Divisive rather than persuasive


Like most people, I get too much email. A past subscriber and occasional reader of the conservative newspaper Human Events, I'm not a fan of its new daily email series "The 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy." Yesterday's edition, "No. 30," was titled, "What is a Libtard?" I don't need this stuff cluttering my inbox.

"Instead of using the term 'liberal,' why not try 'libtard'?" the email asked. "It's apt (liberal + retard = libtard), it's highly offensive, and quite deliciously un-PC. What's not to like?"

Make no mistake, I'm a conservative, but I think there's plenty to dislike about this series.

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The daily emails are based on British journalist James Delingpole's book 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy. It's chock full of sarcastic and sophomoric liberal jokes and critiques, many of them mean-spirited and potentially "murderous" from a biblical perspective.

Delingpole's work reminds me of another Human Events contributor, Ann Coulter. Coulter is downright shocking and careless at times. I recall hearing her at the 2006 Conservative Political Action Conference when she said, "I think our motto should be post-9/11: 'Raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'" During the question and answer period that followed Coulter's talk, a thoughtful and politically conservative young Muslim man, who otherwise aligned with Coulter's thinking, politely asked her to reconsider her rhetoric. She was characteristically unapologetic.

Why do I care about comments like "libtard" and "raghead?" First, these types of expressions are simply a crude form of entertainment, which prove to be divisive rather than persuasive. Second, this kind of rhetoric is a poor witness to our youth. Next week I'll be taking 40 students to the Conservative Political Action Conference. CPAC will attract at least 6,000 future leaders. A CPAC veteran, I advise Grove City College students to observe the different forms of political communication on display-some good, some bad-and to note that mean-spirited rhetoric is rude, foolish, and counterproductive. It won't serve them, or society, well as they seek to impact the culture. My third and foremost reason why I care is because I think all of us, no matter our political affiliation, should be mindful that Christ equated language like "libtard" and "raghead" (i.e., "Raca," "you fool") with murder in his Sermon on the Mount discourse.

I hope Human Events will consider ending the series at No. 31.

Lee Wishing
Lee Wishing

Lee is the administrative director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.


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