Should neo-Nazis be allowed to use gym facilities?
It’s an odd question, but it has larger implications for the future of conservatives in the public square, and for America’s prospects of staving off a new civil war.
The question about neo-Nazis and the gym came up recently when Georgetown University professor Christine Fair happened upon neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, who is not me, at a gym and began berating him. The gym then revoked Richard Spencer’s membership.
I have no regard for Richard Spencer, as often as I am confused with him: he has more than once demanded that I reveal my “real” name, as he is convinced that I am secretly a Jew who has changed my name to fool good white folks like him. He has become notorious for openly espousing a white nationalism that most people would have rather remained a relic of history.
But does that mean he can’t even use gym facilities that he paid for, and in which he wasn’t bothering anyone?
I have nothing but disgust for Richard Spencer, but I have even greater disgust for Christine Fair, who in this incident showed herself to be more of a Nazi than Richard Spencer could ever hope to be.
Like the Nazis, Christine Fair wants those whom she hates destroyed, full stop. Just destroyed. She doesn’t want them to be able to speak in public. She doesn’t want them to be able to hold memberships in gyms. She doesn’t want them to be allowed to live in the city she lives in. She told Richard, among other things: “I find your presence in this gym to be unacceptable, your presence in this town to be unacceptable”.
Is there anything that Christine Fair thinks Richard Spencer ought to be allowed to do? Does she find his breathing unacceptable?
Fair’s berating of Richard Spencer, and getting him kicked out of his gym, was quintessentially Nazi behavior, and was in direct contradiction to the principles that make a society free.
While Richard Spencer is indeed a Nazi, albeit in a different way from how Fair is one, there is no excuse for what she did. As long as he was not breaking any laws, he had as much right to be in that gym as Christine Fair has.
Christine Fair has apparently not reflected upon the precedent she is setting, or on the possibility, as remote as it is, that one day her views could be out of favor, and she could find herself getting poisoned, and prevented from speaking by riots, and screamed at by campus fascists, and driven out of gyms, and the like, and that a healthier and freer society allows for the freedom of expression and doesn’t persecute or hound those whose ideas are unpopular or even unarguably obnoxious.
Instead, she believes we need ideological purity tests even for gym memberships. Once the precedent is set that one must hold a certain set of beliefs and shun others in order to be able to work out at the gym, the required beliefs could shift, and any individual or group could be victimized.
This is the road to totalitarianism, and we’re racing down it.
Another example of the Left’s determination to destroy utterly everyone who opposes it is the recent experience of Terry Jones, the infamous Qur’an-burning pastor. I am not a supporter of Terry Jones; I oppose burning books. I believe in free speech and free discourse. The thuggish, authoritarian Left shuts down opposing views and censors those whom it hates. Burning books is the kind of thing they do, if not literally, then by shutting down, smearing, and defaming those whom they hate. I am not inclined to emulate them.
All that said, however, Terry Jones lives in a nation that has the First Amendment in its Constitution. It is not illegal for him to dislike Islam or to burn Qur’ans. But in early February, the Washington Post wrote a gleeful story about how Jones had been working as an Uber driver, but had been fired by Uber after the Post reporter, a Muslim named Faiz Siddiqui, called Uber and alerted them to who Jones was.
So now your Uber driver has to love Islam. If he doesn’t appreciate Islam sufficiently, he could be fired.
What does loving Islam have to do with driving for Uber? About as much as being a neo-Nazi has to do with holding a gym membership. Is it acceptable for your plumber to take a dim view of Buddhism?
The Left is becoming so totalitarian, so inhospitable to the slightest dissent, that even when a critic of Islam is doing something that has nothing to do with Islam, Leftists move to shut him down. Jones had to close down a french fry stand he was running in a Florida mall, and he can’t drive for Uber. What can he do? The Left just wants him dead — that’s all.
Similarly, when I was scheduled to speak several years ago at an education conference that had nothing to do with Islam, Christine Fair’s colleague Nathan Lean of Georgetown University (who has several times posted a link on Twitter to what he thinks is my home address, in an obvious attempt to get me killed by jihadis and/or frighten me into silence) successfully got the host, a Catholic bishop, to cancel the event because of my work on Islam, even though Islam had nothing to do with what I was set to discuss. (The event was held at another location, and I spoke as planned.)
The Left, quite simply, wants to make it impossible for those whom it hates to do anything. Leftists want to make it impossible for us to make a living, impossible for us to exist. Leftists want us dead.
Christine Fair, Faiz Siddiqui, Nathan Lean, and their ilk are quintessential totalitarians, and they are dragging our once free society toward a new barbarism.