Tuesday, August 1, 2017



I’ve become increasingly uncomfortable with the term “bonehead absurdity” as an apt description of the asinine statements I nominate each month for the infamous Bonehead Absurdity Award. ”Bonehead” suggests a foolish or stupid person who, possibly without thinking, blurts out an absurdity--a slip of the tongue, if you will. Looking back over nearly four years of bonehead absurdities, it is clear to me, and a number of Phronesis readers, that the absurd utterances I select do not represent momentary lapses of judgment; On the contrary, they provide a window into the character, values, and beliefs of the speakers. The utterances demonstrate ignorance, to be sure, but more importantly they reveal deceit, hate, mendacity, moral corruption, empathy deprivation, and, in many cases, depravity-- some of the speakers are downright evil to the core.

I have not been alone among Phronesis readers thinking that “Bonehead Absurdity” didn’t capture the essence of the shameful utterances. Loyal reader Jim Dubbs responded recently that the speakers defy definition in the extent of their stupidity or, of what he considers worse, "their willful and cynical exploitation of the baser instincts, fears, ignorance and gullibility of so much of the US population." I'd like to think an exploitation purpose motivated their absurd comments, but my sense is they reveal a deeper truth.  I think they really speak volumes about what's in their hearts and souls. These people simply can't help themselves.  A new name for the monthly award is thus called for.

No single term aptly conveys the disgraceful utterances I highlight each month. Perhaps one that comes closest is ignominious, meaning deserving of public disgrace or shame (at least from the thinking public). In recognition of the ignominious nature of the nominated absurdities, I will henceforth call the award the Ignominious Absurdity of the Month, or IGGY for short. Let all future IGGY winners will live on in Phronesis infamy.

1. Rick Wiles of TruNews. By now, you’ve heard that some Republicans have pointed the finger at liberals for the Alexandria shooting. Well, one religious right pastor took it to another level. He called for Democrats and their supporters to be rounded up en masse.

You may recall that in 2014, Rick Wiles called for a military coup against Obama. And yet, ever since Trump took office, he has warned that any opposition to Trump amounts to sedition. Hours after the Alexandria shooting, Wiles took his new line to its logical extreme—calling for a real-life version of Order 66. Listen to the whole thing here, or catch the highlights via Right Wing Watch.

Wiles claimed the shooting was the latest product of an attempt by the deep state—or, as he calls it, “the dark state”—to push Trump out. He accused the deep state and its allies on both sides of the aisle of “whipping up sedition” against Trump. To Wiles’ mind, there is only one solution—the Democrats must be branded as “a violent, seditious political movement” and disbanded.

Co-host Ed Szall asked if the “agitators in the media” should go as well. Wiles’response?

“I think they should be rounded up. It’s getting out of control. This was an attempted mass assassination today. Are we going to wait another month or two, until 30 or 40 members of Congress are mowed down? Are we going to wait until a Democrat socialist progressive commits an act of violence against Republicans?”

He then railed about Democratic attacks on Trump supporters both during and after the campaign—forgetting about the numerous acts of violence at Trump rallies, as well as the ugly and outright criminal trolling by alt-right thugs on Twitter.

But facts didn’t matter to Wiles. He claimed that the Democrats are trying to start an American version of the French Revolution. For that reason, he believes it’s time for the hammer to come down—now.

“Rachel Maddow ought to be taken off the air right now. MSNBC should be shut down. The Democratic Party should be disbanded as a violent, socialist seditious organization. It is NOT the party of Harry Truman. It’s certainly not the party of Thomas Jefferson. This is a seditious group. These are violent revolutionaries."

Wow. He’s openly calling for a real-life version of “Revenge of the Sith.” This is fascism, plain and simple.