A Final Word On Charlottesville

I want to talk about one rather overlooked aspect of the Alt-Right vs Counterprotesters + Antifa demonstrations which roiled Charlottesville, Virigina last weekend and left one young woman dead as the result of a far right domestic terrorist attack.

To listen to Donald Trump and his cheerleaders on one hand and the arrayed forces of the mainstream media on the other, one would be forgiven for thinking that ideology and conduct are one and the same thing.

On the Left, a strong insinuation has been made that because neo-nazis hold abhorrent views their violence is to be condemned while those who oppose them should get a free pass whenever they breach the peace – as evidenced by the fact that the “is it okay to punch a Nazi?” conversations and articles are bubbling up again. Meanwhile, on the Right, too many apologists are claiming that because both sets of protesters committed atrocities there is some kind of exculpatory moral equivalence, overlooking the fact that the AltRight saw Antifa’s standard street brawling tactics and raised them an Islamist-style car terror attack.

Let’s be clear – ideology and conduct are in fact separate, a fact which is particularly important in a country like the United States which at least nominally respects the right to free speech. Violent actions are unlawful and punishable. Provocative speech is not.

Most decent people should be able to agree that neo-nazis hold repugnant and immoral views which humankind really should have transcended by this point. Whatever the president says, there were no “fine” people at this Unite the Right rally – any decent person would have taken one look at the company around them and either gone home or rapidly joined the counterprotest. But nonetheless, free speech means that these far-right activists have every right to express their views and peaceably gather to protest if they wish to do so.

The counterprotesters, on the other hand, were not a homogenous bloc of people. Many were decent, upstanding citizens outraged at the resurgence of neo-Nazism in their hometown and determined to express their opposing view. But a significant contingent were Antifa troublemakers – Antifa being anarchist at best, communist at worst and always inclined to use their fists (and baseball bats) rather than their words in either case. These people do not have the right to silence the expression of any idea, however abhorrent and immoral, by force. There is no rioter’s veto over free speech, and nor should there be – though craven authorities too frequently allow violent leftist groups to enforce one.

The neo-Nazis who assembled in Charlottesville clearly lose the ideological argument. Their political ideas are bad, and so are the acts of violence they committed – particularly the act of domestic terror carried out by James Fields. But the fact that the Antifa elements of the counterprotest oppose the racist views of the neo-Nazis does not excuse the violent acts committed on their own side, including more than one attack against journalists.

One would think this would be a simple concept to grasp, but numerous partisan commentators on Right and Left prefer to engage in whataboutism, pointing to the sins of the opposing side while exonerating their own. This is asinine. The counterprotesters clearly win the moral argument insofar as they oppose white supremacy. The identity politics which many of them peddle may be supremely unhelpful and damaging to the fabric of American society – Lord knows that this blog spends enough time analysing and criticising it – but it doesn’t hold a candle to the very real and tangible damage wrought by white supremacy in America’s history.

Pretending otherwise is stupid, and only diminishes the moral authority of the Right, opening conservatives up to criticism that they are complicit in the white nationalist Alt-Right agenda.

That’s not to say that conservatives should engage in self-flagellation or admit any responsibility for the violent actions of Alt-Left extremists when these odious people inhabit an entirely lower moral plane. But neither should we shower undue blanket praise on all of the people who opposed the neo-nazis in Charlottesville – many of the violent Antifa contingent in particular hold abhorrent and totalitarian ideas of their own, a fact overlooked by some conservative apologists such as Mitt Romney:

Doubling down and allowing the Left to claim the moral high ground – either by furiously denying that the Alt-Right is a problem or by overcompensating and suggesting that the Right has a monopoly on evil – is political suicide for conservatives, reputationally speaking. People will not listen to our valid complaints about identity politics and leftist intolerance if we fail to clear the very low bar of unequivocally condemning the odious Alt-Right infiltrators who seek to piggyback on the wider conservative movement.

As I wrote the other day, when the devil is in our house – as it is right now – conservatives of conscience should spend less time pointing out the flaws of the Left (however real) and more time getting our house in order.

 

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The Left’s Self-Righteous Fury Toward Donald Trump Turns To Violence

On campus and off, the Right are coming under attack in America. And one does not need to approve of Donald Trump to abhor the violence currently being directed at his supporters

The Washington Post reports on a disturbing turn of events:

Protests outside a Donald Trump rally in downtown San Jose spun out of control Thursday night when some demonstrators attacked the candidate’s supporters.

Protesters jumped on cars, pelted Trump supporters with eggs and water balloons, snatched signs and stole “Make America Great” hats off supporters’ heads before burning the hats and snapping selfies with the charred remains.

Several people were caught on camera punching Trump supporters. At least one attacker was arrested, according to CNN, although police did not release much information.

“The San Jose Police Department made a few arrests tonight after the Donald Trump Rally,” police said in a statement. “As of this time, we do not have specific information on the arrests made. There has been no significant property damage reported. One officer was assaulted.”

In one video circulating widely on social media, two protesters tried to protect a Trump supporter as other protesters attacked him and called him names.

Another video captured a female Trump supporter taunting protesters before being surrounded and struck in the face with an egg and water balloons.

To be sure, there have been instances of Donald Trump supporters behaving aggressively and attacking anti-Trump protesters, too. But the strong trend at present is that of anti-Trump supporters being unable to contain their anger and committing acts of violence and intimidation against Trump supporters.

Worse, though, is the way in which these acts of mob violence are often being blamed squarely on Donald Trump – as though the screaming, egg and punch throwing protesters are utterly blameless and without agency or responsibility for their actions. In this case, the mayor of San Jose was quick to blame Donald Trump for inciting the violence and his beleaguered supporters for bringing it upon themselves.

From local news:

The mayor, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, criticized Trump for coming to cities and igniting problems that local police departments had to deal with.

“At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign,” [San Jose Mayor Sam] Liccardo said.

How quickly the much-vaunted compassion and tolerance of the Left evaporates when someone they don’t like is in the crosshairs.

And so we have the bizarre spectacle of the mayor of San Jose condemning Donald Trump for daring to hold a rally in the city for his supporters, and in so doing inflame the violent passions of the mob which then duly assembled to attack them. At one time, many on the Left could reliably be found condemning the act of so-called “victim blaming”, but when the victim hails from the radical Right then apparently those rules are inverted and the people cleaning blood and egg from their clothes are exclusively to blame for the behaviour of their attackers.

Or as Brendan O’Neill rightly puts it:

The behaviour of anti-Trump protesters is becoming more and more despicable. Last night in San Jose they physically attacked people leaving a Trump rally. This woman was cornered, spat on and pelted with eggs. Anti-Trump protests are starting to look less like left-wing demands for a more progressive politics and more like expressions of middle-class fury and disgust with the white proles lining up behind Trump. Class hatred disguised as radical politics.

There is a lot of truth in this. Many people have serious objections to Donald Trump and his presidential campaign. That is fair enough – this blog certainly does not want Trump within five miles of the Oval Office. But what we are now seeing in some of these protests goes beyond anger and objection to Donald Trump’s policies and behaviour, and is more an expression of rage and revulsion at those segments of American society which are receptive to the Trump message.

Rod Dreher thinks that the violence will backfire on the Left:

People who think that most voters will see these riots and reason that while the riots are terrible, we have to remember that Trump is worse — they’re deluded. Even if it is true, most people, left and right, don’t vote on the basis of reason. They vote on emotion. They vote on what’s in their gut. These Social Justice Warriors are making lots of people feel in their gut that Donald Trump is the only thing that stands between them and those mobs, and that if Hillary Clinton wins, mobs like that will have their champion in the White House.

Don’t come back to me and say, “It’s ridiculous that anybody would think such a thing.” Maybe it is. But it’s going to happen. A lot of people legitimately criticized the Republican Party and its presidential candidates for not taking Trump seriously enough early on, when they could have stopped him. Now the Democrats are not taking the effect of these anti-Trump rioters seriously enough. If they think Donald Trump is a threat to democracy, then the most important thing for them to do is to do whatever they can to stop street mobs from vindicating Trump’s critique.

[..] I’ll say it again: Trump is a bad man. And the Left is doing its part to put him in the White House by vindicating his critique. The media may think it can control this by downplaying those videos of street violence, but there were many people there recording what actually happened and distributing those scenes on social media. Outside the leftist bubble, those videos are hand grenades.

Is this what the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics looks like, outside of the academic university setting? I think Dreher has a point – we are witnessing the more militant wing of the social justice movement.

On campus, there are powerful authority figures who can be co-opted by the Left to shut down “offensive” talks, place limits on free speech, create safe spaces in buildings and trigger warnings in the curriculum to protect students from incurring emotional “harm”. And increasingly, all it takes is a short social media campaign or a quick protest outside the chancellor’s office to bring spineless universities to heel in enforcing the new doctrine.

Outside of academia, it is different. There is no central authority which can be co-opted to make Bad Men with their Scary Ideas go away and silence those who anger the Left – at least not so long as the First Amendment exists. And in this non-academic environment, some people are clearly more used to settling disputes with their fists rather than their words. So perhaps it is not surprising that the same impulse to shut down Donald Trump and his supporters that would have seen No Platform petitions and safe spaces pop up to help traumatised students on campus is leading instead to physical violence in the real world.

Maybe, maybe not – it’s a working theory. But these protests are disturbing, and they show a particularly nasty aspect of the Left. The Tea Party rallies of the early Obama years, for all their tri-cornered hat festooned silliness, were typically not violent. American conservatives disagreed profoundly with the policies of Barack Obama, but they were not moved to rove the streets in gangs looking to beat up Obama supporters heading to one of the president’s re-election rallies. Though there are many obvious exceptions, as a general rule the Right seem better able to tolerate dissent – perhaps through being constantly exposed to liberal trends in the culture.

The Left, by contrast, are struggling at the moment. Whether it is their fortified enclaves in academia or out on the street, the American Left is becoming increasingly unable to tolerate dissenting opinions or to meet offensive speech with reasoned counterargument. Now, they are far more likely to respond with free speech restrictions at best, and outright violence at worst.

This phenomenon is bigger than Donald Trump and bigger than any one election cycle. But it is going to get worse before it gets better. And the real danger is that the Right, already cowed into virtual silence on campus and now under physical attack on the streets, will come to the conclusion that the only way to prevail is to adopt exactly the same tactics as are currently being used on them. And then we will have two sides seeking to ban each other’s guest speakers, restrict one another’s language, shelter in their own safe spaces and feeling entitled to attack other people simply for holding different political views.

Unpleasant? Yes. But unthinkable? Not any more.

In short, the forbearance of the Right – under considerable provocation – may be the only thing preventing serious civil unrest this election cycle.

 

 

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Tales From The Safe Space, Part 38 – DePaul University Administrators Complicit In Disrupting Free Speech

It is not enough to issue mealy-mouthed apologies to speakers and societies after their events have already been ruined by militant student protesters. Free speech must be robustly defended by university administrators at the very moment it is being threatened – something which few liberal university leaders have the courage or character to do

Read this shocking account of how Vichy administrators at DePaul university, entirely cowed and captured by the militant Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics, allowed violent and threatening protesters to shut down a private speaking event organised by DePaul College Republicans.

Michael Sitver writes:

I never realized that forcibly shutting down a private speaking event was considered free speech. I was also surprised to learn that assaulting a police officer is now a form of protest. It certainly never occurred to me that making violent threats towards a speaker was a constitutionally protected right. In fact, I was pretty confident all three of these acts were illegal…highly illegal.

Yet, yesterday I saw radical protesters do all three of these things, without consequence. DePaul University administrators looked on dispassionately, as if this was an every-day occurrence. Watching this all unfold, I had to wonder for a moment whether DePaul administrators were defending some bizarre form of free speech I had never heard of.

They weren’t. They knew they were tolerating a dangerous suppression of speech, but in the face of adversity they chose to do the easy thing, rather than the just thing. As usual.

Years of inaction by university administrators has left radical student activists feeling they are immune from the law. Free from consequences, or dissenting opinions, endowed with a feeling of moral high-ground, students have taken increasingly drastic steps to suppress other opinions, and conservative opinions in particular.

I watched from the front row yesterday as a whistle-blowing “protester” stormed the stage of an event featuring conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, with about a dozen more radicals following behind him. The event was privately organized by students, requiring months of planning and painstaking fundraising, but that never even factored into their heads. Administrators have handed them a bubble, a “safe space” where they don’t need to consider the impact of their actions on other students.

After the foul-mouthed and intimidating protest continued (one of the protesters simulated punching Milo Yiannopoulos in the face), the event was ultimately cancelled. The screeching, hysterical mob had their victory, aided and abetted by the silent university administrators who reportedly skulked in the corner and refused to take any action – save forbidding on-site security and the Chicago Police from removing the protesters and allowing the event to proceed.

Stories like this are now a dime-a-dozen. Almost every day brings some new egregious case of free speech suppression by supposedly “oppressed” protesters, grown increasingly emboldened with the knowledge that their universities would never dare to bring disciplinary proceedings against them for fear of unleashing the full force of mob justice.

But though these outrages are now common, we should not lose sight of what is lost when the forces of censorship and thought control succeed in one of their grotesque actions. In this case, the DePaul Republican society had fundraised extensively and gone to a significant effort to organise a high-profile event and attract a well-known if controversial speaker (Milo Yiannopoulos including the stop as part of his “Dangerous Faggot” tour of the United States). Many hours and many thousands of dollars doubtless went into organising the event. And hundreds of students made efforts to attend, in some cases travelling from far afield.

The very least that these students should have been able to expect from their university is that the leadership foster an environment of free speech in which the event could take place, and that administrators come down decisively on their side when their lawful event was disrupted. And yet DePaul University signally failed to fulfil this most elementary of duties, ostensibly because the victims were conservative and the perpetrators shielded by the blame-proof cloak of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sitver continues:

While an invited speaker was harassed and harangued by protesters, DePaul administrators cowered indecisively in a corner. Faced with a serious challenge to first-amendment rights on their campus, they were visibly frightened of confronting the protesters, who tied themselves to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

Administrators had fought against hosting the conservative event for over three months. As they watched the event unravel, they seemed almost relieved to see the radical protesters fulfil their wishes. The rights implications were utterly lost on them. All they wanted was a nice, quiet, homogeneously-thinking campus.

Only days before the event, administrators had demanded that DePaul College Republicans, the club that hosted the event, pay hundreds of extra dollars in security costs. This was a clear breach of contract, but the organizers paid the fee under threat of cancellation. Yet, after ordering a dozen security officers, the administrators prevented them from restoring order, forcing them to stand down.

I talked to a few of the dozen Chicago police officers eventually called into the building, and they were irate. They were well-trained, and well-equipped to handle scenarios such as this. They wanted to do their job, and remove the protesters, but administrators demanded they stand passively and watch. Once again, violence prevailed over free speech on a liberal college campus, and the administration was 100% complicit.

And the great sickness at the heart of the academic establishment which allowed these protesters to act with such impunity is revealed in the official response of DePaul University president Dennis Holtschneider, who made absolutely clear that his sympathies lay with the belligerent protesters and not the innocent student society which had its long-planned event ruined in a brazen attack on free speech.

Immediately after the event, Holtschneider wrote:

Mr. Yiannopoulos and I share very few opinions.  He argues that there is no wage gap for women, a difficult position to maintain in light of government data.  As a gay man, he has claimed that sexual preference is entirely a choice, something few if any LGTBQ individuals would claim as their own experience.  He claims that white men have fewer privileges than women or people of color, whom he believes are unfairly privileged in modern society — a statement that is immediately suspect when white men continue to occupy the vast majority of top positions in nearly every major industry.

Generally, I do not respond to speakers of Mr. Yiannopoulos’ ilk, as I believe they are more entertainers and self-serving provocateurs than the public intellectuals they purport to be.  Their shtick is to shock and incite a strong emotional response they can then use to discredit the moral high ground claimed by their opponents. This is unworthy of university discourse, but not unfamiliar across American higher education.  There will always be speakers who exploit the differences within our human community to their own benefit, blissfully unconcerned with the damage they leave behind.

In other words, Holtschneider cannot even bring himself to unequivocally condemn the acts of the protesters – rather, he begins with this lengthy and cowardly disclaimer, making it crystal clear to any would-be student tormentors that he disagrees with pretty much everything that Yiannopoulos says and believes. Such a statement, it hardly needs pointing out, should be utterly redundant in a university setting. Whether the university president agrees or disagrees with the views expressed by a lawfully invited speaker is utterly irrelevant when it comes to condemning the subsequent disruption of the event. Yet Holtschneider is so terrified of his restive student population that he has to get his disclaimer in quick and early.

The statement continues:

Now that our speaker has moved on to UC Santa Barbara and UCLA, we at DePaul have some reflecting and sorting out to do.  Student Affairs will be inviting the organizers of both the event and the protest — as well as any others who wish — to meet with them for this purpose.  I’ve asked them to reflect on how future events should be staffed so that they proceed without interruption; how protests are to be more effectively assisted and enabled; and how the underlying differences around race, gender and orientation that were made evident in yesterday’s events can be explored in depth in the coming academic year.

This is about the tamest statement of disciplinary intent one could imagine. University administrators will not be summoning and ordering those who participated in this suppression of free speech to attend and account for their actions – rather, they will merely be “invited” to share their thoughts, and come armed with reflections on how things might be done differently next time.

At this point it is worth reminding ourselves that it is the university administrators who are supposed to be the authority figures, not the anti free speech student protesters. And when students have egregiously violated the university’s own code of conduct – as Sargon of Akkad shows conclusively that they did – campus authorities have considerable scope in imposing sanctions on the guilty parties. Yet the DePaul hierarchy seems so terrified of incurring the wrath of their own students that the most they are willing to do is meekly request a sit-down with the young woman who jabbed her fist mere inches from the face of an invited guest speaker.

At the end of his statement, Holtschneider does manage to scrape together the basic decency to apologise to the DePaul College Republicans for the disruption and abandonment of their event. But free speech is not something which can be protected in retrospect, or the harm inflicted by its suppression made good by a subsequent apology. Either a speaker is able to air his thoughts in the public square, free from intimidation and undue disruption, or he is not.

Issuing an apology once an event has already been disrupted and abandoned does nothing to redress the injury to free speech which has taken place. If anything, failing to tackle disruptive protests as they occur and relying on subsequent mealy-mouthed apologies exacerbates the problem, emboldening militant students to repeat the same childishly aggressive behaviours again and elsewhere, knowing that they will be free to achieve their aims while any mild repercussions will lag long behind.

Thus far, in the battle for academic freedom and free speech rights on campus, university authorities have been found dangerously wanting. At best they are paralysed by an overwhelming fear of their most militant students and the potential disruption (and potentially career-ending bad PR) they can bring, and at worst they are outright collaborators in the activists’ efforts to suppress freedom of speech and establish a culture of intellectual and ideological homogeneity on campus.

This is untenable. Academic institutions cannot properly function when the most immature and authoritarian students are flattered and pandered to by terrified university leaders. And neither can conservative students alone be expected to keep the flame of academic freedom and free speech alive while fully grown academics cower in the corner and shamefully shirk their own duties.

University administrations should be championing the cause of academic freedom and providing vital air cover to students on the front line of the debate. But sadly, at present many university leaders would rather stab such students in the back rather than openly support their right to freedom of speech and expression.

And for this cowardice they should feel heartily ashamed.

 

DePaul University - Milo Yiannopoulos - Protest - Free Speech

Safe Space Notice - 2

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What Hath Social Justice Wrought?

It is our duty to fight.

It is our duty to win.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.

 

So chant thousands of students at rallies and protests in universities all across the United States of America.

Except that none of these students are oppressed. Not a single damn one of them.

None of them are chained.

They are all students attending university in the most powerful and prosperous country on the face of the Earth.

An ocean of possibility stands before each and every single one of these young students, the likes of which can only be dreamed of by millions of children in war torn, impoverished or otherwise benighted parts of the world.

This is a cult.

These people are cultists.

This is what the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics hath wrought.

 

Postscript: To be fair, from the smirks of some of the students in the last video it does appear that they realise deep down that this is all a fraud, that none of them are “chained”, and that this huge collective tantrum from the most privileged generation in history is nothing but a massive insult toward previous generations who really did have to fight, win, and yes, even cast off their chains.

 

More Tales From The Safe Space here.

 

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h/t Sargon of Akkad

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Could Social Justice Warriors Hand Donald Trump The Election?

Social Justice Warriors for Trump!

For those who insist that all of this concern over the resurgent authoritarianism and intolerance for free speech on our university campuses is a gross right-wing overreaction to harmless student activism, I present Donald Trump’s aborted rallies in Chicago and St. Louis yesterday.

Because this kind of mob rule – and the populist pro-Trump backlash which it will now inevitably generate – is the inevitable consequence of the on-campus infantilisation of students and their disregard for freedom of speech leaching out into wider society.

For context, from the unimpeachably impartial Guardian:

A Donald Trump rally in Chicago had to be called off on Friday evening amid scenes of violence and chaos unparalleled in the recent history of American political campaigning.

The scrapping of the Republican frontrunner’s appearance due to what his campaign cited as “safety concerns” led to uproar and fights inside the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion and in the streets outside.

Scuffles broke out between Trump supporters, protesters and police, and a number of arrests were made, including of at least one reporter. As the mayhem took hold, Trump was reduced to complaining about the situation on the air, telling MSNBC: “It’s sad when you can’t have a rally. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?”

Having successfully forced the closure of the rally, the protesters were quick to gloat about how they had successfully halted the campaign rally of a man who (no matter how ignorant and odious some of his policies may be) is still a major presidential candidate whose ideas and pronouncements need to be heard and debated.

Not caring in the slightest that their actions served to suppress (and therefore fuel) bad ideas, the protesters celebrated their success:

Then it was announced that Trump wasn’t coming – and the arena erupted into chaos.

College students shouted “We shut it down” while loyal supporters of the Republican frontrunner shouted “We want Trump”.

Fights and scuffles broke out as protesters swapped blows with Trump supporters and activists eager to celebrate their apparent victory shouted “Bernie, Bernie” and “Si se puede” (“Yes we can”), while waving signs supporting the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

To be clear, when all of the overwrought wailing about Donald Trump bringing Nazism back to America is set aside: what we witnessed yesterday was the first time in recent history when the campaign rally of a major presidential candidate had to be called off because of the threat of violence from protesters – people who believed that their fundamental disagreement with the candidate on policy and rhetoric gave them the right to prevent those ideas being expressed in public.

Rod Dreher’s analysis of the whole sorry situation is spot-on:

These left-wing demonstrators tried to shut down an American presidential candidate’s speech during the campaign — and they succeeded, through an implicit threat of violence. People who support Trump drove hours to hear him talk, and they were denied their constitutional rights by left-wing hotheads who believe that they are so righteous that they don’t have to observe basic civility. You come to a Trump rally and you start flipping people off? You should not be surprised if you get a sock in the face.

What happened tonight in Chicago is why we need Trump, as obnoxious as he is, to keep going. I am not a Trump supporter, and I reject much of his rhetoric. But he has a right to give a speech, even an obnoxious speech, without it being interrupted by demonstrators. All of us do. Trump is revealing how impossible it is to have a normal democracy with the activist left, who think their crying need for “safe spaces” gives them the right to silence their opponents.

No. This political correctness needs to be opposed, and it needs to be opposed with force. I don’t know why the police couldn’t handle this situation, but they had better be on it in the future, because many Americans will not stand for this. What those protesters have done tonight is create a lot more Trump voters out of people who are sick and tired of privileged leftists using thug tactics to silence their opponents.

Like Dreher, I do not agree with Donald Trump on most issues and have no wish to see him and his half-baked, reactionary political ideas catapulted to the White House. But also like Dreher, when I see the virtue-signalling More Moral Than Thou anti-Trump protesters gloating about how they shut down an exercise in democracy, it gets my hackles up and I inch ever closer to empathising with Trump supporters.

Dreher rightly goes on to insist that he would feel just the same were it right-wing protesters trying to shut down a Clinton or Sanders rally:

Protest all you want, but do it outside the venue, or silently inside. Do not silence the speaker, because if you do that, you legitimize your opponents trying to silence the speakers from your side. Thuggish, illiberal tactics like this from the left call forth the same kind of thing from the right. When right-wing white nationalist types show up and make trouble at Democratic rallies, or BLM rallies, and get them cancelled, on what grounds will you on the left have to complain?

For me, it’s all about the mob. I despise the mob. Any mob, which I define as a crowd that acts in force to silence people by intimidation or actual violence. We have seen over the past few months how left-wing mobs on college campuses have gotten away with outrageous things, because men and women in authority on those campuses lacked the guts to stand up for the liberal civic order.

[..] This has gone too far. When an American presidential candidate has to cancel his rally in a major city because protesters have made it too dangerous, we have a serious problem in this country. It’s infuriating. This is not America. Those disruptive protesters need to be made to understand that this is not how America works.

Is all of this enough to push Donald Trump over the finishing line in a presidential contest against Hillary Clinton or (less likely) Bernie Sanders? It remains unlikely – although in a political climate where Sanders is even competitive and Jeremy Corbyn leads the Labour Party in Britain, nobody can make cast-iron political predictions.

But at the same time, Dreher is right – those scenes from Chicago and St. Louis last night, beamed into millions American homes on the nightly news, will have created thousands more Trump supporters. Many existing Trump fans will be hardened in their resolve to vote for him, if only to give the preening liberal “fascists” a good kicking, while other wavering conservatives will be moved to take the plunge and come out as Trump supporters.

And this is why what is happening today in our schools and universities really does matter, and is not some fringe right-wing obsession.

Because these violent protests at Donald Trump rallies are what happens when a generation of young people – and looking at the protesters, the ones causing the most violence and disruption on the anti-Trump side are overwhelmingly young – are raised to believe that they have the right never to have to hear a contrary idea or an offensive opinion. This is what happens when young and impressionable minds are taught that if they do not like something, or it it hurts their feelings, that they are a “victim” and have the right to suppress the speech or behaviour to which they object by any means necessary.

Inside the sterilised bubble of campus life, these protesters would make loud and angry appeals to a higher authority (the university administration) to come crashing down on the person or people saying things that upset them. But in real life there is no Student Welfare Office or malleable university hierarchy to bend into submission. There are only other adults, to be intimidated with the threat of force.

Again: this blog has no time at all for Donald Trump. But you don’t need to support the man’s presidential bid to recognise that if the pre-emptive shutting down of his campaign rallies by political opponents continues, American democracy will suffer. Either it will feed into a persecution complex narrative which fires up Trump’s supporters and carries him to victory, or (far more likely) it will hobble his candidacy at the expense of creating massive resentment from his supporters, and merely burying his ideas rather than properly debating and discrediting them.

The inability of the Social Justice Warrior to think in public – to use their words rather than their fists, to debate using their minds rather than vandalise with their hands – means that the threat of violence is one of their only remaining weapons.

And now, together with the American Right – whose inability to neutralise Trump with a compelling mainstream conservative message is equally at fault – the virtue-signalling Left must shoulder their portion of the blame for actively fuelling the Donald Trump juggernaut.

 

Donald Trump - Chicago Rally - Protesters - Social Justice Warriors - SJWs

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