There used to be a site called Fusion which later rebranded itself as Splinter. The site is basically a left-wing blog (owned by Univision) looking to whip up resistance to the Trump administration. In other words, it doing what a lot of left-wing blogs are doing just with a bigger bankroll. Today Splinter published a piece which gives a sense of where the far left is on the whole civility issue. It’s titled “This is Just the Beginning.” It opens:
Do you think that being asked to leave a restaurant, or having your meal interrupted, or being called by the public is bad? My fascism-enabling friends, this is only the beginning.
There’s a lot of nonsense about turning power against the powerful but skipping ahead a bit we get to the communism-inspired portion of the piece:
Poverty is an affliction of history and the failure to remedy history’s crimes, of greed and self-dealing and the tax code. Sickness is often an affliction of the political decision not to build a fair and equitable health care system, so that a small number of people can get rich instead. Tens of millions of people around the world suffer under dictatorships that are supported by America to serve our own economic ends. People die because of political decisions every day. Politics is real. This is what is on one side of our current disagreement: death, and human rights, and freedom, and equality. And this is what is on the other side: wanting to eat at a nice restaurant without having anyone remind you that you are ruining people’s lives. The sides of this scale are not even close to balancing yet.
Having established that capitalism and American politics are bad (not really but this seems to be enough for his audience), we now move on to the penalty phase of the argument:
This is all going to get more extreme. And it should. We are living in extreme times. The harm that is being done to all of us by the people in the American government is extreme. To imagine that Mexican immigrants should happily cook for and serve meals to people who enable a man who is determined to demonize and persecute them as subhuman criminals is far more outrageous than the idea that those enablers should not be served in restaurants. I do not believe that Trump administration officials should be able to live their lives in peace and affluence while they inflict serious harms on large portions of the American population…
The people who are responsible for what is happening are not going to get out of this with their happy wealthy respectable lives unscathed. This is a country that locks poor people in cages for decades for trying to make $20. This is a country that is “tough on crime.” Remember? And the ones who make the laws are not going to like what happens when America starts to regard them as the criminals.
I guess this all sounds great to people who thought Bane was the hero of The Dark Knight Rises. The piece is even illustrated with an image of a burning limo, the great accomplishment of the Antifa goons who participated in Disrupt J20 at last year’s inauguration. That’s the sort of thing the author wants to see more of in the future, never mind that the owner of the limo had nothing to do with the Trump administration.
What the author seems not to grasp is that not everyone agrees with his proletariat-uprising formulation of history. In fact, there are just as many people on the right who believe Bernie Sanders’ socialist politics represent a grave threat. After all, socialism, in its most extreme form, has been responsible for millions of deaths of real people. Those politics are real too. Should Bernie be allowed to eat in peace? Should the people who work for him be hounded out of restaurants now too?
As Jazz pointed out this morning, this really could get a lot worse if the right decides to embrace the new normal and turn every meal into a cultural battle. If delivering boxes of manure to political opponents become the new norm, it certainly won’t stop with Trump officials. We’ve already seen a few instances of the right flirting with this sort of thing and, for the record, I didn’t like it then either. As I wrote a year ago about the interruption of a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
I don’t support interrupting performances of Shakespeare…However, maybe this protest will do some good if it causes people on the left to realize where this is headed. This is your politics, progressives. Can you see now how this is a bad idea? If so, start by addressing the problem at the source: Your own backyard.
What I think this article from Splinter shows is that there are a lot of people on the far left who haven’t thought this through. Once you put harassment of political opponents on the table, it’s on the table for everyone. That’s a spectacularly bad idea, but it seems the left is eager to push those boundaries, maybe until they are gone.