We’ve been spared the clashes up close here in the Northeast, for now, but the “Battle of Berkeley” merits a watchful eye from afar. In short, the left-wing “Antifa” thugs whom the mainstream Left has largely tolerated and excused have now drawn out a right-leaning counterpart, which seems to be stronger, thus far. If you want the next step to the WhatCheer? Street Band’s silencing speakers with noise at a Providence Trump rally, listen to the victors singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” after violently driving Antifa off the streets of Berkeley at the end of the video at the bottom of this post on Ace of Spades.
This is not a positive development, but as I’ve written before, when every speaker to the right of Obama is branded a Nazi unworthy of rights, when every reservation expressed about radicalism is proclaimed racism, when conservatives are blocked from professorships, and when the bias of the news media is blatant and undeniable, the Right is freed of the restraints of polite society.
David French draws an important angle on this point:
Every single time the progressive establishment ignores, minimizes, or whitewashes leftist violence, it sows the wind. Americans have watched mobs attack police and burn buildings in Baltimore, Ferguson, Charlotte, and Minneapolis. They have watched mobs riot over politics and free speech in Middlebury, Berkeley, Portland, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Is anyone at all shocked that when the police hang back, others will step into the void? Leftists are fond of saying “violence begets violence.” If we don’t restore the rule of law, we’ll all find out just how right they are.
French says we’re “one trigger-pull away from a slaughter.” How about three?
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit periodically suggests that the law is in some respects there to protect criminals from the harder justice of their victims. Radicals have long taken advantage of the strength of our government and the bias of our institutions to behave in fascist ways. David French notes that not a single person has faced consequences for the anti-free-speech outrages on American campuses, recently.
At some point, those who have voluntarily bound themselves with the rule of law will take the radicals’ example and realize that the restrictions were only in our collective imagination.