Joe Klein, a pundit employed by Time Magazine was on a panel on MSNBC recently in which he accused former Gov. Sarah Palin and FOX News and radio personality Glenn Beck of “potentially committing sedition.”
Both Palin and Beck have been critics of President Obama and his policies. But, according to Joe Klein, this seems to be the equivalent of, “conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state.”
The term “sedition” is a loaded term, suggesting armed militias and terrorists setting off bombs. People practicing “sedition” are thought to be criminals, subject to being arrested and put on trial as enemies of the State. Joe Klein is accusing Beck and Palin of calling for rebellion against Obama and therefore guilt of sedition.
Mind, Webster’s defines “rebellion” thus:
“1: opposition to one in authority or dominance
“2 a: open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government b: an instance of such defiance or resistance”
Strangely the first definition of “rebellion” suggests dissent, not necessarily violent, that is one of the hallmarks of democracy. Indeed, liberals like Joe Klein used to suggest that dissent was the highest form of patriotism when that dissent against George W. Bush.
However, when the dissent is against Barack Obama, then it’s “close to sedition.” This is despite the fact that neither Sarah Palin, nor Glenn Beck, nor Rush Limbaugh, whom New York Magazine’s John Heilemann added to the list of dangerous rebels, have every even advocated violence, not to speak of carrying it out. The same could not be said for President Obama’s old friend, Bill Ayers.
By extension, Joe Klein is suggesting that the 20 percent of the American people who consider themselves Tea Partiers are potentially guilty of sedition as well.
In using incendiary words like “sedition” Joe Klein seems to be ignoring Bill Clinton’s admonishment about watching what we say. While there is no possibility that the Obama administration would try to arrest critics like Palin or Beck for sedition, it would not be the first presidency to use the arms of the government, such as the IRS, to harass opponents. Both John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon come to mind.
Even more chilling, and we are using the logic of liberals who suggest, as Bill Clinton has done, that rhetoric can lead to violence, Joe Klein may be moving close to, no doubt unintentionally, inciting violence himself. Some unhinged person, and the Left is filled with such, might take Joe Klein’s words as permission to do something both violent and tragic.
Far fetched? Perhaps. But if Rush Limbaugh can cause Oklahoma City simply by criticizing the government, then maybe Joe Klein can cause something else by criticizing Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
Sources: Time’s Klein: Beck, Palin Potentially Committing Sedition against U.S. Government; Heilemann Adds Limbaugh, Jeff Poor, Newsbusters, April 18th, 2010
Definition: “Rebellion:”, Marrian Webster’s
Bill Clinton Links Tea Parties with Terrorism, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, April 17th, 2010