According to an op-ed published by the Washington Post yesterday, political violence is now almost exclusively a behavior of the Right while the Left has become innocent and docile. The column is totally in keeping with my assertion yesterday that “everything is stupid.” The Orwellian revisionism calls to mind Ronald Reagan’s famous quote: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”
Seriously, this is exactly why we can't even have a rational discussion about political violence – because of revisionism like this. https://t.co/ziFMJhpINH
— neontaster (@neontaster) August 19, 2017
Yoav Fromer concedes that there is extremism on the left but from there he wanders into fantasyland.
Extremism on the left is real. It can be seen in attempts to stifle the free speech of conservative speakers on university campuses (as at Middlebury and Berkeley); in the belligerent attitudes toward corporations and capitalism expressed, for instance, by some fringes of the Occupy Wall Street crowd and anti-globalization protesters; and among anti-Zionist movements that peddle conspiracy theories (such as the contention that Jews control U.S. foreign policy) to delegitimize Israel. Yet all of this falls well short of the methodical, organized and strategic violence and incitement embraced by right-wing extremists, whose leaders profess faith in the necessity of the fight. Nothing the left can do today even comes close to that — and hasn’t for decades.
Fromer conveniently neglects to include the race riots that burned for days in Ferguson, MO. Those riots were incited by false left-wing media narratives and gleefully inflamed by left wing politicians including President Obama. Those riots spread to other cities and the movement they spawned has led to the assassination of law enforcement officers. He also ignores thwarted Left wing terror attacks on the GOP convention in 2008.
The column does mention the case of a Bernie Sanders supporter attempting to murder a whole baseball team of Congressional Republicans but dismisses the incident as the work of a “lone wolf.” Then Fromer lists a incidents of alleged Right wing violence and arbitrarily decides that they are part of a large orchestrated movement in which everyone from Randy Weaver to Timothy McVeigh to Dylann Roof to the Charlottesville Nazis are on the same team.
The New Deal helped calm labor-management tensions, but for many younger activists who came of age in the postwar era, violence remained a key strategy — even a way of life. Inspired by the Black Panthers’ embrace of violence for self-defense, and enraged by the escalating war in Vietnam, antiwar protesters from New Left organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) sought to “bring the war home” to end the fighting abroad. This concept culminated in the rioting during the 1968 Democratic convention and on university campuses. Radical offshoots including the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army took things even further: The former bombed government buildings, and the latter committed homicide, robbery and, famously, kidnapping.
But since the 1960s, left-wing movements in the United States (and in the West writ large) have gradually turned away from violence.
He cites various reasons for why this imaginary turn from violence occurred. The primary reason he can even make the claim that the Left has abandoned violence is that those who sympathized with the radical fringe in the 1960s are now largely in control of the media and culture. Many of them are now in positions of power in our government or are now treated as sane voices. Barack Obama kicked off his political career in the home of an unrepentant Left wing terrorist whom he described as just a “guy from the neighborhood.”
The fringe Left now operates with a facade of legitimacy, in the spirit of Van Jones’ quote, “I’m willing to forego the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.” They are able to do so because they have achieved their “radical ends” in that they dominate the culture which allows them to selectively ignore or explain away the violent “radical poses” still taking place.
This doesn’t mean the left is inherently superior. But it has cleansed itself through a painful process of introspection.
This is only true if “introspection” means self delusion and dishonest historical revisionism.
The “anti-intellectual” label gets pasted on the Right with increasing frequency. It’s a useful cudgel for the Left as well as an excuse to avoid having a real debate about ideas. It’s not intellectualism that the Right opposes though. It’s the pseudo-intellectualism which spawns columns like this one by Fromer. What the Left believes to be intellectualism—or what they deceptively market as intellectualism—is a systematic redefinition of their political leanings as proven fact. Entire new academic disciplines have been created in order to falsely equate Leftist belief with objective knowledge. The Left has not only continued to be physically violent. They’ve expanded their violence to include destruction of language and common sense.
In recent years, rational political discussion has joined the ranks of Bigfoot and Nessie. Many people claim to have seen it but there’s very scant evidence supporting it’s existence. It’s not happening on television or radio, it’s not happening in academia, and it is most certainly not happening in the editorial pages of The Washington Post.