[Before continuing with the Ethics Alarms commentary to follow, readers should take the time to read the entire El Paso shooter’s manifesto here, in Part I.]
4. To be clear, the man is mad as a hatter. He is surprisingly articulate and thoughtful, however—more than many of the pundits that have tried to exploit his screed for their own purposes.
5. The basic inspiration for both the manifesto itself and the attack it preceded was the “Great Replacement,” a fevered conspiracy theory posited by Renaud Camus, a French writer. The idea is neither novel nor complicated. It is like the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” although it is more like the invasion of the culture snatchers. Unrestrained immigration by an alien culture allows the majority, predominant culture to be replaced before it knows what has happened.
In the introduction to his manifesto, the shooter says, “My motives for this attack are not at all personal. Actually the Hispanic community was not my target before I read “The Great Replacement.” For the record, President Trump has never said or written anything that echoes or references the “Great Replacement” paranoia. Pat Buchanan, when he was the champion of the GOP far right in the 80s and 90s, espoused similar theories, but never Trump. The President has never attacked the concept of immigration, only illegal immigration. Tying the manifesto to the President is another despicable example of representing opposition to illegal immigration as a variety of xenophobia or racism.
6. The manifesto is not partisan. “The inconvenient truth is that our leaders, both Democrat AND Republican, have been failing us for decades,” it states early on. This is true, incidentally, regarding illegal immigration. Like most conspiracy theories, there are elements of truth in the shooter’s arguments; the problem is the extreme and unwarranted conclusions they lead him to adopt.
The shooter does finger the Democratic Party as the greater culprit, because they “intend to use open borders, free healthcare for illegals, citizenship and more to enact a political coup by importing and then legalizing millions of new voters.” Again, there’s nothing crazy about that theory, which has been posited by many for decades by non-crazy people, and it still seems more likely than not. Again, it contains elements of truth, and there is nothing about objecting to such strategy or finding it cynical and unethical that makes the argument racist. Still, “the Republican Party is also terrible,” the shooter writes.
7. Most of the shooter’s ideological positions could hardly be more contrary to Trumpism (whatever it is) or conservatism: Continue reading