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Kevin D. Williamson: It did not take very long to get from ‘Punch a Nazi!’ to ‘assassinate a congressman’

The Alexandria shooting is the continuation of the riots in Berkeley and Middlebury.

This is why the standard liberal motto — that violence is never legitimate, even though it may sometimes be necessary to resort to it — is insufficient. From a radical emancipatory perspective, this formula should be reversed: for the oppressed, violence is always legitimate (since their very status is the result of the violence they are exposed to), but never necessary (it will always be a matter of strategy whether or not use violence against the enemy).

Slavoj Žižek, On Violence and Democracy

Kevin D. Williamson writes: It did not take very long to get from “Punch a Nazi!” to “assassinate a congressman.”

” … the relevant question here is not violent rhetoric but violence itself. The violence at Berkeley and Middlebury did not lead to the shooting in Alexandria — they are part of the same phenomenon: The American Left has embraced political violence.”

A great deal of spittle has been deployed in the debate over whether or to what extent the Left’s recent indulgence of its penchant for violent rhetoric can be linked to the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise and other members of a Republican congressional baseball team by an angry Democratic activist and Bernie Sanders partisan. But the relevant question here is not violent rhetoric but violence itself. The violence at Berkeley and Middlebury did not lead to the shooting in Alexandria — they are part of the same phenomenon: The American Left has embraced political violence.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

More precisely, the Left has embraced “anarcho-tyranny.” (Yes, I know what kind of man Sam Francis became; his phrase remains useful.) The anarcho part: Progressives including mainstream Democrats have embraced the sort of violence that has been directed against the likes of Charles Murray as an instrument of liberationist politics.

Representative Val Demings, a Democratic congressman from Florida, shared her view that the riots greeting Milo Yiannopoulos at Berkeley were “a beautiful sight.” After a physical attack on white nationalist Richard Spencer, Jeremy Binckes of Salon wrote: “Maybe the question shouldn’t be, ‘Is it okay to punch a Nazi?’ but, ‘If you don’t want to be punched in the face, maybe you shouldn’t preach Nazi values to the public?’” A lively debate about the ethics of using violence to suppress certain political views ensued. Short version: Free speech did not experience a runaway victory.

“A Middlebury professor had to be briefly hospitalized after being physically attacked for having invited Charles Murray to campus. That is not free speech. That is violence, and Democrats, judging by their non-response to these episodes, have more or less made their peace with it.”

Things are worse on campus. The editorial board of the Daily Californian defended blackshirt violence on the grounds that, without it, “neo-Nazis would be free to roam the streets of Berkeley.” The argument that people who hold unpopular political opinions should be physically unsafe — that they should be subject not to social exclusion or criticism but to violence, afraid to roam the streets — is textbook totalitarianism.

California’s political leaders did almost nothing in response to the violence at Berkeley, but when the Trump administration threatened to sanction California, they leapt to action. Nancy Pelosi claimed, with no evidence … (read more)

Source: National Review

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