“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
That quote has been used so many times as an “If only someone had stood up to Hitler” kinda deal, that I’m sure everyone has heard it by now. I am also positive that Edmund Burke would take one look at today’s “Classical Liberals” and scoff at them.
A page devoted to classical liberalism/libertarianism shared a piece of mine cheering the Chicago Protesters for their efforts to stifle Donald Trump’s violent, angry, bitter, anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, and anti-Muslim rhetoric. You can imagine the outrage the angry, mostly white, mostly youngish classical liberals felt, reading someone actually taking pride in the fact that citizens stood up to violent, racist assholes. Here are some of the most LOL-worthy comments on my piece.
First there was a comment from the page moderator, a right-leaning libertarian.
Protesting Trump for the purpose of expressing an opposing viewpoint is one thing. Protesting him for the purpose of silencing him is another (and judging by the jubilant reaction of the protesters following Trump’s cancellation, this was their intention.) (source)
Actually, protesting someone for the purpose of expressing an opposing viewpoint and protesting someone for the purpose of silencing them are one in the same. It’s just that silencing someone through protest is considered acceptable whereas doing it through force, coercion, or a government agency is wrong. I wonder if this guy read my other piece I wrote on the protests, where I asked a really simple question.
What better way for a fascist to be silenced than with civil protest? We don’t want people shooting it out over this shit, right? Or, judging by their love of firearms, maybe “classical liberals” do think that a shootout is preferable to making a few fascists feel uncomfortable for being proud of their fascism?
Actually, no, it’s not a problem.
Protest is protest is protest. There is no expectation of privacy at a public event, which the rally was since all that was needed for entry was registering an email address. Since the protesters weren’t calling for violence, and simply showed up in a number large enough to be impossible to throw them all out, this protest is 100% constitutionally protected.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been called a fascist. Unsurprisingly, 99% of the people who use it against me are right-wingers and they have zero clue how fascism works, or that words have meanings. So I decided to this genius a favor and help him with that problem.
Here’s a snippet from Dictionary.Com about fascism:
Now, who in today’s political landscape is running a campaign of “Literally nothing that I wrote advocated fascism, and literally nothing the Chicago Protesters did could be remotely defined as fascism.The problem is that libertarians think that just because someone has a right to think and say what they want, that means people don’t have the right to shout — with larger numbers — over them.
Bullshit. That’s exactly what freedom of speech is.
What exactly do libertarians think Burke meant when he talked about “good men” doing nothing? What is not the definition of “doing something” if not protesting a rally? What exactly is the point of the First Amendment protecting non-violent protest if whenever someone uses it, conservatives throw their hands in the air and act as if it’s a violation of their constitutional freedoms to be told they’re spouting racist, xenophobic bullshit?
Then there are the geniuses who just completely fabricate what happened.
No one coerced anyone.
Chicago’s police force and the Secret Service did not raise any extra security concerns over the protesters. It was Trump who acted cowardly and decided to shut down the rally because he couldn’t handle a room where he didn’t control all the emotions. The protesters weren’t armed. This was literally the definition of a peaceful protest.
You know what I really love, though? When people think they’re insulting me, and in actuality they’re proving what my entire point was, why the protesters were there, and for bonus points the exact purpose behind the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.
Thanks for proving you don’t know how Free Speech works. Trump actually could have made his speech. He could have showed guts, and fought on, shouting down the protesters if he had to. But he didn’t . He chickened out.
The bottom line is that context is what matters most. Not being a lawyer, I can’t say this with any certainty, but if an average citizen and not a presidential candidate was standing in front of large groups of people, telling them he’d pay the legal fees of anyone who assaulted someone he didn’t like, do you think that would be protected speech?
There wasn’t a vacuum and into it protesters appeared. The protesters showed up because of the violence being put on display against others. They showed up — yes en masse and angry, but still peaceful — to register their complaints.
Some are asking if this means Trump protesters should show up at Bernie or Hillary rallies now and try to shut them down, all I can say is, “Go ahead. If you can stop fucking your cousins long enough to get a group big enough to actually protest and not just wave your guns around like assholes, have at, dicks.”