Be sure to read this disturbing essay by Christopher Joseph on RI Future:
To “destroy the platform” is a textbook anti-fascist tactic that organizations have used for decades, historically in efforts to break up Neo-Nazi gangs and other fascistic organizations and to prevent their return, and is currently in use against members of the alt-right. The rowdy protest outside of the DeploraBall on the inaugural eve, complete with black masks and flaming trash cans, is such an example. Essentially, anti-fascism declares that any attempt to gain a platform to espouse fascistic or oppressive views or to organize action around such ideologies (i.e. Yiannopoulous’s Islamophobia or Richard Spencer’s anti-Semitism), is an inherently uncivil and offensive act and will be met with immediate physical resistance. That declaration relies on the aforementioned understanding that civility is automatically lost when any form of fascism is brought into the discourse, and especially into the public sphere of influential speech, because fascism itself historically speaks the language of violence by advocating for xenophobia, militant nationalism, racial superiority, war, and ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Joseph explicitly supports the violent destruction of property and even, it seems, harm to others, although he acknowledges that every activist has to assess his or her own tolerance for risk. The question he doesn’t answer, though, is who determines what constitutes an objectionable ism and who deserves a platform? The fascist mob does, obviously, meaning whoever is pulling their strings.
We needn’t wander far for aids to the imagination concerning the direction this could go. Joseph’s premise is that the people with whom he disagrees are implicitly uncivil and therefore do not deserve civil treatment. Their intellectual aggression and “hate” have a physical force, in a sense, and “will be met with immediate physical resistance.”
Turn now to another post on RI Future, in which Steve Ahlquist reports on business groups’ arguments against legislation to raise the minimum wage:
Perhaps the most awful part of Boisselle’s short presentation was when she suggested that the minimum wage is so high right now that adults are taking jobs from teenagers. Boisselle’s solution to this imagined problem was to suggest that the General Assembly pass an “opportunity wage” which would allow businesses to pay teenagers less than the current minimum wage to do the same job an adult might do for more money.
Just writing a description of her suggestion makes me ill.
Joseph’s Bizarro World argument that others’ speech is violent and therefore reciprocating with actual violence is defense, not aggression, blends seamlessly with Ahlquist’s sensation that others’ arguments make him “ill.” In his view, Lenette Boisselle, a lobbyist for several business groups, advocates “anti-worker, inhumane and exploitative policies,” which even in their expression cause sensitive souls like his pain. Christopher Joseph might wonder why such a woman is permitted a platform without disruptive, possibly violent protest.
Progressives aren’t about peace. Their view of rights allows only those that they decide to grant. Their opposition to oppression is defined mainly by their political allegiances, not principle. They’re about power and shutting other people down in the hopes that it will shut down a reality with which they cannot cope.