“Ideas have consequences” is a favorite mantra of the far-right. It’s usually sprung on some mildly pink college professor who happens to refer favorably to Marx in a lecture. “The ultimate result of the Marxist ideology you spout is the Gulag and Pol Pot”, bellows the right-wing pundit. Funny though, this same pundit would never suggest that Jesus is responsible for the Inquisition or Martin Luther for the Holocaust. But then consistency was never part of the right wing mind set.
However this very week, instead of a spurious, fabricated causal chain, with the Norwegian Massacre we have a real example of how ideas have consequences.. Over the last three decades there has been an endless right-wing propaganda barrage attacking liberals, leftists, socialists, immigrants, the poor and a host of other groups too numerous to mention. (1) This is not just a matter of saying “We disagree with leftists etc…” The right wing propagandists make out that the people they oppose are the enemy of God and man, are absolutely evil and subhuman, hardly better than child molesters.
Must we be surprised that as a result of this hate propaganda and demonization, that someone on the fringes of the far right picks up a gun and starts killing a bunch of those immigrant-loving leftist devils?
Now comes the right-wing response to the murders. “Not our fault”, “Don’t make political capital out of this tragedy.”, “Oh, he was crazy, doesn’t have anything to do with us.” We see that the people who bellow about ideas having consequences don’t really believe it after all. The slogan is only a stick to beat the left with. No surprise there though. I already mentioned that if they were consistent, they would claim Jesus responsible for the Inquisition. (2)
Add feminists, pro-choice people, trade unionists, intellectuals, government employees, anarchists, neopagans and non-Christians, atheists and freethinkers, radical or liberal Christians, environmentalists, bicycle riders, and science in general to their hate list,
Before some nitwit accuses me of thinking Jesus caused the Inquisition, I am only saying that it makes as much sense to claim Marx responsible for the gulag as it would to claim Jesus responsible for the Inquisition.