We’re still talking about this because Democrats are the media are still pushing the idea that partisan speech (on the right) is an incitement to violence. Today the Washington Post has a story up about death threats made against Rep. Ilhan Omar:
By Saturday afternoon, Chad Loder had seen enough.
The cybersecurity expert noticed that President Trump’s Friday tweet — a video juxtaposing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) with footage of the twin towers falling on 9/11 — had generated a surge of activity from a sector of Twitter users he argues aren’t always taken seriously: the ones who incite violence.
The threatening messages made toward Omar were so severe they prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to increase protection for the congresswoman. But Loder, who is the CEO of cybersecurity training company Habitu8, said Twitter shares responsibility…
He referred to Trump’s Friday tweet as “stochastic terrorism”: a phenomenon in which a prominent person or group stirs up hatred against a target, potentially causing someone else to carry out a violent act against them.
I don’t know anything about Chad Loder but he appears to not be a fan of free speech. Yesterday when National Review’s David French wrote a piece basically saying that criticism of Ilhan Omar was not incitement, Loder started replying “Shame on you” over and over in his mentions:
And yet Twitter is full of Americans threatening to kill her because of your and Trump's irresponsible and inaccurate rhetoric. Shame on you. https://t.co/orSOMbNRYl
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) April 15, 2019
Shame on you, David. You know exactly what you're doing. pic.twitter.com/amGIHNrPDq
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) April 15, 2019
There’s more like this. Granted those tweets about Omar are awful and the people who sent them seem like genuine scum. But the argument Loder is making, the argument the Washington Post is helping him make, is that because a handful of people on Twitter (a few dozen?) said really ugly things on social media, people should stop criticizing Ilhan Omar and David French should stop defending their right to do so.
This is a species of the heckler’s veto. The underlying argument is this: People shouldn’t speak freely because someone might get hurt. This is the approach used by campus activists trying to shut down conservative speakers: ‘Hey, don’t say that because it’s hateful and could lead to a violent reaction.’ Often the violent reaction comes from the left itself but in this case, they’re saying the violent reaction could come from the right. In either case, the goal is the same: Make people shut up because of the potential for bad behavior by people on the extreme fringe.
This approach would represent a threat to a free society if progressives actually believed it. Oh, I know they claim to believe it when it’s convenient, but let’s face it, they don’t really believe it. If they did, they’d be self-censoring their own speech. Here’s David French:
If that’s incitement by some new definition of the term, then the Left is guilty as well. Where is the regret over its rhetoric in the Kavanaugh confirmation battle? It is terrible that Omar has faced threats, but let’s not forget that Cory Booker called Kavanaugh’s supporters “complicit in the evil” — even though Justice Kavanaugh’s family faced terrible threats and when two people were arrested for threatening Republican senators. I haven’t seen progressive rhetoric ease after a Bernie Sanders fan nearly assassinated Steve Scalise in an attempt to gun down Republican congressmen at baseball practice. Instead, I’ve seen apologetic after apologetic for activists who get in Republicans’ faces at restaurants, in movie theaters, and even at their own homes.
Will all of the CNN anchors who defended Antifa now going to lecture us about incitement and political violence. Probably so, but I’ll skip that lecture. Thanks anyway.
Back in June of 2017 when the resistance was really gearing up for in-person confrontations with elected representatives the House Sergeant at Arms revealed there had been more threats against Members of Congress in the first half of the year than there had been in all of the previous year. There were numerous reports at the time about Republicans fearing for their safety. Did the progressive left have any concerns about incitement back then? Not really.
It’s important to keep this in mind as you hear people on the left swooning over threats. It’s not that the threats aren’t real, or that there aren’t crazy people out there. It’s just that these folks didn’t see cause for shame or concern when the threats were directed at Republicans by crazy people on the left not so long ago. It sort of suggests to me they aren’t serious about this.
Tucker Carlson talked about this last night on his show. He’s right about the bottom line. Speech is not violence. The attempt to say one is the other is an attempt to silence people. We should not allow this argument to gain a foothold.