Andrew Sullivan’s take on the danger posed to Dems by chaos in the streets is worth a read. I don’t agree with all of it but Sullivan seems to be making a genuine attempt to not be guided by talking points from either side of the aisle and it’s interesting to watch even if it’s not a completely successful effort. Frankly, some of what he says seems to at least partly contradict other things he’s saying but I guess that’s what happens sometimes when you’re reacting honestly and not just picking sides. Mostly what comes through is his disgust at the rioting which Democrats have only belatedly realized could be a problem.
Here’s one thing I have absolutely no conflict about. Rioting and lawlessness is evil. And any civil authority that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy. This comes first. If one party supports everything I believe in but doesn’t believe in maintaining law and order all the time and everywhere, I’ll back a party that does. In that sense, I’m a one-issue voter, because without order, there is no room for any other issue. Disorder always and everywhere begets more disorder; the minute the authorities appear to permit such violence, it is destined to grow. And if liberals do not defend order, fascists will.
Here is a quote from Yoom Nguyen, owner of the Lotus Restaurant in Minneapolis, who just witnessed a second assault on his business: “Watching looters bust down our family restaurant is so heartbreaking. Senseless, they’re doing it while laughing and smirking. Not gonna lie, I damn near shot a man tonight. He threw that fucking rock at my family photo and looked right at me. I said ‘you motherfucker …’ tears immediately rolled down my face. I just can’t no more. I’m thankful I walked away but Fuck y’all.” This is how violence metastasizes. And as I’ve watched protests devolve over the summer into a series of riots, arson expeditions, and lawless occupations of city blocks, along with disgusting and often racist profanity, I’ve begun to feel similarly. And when I watched the Democratic Convention and heard close to nothing about ending this lawlessness, I noted the silence.
Sullivan’s conclusion from the silence at the DNC is that Democrats aren’t willing to call out the extremism in their ranks:
All this reassurance played out against a backdrop of Kenosha, which was burning, and Minneapolis, where a suicide led to a bout of opportunistic looting, and Washington DC, where mobs of wokesters went through the city chanting obscenities, invading others’ spaces, demanding bystanders raise fists in solidarity, with occasional spasms of violence. These despicable fanatics, like it or not, are now in part the face of the Democrats: a snarling bunch of self-righteous, entitled bigots, chanting slogans rooted in pseudo-Marxist claptrap, erecting guillotines — guillotines! — in the streets as emblems of their agenda. They are not arguing; they are attempting to coerce. And liberals, from the Biden campaign to the New York Times, are too cowardly and intimidated to call out these bullies and expel them from the ranks.
The guillotine thing is very real.
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) August 28, 2020
Rioters in Portland have been doing their thing while their mobile DJ plays “We got the guillotine” by The Coup. So it’s not an isolated sentiment.
One place where I disagree with Sullivan is the idea that it would be easy to separate the extremists and expel them as he suggests. As I wrote here, these aren’t just an easily rebuked group of identifiable extremists. This is a woke mindset which is gradually seeping in to the entire party. On the most fringe are those who think rioting isn’t violence. Then there are those who agree it is violence but who also think speech is violence so violence in response is justified. Then there are those who don’t want to engage in violence but won’t speak up to discourage others who feel differently because they agree a “diversity of tactics” is best.
Many of us on the right saw this coming back when it was just conservatives being shouted down on college campuses. Now some of these same attitudes are out there in the streets and it’s not going to be easy to put the genie back in the bottle. Frankly, I don’t think most Democrats realize just how far down this road they’ve gone already.
Update: Not surprisingly, people on the left are calling Sullivan a fascist over this piece.
FFS. It’s to *prevent* fascism that liberal democratic parties need to protect law and order. Is there no smear you won’t try?
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) August 28, 2020