Thursday, June 30, 2016

Violence Is Never The Answer. Except When It Is.

Imagine this news story hitting the airwaves.

Two dozens members of the New Black Panther Party applied for and received a permit to hold a peaceful rally in support of black nationalism in Louisville, Kentucky to encourage other blacks to get involved politically in their cause. In response several hundred white protesters arrived ahead of scheduled time of the rally, wearing masks and carrying baseball bats. They harassed a news crew and then attacked the New Black Panther Party people as they began to assemble. A number of people were badly injured and hospitalized, including several of the New Black Panther Party members and a few by-standers.

In response Rush Limbaugh tweeted: Violence is never the answer. That said, way to shut down some black nationalists.#Louisville

It doesn't take much imagination to see the response from the media. Outrage! White supremacists attack and badly injure peaceful black protesters! Many people would, rightfully, be outraged at at outpouring of violence tinged with racial overtones in response to a peaceful, lawful rally, no matter how reprehensible the opinions of the rally organizers.

Here is the thing. This precise event just happened except the racial make-up of the two groups was reversed. Some members of a tiny white nationalist group, the Traditional Workers Party, which I had never heard of, held a rally in Sacramento. They had permits but were step upon immediately by a group called By Any Means Necessary, a group which is clearly a hate group that in their name proclaims their willingness and eagerness to use violence to silence any speech they dislike. As Elizabeth Nolan Brown, writing for Reason.com, wrote:

I'm not suggesting each and every member is a paragon of propriety in their personal interactions with people of color, but there's no evidence TWP members were in any way threatening the lives, livelihoods, or property of those whom they disdain. They were just standing around the statehouse wearing Nazi-themed t-shirts.

Moral considerations aside, initiating violence against people protesting peacefully—no matter how odious their ideas—will never be a winning step strategically. And especially not in this case. It becomes clear in about five minutes of perusing the TWP website that what these "race realists" want more than anything is to be taken seriously—not just in the realm of politics but also (perhaps more so) in the realm of ideas. They want people to see what their view as common-sense Christian/conservative traditionalism, rooted in science—not promoters of violence or a fringe, hate ideology. And we live in a time where that's increasingly plausible. As one white-nationalist leader put it, "For many, many years, when I would say [certain 'racialist'] things, other white people would call me names: 'Oh, you're a hatemonger, you're a Nazi, you're like Hitler. Now they come in and say, 'Oh, you're like Donald Trump.'"

It would be easy to brush this off as some isolated event but that would be wrong. Recently there have been a number of premeditated attacks on people peacefully assembling at Donald Trump rallies by armed, and aggressive hired thugs trying to cow people into not exercising their First Amendment rights. A very mainstream Leftist population, The Huffington Post, published a piece titled Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any. The argument is that violence is a consistent and reasonable response to Donald Trump, a guy who has every bit as much right to run for President as Hillary Clinton. Part of her "rationale" is the old "if you are privelleged you just don't understand and aren't allowed to speak" ploy:

Last, I want to briefly note the problematic nature of people with privilege condemning violent resistance to Trump as an absolute moral failing, or denying its logic. Whether you would personally engage in violent conduct matters little to your ability to understand where it comes from. Some people have the privilege to consider the implications of Trump’s rise in the abstract and negotiate which means are necessary. That’s not true for everyone. And when those who hold that privilege dismiss the potential validity or logic of violent resistance, it’s effectively an effort to dictate the rules under which oppressed peoples respond to existential threats, and to silence forms of resistance disagreeable to privileged sensibilities. Don’t be that liberal.

In other words no one is allowed to criticize anything if you are a part of any "privileged" group, i.e. white, male, normal sexually (i.e. heterosexual), Christian, middle-class, had mommy read to you when you were a baby, etc. What is dripping from the paragraph above is the soft racism of the American Left. Here is what I hear when I read that paragraph: Blacks are too ignorant and inexperienced in the world to be held accountable for their actions. When they act out they are like children raised without good parents and are incapable of rational and abstract thought. Because they are so ignorant and primitive, you must excuse anything they say or do. There is no ingrained racism quite like that of the cultural leftist elites in this country. It was just the Huffington Post. Check out this tweet from liberal talking point regurgitator TV personality Montel Williams:

Ah so violence is never the answer, I am required to say that, but way to go in using violence!  I replied back and got a very quick response from whoever monitors Montel's Twiter account:

So that was well but the original tweet still is out there. So yeah I "have a point there" but he apparently stands by his statement.

Here is where this leads. When you show up to cause violence in response to free speech, you are usually at the advantage because the people who are at the rally or whatever are generally law abiding people not looking for a fight so you can attack essentially defenseless people in a numerically overwhelming mob and get away with it. The problem is that sooner or later someone is going to assault the wrong person at a Trump rally or somewhere else and that person is going to defend themselves and someone is going to get seriously hurt or killed. It is only a matter of time.

When people cry about how awful the American Right is, just remember which side has the mainstream voices applauding and encouraging violence.
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