Milton Friedman Supports Quantitative Easing 2
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Do I Dare Read This?

First Tom Levenson, now Henry Farrell--their tenuous hold on sanity broken, their minds cracked:

A not-so-brief history of violence: Public health warning: much much more McArdle-blogging beneath the fold. But take heart – this may possibly be my last and most definitive statement on the topic. I certainly can’t imagine that I will want to write at length about this any more...

Unfortunately, I do not have the strength of character to refrain:

The fact that she explicitly has mixed motivations for writing the apology... needn’t concern us.... But from here on in, it starts to go downhill.

I have yet to see anyone deploy it against me who could even vaguely be accused of acting in good faith. On the other hand, there are readers in good faith who are surprised by it, and I think I owe them an explanation.

If she really did say something that she has since acknowledged was ‘creepy,’ it is an unusual run of luck indeed that everyone who has criticized her for this post has done so in bad faith....

And now we start to get to the important bits.

I shouldn’t have written it because even if whacking a rioter in the head is necessary to stop the riot, it’s not funny. It’s not funny even when the rioter is a total scumwrangler who is deliberately wreaking mayhem—any more than it is ever funny when a thoroughly repulsive criminal gets raped in prison. To the extent that either the state or private citizens are forced to use violence to prevent violence, it should always be more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger. This is not amusing.

The problem hence, is not that violence against mayhem-wreaking scumwranglers is unwarranted – it is that one shouldn’t laugh at it, but instead treat of it in grave and serious tones.... McArdle apologizes for having written it, explains that she had been in her “mid-twenties” (in fact she had just turned thirty), was exploring the new medium of blogging, and was “more than a tad overemotional at the thought of my city getting another dose of random ideological violence.” She then goes on to tell us that

But the way it’s used in the blogosphere is, for want of a better word, pathetic. Those who link it never, ever mention that it referred to violent protesters, even when they have to do some exceptionally creative editing to avoid that fairly central fact.... What does it say that the people who link it are invariably either outright lying, or deliberately misleading inflicting creative omissions on their readers?...

[S]he apologizes, apparently sincerely, for thinking that violence against mayhem-wreaking scumwranglers was funny, even though they’re scumwranglers (it’s worth drawing attention to the gradual transformation over the years of laughable “little dweebs” that you can’t even be mad at, into mayhem-wreaking “rioters” and “scumwranglers” who are self-evidently a threat to life, property and civilization; they must have been eating all their greens). She does not apologize for her belief back then that “rioters” need to be “restrained” with “violent force, if necessary,” perhaps by “whacking a rioter in the head … to stop the riot.” And she feels hard done by – none of the bloggers who link to the post ever mention that she is only referring to “violent protesters.” And if only we could read Diane E.’s post, we could see that there was “a credible belief” that we were going to see a WTO-style ”dose of random ideological violence.”

I do have good news for Ms. McArdle – the original Diane E. post that she thought was lost to posterity has been located.... There are a couple of general observations worth making. First – that Diane E., whether she was a “war-horse” or not, was clearly and emphatically a rumor-monger, contra McArdle.... Second, that Diane E.s writing in this post reaches Pam-Geller levels of batshit crazy. Myself, I would not be swift to describe a post like this as a justifiable basis for “credible belief.” But then I’m not Megan McArdle....

[W]hat evidence do we have that college student rioters are planning a “can of whup-ass on some Korean vegetable stand,” to use McArdle’s memorable description? Diddly squat. What does this tell us about rioters’ plans to … er … riot? Again. Diddly squat. The protesters plans are explicitly to “transform Feb. 15 into a carnival of peace and resistance.” There are a number of proposed actions – but the only one that can be even faintly thought of as violent, is the proposal to have snowball fights. McArdle’s source of wisdom, the indefatigable Diane E., rants that this isn’t peaceful protest. But it obviously is. All of these actions are taken from the standard repertoire of peaceful disruptive protest. Many of them are certainly massive pains in the arse. None of them would seem to me to be forms of violence that would justify pre-emptive whacks in the head...