Friday, January 8, 2021

You Can't Excuse One Group's Violence and Denounce Another's

I’m reminded today of why I’m always reluctant to side with the political Left.

I’ve expressed my feelings on the situation at the Capitol. I said that Donald Trump should either resign or have the 25th Amendment invoked against him, for the sake of calm, order, and maybe a little bit of healing heading into Inauguration Day. It looks like neither of those things will happen. Nor will impeachment, as the process would take far longer than the 12 days Trump has left in office.

But the Capitol protest itself? Let’s be honest: It pales in comparison with the endless riots over the summer that saw buildings burned down, stores looted, statues toppled, homes vandalized, police stations occupied, courthouses attacked, and people murdered.

While there was limited violence at the Capitol, the worst of it was aimed at the protestors themselves. The only person killed inside the building was an unarmed protestor, by a cop. (Aren’t we all supposed to get angry when cops kill unarmed civilians?)

And so after reporters literally stood in front of flaming buildings over the summer and told us the protests were “mostly peaceful,” they characterize the protest at the Capitol as an out-of-control riot.

Of course, we all know the double standards of the Left by now. We were told we had to understand the social inequalities that prompted the summertime riots, to the point where NPR gave a softball interview with an author to tell us why looting is OK. But a bunch of Trump supporters march around inside the Capitol to air their grievances, and there’s no call whatsoever to understand what prompted their actions. No, they were simply “domestic terrorists,” in the words of the man who will be our president in two weeks. Not to be outdone in the hyperbole department, Chuck Schumer likened the Capitol incident to Pearl Harbor, the Japanese raid that killed over 2,400 Americans.

It would be easy enough to laugh off such insanity if Schumer’s view was a crazy, extreme aberration on the Left. Unfortunately it isn’t, and the crackdowns are already coming, hard and swift. To a significant portion of the Left, the Capitol incident was another 9/11, and the civil libertarians among us remember the irrational, bloodthirsty hysteria that ensued afterward. We’re about to see a repeat of history, just as an administration that was already hostile to conservatives and Trump supporters is about to take office.

Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitch have all either suspended or banned Trump’s accounts, and Shopify has taken down Trump merchandise stores. YouTube will now issue strikes against any channel that questions the legitimacy of the election, and Facebook will ban any videos from protestors at the Capitol and any calls for protests that violate the D.C. curfew. It will also use artificial intelligence to snuff out any comments suggestive of “hate speech,” whatever that is in Facebook’s view.

This is always the Left’s answer to everything. Ban it. Silence it. They will almost certainly use this incident to move us ever closer to a Chinese-style social-credit system, whereby your access to the economy is dictated by your ideological behavior. Comply with the establishment view, and you’re good to go. Step out of line, and you’ll suffer the consequences. PayPal and Patreon already ban people whose views they disagree with. Credit card companies deny services on the same basis. Websites have had their domain registrars pull the plug on them. This from the self-proclaimed “tolerant” “liberals” in our culture. And it’s just going to get worse from here.

Here’s the problem: Censorship doesn’t make things you dislike go away. It generally makes things worse. Why? Because you haven’t addressed the root cause of the behavior you dislike. And if the only thing you do is try to suppress it, all you’re doing is sending the people you don’t like off into the dark shadows, where they get even angrier, plotting and organizing out of sight — radicalizing because of you, the censor. In their minds, you’re just proving true everything they already thought about you. Eventually, what do you think is going to happen? That’s right: They’re going to explode.

Back during all the 9/11 madness, Ron Paul asked the question that few bothered to seriously address: Why were we attacked? What led the instigators to hate us so deeply? For even daring to ask the question, he was vilified as being unpatriotic. George W. Bush famously said we were attacked because the terrorists hated our freedom, which was of course a bullshit answer. But people lapped it up anyway, while people like Ron Paul were attacked for daring to suggest that 9/11 just might have been blowback against our own insane foreign policy.

Fast-forward a few years, and you have a working class in America that saw its manufacturing jobs go overseas. And as the Left gradually won the culture wars, those people and their concerns were ignored. They were laughed at by the coastal elites in their gated communities. They were useless racists and hillbillies. Deplorables, even.

Then Trump comes along, says he hears them, and promises to help them. He defies all odds and gets elected, and the ruling class dutifully spends four years demeaning him, attacking his followers, and claiming with zero evidence that he was a Russian stooge practically installed by Vlad Putin himself.

Trump is a narcissistic buffoon who deserved most of the scorn he received, but that was beside the point. The point was whether, in 2020, he’d be able to receive a fair election outcome. When the results began to look shady, anyone who raised a complaint was “fact-checked” and told to sit down and shut up.

Now, add all that to a nation whose people have lost their livelihoods, told they can’t congregate with friends, told they can’t go to church, told they can’t protest, told that they’re racists, told they have to mask and stay home until told otherwise, told they can’t have weddings and graduations, told to cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas, told they have to let their elderly loved ones die alone, all while the Left cheers on the violence and destruction of American cities, the critical race theorists who want to replace equal protection under the law with upside-down racism, the Taliban-like destruction of statues, and the draconian measures taken against a virus with a 99%-plus survival rate, and guess what? People are going to boil over.

No one wanted to look at the root causes of 9/11, and they don’t bother to look at the root causes of the anger among Trump fans. In both cases, the response was to caricature and vilify. Has anyone on the Left even bothered to ask why the Trump fans were pissed off in the first place? It’s because they’ve seen a slow decline in their quality of life for decades now, because the establishment at turns sneers at them and ignores them, and now because they felt they were robbed.

It wasn’t just some racist temper tantrum. It was an outgrowth of years of frustration, every bit as much as the apologists on the Left say that minority groups were justified in their violent outbursts.

And here’s the thing: You can’t applaud one act of violence and condemn another. You can’t have two sets of justice. This is the whole problem with the critical-theory people who think the answer to past injustice is to create current injustice. That’s a recipe for social disaster.

Trump is not a decent or likable person. But he’s just a symptom of a sick society. He’s an avatar for people calling out for help. People who want to be heard, who want a fair shot at a decent life, who want their freedoms back.

The Right had their scapegoat after 9/11, and now the Left appears to have theirs.

If you think cancel culture and the woke rage mobs were out of control before, just wait. Things are going to get far uglier out there than they are now.

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