Just stop blaming the right for violence.

The recent attempted assassination of U.S. Representative Giffords, the deaths of six people, and the injuries of fourteen others is as senseless as it gets. This is the act of a gunman that was very likely unstable in some way. But how many more times do I have to read in commentary that right-wing, conservative ideas automatically lead to these sorts of extreme acts of violence?

Does it matter who incited this? No. All that matters is that this gunman was a nutjob, who apparently bought into a lot of loony conspiracy theories purported by the extreme right. You know, just like almost all would-be political assassins and domestic terrorists.

Where in the world did these ideas come from? Conspiracy theories on the right somehow are responsible for “almost all” of the reasoning behind acts of political assassination and domestic terrorism? This makes no sense.

Claims like this are even more infuriating because I fail to see any evidence to support them:

In contrast, when Beck declares that the non-profit organization Tides Foundation is the driving force behind leftists who want to illegally seize control of the government, destroy capitalism and dismantle organized religion, and is assembling an army to this effect, he supplements his conspiratorial rhetoric with explicit calls to violence. Again, in contrast, his supporters frequently follow-up his comments with violence.

Where are all of these violent acts being committed because they’re not being reported anywhere?

I really am curious as to the origin of the notion that right-wing ideology leads to violent extremism. Conservatives are really only after a certain set of things, and that is the preservation of traditional mores, laws, and ideas (I hate that I even have to say this, but that does not include the abhorrent treatment of any social class).

It really is a shame that political/philosophical debate is impossible; everyone wants us to go back in time to a place where both sides discussed so nicely the merits of their ideas. But it didn’t happen. Politics is a contentious affair. Frankly, it has and always will be. That doesn’t mean that a set of philosophical ideas certainly lead to violence–particularly when those ideas are mostly interested in increasing liberty–but what it means is that it will always be a highly partisan, dog-eat-dog experience.

But stop blaming one side for something that has nothing to do with its philosophy.