But in the interview, Newman relies on this technique to a remarkable extent, making it a useful illustration of a much broader pernicious trend. Peterson was not evasive or unwilling to be clear about his meaning. And Newman’s exaggerated restatements of his views mostly led viewers astray, not closer to the truth.
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More relevant is the principle that large mobs are more dangerous than small mobs, and likely to harbor more psychopaths. Apparently running out of Nazis to resist, Boston protesters threw rocks and urine-filled bottles at police. Any shortage of white supremacists can always be corrected by expanding the definition. Opponents of a $15 minimum wage are racist. Skeptics about a pending climate crisis are racist. Anyone questioning the utility of pulling down old statues is racist.
I’ve lately been seeing lots of very troubling sentiments on social media in regards to Charlottesville and the Alt Right white identitarian movements protest at historical monuments. What I seem to be witnessing is more of a show or performance than an actual condemnation for what identitarian movements stand for. People are very swift to call out the white identitarian movements and their obvious troubling political stances. However these same people are very much silent when it comes to calling out violence on the left for example the shooter who attacked the Republican congressmen or the constant violence antifascists cause when someone they dislike has a speaking engagement. Some even go so far as to label anybody politically right of their position as never condemning racism and that that white identitarians are representative of mainstream Republicans and conservatives. This is not an arbitrary characterization but a deliberate act.
This sort of disconnect appears to be ingrained in the positions of left leaning individuals. They for whatever reason whether it be willful ignorance or simply naivety are unable to grasp why a white identitarian movement would grow despite countless other groups creating their own to display their grievances. The left demands that a person’s outward “labels” only qualify them to weigh on the feelings of people with the exact same characteristics. If color or sex or gender or other identity determines one’s interests, then the Klan is right to argue for the “interests” of white people. Why shouldn’t they? If social legitimacy is a zero-sum game, then why shouldn’t each group have its exclusive advocates? Their understanding of why Trump was elected is laughably ridiculous from conspiracies with Russians or that America secretly has millions of racists who came out just for this election. This would be wrong on both counts. Trump was elected in part to smash the pieties and hypocrisy that held Republicans always guilty and Democrats always innocent.That sort of thing gets noticed. And when it continues despite polite requests to stop, blunter means will be utilized. Why the hell do you think the goons in Charlottesville were chanting”You will not replace us”? Where do you think they got the idea? I’ll tell you where: from a media that for over a decade has been gleefully telling all who’d listen that white people are on the way out.
Ideally people would be able to see that they dislike white identity politics and be self aware enough to realize the trouble that their own clinging identity politics is causing. Despite what identitarians will tell you there is an alternative. Rather than focusing on the person putting forth the argument, rather than elevating ad hominem attacks to a moral principle, focus on the argument, and what it means for us a society. You don’t have to be any particular color to know that racism, sexism and bigotry of all kinds is wrong. You don’t have to have lived injustice to recognize it and work against it. If we as people adopted the approach of striving for what is actually morally right instead of living with a morally relativistic mindset we would be far better off. We would be able to see actual progress if we fought for the ideals of procedural justice for all under the law rather than seeking social justice we would see progress. After all JFK didn’t say “Ask what your country can do for you based on your identity” did he.
Antifa believes it is pursuing the opposite of authoritarianism. Many of its activists oppose the very notion of a centralized state. But in the name of protecting the vulnerable, antifascists have granted themselves the authority to decide which Americans may publicly assemble and which may not. That authority rests on no democratic foundation. Unlike the politicians they revile, the men and women of antifa cannot be voted out of office. Generally, they don’t even disclose their names.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s philological gerrymandering has been far too influential for far too long. Liberals and conservatives who want more for the public square than echo chambers and outrage factories should hope that Maajid Nawaz wins his lawsuit, and that the SPLC learns a costly lesson about bearing false witness.
“Socially and morally conservative opinions are treated as phobias and heresies.” This appears to not only be an English phenomena as it is prevalent across all Western countries. “Sorry, but the market just isn’t a substitute for morality and human decency.” I concur with this sentiment.
McWhorter hits the nail on the head when he surmises the trend of aggressive protests against college speakers as a gesture in the guise of action. People are far more concerned with the show aspect of protest than the injection of substance. Additionally McWhorter is right that the onus is on the universities to teach students that righteous indignation does not suffice in public discourse. They need to understand their antics will not be tolerated.
Cuiusvis homines errare; nullius nisi insipientes, in errore perseverare. Those are the wise words of Marcus Tullius Cicero which are more poignant than ever when discussing today’s political discourse. As many who follow current events in the United States are aware this week the polarizing Ann Coulter made headlines as she was compelled by the powers that be into not conducting a guest lecture at the University of California at Berkeley. Naturally this has caused much turmoil between those on the right and principled liberals who value the American ethos found in the Constitution, and members of the progressive far left who believe certain ideas (not theirs of course) can be deemed hateful. With growing tensions in the community the school pulled out all stops to dissuade the event from happening citing past violence on the part of protesters as creating an unsafe environment. By declaring that safety is involved it gives the school the perfect alibi in the free speech debate without causing them to not appear against the principle and thus hypocritical. The local government of Berkeley has further shown its ineptitude by its insistence on not intervening in the situation and not performing its civic duties by protecting the rights of citizens in its jurisdiction. In other words Berkeley knows they are wrong but won’t do anything about it. The mayor of Berkeley has shown themselves to be ideologically aligned with those who infringe on the 1st amendment which is unbecoming of a public officer. The more troubling things I have been seeing though are the multitudes on social media who defend these actions due to a dislike of the individual speaker. This type of thinking is anti-enlightenment and has no place in American society and I shall explain why.
First I think I should go ahead and state that I in no way endorse the things Ann Coulter stands for or hold many of her political views. I was never a fervent Trump supporter and I don’t mind legal immigration unlike her. I also do have an affinity for the worlds game of football which I know she abhors. She is incredibly abrasive and I personally would not have gone to her lecture if given the choice. Those things being said, I still feel it is constitutionally imperative that her speech rights be protected and this scourge on the left is defeated. However I don’t believe violence to be the method to do so even if encountered with violence on the left.
This issue isn’t about protests. When people bring up the first amendment argument in defense of Ann Coulter’s right to speak at Berkeley it has nothing to do with not wanting other people to protest her coming. That is not the issue and a mere deflection from the heart of the matter which is that prohibiting others from going is criminal. You can protest outside the venue but what gives protesters the right to prohibit individuals from the right of entry into the venue? It appears some on the far left are unable to grasp that simple concept of not infringing on others right to assemble as well. Nobody is saying that the platform is part of the right. People are saying once the platform has been given then you need to conduct yourself in a civilized manner. Either attend the event and ask her questions or don’t attend at all. Rioting and becoming violent to prevent entry are not options.
I have seen some complain that this is simply a media spectacle and a right wing conspiracy. In some ways they are correct this is a media spectacle. The problem is the far left progressives are so obtuse and foolish that they are intent on falling right into the traps set by the right. Instead of behaving like mature adults with educations, they choose the barbaric route and in doing so turn Ann Coulter into a free speech martyr. It doesn’t even cross peoples minds that nobody would even know she went to Berkeley if the far left didn’t decide to shut down the event. Even the ACLU and Bernie Sanders are getting tired of this anti-constitutional tantrum nonsense on the left. You can’t complain about media manipulation when you walk right into the bear trap yet again. How can you refute the right wing claim of campus censorship with yet another public display of left wing condoned censorship? Remember what Cicero said, Cuiusvis homines errare; nullius nisi insipientes, in errore perseverare.
I don’t foresee these situations getting any better with both sides content to battle it out using violence if necessary. Its a sad state of affairs. The only bright side is it’s getting easier to identify those who believe in the Constitution and those who do when it suits their ideology.