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 regular, it was a totally reprehensible act, or even , as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell set it after 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 need to behave”peaceably”) to participate in a violent assault that resulted in five fatalities (and may have cost more, had it not been for the courageous acts of the understaffed Capitol Police), it’s unfortunate that few have put Trump’s behave in a broader context that would acknowledge the threats to our Constitutional sequence arising from elsewhere around the ideology. Starting with the election of 2000, notable Democrats have questioned the validity of each election in which a Republican won the Presidency–indeed, devoting the vast majority of Trump’s term to trying him to eliminate him, on grounds a lot more spurious than those which his post-Presidential impeachment rested.
More recently, a totally anti-constitutional precedent had been set by then-minority pioneer Chuck Schumer only last March, when he directed a posse of approximately 75 members up the measures of the Supreme Court to warn recently appointed justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh that they had”released the whirlwind,” would”pay a price,” and would”not know what hit” them whether they voted the”wrong” method on an abortion case. (Schumer’s act obtained a rare rebuke in the generally booked Chief Justice Roberts, that uttered Schumer’s remarks as”inappropriate” and”reckless,” stressing, which”all members of the court will continue to perform their job, without fear or favor, from all quarter.” In a proto-Trumpian reply, Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman clarified that his boss’s voice did not mean what they sounded like, also denied that. Schumer was threatening or encouraging violence.)
A decade before, a much more threatening and direct, though finally (mostly) nonviolent, challenge to constitutional government was offered by Wisconsin public employee unions that invaded that state’s Capitol to protest and try to obstruct Governor Scott Walker’s schedule of reforming public-employee contracts so as to balance the state budget without increasing taxes, and liberate public college administrations from stiff tenure rules (closely paralleled in college districts across the country) that prevented them from hiring teachers based on merit and also adjusting their pay based on performance. Walker’s reforms went so far as to require public employees to add to their health-insurance and retirement costs–while still paying for those gains compared to average Wisconsin citizen. Yet it would be tricky to find criticism of Schumer’s warnings or the Wisconsin marriages’ effort to intimidate their state’s public institutions in the majority of the”mainstream” media.
The danger of the rule of law, and also to the constitutionally protected freedom of speech, even in today’s America goes well past the assault about the U.S. Capitol, let alone another efforts to intimidate lawgivers and judges only mentioned. The wave of riots, violent crime, and looting apparently provoked by George Floyd’s death while police tried to restrain him is obviously well known. However, as independent journalist Andy Ngo records in his just-published book Unmasked, widespread rioting headed by the loosely organized anarchist group Antifa began in his home city of Portland many years ahead of the Floyd occasion. With appreciable courage, Ngo both reported and off the weeks of rioting in Portland and Seattle, entailing direct assaults on police departments and judges in both cities, attacks on authorities resulting in countless injuries, and multiple deaths. Yet in each case local authorities let the majority of the violence go unpunished, using Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan even celebrating the institution last June of the”Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ), from which authorities and other government employees were excluded, as exemplifying a”Summer of Love”–before mounting deaths and other casualties, to mention nothing of expensive damage to local stores, finally caused her to shut it down following fourteen days.
The fact of the riots in Portland and Seattle, in addition to in a number of other cities, has obviously been widely reported. Repeatedly, news commentators and columnists have denied the existence of Antifa within an entity, or its obligation for any criminal action. And everybody from public officials to specialist sports stars to Hollywood celebrities to the owners of sports teams has adopted the banner of Dark Lives Matter, mistaking a slogan (in lower-case letters) with which no sane person has the ability to disagree, using an explicitly Communist-directed company (because its site supports ), as if linking its leaders in wishing to bring about the violent overthrow of American democracy. The level to which the actors’ acceptance of the BLM movement is the result of utter ignorance, anxiety, or the pursuit of gain is a ruling which would need to be rendered on an individual basis.
It’s a sign of our changing political times which Andy Ngo, who describes himself as gay, an unbeliever, and (at least in the past), a Democrat, should locate his main defenders among those who recognize as conservatives.But the very troubling part of the Ngo story is not the fact that he endured severe beatings at the hands of mobs whose actions he had been attempting to picture and accounts (unsuccessfully trying to conceal himself), which landed him at the hospital. It’s quite that bookstores, starting with Powell’s (the best-known independent bookseller perhaps not only in Portland but probably in the total U.S.) happen to be intimidated by Antifa into not stocking the novel.
Though Unmasked reached no. 1 position on Amazon ahead of its release, when Antifa members protested Powell’s strategy to market the book, the shop’s managers instantly apologized, explaining that while lots of the shop’s inventory was hand-picked, which wasn’t accurate of Ngo’s book. They consequently pledged that the book”will not be put on our shelves. We will not promote it.” They did add that Unmasked would”remain in our online catalogue,” because”we carry a good deal of novels we find abhorrent, in addition to those who we treasure.” An individual might believe that they were talking of Mein Kampf! But despite the pledge that Powell’s would not stock the book, a bunch of protestors gathered outside the shop’s flagship, downtown place (according to ABC News) about the day of the statement, plastering the windows using all signs and alerting the shop to close early as a security precaution.
A dialogue with a friend and former student of mine that possesses a second of America’s leading independent bookstores, located in a fashionable downtown area far removed from Portland, assures me that Powell’s had no choice in the matter. Actually, my friend, who is of a moderately conservative inclination, told me that he would not dare stock the book , since the outcome may be the burning down of his institution. If he won’t, I doubt that many organizers, out of the very conservative areas of the nation, could dare to.
But while the son of Vietnamese boat people who risked death to escape British prison camps, he evidently enjoys the value of law-based freedom more deeply than many native-born Americans who choose it for granted. And many American conservatives, one expects, have come to realize that what they share with fighters for freedom like Ngo matters a lot more than any disagreements 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 historically prides itself on an unsurpassed freedom of speech and of the press enables anarchist groups to stop novels that express views against their being marketed? And just why are the mainstream media, both print and electronic, making so little ?
Of course, it’s now well-known that leading social media utilized their ability to steer public opinion into what Time magazine recently described as a”conspiracy” to ensure the Joe Biden would win the election–for example, by curbing the New York Post’s story on the damning info on corruption, and potentially involving his father, discovered Hunter Biden’s laptop. But if they not have the feeling, or even of principle, afterward of knowledgeable self-interest, to value, promote, and take a firm stand contrary to the job of violent gangs to stamp the honest coverage of events which seriously threaten America’s well-being?
Donald Trump’s contested followers, reprehensible though their assault on our nation’s seat of government had been posed a threat to our Constitutional order. Yet a recent story in the New York Times, based on a meeting with an vague”writer and people scholar of religion and racial hatred,” includes only a capsule history of how (according to the scholar)”white Protestant Christianity and nationalism have been interwoven — a mainstream movement” in America,”and just how many white churches now have to picture with white supremacy.” The story makes no reference to the violence and intolerance of Antifa or even Black Lives Matter (neither of which have some connection with the Christian, or some other, religion), let alone alluding to yesteryear, non-white inciters of murder and violence as Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, or even (once again a darling of leading Democratic politicians) the Rev. Al Sharpton. The story blames American churches (without the evidence being supplied) for ostensible participation at the January 6 strike.
Meanwhile, the Times contributor Sarah Jeong, that made headlines 2018 because of her history of occasionally obscene tweets denouncing white folks as a class, has branded Ngo because”harmful” and recently called for his censorship onto Twitter. But it had been Ngo, maybe not Jeong, that received so many death threats from Antifa that he decamped to London.
Whatever noises he can create, and however outrageous his behavior out of workplace, Donald Trump will present no danger to the preservation of our constitutional liberties and the rule of law. If those principles are threatened now, it is due to the spinelessness of civic authorities who fear to defend them, and believe that the proper reaction to riots is to”defund law enforcement .” One is tempted to remember 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 ought to be considered the origin of all decent Americans. Whether liberal or conservative, we will need to stand by him, and also the principles he represents.