But the process of not normalizing Trump has instead normalized a lot of other things, bad ones. Like public disorder. Like persistent, pervasive anxiety that often looks like mass hysteria. Like people on both sides who try to minimize the illiberal tactics of the radicals on their own side by pointing mostly to the offenses of the other. (Yes, President Trump, I’m looking at you. And also at the folks who held light-hearted debates about whether it was okay to sucker-punch Richard Spencer.)
Much of the debate over antifa has focused on whether the white supremacists on the other side are worse. It seems to be impossible, in fact, to write a column on antifa without noting, at length, that they are not nearly as bad as the neo-Nazis who converged on Charlottesville. And indeed, they are not.
But how does that justify antifa’s tactics? It’s not as if the police are unable, or unwilling, to deal with white supremacists who commit violent acts.