The Real Message of Jared Loughner

Categories: Politics
loughner2.jpg
Jared Loughner
There's been a lot of ink devoted to analyzing Jared Loughner's motivations in the shooting rampage that left U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) seriously wounded and six others, including a 9-year-old girl, dead. Much of the press attention has focused on the question of whether Loughner was influenced by the inflammatory rhetoric of such right-wing political celebrities as Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

I think that questions about Loughner's mindset are legitimate, even if I don't agree with the concurrent calls to regulate political speech. But I also think they obscure a bigger point. What's really scary about Loughner is not that he might have been influenced by conservative politicians or pundits. It's that increasingly powerful conservative extremists -- some of whom occupy the halls of the federal government -- subscribe to the same delusions he does. Consider:


Jared Loughner has some strange ideas...

Almost nothing is known yet about Loughner's personal views on politics and government. But the little that we do know is telling. Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center has written a straightforward and informed analysis of Loughner's YouTube ramblings. This stuff would strike most people as incoherent gibberish, but for those with ears to hear, Loughner's online manifesto hits some familiar notes.

Principal among them are his concern about "currency that's not backed by gold and silver," and beliefs that the federal government controls people through the use of grammar. As Potok notes, the former is a boilerplate notion of the radical right, closely linked to conspiracy theories about the Federal Reserve being run by shadowy international bankers. The latter is a yet more abstruse conspiracy theory espoused by David Wynn Miller.

Both ideas are cherished by the Patriot movement, a loose grouping of right-wing extremists that trace their roots to the militia activities of the 1990s. As has been well-documented, "Patriot" ideas have been extremely influential in the contemporary right-wing movement known as the Tea Party, and have often been championed by some of the Tea Party's heroes, such as Ron and Rand Paul.


... quite similar to those of Ron Paul.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in particular is well known for his view that American currency is illegal since it is not backed by gold or silver, and makes no bones about his desire to abolish the Federal Reserve. It's worth noting that the Tea Party movement was launched at a Dec. 16, 2007 event for Paul's presidential campaign; stumping for his dad back then, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), now the Tea Party's poster-boy, argued that secret plans exist to build a NAFTA Superhighway servicing a North American Union of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

If this kind of stuff sounds crazy to you, you're not alone. As The New Yorker reported in an excellent story on the Tea Party's ideological roots, former South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis, a conservative Republican who lost his primary re-election to Tea Party favorite Trey Gowdy, was himself alarmed at the sudden popularity of clinically paranoid ideas in American politics:

To his amazement, Inglis was confronted on the campaign trail by voters who were convinced that numbers on their Social Security cards indicated that a secret bank had bought them at birth. "And then, of course," he recalls, "it turned into something about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergers and all that stuff." 

Had Loughner lived in South Carolina, would it have been hard to picture him among those delusional souls? There's no evidence that his rampage was inspired by the radical right's rhetoric, and even if it was, attempts to muzzle that rhetoric's purveyors are the wrong answer. But I don't think this should prevent any thinking person from being alarmed, immediately, that the radical right's idées fixes are so readily apparent in the insane Internet ramblings of an alleged killer. The debate of the moment shouldn't be about whether political speech leads to political violence, but about what it says that, in the Arizona shootings, political speech and political violence sprang from the same philosophical fount.

Whether or not he ever listened to Beck or saw Palin's infamous target map, Loughner seems to have bought into the same principles that have fueled the ascent of the Republican Party's fringe: Seething distrust of government, the fetishization of deadly weapons inconceivable to the authors of the Second Amendment, and alternative histories of American politics that seek to justify such attitudes. Whether Palin and her Tea Party foot soldiers like it or not, Loughner has shown us something about the sort of minds in which these ideas take root.

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Caslan13
Caslan13

This article proves it! The government and the media machine really do want us to believe all of the rhetoric surrounding the abolishment of the US currency, a new world order, the proposal of the North American Union, ALL OF IT...is whacko. The day that the American public (in entirety) dismisses these ideas as only, possibly farse, is the same day that we are all sitting ducks in a pond of cold $hit. Wake the fuc\< up people!!! You are about to wake up in slavery. Why should I even care? I'm pretty sure you people don't. Look for the answers somewhere besides CNN or FOX.

Todd
Todd

This is a closed minded generalization. I can't stand Palin, but where are you drawing the comparison between them from. You said yourself that not much is known about Loughner's political stance.

He brings up this NAFTA highway and he gets automatically put with a political movement just because they share one common opinion. I live in Tucson and this guy was an insecure, mentally unstable person. THAT'S why he did what he did.

Enough psychobabble! Do you really need to grasp straws when drawing comparisons like that to try and make yourself sound more intelligent.

banh
banh

Peter Jamison, next time the global media covers the G20 meetings, will you comment about all the Right-wing violence, burning cars, broken windows, all that destruction? No, probably not. The Left has always been the more violent child in society...tantrums, Jekyl/Hyde personality, no self control, no decorum... and most importantly, no ability to debate any issue. It's always verbal, physical, emotional violence with Lenin's children.

Ron Paul is akin to a modern day Ghandi, probably your hero Mr. Jamison, but because he's calling on individuals to be responsible for their actions and their choices (commonly called adulthood) the Left are lobbing tomatoes at him. "Entitlists" can't grasp this concept... the eternal child cannot wean himself from the government udder. Ron Paul threatens the lifelong nap..

Ian
Ian

Source of the content of this "article": pulled from Peter Jamison's butt.

"Shooting children is eeeeevil ... consevratives are eeeeevil .... therefore, ANYONE WHO KILLS CHILDREN IS A CONSERVATIVE!!!! OK: where's my Pulitzer!?"

Reality. I recommend looking into it, Sunshine.

"Almost nothing is known yet about Loughner's personal views on politics and government. "

Here ... let's take another trip to "Reality Land" ... come along now, Peter ... it'll be OK, you'll survive (although your prejudices might not) ...

Interviews with his former friends are coming fast and furious. They say that the two biggest political influences close to his heart were:

* The paranoid anti-Capitalist, anti-Christianity, Bush-did-9/11 radical socialist movie "Zietgiest"* The anti-corporate, "anti-racist", anti-military, pro-Amnesty International and Greenpeace punk band Anti-Flag (album liner notes by Howard Zinn)

Also discovered from the interviews and from his youtube videos:

* Books - yes Nietzsche, Mein Kampf, and Ayn Rand, but also Communist Manifesto, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Orwell* Anti-establishment right-winger Alex Jones' Bush-did-9/11 movie "Loose Change"* Burned a US flag for a video* Made jokes about abortions being funny in community college class* Had a pagan santic-y shrine with skulls and candles* Did lots of drugs (pot, alcohol, salvia divinorum)* Nu Metal music (Slipknot, Drowning Pool), alternative rock (Mars Volta), and classic rock (Hendrix)* Paranoid-ish Hollywood movies (Scanner Darkly, Shutter Island)* Did not watch TV or listen to radio

So - while it clearly looks like he was mostly just a loon. But, if I had to place him in any of the sizable political groups in the US, he's maybe closest to the white anarchist antifas kids who rioted at the WTO in Seattle and the G8 in Genoa, the same kids who hit cracked police officer's head with a skateboard at the "West Coast Anti-Capitalist Convergence and March " in the Mission in 2005, the ones who acted like johannes mehserle's poor finger dexterity justified them smashing windows and taking whatever they wanted from downtown Oakland stores a couple months ago.

Looks like mostly because he was a loon. To the extent that he shot Giffords (and uber-conversative judge Roll, too) for being "a member of the establishment", not for being a Democrat.

Bob
Bob

Talking about painting with a broad brush, to place pictures of a crazy gunman on the same page as Ron Paul is no better than placing cross hairs over the face of your political opponents . Here the SF Weekly does the same smear tactic that they are criticizing - guilt by association is wrong regardless of the source.

Hypocritical much ?

Zramjg
Zramjg

Jamison' inability to grasp a hold on reality is not surprising. Of course the fact that Paul has called for an end to the violence of the drug war, which btw I thought hard leftists like Jamison were always ranitng about, seems to get by Jamison. Apparently its only acceptable if you have a love fetish for the government. Paul has also called for withdrawal from our curent wars which has made many in the TP very angry. Jamison's attempt to link the Paul's is a sure sign Jamison is an intellectual featherweight.

Michelledebruin
Michelledebruin

Peter Jamison = Rhetoric Purveyor/ counterfeiter's apologist

Judging by the comments it appears the leftist ( not liberal, Thomas Jefferson was a liberal) smear machine has backfired. Consider taking a remedial logic class, Hack.

Ron Paul is an advocate of peaceful non-cooperation, the non-aggression principle, and personal choice. Google: "the hidden tax through inflation" if you wish to understand how a private banking cartel syphons away the purchasing power of the very people for whom the author would probably claim sympathy. I'm speaking of the working poor, those on fixed incomes,and those who wish to save their wealth. The Constitution itself declares that "crazy" idea that our money shall be backed in gold and last I checked that clause was never amended. Additionally, all those undeclared wars to which establishment democrats feign opposition are facilitated by this central bank. Legalize competing currencies! Repeal Legal tender Laws! End the police state! Bring the troops home! End the Fed! Stop reading SFWEAKLY! ONE LOVE - from Baltimore

Thelibertarian
Thelibertarian

Let's assume you are an everyday guy who has saved 10,000 and buys a savings bond paying 7% interest compounded annually. Your bond would be worth $19,671.51 after 10 years. Your taxes on capital gains of $9,671.51, if you live in Nebraska with 7% capital gains plus 15% federal, would be $2,127.73 leaving you a net gain of $7,543.78 in currency.

Now lets assume inflation (amount of money the federal reserve was creating for the bankers) was at 5% over those 10 years. The amount of money needed to buy the same goods as 10 years ago when you made your investment would be $16,288.95 in currency.

That reduces your actual gain in buying power to $3,382.57 in today's currency. If we subtract the capital gains taxes paid from the actual gain in buying power, your gain was only $1,254.83 and your actual capital gains tax rate was more like 63% on actual gains.

Meanwhile, the banks are receiving federal reserve notes BEFORE the inflation rolls down hill to the pool of existing currency. Is it any wonder the divide between mega-rich and the average person is growing?

Gorgonzola
Gorgonzola

Ron Paul is a lifelong opponent of war and proponent of peace. It's extremely illogical to attempt to tie a violent, mentally ill child murderer to Ron Paul because they share similar (and entirely logical) views on monetary policy.

If you're for peace, Mr. Jamison, you might worry about the hundreds of thousands of innocent people our government has killed around the world under Pres. Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. I can send you some YouTube of those if you'd really like to see what your taxes pay for.

Budwildman
Budwildman

Hitler was a vegetarian; therefore people who are vegetarians hate Jewish people. See how absurd that sounds author?

Who is John Gault?

BobRoddis
BobRoddis

I submit that the overriding characteristics of Loughner’s behavior are a) Intellectual incoherence; and b) Blind venomous rage. These characteristics are also the basis for the incoherent rage of Jamison and Potok. There simply is no factual dispute regarding the allegation that the Federal Reserve was created by the giant bankers for their benefit. Indeed, the entire “progressive reform” of the “progressive era” was a purposeful attempt of the giant firms to monopolize the economy.

When the big industrialist and financiers found that they could not monopolize the economy under laissez faire, they pushed for the creation of the “progressive” regulatory agencies AND the Federal Reserve. Read “The Triumph of Conservatism” by leftist Gabriel Kolko:

No book details the historical relationship between big business and the Federal government better than this one. Though confined merely to the so-called Progressive Era in American history (1901-1914), Kolko manages to overturn all the misconceptions about the formation of government regulation in America. Instead of accepting the standard view that federal regulation of business was inspired by the Progressive intellectuals and activist political leaders eager to put a check on the rising power of big business, Kolko shows that it was really inspired by the drive of businessman to limit competition and bring "stability" into the market. The result is what Kolko calls, appropriately enough, "political capitalism."

Further, it’s not particularly controversial to insist that the creation of the Federal Reserve allowed the funding of the US entry into World War I, thereby causing the problems that led to WWII.

Ron Paul bases his economic policies upon the teachings of the Austrian School of Economics, specifically, the Austrian Business Cycle Theory. Friedrich Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his work on this theory which conclusively demonstrates that it is Keynesian style money dilution that caused not only the Great Depression but our current Great Recession. Due to abject fear and intellectual sloth, there has never been a refutation of the ABCT. Certainly, neither Jamison nor Potok have the slightest familiarity with its basic concepts but are comfortable spewing mindless rage at something they have no intention of understanding.

Anti-intellectual incoherent rage: Loughner, Jamison and Potok.

Indyguy77
Indyguy77

You really must be deranged to write this. Ron Paul is more peaceful than anyone the Democrats have put in office for a full century now.

HLMencken
HLMencken

So, The FED is good. It MUST be good, because it "is" and because it "is", it is good. Lovely. The institution that is most responsible for the state of the WORLD economies..... The institution that created all the credit, that blew all the bubbles that exploded, that creates money out of thin air (digits in a computer, at least) for the benefit of all the Wall Street banks that created the trillions of dollars in derivatives .... The institution that threw the discount window wide-open to all the Commercial and Investment Banks (but, I repeat myself) so they could gorge off the feeding trough of the wealth of the entire nation through destruction of the value of the dollar (re: the definition of inflation) ...... this is good.

But Ron Paul is the crazy one for wanting to stop the enrichment of the bankster class off of the backs of the working class and poor.

Priceless.

Edward J Skrod
Edward J Skrod

Mr Jamison,Who owns the Federal Reserve? Specifically, who receives a dividend when the Federal Reserve Bank of New York posts a profit? Do you know? Can you find out?

John W
John W

Thank you Mr. Jamison. Without your deep, insightful analysis of the "real message of Jared Loughner" I may have had to think.

Loughner may have liked apple sauce too. I guess that would mean anyone who likes apple sauce is a crazy killer. Am I getting this right?

Let's see... Ron Paul advocates honest money, ending the wars, and freedom. Yeah, he sounds like he's a loon who's about to mass murder people at any moment.

Old Mexican
Old Mexican

Excuse me, Mr. Jamison, but... Aren't you taking this "seven degree of separation" game just an insanely bit too far? I mean, really: Ron Paul??? Of all people?

Xarzu
Xarzu

Loughner did not own a TV, never watched it and he did not own a radio and he never listened to one.

Liberal Media has jumped on this because they can only critisize things they do not know about.

That is how they roll.

FlyingComic
FlyingComic

People who want sound commodity-backed currency are crazy and dangerous. People who worship a group of suits who pull interest rates out of their collective asses and create currency out of thin air are wise and sane.

Right....

Foooy
Foooy

Ron Paul, the man who would have done some of the things that Obama promised, like end the wars! That's the one you attach to a crazed man, whose only friend said he never listened to anything political.

jeffglad
jeffglad

It seems like the crux of your argument is that he was for a "sound currency", and since he was crazy, that idea must also be cray. That is some tortured logic my friend.

That is like saying: The Nazi's were evil --> The Nazis were vehemently against smoking --> Being against smoking is evil.

Having a "sound" currency is the foundation of a stable monetary system, and should be considered as a replacement for the current "paper" USD.

belle
belle

Wow, Peter says "Almost nothing is known yet about Loughner's personal views on politics and government" and yet he knows. Hey, how about quoting Loughner's friends who describe him as a left-wing liberal? Who reads the Communist Manifesto...and Siddartha? And quoting the New Yorker? That's really desperation to find something negative.

Nice stretch but very transparent. The MSM as usual is exhibiting its prejudice, ignorance, and irrelevance. Most people are too internet-savvy to buy it.

J
J

A summary of this article:

Democrat gets shot.

Therefore, the Fed and Goldman Sachs are good, and anyone who attacks the Fed and Goldman Sachs are bad.

Wow. Just wow.

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry at the state of Left-wing rhetoric.

Reggie.
Reggie.

Does the left have anything to say these days ? they're not anti war anymore now their guy is in office, they're not anti bankers anymore, to be so would be "conspiratorial", all that the left wingers do these days is sit around carping about Glenn Beck it's boring.

Thelibertarian
Thelibertarian

"former U.S. Afghan commander General Stanley McChrystal explicitly stated that the murder of civilians increases rather than decreases the numbers of those committed to killing Americans, and actually implemented policies -- since reversed by General Petraeus -- to reduce U.S. murder of civilians. McChrystal said that “for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies." By so doing he made it clear that killing civilians is not only a moral and war crimes issue, but -- in today's interdependent world -- also threatens U.S. national security"

Nancy Pelosi in 2007 and Obomba (as I now spell it) in 2009 have disappointed in a way inconceivable before. We have clear proof our killings are creating new enemies, yet they replace the MESSENGER? They renew the PATRIOT ACT? .. where did all the progressives' balls go?

Lpartain
Lpartain

Is this what passes for journalism at SFweekly these days? I'll pass.

Reggie.
Reggie.

The same Ron Paul who has preached peace and the non aggression principle his entire adult life ? you mean that Ron Paul ?.

Tom Woods
Tom Woods

Here's a nice response from the most-read libertarian site in the world. As usual, libertarians are better progressives than the state-excusing "progressives" are.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blo...

Axs87
Axs87

Agreed - this is a pathetic attempt at guilt by association. If you don't agree with Bankers you must want to shoot people...

Peter Jamison - grow a brain.

mdf60
mdf60

Guilt by association. This mentally ill man shared a few ideas with Ron Paul. So, Ron Paul must be a danger to the world. F%%k you, Mr. Jamison.

briansays
briansays

i'd refer you also to mark ames comments on theexiled.comunlike previous events which were either a assassination of a public figure or a mass murder of civilians this combined both and may be a harbinger

Daniel Brown
Daniel Brown

So Drew, He had schizophrenia - a disease of the mind. I know that's a big word. And I won't ask you to look it up - that would require thinking and you're much better at making guffaw jokes than actually using your supposedly healthy mind to learn more about this illness and wonder why an untreated person can wander around in society untreated. Is it perhaps the cost of health care in your wonderful country? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Casinos and prisons are the fastest growing US industries. Caring for the health of the people of the nation? Costly. But it could be priceless if the priorities of your society were re-thought. Oh wait! That would require thinking right Drew? Can't have that man!

Drewcab415
Drewcab415

So #JaredLoughner was a Rand/Ron Paul head who read Nietzsche when he didn't get it. #themoreyouknow

Kevin byDesign
Kevin byDesign

To Sum up: "The Lunatics are running the Right Wing of the Asylum"

Thelibertarian
Thelibertarian

Kevin,

May I recommend a reading assignment. Research "Brenton Woods" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...

"What emerged was the "pegged rate" currency regime. Members were required to establish a parity of their national currencies in terms of gold (a "peg") and to maintain exchange rates within plus or minus 1% of parity (a "band") by intervening in their foreign exchange markets (that is, buying or selling foreign money)."

Until, NIXON yes a GOP president, ended it, our inflation was not out of hand. Nixon wanted more money for war in Viet Nam, (& bombing Cambodia which used to get Admin in trouble by the way, but now we bomb wherever.)

In the late 1960's a quarter had silver today worth over $5.00 so your money is turning to dust in your pocket.

Bob
Bob

Party is irrelevant, policy is what counts. If you spend time in DC you soon learn there is little difference between the parties. They party together and spend the country into the poor house together laughing at all the mundanes as they do it.

Jimmysmithers17
Jimmysmithers17

"If this kind of stuff sounds crazy to you, you're not alone." - Yep, you're never alone when mindlessly swimming with the mindless herd. You sure wouldn't be alone in the year 1000 thinking anyone who thought wasn't flat was crazy.

The current writer's appeal to emotion with these kinds of pat little statements rather than to the intelligence and reason of readers is crazy - but we're so used to this craziness we take it as normal. So instead of believing the truth, or questioning the mass belief about what is true - just 'don't be alone' - that is so scary! Oh my god! I'd rather feel safe and secure and smug going over a cliff with the other lemmings than ever standing up and asking: 'hey guys! Why are we all rushing off this freakin' cliff?'

Dear writer, grow a brain. I mean the cerebral cortex (that's the evolved kind). The reptilian emotional brain center you appeal to in your readers is much overused. Give it a rest.

Jeremy Smithers
Jeremy Smithers

Y'know despite all their rhetoric to the contrary, it is the left in this country who are the violence loving war mongers. Every stupid restrictive law they pass, every ounce of freedom they take away from individuals, every dime they hope to redistribute from those that earned it to those that didn't, is enforced by FORCE from the barrel of a gun. What sheer hypocrisy and lunacy for them to talk about the "fringe right extremists." The left absolutely love their gun power, without it, they'd have nothing..

Xarzu
Xarzu

EXACTLY !!Loughner got away with this without any body guards stopping him because the Left typically does not fear the Right Wingers because the RIght Wingers are actually the rational ones. On the other hand, Limbaugh and Coulter have to travel with body guards because the vast majority of wing nuts are left wing nuts.

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