Jared Loughner: Politically Independent (of Reality) Murderer

While we have learned more about Jared Loughner, the emerging picture still has giant gaps in it. Among other things, we really don't know where this guy fits into the spectrum of political belief.

Of course, this doesn't stop the partisan hacksphere from filling those gaps in with what they'd like to see there.

One thing we do have evidence of is that he was a left winger...in high school. I haven't seen any clear evidence that he's been active with any left wing groups, or even that his views have stayed that way, over the last few years. Right wing bloggers and tweeters are all aflutter pointing out that he listed one of his favorite books as The Communist Manifesto, as if you must be a lefty to enjoy it.

One of my favorite books is Ayn Rand's Anthem, so does that make me a libertarian?

Of course not. But for some really extreme ideological purists, even Plato's Republic, which describes an ideal governmental system that makes communism seem downright lax in its control over peoples' lives, is not worthy of praise because it doesn't tow the ideological line. Some of these people go to great lengths to avoid even coming into contact with those who disagree with them, making it easier to dehumanize their opponents and think of them as enemies, rather than fellow Americans who happen to disagree with them politically.

Moving on to the other side of the coin...as much as those on the left would have it be otherwise, there has been no evidence of this guy having anything to do with the Tea Party. Those who are pushing this meme have filled in the gaps of our knowledge with their own stereotypical assumptions. They're ignoring conflicting reports, like his videos of flag burning, and tunneling in on things like his libertarian-esque video railing against modern monetary policy.

If I were a centrist version of those who are pushing the above nonsense, I'd probably be looking for ways to explain away the fact that the guy is a registered independent. There is a cheeky tweet making the rounds on twitter that makes light of this false conundrum, jokingly asking whether No Labels should now be blamed for this, like Sarah Palin and company have been by the netroots mob.

The sentiment there is right on the money. Its absurd that any single attribute of a murderer should stain a whole segment who share that attribute with them. Had he been a registered member of a party it would have made no more sense to condemn that party because of his actions than it would have to condem all agnostics because of Timothy McVeigh's act of domestic terrorism.

As much as I despise the influence some partisan talking heads have on our politics, it is unfair to judge their words based on how a clearly disturbed man may or may not have been influenced by them as he plotted homicide. That it is in no way clear that he fits into any faction makes it even more perplexing that so many people are going to such great lengths to do just that.