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Marjorie Taylor Greene Wants a National Divorce and Expects It To Be Amicable
Is shouting at her in public taking things too far?
Marjorie Taylor Greene claims she was attacked. But as a savant in the art of unwitting self-refutation, she has also, on numerous occasions now, described what happened in a way that completely and obviously contradicts that first claim.
Here’s how she announced what happened:
Why yes, of course. You “simply have different political views.”
Views such as that half of America is so comprehensively beyond the pale that you can no longer stomach sharing a country with them. I mean, it’s just insane for someone to get all bent out of shape over what is fundamentally a polite disagreement.
In all seriousness, I’m usually against showy demonstrations of political disagreement, mainly because activists are usually the ones doing them, and activists are plagued by a cursed incapacity to discern just how obnoxious their antics can be. In this case, there’s no indication Greene’s detractors are activists, but that aside, this episode seems provisionally fine to me given that (a) it’s not directed at a private citizen and (b) it happened in public rather than at her home.
Regarding (a), consider that the opposite is true in this case. We’re talking about a public figure, an elected official, someone directly accountable to the people who elevated her precisely to serve their interests. Why shouldn’t they get a crack at telling her how they feel when she’s publicly pushing literal secession?
Regarding (b), I thought it was bad—and stupid—when people showed up to Tucker Carlson’s home. I really dislike Tucker, but don’t antagonize people outside their home seems like a good norm to follow.
But despite Greene initially describing what happened as an “attack,” which will almost certainly turn out to be a major exaggeration, things are perhaps looking up. In her latest account, from an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox, she used the qualifier “verbally attacked” … which is a step in a right direction, I guess, since it no longer irresponsibly suggests physical assault.
I want to bring out the two takeaways I offered in that clip tweet and elaborate on them.
The first thing I said is that when you listen to her describe what happened in the restaurant that night, it falls spectacularly short of constituting an “attack.” She doesn’t describe anything more serious or grave than words—words delivered at a shouting decibal level, sure, but words nonetheless. That’s not an “attack”—and not only is it not an “attack,” it’s constitutionally protected expression.
It might seem that this is nitpicking over her use of language, but her language choice turns out to be the difference between her detractors acting lawfully or unlawfully. That seems pretty significant, and we shouldn’t grant a pass to public figures who use their large platforms to intentionally mislead the people that they should instead be informing. Triviliazing this concern as a mere objection to her “language choice” does a disservice to our ongoing attempts to build a culture of truth.
If, as an elected official, she finds herself so utterly scandalized by being cursed out in public over her enthusiasm for neo-states’ rights secessionism, then the word Greene herself would use to describe someone like that is “snowflake.” Wasn’t it supposed to be a “woke” position to think words are violence, anyway?
My second takeaway is that when you listen to her answer from start to finish, it’s clear that Greene’s ability to baselessly villify half the country is a near flawless embodiment of the very thing she objects to in her rant.
Note how she uses an event in which she was merely yelled at to characterize the entirety of Democratic America (elected officials, voters, etc.) as depraved evildoers prowling the streets to find any and all Republicans to harass. She actually says Democrats are encouraged to “attack Republicans” and that “there is no line Democrats won’t cross.” What the hell is she talking about? Even if you think Democrats routinely go over the line, it’s another thing altogether to claim that Democratic officials and voters would approve a Purge-like elimination of Republican citizens. This is the very error she chides Hillary Clinton for making—characterizing everyone on the other side of the aisle as irredeemably deplorable.
Greene has raised the issue of civility, so I want to make a comment about this as a discourse norm. We tend to associate civility with concern over tonal rather than substantive matters—and we are right to do that. But a conception of civility that only pays attention to how loudly you’re saying something, and gives no consideration to what you’re saying, is a useless one. Here is Marjorie Taylor Greene basically question-stalking then-18-year-old David Hogg—always calmly, always making sure to keep her questions below shouting level—with badgering that is essentially just as obnoxious as the treatment Greene received at the restaurant.
There’s nothing genuinely civil about Greene’s red-pill sea-lioning here, even if she outwardly exhibits the form of civility by not raising her voice. Don’t fall for a naive conception of civility that only concerns itself with the volume of one’s voice.
Were the dirtbag leftists right, in the end? No, since they’re dirtbags. But also because their complaint was totally different. They eschewed civility entirely; they saw it as actively obfuscatory. By contrast, I absolutely think civility matters—just not a version of it that exhaustively sees it along tonal lines. Greene was not more civil toward Hogg than her detractors were to her in the restaurant, and a correct conception of civility would ultimately reflect that.