Megan McArdle has written a piece for Bloomberg which highlights something that the media continues to gloss over. What we’re seeing on the left today, from Antifa and student protesters, is not normal but is being normalized.
Last week the city of Berkeley allegedly spent $600,000 to prevent left-wing goons from making the city into a First Amendment-free-zone. That’s an outrageous sum just so that someone can safely speak at a college for two hours. McArdle argues we shouldn’t be relieved that the speech took place, we should be angry at the amount of effort required to make it happen:
How relieved should we be that this is what it takes to maintain order in the face of … a speech? On the one hand it shows that even in the heart of antifa territory, police and authorities that are actually determined to control them can do so. That’s good to know (and gives the lie to chicken authorities who would give antifa a heckler’s veto). And yet, those authorities could be forgiven for feeling daunted, even aggrieved, when they realize that every speaker antifa doesn’t like means vast sums, and considerable effort, expended on turning your public spaces into a demilitarized zone.
She goes on to argue that what we are witnessing is a challenge to our constitution, not with arguments and votes but with threats and violence:
What should never be normal is what we are now witnessing: those folks appointing themselves a freelance constitutional convention, editing out the rights they find vexing, and enforcing their new rules with the power of their fists. But that is what has happened.
If we have to spend $600,000 to ensure that these people cannot arrogate to themselves powers we won’t even allow our government, then that’s probably a price worth paying.
McArdle’s basic point is that what we’re seeing isn’t normal. Every time student protesters response to speech is to “shut it down” it needs to be pointed out that they are in the wrong. Every time Antifa threatens to show up in masks and vandalize businesses or attack people on their hit list, they need to be unmasked and arrested. We can’t allow the far left’s adoption of the heckler’s veto to be normalized. They want control over who is allowed to speak in public. The answer must be no or better yet, “Hell no!” We have to keep giving the same answer until they stop making the threats in the first place.