During his time as a Nation columnist, Christopher Hitchens reported noticing that some staff members considered Joe McCarthy a bigger menace than Josef Stalin.
Such views implied a support of purges and murders if committed by the “right side” as opposed to mere Congressional inquiries, that, however brow-beating, did not kill anyone.
But the politically correct violence implied to Hitchens has now been unequivocally championed by Leftists, justifying and cheering the most thuggish manner of street violence because of the election of the “fascist” Donald Trump.
Ironically, or perhaps, appropriately, a Nation columnist named Natasha Lennard has led the charge.
In a column about the recent rash of violent protest by the masked so-called anti-fascist group Antifa, the British-born writer, who contributes to Al Jeezera America, has openly endorsed violence as the only option against the “fascism” represented by Trump.
For her, Trump, or “Trumpism,” is so fascist that the time for “reasoned debate” has passed, and those who support the president, who she bills as “neo-fascists”, are not eligible for free speech protections.
Calling liberals who support the First Amendment and, indeed, the Constitution, “deranged,” she wrote the following about why such tactics should be abandoned:
“Liberals cling to institutions: They begged to no avail for faithless electors, they see ‘evisceration’ in a friendly late-night-talk-show debate, they put faith in investigations and justice with regards to Russian interference and business conflicts of interest. They grasp at hypotheticals about who could have won, were things not as they in fact are.”
She adds, “They forget, too, that while the First Amendment ensures that the government will not interfere with free speech, this has no bearing on neo-fascists having the right to be heard or countenanced by the rest of us.”
Only what she calls “the radical left,” as personified by the Antifa movement, is equipped to battle Trump. Offering “practical and serious responses in this political moment,” the movement, by using violence (they recently set fire to a generator at a student union and beat up citizens in liberal Berkeley) offers the only way out, even if Trump does not carry out his “fascist” policies.
Lennard has her own history with personally trying to incite violence. To her credit, she denies being “an objective journalist.” And she crossed the line from sympathetic reporter to instigator during the Occupy Wall Street protests back in 2011. Assigned to cover the event as a freelancer for the New York Times, Lennard was shown on video strategizing with violence-prone communists and anarchists.
Lennard is so far left that she considers the New York Times to be in bed with the “corporate media.” Soon after the Occupy Protests, she quit writing for them.
But Lennard’s support of violence over reasoned, Constitutional debate is not exclusive to her.
Of the recent Berkeley riots over a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, which resulted in a generator set on fire, six people wounded, and citizens in nearby Berkeley beaten up, Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings nevertheless described the riots as “a beautiful sight.”
But these calls for violence predated Trump’s election. During the Presidential election, leftwing journalist Jesse Benn made the same argument as Lennard for street violence being the only option available. And he had equally harsh words for liberals “being shocked and appalled” at the street violence that, to him, was “a perfectly logical reaction” to Trump’s candidacy.
By virtue of just being nominated, Benn stated, “the media, politicians and GOP primary voters” had “normalized” Trump’s extremism,” and thus, street violence represented an “inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this.”
Benn attacked liberals who condemned such resistance with class connotations. Their “privilege” gave liberals the luxury to “consider the implications of Trump’s rise in the abstract and negotiate which means are necessary.”
But those less privileged didn’t have such options, and violence is the only means by which “oppressed people respond to existential threats.”
In Benn’s estimation, liberal condemnation of violence had its own fascist tinge as well, since they were trying to “silence forms of resistance disagreeable to privileged sensibilities.”
Overseas Leftists have gone farther in their views of how to handle Trump than mere pepper spray or dynamited generators. In the Irish magazine Village, which features on one cover a picture of Trump in the crosshairs, the article writer asserts of the Trump presidency that “perhaps the solution is tyrannicide.”
To add some intellectual “weight” to this buzz word, the writer cites intellectuals (i.e. Cicero) and even theologians (i.e., Martin Luther) who justified murder when the ruler is a tyrant.
And perhaps some are taking heed. Protesters against Trump are now training themselves and recruits in martial arts. At the University of Central Florida, the group, Knights of Socialism are sponsoring self-defense courses and “fight clubs” to “bash the FASH” for anyone wanting to train (Republicans, however, were not invited).
The group stated such training is necessary in the age of Trump. On their Face book page they wrote, there is “a record number of hate crimes against Latinos, Immigrants, Muslims, Women, the LGBTQIA +community, Jews, African Americans and other minorities since the rise of Donald Trump and other Alt Right Neo-Nazis.”
Others are brandishing weapons. Last week in Phoenix, Arizona, forty self-proclaimed anarchists, billing themselves “The Phoenix John Brown Gun Club, demonstrated in front of the state Capitol while carrying weapons. With AR-15 assault rifles slung across their chest, they carried banners reading “Smash The State.”
On their Facebook page, they claim to be composed of “working class and poor people.” But their message comes across as red-neck communism: “We stand in shock as the Federal government seizes land from small farmers and home owners to build a massive border wall.”
The group’s stated goal is to keep all diverse groups’ focus trained on the enemy, which is the “little guy” president and his Wall Street cronies.
Without justifying such tactics it must be said that Trump should be criticized. As a candidate, he frequently expressed a decided misogyny, homophobia, and outright racism. Although some have claimed otherwise, he did mock a handicapped journalist who merely criticized him. He has used the phrase regarding his enemies “as taking them out.” He has promised (and still may deliver) to build a wall on the Mexican border, thus polarizing one more minority community.
He has feed ammunition to those who regard him as an anti-Muslim racist by imposing a blanket ban on several Muslim countries to prevent immigrants from coming into the U.S.
Moreover, he has poisoned the already hyper-partisan atmosphere with blunt talk, which although appealing to those who put him in, frightens Americans.
And like many fascists and communist dictators, he has warm regard for those he views as “strongmen,” most infamously in the case of former KGB spook Vladimir Putin.
But none of this is to justify what is occurring and what is being encouraged by journalists. The Left has been driven mad by Trump, and even those not suiting up in the streets, are calling, in the case of Rosie O’Donnell, for a military takeover of the government.
What these groups want to replace Trump with has yet to be articulated. But should they succeed and remove him from power, there could be a counter-response in the form of outraged, angry and armed Trump supporters taking to the streets.
Lennard, Benn and the groups whose violence they encourage affirm what George Orwell once wrote about the Left: “The sin of nearly all left-wingers from 1933 onward is that they have wanted to be anti-fascist without being anti-totalitarian.”