The Left steps across a line and embraces political violence

Summary:  People on the Left have become disoriented by Trump’s win, and become ever more dysfunctional. Now they take a big step to embrace political violence, from reformers of America to its enemies. It’s a small step over the line. Unless they rethink and pull back, expect more serious violence coming. It might be back to the future, back to the violence of the 1960’s and 1970’s — which contributed to the start of the Left’s long decline into political irrelevance.

“Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House, but I know that this won’t change anything.”
— Madonna at the Women’s March. Trump is fortunate that she didn’t calculate that it would change things! Transcript here; video here.

"No Violence" by shit2009
“No Violence” by shit2009.

America’s bien pensant leftists have gone quite bonkers at the rise of Trump. Before the election they condemned Trump for saying he might refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate, and for failure to condemn political violence (some of which was by his supporters; most was by the left against his supporters). Now they refuse to accept the election’s results as legitimate (on the flimsiest of evidence) and advocate personal violence against those who disagree with them. Both are potentially destabilizing for the Republic; the latter especially so.

The latter is displayed and explained at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Richard Spencer, a white supremacist, was sucker-punched by a good leftist — which they applauded. Daniel Nexen (assoc. prof of government at Georgetown) wrote “How is this Even a Thing?“, a tepid condemnation of “some dude {who} sucker-punched an asshole racist neo-Nazi (or post-Nazi or whatever) who was giving an interview.” The comments were mostly full Stalinist, cheering street violence against the enemy of the people.

Who is most like a NAZI in this video? The punch is at 0:30.


Beth Spencer (an artist) wrote at LGM: “When Is It OK to Punch Nazis? Always.”  Again, see the comments. For enthusiastic applause of this political violence see Natasha Lennard’s article “ Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer Got Punched. You Can Thank the Black Bloc” at The Nation.

“The transcendental experience of watching Roger Federer play tennis, David Foster Wallace wrote, was one of “kinetic beauty.” Federer’s balletic precision and mastering of time, on the very edge of what seems possible for a body to achieve, was a form of bodily genius. What Foster Wallace saw in a Federer Moment, I see in a video of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting punched in the face.

“You may have seen it, it’s a meme now, set to backing tracks of Bruce Springsteen, New Order, even a song from Hamilton. The punch, landed by a masked protester on Inauguration Day, lends itself perfectly to a beat. Spencer, who states that America belongs to white men, was in the midst of telling an Australian TV crew in DC that he was not a neo-Nazi, while pointing to his neo-Nazi Pepe the Frog lapel pin. A black-clad figure then jumps into frame, deus ex machina, with a perfectly placed right hook to Spencer’s face. The alt-right poster boy stumbles away, and his anonymous attacker bounds out of sight in an instant. I don’t know who threw the punch, but I know by his unofficial uniform that this was a member of our black bloc that day. And anyone enjoying the Nazi-bashing clip (and many are) should know that they’re watching anti-fascist bloc tactics par excellence—pure kinetic beauty. If you want to thank Spencer’s puncher, thank the black bloc.

“The black bloc is not a group but an anarchist tactic — marching as a confrontational united force, uniformed in black and anonymized for security. Once deployed, the tactic has an alchemic quality, turning into a temporary object — the black bloc.”

If America descends into political chaos, with both Left and Right engaging in romantic street violence — attacking their opponents — count on Lennard and her friends to whine that it’s not their fault.


Enemies of the Republic in academia

Excerpts from the twitter stream of MAX IM A KOOPA (17 thousand followers).

“I just finished a PhD dissertation about “reason” in relation to the public sphere so with apologies I might risk a short thread re: punching nazis. …every liberal democracy realizes early on there are some positions which must prima facie be aggressively excluded from public discourse. …Intolerance cannot be tolerated, because this corrosive effect means the law can be co-opted by, and so protective of, fascism. …some positions must be excluded from discourse. Some positions you do not listen to – you can only punch.

“…A society that begins to entertain why some members of its polis might not belong invites catastrophic decay. Those voices must be excluded. TL;DR – punching a nazi is actually a supreme act of democracy because it will not tolerate a direct affront of a fellow citizen’s citizenship. The term to interrogate in “should you punch a nazi?” is SHOULD – what is the status of that “should”? Legally: no; ethically: f**k yes.”

The Republic’s institutions cannot protect us. People who write dissentions should decide who get punched by thugs to suppress their speech. Of course, once they taste that power they’ll seek to expand the range of their special insights. Soon we will have commissars or gauleiters — or whatever title they prefer.

A strong defense of the Republic’s laws against punching NAZIs

Criminal defense attorney Ken White wrote a brief and cogent article at the law blog Popehat (see Wikipedia). Here are a few of its key points.

“In embracing a norm that sucker-punching Nazis is acceptable, remember that you live in a nation of imbeciles that loves calling people Nazis. Also bear in mind that certain aspects of our culture — modern academic culture, for instance — encourages people to think that you’re a Nazi if you eat veal or disagree with them about the minimum wage.

“By the way, right now there are tons of people right now who would welcome an emerging social norm that it’s acceptable to punch, say, Black Lives Matter protesters. I know Nazis aren’t remotely comparable. You do too. They disagree.”

A closing comment by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force. There is still a voice crying out through the vista of time, saying: ‘Love your enemies , bless them that curse you , pray for them that despitefully use you.’ …That same voice cries out in terms lifted to cosmic proportions: ‘He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.’ And history is replete with the bleached bones of nations that failed to follow this command. We must follow nonviolence and love.”

— “Give Us the Ballot” speech in 1957 at the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in Washington.

For More Information

Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. See all posts about fascism, about Trump and the new populism, about ways to reform America, and especially these…

  1. Martin Luther King Jr’s advice to us about using violence to reform America.
  2. Violence, the inevitable consequence of political extremism.
  3. Why they lose: the Left tells us that Trump is like Hitler.
  4. The Left calls Trump an ‘authoritarian’, a false & futile attempt to suppress populism.
  5. The Left calls Trump a fascist instead of focusing on the issues. It’s why they lose.

14 thoughts on “The Left steps across a line and embraces political violence”

  1. St. Martinville Police hope change comes with state’s new hate crime law“, KATC, 20 January 2017.

    “The state’s new “Blue Lives Matter” law is already being used here in Acadiana. In the last year, Louisiana became the first state to offer hate crime protections to police officers.
    St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Hebert hopes the law will not only save lives, but make offenders think twice before resisting arrest. “We don’t need the general public being murdered for no reason and we don’t need officers being murdered for no reason. We all need to just work together,” said Hebert.”

    Another example of ‘chickens coming home to roost.’ For once I would like if they actually took what they’re trying to implement to its logical conclusion and think better of it.

    1. Rando,

      I’ll take the other side of that. The Right wants to further increase police powers, as in this bill giving them even more discretionary power (on top of the vast powers they already have). If it wasn’t “hate crimes” they would find some other excuse. Given police are one of the only two American institutions with high confidence ratings, success was inevitable.

      It’s a bad sign, but can hardly be blamed on the Left.

  2. Sucker punches are indefensible whether inflicted on a neo-Nazi or a progressive protester at a Trump rally. That used to be taught at school recesses. The significance of this one punch after hundreds of thousands marched peacefully — despite lame incitements by a celebrity — eludes me. Indeed, peaceful protests are the only tool of mass mobilisation the left has. It has not gone unobserved that most AR-15s aren’t owned by sportsmen of the left. Nor are our militarised police inclined leftwards.

    1. Peter,

      “The significance of this one punch after hundreds of thousands marched peacefully — despite lame incitements by a celebrity — eludes me.”

      How odd, since this post is a thousand words explaining exactly that. How can you have missed it? I suggest a check at your ideological filters. They’re turned a bit too high.

      In brief, the significance is not in the punch but in the applause by many on the Left. Condemned or even just ignored it would be a small crime, unremarkable in a large event. Applauded it becomes a possible first next in a trend.

      1. Paolo,

        I agree. Once the Left starts applauding personal violence against their political opponents, we’re on the fast track to Hell.

        Question: do you believe that Peter really missed the point of the post? Or did he instead choose to pretend that he didn’t see it to set up his strawman attack? My guess (emphasis on guess) is the latter. Strawman attacks are the most common mode of rebuttal by the Left in the comments on the FM website (it’s a large sample, 50,000).

    2. Peter
      The significance that you missed is the Twitter stream above. That gent is encouraging such radical behavior…..”ethically: f**ck, yes!”
      Absurd. He is applauding such physical attacks.
      You don’t like what someone says, speaks and you punch Him?
      Liberal Democracy?


  3. “Once the Left starts applauding personal violence against their political opponents, we’re on the fast track to Hell.”

    . . . and they’re on the fast track to irrelevance and defeat. Per Lind, the moral level of conflict trumps the physical level. Also, as Peter Kinder pointed out, in the unlikely event that political conflict devolves into large-scale violence, the rabidly hoplophobic left would find themselves badly underequipped.

    1. phageghost,

      “and they’re on the fast track to irrelevance and defeat.”

      That is a vital point, which I didn’t mention. This post discusses why advocating or applauding political violence is wrong. But today in America it is also ineffective.

      That’s been the major theme of my coverage of the Democrats in recent years, and esp during Election 2016: their political incompetence. That is, imo, above all the reason that Trump won. Much as in military history the greatest victories require incompetent foes.

  4. FM. i live in Italy, a country where, according to OECD estimate, 4 on 10 is not able to understand a text of medium difficulty (47% of functional illiteracy). it’ s a routine reply when there is a suspect of bad understanding. but thanks: i learn samething new about US left supporters.

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