Here's Andrew Breitbart, speaking at a Tea Party gathering:
“They can only win a rhetorical or propaganda war. We outnumber them and we have the guns.”
“I’m not kidding.”
Little Green Footballs comments:
He [Breitbart] elaborates that he imagines the military is going to rise up and start killing union members to protect the country (or something), and reiterates that he’s talking about actual armed conflict and not elections.
Follow the LGF link to watch the video, if you can stomach it.
And last week, Andrew Sullivan asked: [w]hat is it about the fringe right that always gets them to threaten violence against critics? Sullivan quotes the violent public fantasies of conservative commentator, Robert Stacey McCain:
Joe McGinniss [author of the a new book about Sarah Palin] underwent emergency surgery Wednesday night after police say the author was beaten senseless by Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s husband Todd at a Manhattan party where McGinniss was signing copies of his new book about the former Alaska governor.
“It was one of the most brutal attacks I’ve ever seen,” said Venona Wineglass, who was waiting in line to get her copy of the controversial anti-Palin book signed at the Upper West Side reception when, she said, Todd “came out of nowhere” and began punching McGinniss. “He was just like bam, bam, bam, and it took three guards to pull him off.”
Sullivan asks an interesting question about fringe conservatives and what is, perhaps, an elevated affinity for violence, or at the least, violent threats and fantasy. I certainly don't know about the minds and motives of the particular men mentioned above; I don't know know Breitbart or McCain.
But speculating now about fringe politics in a more generalized way, might it be that fringe conservatives (I will get to fringe liberals shortly) tend to have an outsized sense of entitlement that keeps narcissistic rage bubbling near the surface? Perhaps they just can't handle the idea that the rest of us aren't merely extensions of them, existing to do their bidding in the same way their own arm or a hand would. They live with an infantile sense of omnipotence that animates their interactions with the world.
The psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut believed that the confrontation between reality and the primitive, omnipotent, sense of self can lead to temporary disintegration of that primitive self--a coming apart at the seams, if you will, resulting in depressive emotional deflation or narcissistic rage. Consider how a person would feel if others don't see things their way when they believe that their ideas are perfect and, at an unconscious level, they are all-powerful. In the encounter with their own imperfection and lack of power, they become deflated and depressed, or like a dictator who is challenged, they may become violently enraged.
Perhaps the nature of fringe politics is that the fringes are the places where we find more people who don't accept that they must live in a real world, because a real sense of independent human beings in the middle is missing from their psychological world. In other words, they occupy the fringes because their beliefs are untempered by reality considerations, especial consideration of the independent minds and lives of others. They can't join the wide political middle. They must rule the middle, with all of the attendant emotional and behavioral reactions to the repeated discovery that they aren't in charge.
So this might be a basis for fringe conservative fantasies of violence. If this explanation has truth in it, then I wouldn't be surprised to learn that liberals at the fringes, indeed most people on the political fringes, would have a greater tendency to immerse themselves in violent fantasy.
And I suppose that people who are at the extremes of non-political movements might also have a greater inclination to indulge in violent fantasy and action. I think we see this in Muslim extremists, and in fringe Christians (abortion doc killers) and Jewish extremists who want to push all Arabs out of the West Bank and even Israel proper (read comments at the Jerusalem Post some time). In the latter two groups, I don't see quite as much open fantasy about person-to-person violence as I see fantasy about God doing the violence to political and social enemies, especially with diseases and natural disasters or violence visited on enemies by other bad people, such as extremist Muslims. But those violent fantasies are in their own minds, even if the violence is attributed to God.
Of course, there are other kinds of people who can immerse themselves in violent fantasies and real violence. Psychopaths, for example, get off on power and the suffering and destruction of other people. Psychopaths might superficially adopt a political posture as cover when what they're really out for is pain, death and mayhem for enjoyment's sake. And sadists and masochists can take sexual pleasure in violence or violent fantasy, but I don't see either of those groups constituting the core of the political fringes. They rely on direct, non-political routes to gratification
Lastly, to reiterate, I don't know Breitbart and McCain. I'm offering gross generalizations and speculations about violent tendencies at the human fringes. For all I know, Breitbart and McCain are mental health paragons, who take a robust, psychologically healthy pleasure in spending time thinking about murder or less than lethal violence directed toward people who have different opinions about politics and government. That's possible, isn't it?