Violence Comes from Those Who Cannot Win by Words


Megan McArdle is good on the descent of left-wing activists to fascism:

The implicit assumption here is that their protest movement is not merely entitled to be heard, but to win – win with a victory so total that no voice is ever even raised in opposition. And if they cannot win by raising their voices, then they must move on to more aggressive means. This makes sense only if, as [Greg Lukianoff, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)] says, you define Yiannopoulos’s outrageous statements as equivalent to violence, or worse than violence.

I will admit that this is a coherent world view. Indeed, it cohered for decades in the old Soviet Union. But most of us don’t want to live in the world it leads to, if for no other reason than because we aren’t so confident that we’ll get to be the ones choosing who needs to be violently silenced.

I do wonder, though, whether McArdle has missed a piece of the problem.  It’s not just that the Left feels an entitlement to win to the extent of wiping out its opposition; it’s that this entitlement is mixed with an incoherent worldview.  As progressive positions become founded more and more on an absurd worldview that doesn’t comport with reality, not only can debate not produce an enemy-destroying victory, but it can’t be won at all.

In other words, the Left can’t win a fair debate, so its activists must escalate to violence and silencing to ensure the victory to which they feel entitled for reasons of ideology or emotion.