Great Moments in Civil Discourse Retroactive: Liberals Cheered When Ronald Reagan was Shot

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It’s been a while since we’ve done a Great Moments in Civil Discourse post, and this one is vintage.  It seems that 32 years ago, when Ronald Reagan was nearly killed by an assassin’s bullet, liberals burst into cheers. Tom Blumer at Newsbusters has more…

Two years ago today, I chronicled wire service reports which appeared shortly after John Hinckley’s unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981 reporting that schoolchildren in many parts of the country cheered when they heard that he had been shot.

At the time, I suggested that school teachers and administrators who were appalled at the reactions might have been protesting a bit too much. Today, I located a 2004 item at National Review by Stanley Kurtz about another group which was happy to hear about the assassination attempt. The left’s hypocrisy about “civility” — and for that matter, basic human decency — clearly goes way, way back:

… just around the time Ronald Reagan took office, I moved to Berkeley, where I began to question the direction of contemporary liberalism. I remember the fabulous daily scene on campus, with rock bands blasting, students feasting on fare from an incredible variety of restaurants, and Marxists leafleting on the plaza. Having just encountered a living socialist state with a shamefully poor food supply (in a previous visit to the Soviet Union — Ed.), and having seen the dangers individual Russians courted in their attempts to get hold of forbidden rock music, I wondered if these Berkeley radicals understood the implications of the ideas they were playing with.

When Reagan was shot, I remember being on campus and hearing people cheer. That disturbed me deeply.

… I’ve already written about the famous fracas over the visit of Reagan’s U.N. ambassador, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, to the Berkeley campus. It wasn’t surprising that radicals tried to shout her down. What shocked was that even faculty members started arguing that “oppressors” have no free-speech rights (this, in the birthplace of the free-speech movement). That was the beginning of campus “political correctness,” before the phenomenon even had a name. Obviously, some terrible deformation had developed within liberalism — a rejection, in the name of freedom, of the very principles of liberty, along with a mental migration from America itself. Meanwhile, the real victims of oppression, the brave dissidents within the Soviet Union, saw Reagan and Kirkpatrick as heroes.

Shumer’s article has even more, but I want to focus in on how leftists “work.”  In the excerpt you see some familiar themes.

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1.  Shouting down people with differing opinions.

2.  Expression of the idea that people with differing opinions have no right to express, or even have those opinions.

3.The irony that the home of “free speech” are filled with the people that deny that right to anyone but themselves.

4.  The additional irony that the leftists at Berkely were claiming freedom while pining for the most oppressive form of government in the history of man.

These folks are much like every every petulant adolescent that you’ve ever met.  They are self absorbed.  Yes, they speak of justice, fairness, and equality, but they reserve it only for themselves, and deny it to others.  They are hypocrites, preaching understanding while dealing in hate.  They talk about responsibility, yet they blame others for all of their own failings.  It’s like the teen that decries bullying, but mistreats the people that he does not like.  It’s as if to say that “only my ideas and my feelings matter.”  And so it is-others are denied the right to speak.  And, if this particular brand of petulant soul gains power, others lose their other freedoms as well, up to and including the freedom to be at all.  Just ask all of the others that were killed by communist regimes in the 20th century.

Yes, this is the liberal version of Civil Discourse  It’s only uncivil when someone else does it.

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