wussier moral grounds than my coffee

Via Glenn Reynolds, I found a classic reminder of the left's fondness for accusing the right of doing what it does.

First, here's what sainted leftist icon Frances Fox Piven considers worthy of praise and emulation:

...tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country's budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner's office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

Lovely. And Frances Fox Piven is not only cheering them on, she's calling on Americans to emulate them, as she has been for years:

"Socialist advocate for mob violence complains she is target."

Ms. Piven, a City University of New York professor, has advocated the forcible overthrow of the United States government more or less continuously for the past 45 years. In "The Weight of the Poor," an influential call to arms for the activist left that ran in the Nation in 1966, Ms. Piven and her late husband, Richard Cloward, called upon activists to pack the welfare rolls in order to spread dependency, bankrupt the government and cause uprisings against the capitalist system.

Overburdening government bureaucracies would cause "a profound financial and political crisis" that would unleash "powerful forces ... for major economic reform at the national level," they argued in their article, which was so popular the magazine sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints.

The poor have every reason to revolt, Cloward said later, because they would benefit more than other groups "from a major upheaval in our society." The poor make progress only "when the rest of society is afraid of them," he explained.

It is clear that this woman (described as a "committed revolutionary" and "honorary chairman of the Trotskyist-founded Democratic Socialists of America") has a long history of advocating violence when that benefits her side, and she is smart enough to know how many millions of people her side has murdered. 

Yet after calling for more left-wing violence, she and her supporters are the ones who complain -- about violence being threatened against Piven, ostensibly by "the right."

The basis for the complaint? Why anonymous comments allegedly left at a Glenn Beck web site.

Many of the most provocative comments have been removed from the site's comment section, but at one time they included such charming posts as: "Bring it on biotch [sic]. we're armed to the teeth." Or: "We're all for violence and change, Francis [sic]. Where do your loved ones live?"

Sorry, but because of its nature, an anonymous comment is not an authority for anything -- least of all for the identity of or alleged perspective of the anonymous person. Anyone can leave a comment saying anything or calling for anything.

Yet without a single verification of any commenter being the person he claims (much less anyone whose ideology or loyalty to Beck has been verified), anonymous and deleted commenters become "Beck fans rhetorically brandishing their weapons at Piven!"

But even that's not enough. "They" also become all "economically hard-pressed Americans":

...perhaps economically hard-pressed Americans aren't wusses after all. They may not have the courage or the know-how to organize a protest at the local unemployment office, which is the kind of action Piven urged in her December essay, but they stand ready to shoot the first 78-year-old social scientist who suggests that they do so.

This brings to mind an observation Sean Kinsell made earlier about wussdom:

What is wussy--and I'm surprised people on the right haven't jumped all over this, because it's one of the most outrageous sentences I've ever read--is to say, as Piven does at the end of her editorial, "We should hope for another American social movement from the bottom--and then join it." Got that, Nation readers? Don't bother risking anything of yourselves. Wait until the churls have been out getting their heads busted long enough to make the movement a going concern, then get in on it. No one who holds that attitude or lets it pass without comment has moral grounds for bitching that America is no longer a democracy.

They have no more moral grounds than my coffee grounds. But a little thing won't stop them from stirring up and goading on those at the bottom they claim to be for, and encouraging them to do more while at the same time accusing their critics of doing what they do.

If Glenn Beck behaved as they did, we should expect him to be endorsing the demands of "his" commenters and holding them out as exemplars for his listeners to follow.


Actually, I'm thinking I was wrong to say they have no more moral grounds than my coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds are not wussy. They reflect utilitarian value.

posted by Eric on 02.02.11 at 01:19 PM


So after four decades of publicly promoting violence in America, the tiny insular pert of the country that exists outside of The Nation's subscriber list finally reads what she's been saying.

And she's upset about it?

But it throws into sharp relief what she and the radical left has always meant: political violence - but not directed towards us!

Bear in mind that these are the same people who firebombed research labs, ROTC buildings, and banks, who occupied and shut down universities, who rioted at the drop of a hat throughout the second half of the sixties, who shouted "Burn baby burn" and "Kill the pigs!" and somehow managed to convince the media that their cause was "free speech."

No, moral clarity has never been their stock in trade, and they hate being called to account for their own words.

Steve Skubinna   ·  February 2, 2011 8:38 PM

Aren't they forgetting that when the communists take over, the academics are in the first groups of people needing "re-education."

Keith_Indy   ·  February 3, 2011 11:51 AM

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