Last weekend riots took place again in Berkeley. The provocation was not the appearance of Milo Yiannapoulos, as it was in January.
It was, instead, a free speech pro- Donald Trump rally. Not without a sense of irony, a group of conservatives decided to hold a free speech event at the home of the free speech movement.
At the same time, an anti-Trump protest was being held. The impending appearance of dangerous persons such as the beautiful, and well-spoken, Lauren Southern, along with other figures of the Right, sent the Left into a rage. It feels strange to write that last bit, given that the Left is in a constant rage over….something, God knows what.
2 P.M. last Saturday, these demonstrations took place. The free speech rally met with black-clad individuals, whose faces were covered with masks or kerchiefs. The many posts on social media show fights breaking out between the two factions. Pepper spray was also in use, as Antifa pepper sprayed an elderly man. During this, according to some, the police were largely absent.
In clip after clip, we see violence. Antifa thugs in black came looking for a fight, and the rally members gave them one.
Antifa’s willingness to use violence against those whom they dislike is a further sign of our growing division in America. This divide is typically compared to that between North and South before 1861, but this comparison is wrong.
Today’s divide doesn’t exist between one geographic part of the nation and another. The closest we can come is to say that the coastal areas are Left, but even that’s only true of the larger cities. California has plenty of Republicans, but they’re outside of the cities and the cities hold all the cards.
So where does our division start? It starts with how the two sides see politics.
For most of us, civil society and politics are a means to living a decent quiet life of peace. Bowing to the God we choose, and doing no harm to our neighbors. Civil society, with its ‘small platoons’ of private associations, is where most of us find the fulfillment that makes life enjoyable. Politics, and the government that’s part of it, is not a means to impose our ways upon others, but a means to reasonable compromise.
But this assumes that our form of government, that our ways of life, are legitimate and worthy of defense.
For the ideological politics of the Left, nothing is legitimate, safe, or to be left alone. It was not conservatives who divide the Republic into the noble ‘we’ and the deplorable ‘they,’ it was ideologists. Men and women for whom we are evil and deserving of being repressed. Or, if possible, made over into their own image.
Today’s American radicals are rejecting everything in our society. They reject our Constitution as the law of the land and the outcomes of elections. They overturn referendums that don’t go their way. The very apparatus of our government requires an acceptance of the results by all who play the game of politics. If one faction does not accept the results, then the government’s ability to do its job will be hampered. If that faction continues to spread and gain power among the electorate, the Republic itself is in danger.
National Review’s David French wrote:
We are now teetering on the edge of a truly terrifying incident, one trigger-pull away from a slaughter. Campus and urban progressives have a choice to make. Is this a nation of laws? If it is, then it’s time to grow a backbone, protect free speech, punish rioters, and expel those who disrupt the educational environment regardless of ideology. There should be no more sympathy or leniency for the lawless social-justice warrior than there is for the lawless neo-Nazi.
He could not be more right. If we are unable to find some resolution to our differences then our nation may be headed for a hotter version of this current cold war. Our politics are becoming uncivil. We may fear that, if this continues, punching each other in the street may soon become shooting each other in the street.