Whether Donald Trump’s January 6 speech to his supporters rose to the amount of criminal incitement below the Supreme Court’s perhaps excessively liberal Brandenburg standard, it was undeniably a thoroughly reprehensible action, or even , as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put it following the impeachment trial,”a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of responsibility.” Nothing could excuse it.
However, while news media have every reason and right to condemn Trump’s behavior in provoking a mob (despite his admonition that they should act”peaceably”) to engage in a violent attack that led to five fatalities (and might have more, had itn’t been for the courageous acts of the understaffed Capitol Police), it’s unfortunate that few have put Trump’s action in a wider context that would admit the dangers to our Constitutional sequence arising from elsewhere on the political spectrum. Starting with the election of 2000, notable Democrats have questioned the validity of every election in which a Republican won the Presidency–really, devoting the vast majority of Trump’s sentence to wanting him to eliminate him, on grounds a lot more spurious than those on which his post-Presidential impeachment rested.
More recently, a thoroughly anti-constitutional precedent was set by then-minority leader Chuck Schumer just last March, after he led a posse of approximately 75 members up the measures of the Supreme Court to frighten newly appointed justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh they had”published the whirlwind,” would”pay a price,” and would”not know what hit” them if they voted the”wrong” way on an abortion case. (Schumer’s action acquired a rare rebuke from the generally booked Chief Justice Roberts, that denounced Schumer’s comments as”inappropriate” and”reckless,” stressing, who”all members of this court will continue to perform their job, without fear or favor, from all quarter.” In a proto-Trumpian answer, Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman clarified his boss’s words didn’t mean exactly what they seemed like, also refused that. Schumer was threatening or encouraging violence.)
A decade ago, a much more direct and threatening, although finally (mostly) nonviolent, challenge to constitutional government was provided by Wisconsin public worker unions that invaded that state’s Capitol to protest and make an effort to obstruct Governor Scott Walker’s application of reforming public-employee contracts in order to balance the state budget without raising taxes, and also liberate public college administrations from rigid breeding rules (closely paralleled in college districts across the nation ) that prevented them from hiring instructors according to merit and adjusting their pay based on performance. Walker’s reforms went so far as to take public employees to add to their own health-insurance and pension costs–although still paying less for those advantages than the average Wisconsin citizen. Though nobody died in the Wisconsin protests, several legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, reported receiving death threats in the moment. And one woman who emailed death threats to Republican lawmakers also pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat. Nevertheless it would be tricky to find criticism of either Schumer’s warnings or the Wisconsin unions’ attempt to intimidate their state’s public institutions in most of the”mainstream” media.
The threat to this rule of law, and even to the constitutionally protected freedom of speech, even in today’s America goes well past the attack on the U.S. Capitol, let alone the other attempts to bully lawgivers and judges only mentioned. The wave of riots, violent crime, and looting ostensibly provoked by George Floyd’s departure while police tried to restrain him is obviously well known. However, as independent journalist Andy Ngo documents within his just-published publication Unmasked, widespread rioting led from the broadly arranged anarchist group Antifa started in his home city of Portland several years before the Floyd occasion. With considerable courage, Ngo both reported on and off the months of rioting from Portland and Seattle, entailing direct assaults on police departments and judges in both cities, attacks on police leading to countless injuries, and numerous deaths. Yet in each case local authorities let most of the violence go ashore, using Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan even observing the institution last June of this”Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ), where police and other government personnel had been excluded, as exemplifying a”Summer of Love”–until mounting deaths and other casualties, to say nothing of costly damage to local shops, eventually caused her to close it down following fourteen days.
The fact of the riots from Portland and Seattle, as well as in a number of other cities, has obviously been widely reported. Its real cause, however, is another issue. Repeatedly, news commentators and columnists have denied the existence of Antifa within a thing, or at least its obligation for any criminal actions. (See recent essays from Tarisai Ngangura or Mark Bray, for example.) And everyone from public officials to specialist sports stars to Hollywood celebrities to the owners of sport teams has embraced the banner of Dark Lives Issue, mistaking a slogan (from lower-case letters) with which no sane person has the ability to disagree, using an explicitly Communist-directed organization (because its site supports ), like linking its leaders in wishing to bring about the violent overthrow of Western democracy. The level to which the celebrities’ acceptance of this BLM motion is the effect of sheer ignorance, fear, or the pursuit of profit is a judgment that would have to be left on a single basis.
It’s a indication of our changing political times that Andy Ngo, who describes himself as homosexual, an unbeliever, and (at least in the past), a Democrat, should find his chief defenders among those who identify as conservatives.But the very upsetting aspect of this Ngo narrative is not the fact he endured severe beatings at the hands of mobs whose actions he was attempting to film and record (unsuccessfully trying to disguise himself), which landed him at the hospital. It’s rather that bookstores, starting with Powell’s (the best-known independent bookseller perhaps not just in Portland but probably in the full U.S.) have been intimidated by Antifa into not stocking the publication.
Though Unmasked reached no. 1 standing on Amazon ahead of its release, when Antifa members protested Powell’s strategy to market the publication, the store’s supervisors immediately apologized, explaining that although a lot of the store’s stock was hand-picked, that was not true of Ngo’s publication. They consequently pledged the publication”won’t be placed on our shelves. We won’t market it.” They did add that Unmasked will”remain in our online catalog,” since”we take a whole great deal of publications we find abhorrent, as well as those we treasure.” One might think they had been speaking of Mein Kampf! But despite the assurance that Powell’s would not stock the novel, a bunch of protestors gathered outside the store’s flagship, downtown place (according to ABC News) on the afternoon of the statement, plastering the windows with hints and alerting the shop to close early as a safety precaution.
A conversation with a friend and former student of mine that owns a second of America’s leading independent bookstores, located in a trendy downtown neighborhood way removed from Portland, assures me that Powell’s had no choice in the situation. In reality, my buddy, that is of a moderately conservative inclination, told me he would not dare inventory the book , since the result may be the burning down of his institution. If he won’t, I doubt that lots of organizers, out of the very conservative regions of the country, could dare to.
But since the son of Vietnamese boat people who risked death to escape Communist prison camps,” he reluctantly appreciates the worth of law-based freedom more intensely than several native-born Americans who require it for granted. And most American conservatives, one expects, have begun to realize that what they share with fighters for freedom like Ngo things a lot more than any discussions concerning sexual orientation, religion, or party affiliation. However, what would John Milton or even John Peter Zenger, Thomas Jefferson or John Stuart Mill say of a scenario in which a state that prides itself on an unsurpassed freedom of speech and of the press enables anarchist groups to stop books that express views contrary to their being sold? And just why are the mainstream media, both print and electronic, making so little of it?
Naturally, it’s now well-known that major social media utilized their ability to steer public opinion in what Time magazine recently described as a”conspiracy” to make sure the Joe Biden would win the election–for example, by curbing the New York Post’s story on the most popular information on corruption, and possibly involving his father, found on Hunter Biden’s laptop. But if they not at least have the sense, if not of principle, then of enlightened self-interest, to value, publicize, and take a firm stand contrary to the job of violent gangs to stamp out the fair reporting of events that severely threaten America’s well-being?
Donald Trump’s crazed followers, reprehensible though their attack on our nation’s seat of government had been posed a threat to our Constitutional order. The narrative makes no reference about the violence and violence of Antifa or even Black Lives Matter (neither of which have any connection with this Christian, or any other, faith ), let alone relate to yesteryear, non-white inciters of rape and violence as Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, or even (once again a darling of Democratic politicians) the Rev. Al Sharpton. The narrative blames American churches (without the evidence being provided ) for ostensible participation at the January 6 attack.
Meanwhile, the Times contributor Sarah Jeong, that made headlines in 2018 because of her history of sometimes disgusting tweets denouncing white people as a course, has branded Ngo because”harmful” and lately known for his censorship onto Twitter. But it was Ngo, maybe not Jeong, that received so many death threats from Antifa he decamped to London.
Whatever sounds he can create, and however outrageous his behavior from office, Donald Trump will present no threat to the preservation of our inherent liberties and the rule of law. If these principles are threatened now, it is because of the spinelessness of civic authorities who would like to shield the them, and believe the proper reaction to riots is to”defund law enforcement .” One is tempted to recall Robert Frost’s definition of a liberal as”a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.” However, in this instance, Andy Ngo’s facet should be considered the origin of all decent Americans. Whether conservative or liberal, we need to stand with him, and the principles he symbolizes.