Cannot honestly say I’ve never celebrated someone’s death. When Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I openly rejoiced because I believed—and still believe—that killing murderous totalitarians makes the world safer, freer, and better for almost everyone else. To this day, I would not balk at completely wiping the Islamic State completely off the map, provided we can do so without destroying oppressed civilians in the process.
With that confession in mind, I have profound misgivings about celebrating the death of our political opponents here at home. Political regressives must be comprehensively defeated—in the public square, in the legislatures, and in the courts—but they need not be stripped of their basic humanity in process. Like so:
brb dancing on Phyllis Schlafly's very new grave
— Cade Leebron (@CadeyLadey) September 5, 2016
I love dancing on graves. Phyllis Schlafly lived too long.
— Fancy Mom (@marcbutcavage) September 6, 2016
Grave dancing! Phyllis Schlafly edition.: Phyllis Schlafly is dead. Whoo-hoo!
Yes I know, I know. I am a terr… https://t.co/bNuEi7iYFW
— ftblogs (@FreeThoughtSite) September 6, 2016
Phyllis Schlafly is Dead https://t.co/KRW2TqfdC3
— The Orbit (@TheOrbit_Net) September 6, 2016
Is our world a better place now that Ms. Schlafly has shuffled off her mortal coil? I doubt it. She was no longer a highly influential public figure, having barely managed to maintain control over her own special interest group. Nearly everything Schlafly fought against (e.g. legal equality for women and gays) is now fairly well-established in law and culture. Her final major writing effort was an attempt to make the conservative case for Donald Trump, an authoritarian buffoon who is most likely to lose by around 50 electoral votes next month.
Why, then, do some progressives rejoice at her death? My best guess is that they have some trouble differentiating between political opponents (e.g. Donald Trump) and actual enemies (e.g. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi). Politics is not war by other means; death is not how we advance humanism.