To be clear, as far as I’m concerned, the Rhode Island General Assembly can condemn “white nationalist groups” all it wants. The gesture seems unlikely to have much effect, particularly in Rhode Island, but I’m certainly not inclined to defend the sensitivities of those who really do fit within those quotation marks.
It behooves Rhode Islanders to keep an eye on such legislation, however, because the net could easily be cast so widely as to become a tool of persecution. For instance, the lead sponsor of a Senate resolution asking for such groups to be labeled as terrorist organizations is Providence Democrat Gayle Goldin, who recently fabricated anti-Semitism charges against Gaspee Project and tried to draw the Anti-Defamation League’s attention to the charge.
That said, this particular resolution seems more on the ineffectual side than the pernicious side, so the most noteworthy thing about it is how completely one could switch out its rhetoric to be a complaint against progressives.
Sure, white nationalists have “supported and promoted coercion and violent repression of individuals solely on the basis of their race,” but progressives maintain uncomfortable ties to eugenics, which was also a bigoted ideology. Most recently, along these lines, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus justified those who are making conception with Down Syndrome a genocidal death sentence across the West.
Similarly, by all means, highlight the convergence of white nationalists with the term “alt-right,” but don’t forget Antifa. The latter group has been responsible for violent attacks on people seeking to exercise their rights in disagreement with the “ctrl-left.” Turn your eyes to college campuses, as well, where speech has been stifled, to the point of injuring a professor.
And it’s beyond me how a progressive could put forward the following paragraphs and not blush at the obvious application to her own ideology:
WHEREAS, While free speech is a fundamental and precious value for almost all Americans, [progressive] groups promote agendas that are in irreconcilable conflict with our nation’s foundational principles of liberty and justice for all; and
WHEREAS, [political correctness and progressivism] are continuing to grow as menaces to societal order that seek to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide the nation, and foment hatred…
As for “senseless acts of violence that continue to terrorize members” of other groups, shouldn’t we recall the progressive who shot up a Congressional Republican baseball practice?
Perhaps if Rhode Island legislators are going to go about denouncing “totalitarian impulses, violent terrorism, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies,” they should consider their own tendency to try to infringe on freedoms of speech and association, the disruptive tactics of environmentalists, Black Lives Matters, and other activists, their own distrust of people in “flyover country,” and their own attempts to force compliance with progressive ideology on those who hold conflicting beliefs.
Or maybe state government should just get back to the practice of handling a limited number of basic services that Rhode Islanders need, rather than declaring war on this or that group.