"Never mind, they'll swallow it," said Stalin, the 20th Century's first successful progenitor of the Big Lie.
This week's syndicated column:
The suppression of the facts is by no means the most dangerous aspect of any Big Lie. After all, facts don't go away even amid efforts to suppress them. All sorts of inconsistencies, impossibilities and clues remain behind, and sometimes in plain sight, for anyone who cares to look. The real threat the Big Lie poses to society comes when it is not stopped in its tracks, exposed and trashed for what it is -- a lie -- but rather accepted, accommodated and, indeed, treated as if it were the truth. At that point, a Big Lie is a big success, having created an alternate reality that turns its very targets into hapless accomplices.
Unfortunately, that last bit describes most Republicans' supine reaction to the reaction -- the Big Lie -- about the Arizona massacre.
Much has already been written about the heinous movement on the Left to blame conservative politicians, political groups and pundits -- but mainly Sarah Palin -- for causing the crime, for creating the conditions unique to the crime, with "heated rhetoric" and "violent imagery." Without even examining the violence (note to liberals: I use the word metaphorically) this specious argument does to the First Amendment, I say this argument is a Big Lie.
Violent imagery ("battleground states," for goodness sake) and figures of speech are not only unexceptional in politics across the board, they are prevalent in ghoulish excess on the Left. I recommend that every reader visit Michelle Malkin's website to view her greatest-hits gallery of berserk Leftist "violence," from "Abort Palin" bumperstickers, to Bush assassination imagery, to our own President Obama's unforgettably thuggish rhetoric from the 2008 campaign trail: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."
Then there is the ongoing lie within the lie (which is how Big Lies are constructed) about Sarah Palin's infamous list of "targeted districts." Assorted MSM outlets have displayed her political map that put swing districts in the cross-hairs; none of these outlets have reproduced the official Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee map that similarly "targeted" such districts in 2009 with bull's-eyes, featuring, for example, "Targeted Republican Thaddeus McCotter -- Michigan's 11th District." If I can find it online, why can't they?
Such evidence, of course, would (metaphor alert) kill the Big-Lie drive to judge Republicans guilty of the Arizona crime and thereafter sentence them to a kind of peer-pressured censorship. Robust and, lately, winning conservative debate is (metaphors ahead) the target here; the weaponry doesn't matter to the Left. Which means facts don't matter, either. To wit: "So far, there's no connection between alleged murderer Jared Lee Loughner and the extremes of the Tea Party movement," writes the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, arguing for "Republican leaders to tamp down the rhetoric." He continues: "But that's beside the point...."
In the end, though, what's worse than the Big Lie itself is the failure to reject and expose it -- the failure, in this case, to identity the lie as a naked influence operation to mute conservative political expression. This failure is the crime Republicans are guilty of each time they stoop to defend themselves within the phony terms of the lie itself.
When House Speaker John Boehner canceled all House votes this week, including the all-important first round on repealing Obamacare, the message was: Yes, maybe there is a bona fide link between congressional debate in Washington and the internal monologue that drove a man to kill in Tuscon. Sarah Palin, too, protested way too much in her response to the Left's "blood libel" against her. It's not a civics lesson that's required to bring the Left to "reason." Where there are no facts, there is no reason, and any painstakingly logical arguments against disreputable falsehoods only further extend the charade.
A great unmasking is what's needed here. Having twisted an unspeakable crime into a gag for their opposition, the Left must be called out, and it's the job of the Right to do it. Otherwise, as with every Big Lie, silence turns everyone into a Big Liar.