The nature of elite reaction is not strictly a matter of the potential political ramifications of events. There is also the matter of complexity and nuance, which are specialties of the intelligentsia. When events seem to teach a simplistic liberal lesson, there is no need to seek out any mitigating factors. Yet when the simple lesson would seem to favor a conservative argument, there is a frantic search for mitigation, or else the event is dismissed as meaningless.
The murder of Matthew Shepard was interpreted as evidence of mass homophobia induced by Christian conservatism, even though the murderers were a couple of two-bit hoodlums with no known ties to the Religious Right. Yet here we have Nidal Malik Hasan reportedly screaming “Allahu Akbar” while gunning down U.S. troops and . . . well, this means nothing.
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