As I noted here the other day, the outpouring of rage in response to Elizabeth Warren’s Senate candidacy has been a real hoot to watch. Some on the right have falsely insisted that in that viral video rebutting the bogus “class warfare” charge, Warren secretly asserted total authority over your property. George Will discerned in Warren’s remarks a “collectivist agenda,” under which the “collectivity” is “entitled to take as much as it pleases” from the individual — even though Warren asserted nothing of the kind.
Now we’ve got the most hilarious version of this genre yet: A new video, courtesy of the Massachusetts GOP, that insinuates that Warren favors violent class warfare:
The video conflates some earlier comments Warren made about “throwing rocks” with the footage in the viral video, in order to imply that Warren is a class warrior who favors mass redistritution of wealth while harboring quasi-violent hostility towards the wealthy.
Of course, this is pure deception. Eric Kleefeld has the original transcript of Warren’s previous claim about “throwing rocks.” In them, she merely claimed she has figuratively ”thrown rocks” at those who are “wrong.” The Massachusetts GOP’s video conflates those comments with those in the viral video to kinda sorta imply that she’s prepared to throw rocks at the nation’s employers and job creators — and even that she’s prepared to throw rocks at “you.”
But all that aside, this video is worth dwelling on because it represents the logical conclusion of the conservative response to Warren, which has been to ascribe to her a wild-eyed collectivist vision she simply doesn’t hold. Warren was simply making an argument about the proper rate of taxation under a system that liberals and (most) conservatives alike already agree is legitimate. That system is one in which Congress’ power to levy taxes flows from the U.S. Constitution, and those who set those tax rates are elected to Congress by the millions of people — individuals all — who vote in Congressional elections. Warren is hoping to be one of those members of Congress — she is asking individuals who reside in Massachusetts to democratically elect her to the Senate, so she can push for the tax structure she views as fair.
As E.J. Dionne noted the other day, Warren believes that it’s fair to ask the rich to pay higher taxes than Republicans think is proper because “the well-off have benefited the most from our social arrangements.” This is not even remotely incompatible with respect for the individual’s property, ingenuity and autonomy — it’s merely an observation that those things exist in a larger societal context. The implication that she intends violence towards those with more means is only the next logical step in what is already a highly dishonest distortion of her actual worldview, which isn’t radical or anti-individualist in the least.