When a leftist high on his own sense of intellectual entitlement punched white supremacist Richard Spencer last week, the leftyverse erupted in a wave of self-congratulatory justification; even the NYTimes wiggled its way into justifying physical violence (by liberals only, of course) against those declared “Nazis”.
Alex Griswold notes how very stupidly caustic this idea is.
Among criticisms of Spencer’s white supremacist website are that it is “a notoriously racist publication… reminiscent of early Nazi propaganda with anti-Semitic illustrations of Jewish people.” It “has motivated others to participate in hate crimes against Muslims.” It caters to “already angry people who are trembling with xenophobia and paranoid discomfort that immigrants are coming to take over their way of life.”
Given all the above, is it okay to attack Spencer? Kill, even? Would you say he was asking for it?
Wait for it…
Those raising your hands: what if I told you all the above quotes were actually criticisms of Charlie Hebdo?
Griswold notes the primrose path that this idea takes us down:
The man who punched Spencer took the law into his own hands and appears to have unilaterally declared he was too dangerous to be allowed to speak. If we praise that man, we teach others to do the same so long as there are enough people to declare them heroes on social media. That includes the alt-right, that includes Islamists, that includes anyone with an ax to grind in today’s hyperpartisan world. Wherever words have no effect, fists and baseball bats will become the substitute.
Embrace this man, renounce the classical liberal understanding of free speech, and you light a fuse. Don’t act surprised when it blows up in your own face.
Do you suppose our “elites”, in and amid their juvenile justification for violence (I’ve heard “processing grief” as a justification) realize that…:
- They started with a President who got into office with a set of calculated lies – and helped launch a movement that calculated them better
- They ran a campaign based on identity politics – and were shocked when their enemies became an identity group in response.
When do you suspect is going to happen when the left starts attacking people?
Maybe that’s the idea.