It should be clear, by this point, to any rational person that the Left in this country has simply lost its collective mind. The “reality based community” has been hysterically shrieking for the past five days how Jared Loughner was inspired directly by the words of Sarah Palin (or Glenn Beck), despite the fact they had not a single piece of evidence to substantiate the charge. (“Reality,” for the Left, must be a strange thing devoid of any basis in fact it seems.)
Today, of course, the Left goes bonkers when Sarah Palin has the temerity to defend herself from their baseless and increasingly insane charges. (Turns out Loughner neither watched TV news nor listened to talk radio. The Left seems to believe Palin was controlling Loughner telepathically.) Somehow, Palin is now an anti-Semite because she used the term “blood libel” to describe the charges laid against her. That the Left and Right have used the term in this fashion for years without anyone raising a peep about it, of course does not matter to the truly fevered. Sarah Palin has said it! And Sarah causes a loud buzzing sound in the heads of Leftists which can only be alleviated by their saying something incredibly moronic about Palin. (Poor Andy Sullivan’s head buzzes a lot.)
Of course, what this was supposed to be about is Loughner and his motivations. Given the complete lack of evidence that right-wing talk had anything to do with Loughner, anyone who continues to espouse such an idea is either A) pig ignorant, B) immoral and dishonest, or C) about as loony as Loughner himself. Merely wanting it to be true because you loathe Palin (or Beck) so much simply isn’t good enough. It never ought to have been.
But, who to blame then? There is the obvious answer: no one but Loughner. This is the answer I subscribe to, given his rather obvious lunacy. Irrational people can be “motivated” by just about anything; the phases of the moon (thus the root of the term “lunacy”), the neighbors dog “speaking” to them, The Beatles’ White Album, an Al Gore documentary, etc. etc. etc. There is no rational way to guess what will set them off, so it is pointless to try in advance, and un-insightful to us when we discover it after the fact.
But if you absolutely need to blame someone else, why not look to the things that obviously did inspire Loughner? Like a lot of other people I too looked at Loughner’s YouTube ravings, and it became clear to me there was something Loughner drew upon as “inspiration” of a sort. Clearly Loughner had either been introduced to in college or read on his own something of the philosophical perspective known as “deconstructionism.” You can see this in his obsession with “grammar” and the supposed meaninglessness of language. Something like this was obviously the source of Loughner’s nonsense question to Giffords back in 2007. Loughner gets introduced to the idea that texts have no set meaning, and when confronted by a member of Congress whose very position and status is defined by a text (i.e. the Constitution) Loughner now believes is devoid of content, well, he begins to think of her as a charlatan or tyrant.
Even if the influence wasn’t this direct, it isn’t unreasonable to wonder about the impact ideas like deconstruction would have on any individual who already had the tendency to live in their own private reality. Isn’t it an invitation for the unstable to try to make their world whatever they want it to be? Loughner evidently did claim to a friend he was attempting to make his dream world his real world. Ideas like deconstruction would only supply him with further justification in his delusional pursuits.
So there it is. If you must blame someone else for Loughner’s insane actions, the only plausible alternative is Jacques Derrida.
Too bad he’s already dead, eh?