“The New Zealand attacker said he had previously flirted with a number of ideologies including communism, anarchism, and libertarianism. Eventually, he settled on militant white nationalism. This suggests that like many terrorists before him, he may have had unresolved grievances in his life and was shopping for an ideology that allowed him to act violently. Regardless, he is a product of these tumultuous times -- and certainly not the last of his kind.”
Peter Bergen, CNN

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. These attacks are the latest manifestation of a growing and globalized ideology of white nationalism that must be addressed at its source — which includes the mainstream politicians and media personalities who nurture, promote and excuse it.”
Wajahat Ali, New York Times

“A focus on Islamist violence should not distract us from the growing threat of right-wing violence. While 9/11 is the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history, the second-worst was Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, which killed 168 people. The Anti-Defamation League reports that in the United States, ‘right-wing extremists collectively have been responsible for more than 70 percent of the 427 extremist-related killings over the past 10 years, far outnumbering those committed by left-wing extremists or domestic Islamist extremists’...

“When we confront Islamist violence, we rightly focus not only on the perpetrators but also on their networks — on what drove them to kill… We need to apply the same methodology to right-wing terrorists and root out the ideology that inspires them.”
Max Boot, Washington Post

“Since 2001, governments around the world have approached online Islamist radicalism with grim seriousness, blocking its financial sources, searching out potential terrorists, working with Internet platforms to stop its spread. By contrast, we have yet to treat white supremacism with anything like the same kind of vigor. Many hours after the New Zealand shooting, it was still ridiculously easy to find the video online. There are few special government programs to fight the milder forms of this violent ideology, and relatively little time has been devoted to thinking about it…

“While we dither, the death toll — in Norway, South Carolina, Britain — continues to rise. And the alternate world continues to tell jokes, make memes — and draw people in.”
Anne Applebaum, Washington Post

“All kinds of ideas, good and evil, go viral through social media. Societies can’t outlaw hate. Government cannot regulate thought or ban words. In the United States, the First Amendment doesn’t take sides. Short of explicit threats, free speech must be free, which limits the ability of lawmakers to prevent eruptions of hate like the one in New Zealand. But that doesn’t mean civilized societies are powerless. Gatekeepers such as Facebook and other social media purveyors do have a responsibility to patrol and regulate their own venues. And all of us have a responsibility to eradicate racial supremacy and other vile forms of bigotry.”
Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune

Critics of the candidate argue, “Want to defeat Trump? Attack Biden… Many progressives are understandably fearful that attacking the presumptive frontrunner might weaken him and give Trump ammunition for the general election. But challenging Biden’s record is important. For example, his core base of support – older Democrats – needs to know what an unreliable defender of Social Security and Medicare he is. By challenging him on his record, especially in the eyes of older, traditional Democratic voters, progressives could break the myth of Biden’s ‘electability’. (A strange trope given that Biden has tried and failed to be a presidential nominee since the 1980s.)… Anyone angling to be the Democratic nominee should espouse a real progressive agenda – just being ‘anti-Trump’ isn’t enough.”
Bhaskar Sunkara, The Guardian

“For Warren or anyone else to prevent the uniquely depressing experience of a Biden ‘national unity’ campaign, specifically targeted at a tiny cadre of wobbly Trump voters and Jeff Flake-style dissident Republicans, something has to change before next winter. Democratic voters and the media and basically everyone else must get over their skittish, fearful response to the Trump presidency, and their based-on-nothing certainty that nominating a progressive or a woman or a socialist or anybody who isn’t an avuncular white man with a vaguely reassuring demeanor and no discernible ideology will once again lead to disaster.”
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

From the Right

The right is skeptical of attempts to ban extreme views.

From the Right

The right is skeptical of attempts to ban extreme views.

“The rise of social media and the ability to live-stream an attack give sick killers an added incentive to do their deeds with a huge, international audience of transfixed viewers… [The attacker] knew that with a few clicks he could set in motion an orchestra to amplify his misdeeds, with corrosive aftershocks for weeks and months to come… As a technology-obsessed society, we must examine whether our insatiable appetite for stimulation provides an impetus for these killers to commit murders in the most public and shocking way possible.”
Harmeet K. Dhillon, Fox News

But “don’t think for one second that we can fix this new problem by yelling at social-media companies to ‘do better’ — to demand that they block videos before they can be seen. It’s an impossible task. The Internet is too diffuse, and the technology of video broadcast too ubiquitous. There is no ability to effectively, instantaneously police abuse… I have a sick, sinking feeling that a vicious terrorist just ‘figured out’ a path to even greater notoriety.”
David French, National Review

“It is the culture that built up the internet — one the shooter is intimately familiar with — that is at least as much the problem here as the internet’s basic infrastructure or how tech firms are responding. Users should probably have better moderation tools at their disposal, but what about our fellow humans who actively desire this sort of content in their feeds or timelines? Or the politicians who egg them on, whether explicitly or with subtlety, or ignore what appears to be a global supremacist movement that hates the West? Some panicky pols would temporarily (I hope only temporarily) shut down various platforms during events like those in New Zealand. While terrorists take advantage of our open society, they also hate it. Let’s not do their job for them.”
James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute

“There are already calls to deplatform two people mentioned in the manifesto… But astute observers have discerned the shooter’s claims that [they] drove him to action to be sarcastic. Did he intend to draw extra attention to them, to convince social-media platforms to jettison them, and to create a backlash among their fanbases? As with the gun debate, the shooter might have been trying to provoke a response that would radicalize his in-group and drive others into its arms....

“This doesn’t mean the conversations about gun policy and social-media moderation should be off-limits simply because the shooter wanted to provoke them. But... we should be able to condemn the evil ideology he represents while also being careful not to accidentally become vectors of it ourselves — whether that means uncritically sharing a manifesto, or unwittingly behaving as the shooter anticipated."
Theodore Kupfer, National Review

“There is never, ever any justification for what he did. But if we are going to figure out how to stop these things, we have to take seriously the roots of it

“The world is undergoing unprecedented upheavals caused in part by technology, and certainly amplified by technology. This is only going to get more severe. We also live in a time in which masses of people have genuinely been uprooted from all sources of stability. The greatest task for political leaders, it seems to me, is to figure out how to keep society relatively stable during this long period of tumult.”
Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The relevant question is not the nationality of a source offering ‘oppo research’ but the accuracy and relevance of the information. Another consideration is whether the information was obtained illegally—by hacking emails, for example. While the Supreme Court has said people have a First Amendment right to share illegally obtained information if they were not involved in the lawbreaking (something that news organizations frequently do), you might reasonably argue that they should also report such crimes when they become aware of them, which may be what Trump had in mind when he said he might contact the FBI ‘if I thought there was something wrong.’”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

On the bright side...

A couple created Good Boy, a line of beer your dog can drink.
Delish

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.