In open, civilized societies there is a tolerance for some level of disorder, as being the price citizens collectively pay for their liberties.
But the key words in what I just said: “some level.” Today, in the year 2018, we are fifty years on from 1968, when public tolerance of disorder was tested to breaking point.
The event everyone remembers in this context: the Democratic Party convention in Chicago that August, that was marked by huge protests. (Pat Buchanan was there, and saw them!)
It had been a rough year, though, with riots all over after the assassination of Martin Luther King in April; then Robert Kennedy’s assassination in June.
And the upshot of it: the election of Richard Nixon—by what he was to call the Silent Majority. Nixon took 32 states. George Wallace, anotherlaw’n’order candidate, took five more.
Americans had had enough of disorder.
Every time the Left stages some raucous protest I find myself wondering how long normal Americans will put up with this. How long before the reaction? How long before seasoned, skillful politicians respond to widespread desire for such a reaction?
And yes, yes, I know: There was something of that desire driving the result of the 2016 election. The winner there was not a seasoned, skillful politician, though. I say no more than that.
I found myself wondering that a lot this week. In just two days, this Monday and Tuesday, there were four instances of intolerant progressive mobs attacking harmless, unarmed individuals trying to express opinions the progressives disagreed with.
I’m casting my net Anglosphere-wide here. Two of these instances were in the U.S.A.; one was in Britain, the other in Canada. The pattern was the same, though. The intolerance, the slogans, the masks were the same. (Well, the rioters wore masks in three of the events.)
- Monday Match 5, at noon, Lewis and Clark Law School over in Portland, Oregon had Christina Hoff Sommers to speak to students about trigger warnings, safe spaces, and victimhood culture.
Ms. Sommers is a decent sort. She may be best known for her YouTube clip debunking what she calls The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap. That clip has clocked up close to three million views. If you’re not one of that three million, the clip is worth six minutes of your time.
That clip is not vituperative, merely factual and logical. The lady points out, for example, that if it were really true that women only make 77 cents for every dollar men make doing the same work, entrepreneurs could arbitrage themselves a nice profit by firing their male employees and hiring women, reducing their wage bill by 23 percent.
Ms. Sommers’ opinions are hardly even heterodox. For sure they are not as heterodox as mine; although, full disclosure, I once shared a platform with her at the Independent Women’s Forum in Washington, DC. I recall her as intelligent, witty, and altogether charming. Her status as a public intellectual is perfectly respectable; she is a scholar at the neoconnish, genteel-conservative American Enterprise Institute, along with firebrands like Michael Barone, Lynn Cheney, Richard Epstein, and Ramesh Ponnuru.
It was therefore astonishing to see clips of the talk she tried to give on Monday, where a gang of students shouted her down as—can you guess? yes: a fascist.
Astonishing and of course depressing. Then doubly depressing was that the college’s Diversity Dean Janet Steverson [email her]— that’s the woman’s title, Diversity Dean—took the side of the anarchists and told Christina to shut down her talk, which of course had barely begun, to proceed straight to Q & A.
Punchline, in case you missed it: this was the Lewis and Clark law school.
- Monday evening Richard Spencer gave a talk at Michigan State University, which of course brought the Antifa out in full force. This was after U had been sued—successfully—on Spencer’s behalf when the college administration had tried to prevent him speaking there.
The Antifa didn’t hold back: “Fights broke out as some protesters hurled bottles, rocks and horse manure to block Spencer’s supporters from entering the [venue]”. [Richard Spencer’s Michigan State visit culminates with fights, anti-Nazi chants, By Brian McVicar, Michigan Live, March 5, 2018]
For once the authorities showed some spine against the anarchists. Police arrested 25 people, 13 of them on felony charges like assault and battery, carrying a concealed weapon, and resisting and obstructing police. As of Wednesday, 20 people were formally charged. [8 arraigned on felony charges in wake of Richard Spencer protest, By Brian McVicar, Michigan Live, March 7, 2018]
- Also on Monday, this one across the pond, the student Libertarian Society at King’s College, London hosted the British YouTube vlogger Sargon of Akkad, real name Carl Benjamin, who describes himself as a classic liberal. Masked Antifa invaded the eventand “hospitalized several university security guards, smashed the window of a grade-one listed building and threw smoke bombs.” [‘Several people are hurt’ as violent thugs shut down a FREE SPEECH event at King’s College London setting off smoke bombs and ‘punching security guards’, by Rory Tingle and Miles Tingle, DailyMail, March 5, 2018]
The topic for this event? Freedom of speech.
when dead bodies start to accumulate in city morgues and the convicted felons are placed in the general l population with hard core American prisoners; well, more bodies will appear in prison morgues.
Freedom of speech is systematically being murdered, You tube, Face book, twitter, google search ect ect ect. The EU prosecuting any truth about the invasion, releasing rapists because “they didnt understand.” Allowing Shariah police, and yes it is beginning on this side of the pond http://www.zwemercenter.com/the-application-of-sharia-law-in-the-united-states/
The so called alt right is building its own versions of the platforms, absolute freedom of speech with few rules, nothing illegal, no doxing ect.
With that you will find some of the most offensive opinions, you have to put on your big person undies and know they were always there even before the internet, dont agree…just dont associate they still have a right to be wrong.
The left is relying more and more on violence and intimidation in order to try and suppress the fact that there are numerous better options to their pursuit of socialism. More and more, citizens are growing suspicious of the left and, thus, we have President Trump.
One thing the left hasn’t figured out is that Americans are different from other people.