News & Politics

How to Delegitimize the Political Opposition Using only a Black Mask and a Club

An Antifa member takes part in a rally on the waterfront in Portland, Ore., on August 18, 2017. (Photo by Alex Milan Tracy)(Sipa via AP Images)

Democrats and the media have made a conscious decision to brand all conservative pushback against radical-left Democrats as “hate speech,” all pro-Trump supporters as “fascists,” and all groups that oppose them as “white supremacists.”

That much is clear following the unprovoked attack last weekend by Antifa thugs on who even the Washington Post agrees were “peaceful” protesters. Democratic politicians branded the demonstrators as “white supremacists,” and characterized the purpose of the rally as promoting “hate.”

No right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley were wearing helmets or carrying shields. There were no signs supporting fascism or racism. There were no “white power” or “blood and soil” chants.

And yet, they were violently assaulted. This account raises troubling questions:

For a few hours, police maintained order at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley. They used barriers and a single entry-checkpoint to control who and what got in. They confiscated sticks, water bottles and anything else from rally-goers that could be used as weapons. Inside the park, they broke up heated arguments between the left and the right before punches were thrown.

Yet, police stepped aside and allowed anarchists to bypass barriers to get into the park. Soon mobs chased and beat right-wing demonstrators who had arrived expecting to attend a conservative rally.

Conservatives accused police of abandoning them.

“We were thrown into the belly of the beast,” said Kris Wyrick, 39, of San Diego, one of a small group of conservatives still in Civic Center Park when it was overtaken.

Wyrick wore body armor when he showed up at the park with his wife and son, expecting a rally. He had to remove the protection when he and his family went through a security check. But when anarchists arrived, “they came in, and the cops left,” he said. “It was almost like it was choreographed.”

The police claim they pulled back in the interest of “safety.”

“They seemed to target police,” said Officer Jennifer Coats, a police spokeswoman. “They were up on the back of a flatbed truck. Officers heard them making announcements that peaceful protesters should leave if they didn’t want to be part of a conflict. We had to weigh what to do.”

Antifa fought with police only because the cops got in the way of their primary target: Trump supporters, anti-Communists, and those who identify as alt-right. By no means were the police “targeted” by Antifa.

The “anti-fascists” are having difficulty with “enemy identification,” as are the Democrats. Or are they really? It sure is convenient that every Trump rally (and every conservative event on any campus in the country) is branded as “hate speech” — that not even mainstream conservatives escape the calumnious smears of Democrats and threatened violence of Antifa.

You might expect this kind of stupidity from Antifa. But the Democrats are a lot smarter than that and are allowing Antifa to beat the political opposition into submission while cowing ordinary people into keeping their mouths shut.

How else can you interpret their silence in the face of the unprovoked attacks in Berkeley?

California Democrats who whipped up opposition to the weekend’s free speech rallies had little to say after radical leftist protesters, led by the antifa movement, attacked police and Trump supporters on Sunday in Berkeley, injuring six.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who last week denounced the Patriot Prayer gathering in San Francisco as a “white supremacist rally,” had no public comment on the leftist violence.

Neither did Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who joined other local Democrats last week at a press conference to condemn “bigotry and hate” ahead of what they called a “white nationalist rally in Berkeley.”

Those familiar with recent right-of-center rallies in the Bay Area, Boston and Portland, Oregon, say it’s a familiar pattern: Democrats play to their base by hyping fears of neo-Nazis while ignoring or glossing over any leftist violence.

“There has been nearly complete silence from Democrats regarding the violence of antifa in Berkeley and elsewhere,” said Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson. “This silence only emboldens and encourages those who seek to turn our streets into battlegrounds. Leading Democratic politicians need to go on record unconditionally rejecting and condemning antifa.”

Joey Gibson, leader of Patriot Prayer, who was chased and struck by masked antifa protesters in Berkeley before police rescued him, called on Mrs. Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to denounce the leftist violence.

“I’m asking Mayor [Ed] Lee and I’m asking Nancy Pelosi to speak against this violence and speak against this hatred, and be consistent with your message,” Mr. Gibson said at a press conference after canceling his event.

“Nancy Pelosi, she’s trying to further her own agenda, and she’s putting her own citizens in danger, directly in danger,” he said.

Obviously, the left-wing violence benefits them politically. But what is the endgame here besides power?

Liz Shield posted on this Clive Crook column in Bloomberg at Hot Mic:

The second theory — the correct theory — is a terrible indictment of the Democratic Party and much of the media. Why aren’t the intelligible and legitimate opinions of that large minority given a hearing? Why must their views be bundled reflexively into packages labelled “bigotry” and “stupidity”? Why can’t this large minority of the American people be accorded something other than pity or scorn?

Those who scorn Trump’s supporters might argue that none of their opinions are in fact intelligible or legitimate. After all, don’t their views on immigration boil down to racism and white supremacy? What about their idea that the Charlottesville protesters and counter-protesters were morally the same? Or their morbid fear of change? Or the hypocrisy of their opposition to “big government,” when everybody knows that Trump-voting states such as West Virginia are the biggest net recipients of federal money? If you read the New York Times, you know they have an endless supply of stupid, evil opinions.

In fact, this automatic attribution of stupidity and bad faith is just another kind of bigotry.

If the Democrats are successful in delegitimizing all political opposition — and make no mistake, they are well on the way to achieving that goal — Antifa is going to be very busy because America will become a truly fascist state. When just about anything said by a white person about race is considered racist, or when opposing open borders is called bigotry, it becomes very easy to accuse people who want to reform health care of wanting to “murder” people and to brand those who are worried about Islamic terrorism as haters of Islam.

I’m old enough to remember when the press would act as referee, calling out both sides for hysterical exaggeration and hyperbole. It’s why during most of the history of modern politics, we didn’t hear the kind of blood-curdling smears, insults, and threats coming from mainstream politicians. They were too frightened to face the withering blast of a press who would smite them down for their transgression against the rules.

Obviously, those days are long gone. And what happens next to free speech and freedom of thought is painful to contemplate.