Since Donald Trump’s election, the fires of leftist intolerance for differing views have been stoked into an inferno by demands for Resistance. On campuses around America, fliers tell social justice warrior students to “bash the fash!” – that is, to use violence against anyone who supports Trump or opposes the progressive agenda.
Duke University professor Michael Munger recently came across such a flier on the UNC campus. He writes in this Independent Institute post, “It encouraged students to ‘bash the fash!’ meaning physically assault fascists. The definition of ‘fascist,’ conveniently, appears to be anyone who disagrees with the smothering leftist orthodoxy that the flier-istas embrace.”
Liberals used to say that violence has no place in a civilized country, but that old-fashioned sentiment has given way to excusing violence, as long as it’s used by their good side against the bad side. This is a retrogression into primitive, tribal thinking.
Just a few days after Munger’s post, America was given a ugly illustration of campus Resistance when the famed scholar Charles Murray was scheduled to give a talk at Middlebury College in Vermont. Opponents managed to disrupt his talk and when Murray and the Middlebury professor who had introduced him, Allison Stanger, were trying to get to a car to leave the campus, they were assaulted by a mob (some students, some outsiders in masks). Professor Stanger was injured. (For more details on the Middlebury incident, read here.)
Why was the Middlebury mob so adamant that Murray had to be suppressed? Primarily because he has been turned into one of the left’s Emmanuel Goldsteins. What I refer to is the imaginary villain used by Big Brother’s state in 1984 to whip up hatred among the people. The mild-mannered and scholarly Murray has been among the left’s villains ever since he wrote Losing Ground in 1984, exposing the damage that the welfare state did to poor families. (Here is video of Murray discussing one of his recent books.)
The Southern Poverty Law Center smears Murray as a “white nationalist” and that’s enough for legions of students and professional protesters to show up, keep others from listening to him, and engage in violence.
Copying actual fascists in history, the student mobs at Middlebury, Berkeley, and elsewhere refuse to consider individuals and their ideas on the merits. Nor will they allow others to do so. Their “thinking” stops once they have placed someone in the bad tribe.
Members of the bad tribe cannot be reasoned with and must not even be permitted to speak. Would Murray have said something they would have found enlightening? Would he have explained why he’s as much an opponent of white nationalism as anyone alive? Could any opponent have scored points against him in a reasoned exchange? We will never know because of the mob’s disruption.
The college’s president, Laurie Patton, issued a statement apologizing to Murray and all of the students who wanted to hear and engage with him. Unfortunately, her statement is likely to have precisely zero impact on the protesters who seethe with hatred and feel justified in punishing their perceived enemies.