Getting someone fired: the most fun wingnuts can have while avoiding prison
Wingnuts have a lot of tactics: lying, screeching, saying racist things and then taking umbrage when you point out that they’re racist, fantasizing out loud about “second amendment remedies”. But getting someone fired is by far their favorite tactic, bar none. It accomplishes so much, if you’re successful! It reinforces the idea that you’re above criticism (gearing you up for the next time someone is targeted for harassment for having the nerve to criticize you), is scares would-be critics into silence, and above all, it fucks someone’s life up tremendously. Actual “second amendment remedies” are dangerous and get you thrown in jail. Getting someone fired, however, is something you can do without any repercussions for yourself. It’s the perfect strategy for the cowardly sadist, and therefore the favorite of wingnuts.
The latest example (though, to be fair, there’s always half a dozen in process with the wingnutteria) is this harassment campaign against John Abraham, Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas. Abraham’s Crime Against Wingnuttery is being right about global warming, and as we all know, being right is one of the major ways you can bring down the army of flying wingnut monkeys onto your head. Specifically, Abraham thoroughly and devastatingly debunked the ravings of global warming denialist Christopher Monckton. He discovered that Monckton’s impressive-sounding “evidence” is, as you can imagine, a pile of lies and misrepresentations.
So naturally, someone who approaches science with such passion and accuracy cannot actually hold a job as a scientist. Or, that’s the position of the flying monkeys, who have decided to start a harassment campaign against Abraham’s employer, the University of St. Thomas. They’ve been flooding the president’s email box. They do like the logic of torture, those wingnuts! “Give us what we want and the pain will go away. You do want the pain to go away, don’t you? Here’s another round of emails making it impossible for you to go about your daily business. Just hand us the professor, and the pain will stop.” (There was also an attempt at extorting money!)
Of course, targeting academia is a much different game than targeting politicians and mainstream media outlets, who love giving in to bullies like it was ice cream that gives you orgasms. The University’s response to a bunch of charlatans calling for the head of a professor because he had the nerve to be right was exactly what it should be:
We received your email response to our June 25, 2010 letter. The University of St Thomas respects your right to disagree with Professor Abraham, just as the University respects Professor Abraham’s right to disagree with you. What we object to are your personal attacks against Father Dease, and Professor Abraham, your inflammatory language, and your decision to disparage Professor Abraham, Father Dease and The University of St Thomas.
Please be advised that neither we nor the University of St Thomas will communicate with you any further about your decision to sully the University of St. Thomas, Professor Abraham, and others rather than to focus on the scholarly differences between you and Professor Abraham.
Signed: Phyllis Karasov, Moore Costellow and Hart, P.L.L.P.
I wish that the politicians who caved on the ACORN thing or the Washington Post that caved on the Dave Weigel thing would take notes—when you’re being inundated with bullshit, remember that it’s bullshit. Bullshit doesn’t stop being bullshit because it’s loud bullshit. Bullshit doesn’t stop being bullshit because a lot of people want to believe it. Bullshit certainly doesn’t stop being bullshit because bullshit supporters, realizing they’re full of shit, revert to bullying to get their way because they can’t win on the facts. And every time you give in to bullshit, you embolden the purveyors of bullshit. You may think you’re getting the flying monkeys off you by giving in, but all you’ve done is show them that their tactics work, and next time they want something from you, they’re going to come about you with twice the number of flying monkeys. That’s how it works. Look what happened with James O’Keefe. Did he take his bullshit victory over ACORN and go home satisfied? Hell no! Being able to get Congress and the mainstream media to play along with his bullshit made him think he was The Man, and the result was that he started picking bigger fish to fry with his usual tactics of lying and being smug. You don’t get rid of them by giving them what they want.
Of course, my main concern now is that I’m seeing climate scientists starting to get the kind of targeting that you see against abortion providers. As much as I’d like to believe that standing firm against bullies is enough to scare them off, I know that’s not true. The level of obsession that global warming denialists have is downright scary, and I hope that the FBI and other law enforcement are at least monitoring the situation, because I really do fear it’s in line after abortion and general anti-federal government sentiment in terms of attracting the unhinged right wing elements.