In poker, after you've mastered the odds, you graduate to "tells." That's the art of reading the emotional response of your opponents during the course of the game.
So that's why conservatives should thank liberals like Paul Krugman for the rather amateurish "tell" over the tragic Arizona shooting.
So you chaps really are scared by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement and the power of Fox News and talk radio. Why else would you chaps react like conspiracy theorists to the crazed outrage of a crazed mind?
But think of the opportunity that our liberal friends have given us. They have given conservative talk radio the chance to display the hypocrisy of the liberals, who use war metaphors all the time (why wouldn't they, given that politics is civil war by other means?). They have given Fox News the chance to present itself as measured and responsible. And they have given Sarah Palin a chance to broadcast a presidential fireside chat from her house in Wasilla, complete with a quote from Saint Ronald:
President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
Yep, liberals are telling us that they are really, really worried by Sarah Palin, the Tea Party movement, and the conservative media. You can "tell" from the beads of sweat on their foreheads.
Now that it is becoming pretty clear that the alleged assailant Jared Lee Loughner is a paranoid schizophrenic, the whole episode is starting to move towards a national conversation on mental illness and institutionalization. It might move on to the whole liberal health metaphor that substitutes for a sensible and practical ethics.
My interest is moving to the larger question of the combination of politicians and experts. The problem with modern psychology is that it has gotten too close to politics and government. That is why we have had the scandals of lobotomy, forced sterilization, and forced institutionalization. Too many moral decisions have been abdicated to the legal system.
Our modern society is a differentiated society. We like to differentiate between politics, economics, and moral/cultural questions. The record of the last 200 years shows pretty clearly that when politics and economics get too close together you get crony capitalism and government using the credit system for political purposes. When the political and moral/cultural sectors get too close you get the expert-led central administrative state where people start to use the political system to legislate their morality in the faces of people that disagree with them.
The question of what to do about seriously disturbed people is partly a political question, where violence is the issue, and partly a moral question, where potential help is the issue.
Sooner or later we must stop delegating moral and cultural questions to the political sector and accept the sacrifice that comes with responsibility.
You'll know that we are making progress from the reckless ravings of our liberal friends.