Reason’s Robby Soave highlighted the danger of condoning violence against those with opposing political beliefs in an article on Wednesday, pointing out how the consensus has gone from it being acceptable to punch “Nazis,” to now “white male libertarians.”
“Well, that was fast. First, a black bloc protester punched alt-right figure and white-nationalist sympathizer Richard Spencer during inauguration weekend, and some people defended this blatant exercise of violent censorship on the grounds that Spencer is a fascist and as such should not enjoy free speech right,” wrote Soave on Wednesday. “Some weeks later, protesters at the University of California, Berkeley, smashed windows and set a large fire in order to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus. Yiannopoulos is not as extreme as Spencer—he does not identify as a white nationalist or a member of the alt-right—but nevertheless holds a number of deplorable views and is closely associated with Breitbart and Trump-ism.”
“The day after, similarly-aligned people tried to prevent Gavin McInnes from speaking at New York University,” he continued. “Black bloc protesters maced him as he left the building. McInnes, a former Fox News personality aligned with Trump and Yiannopoulos, certainly does make ugly and offensive statements. But was violence the best answer to those statements? Some say yes.”
Soave then went on to quote a tweet from writer Mike Monteiro, who declared on Tuesday that “It’s ok to punch nazis AND white male libertarians who wanna talk about free speech.”
“So how’s that for goal-post shifting?” concluded Soave. “First, we decide it’s okay to attack Nazis. Then we decide it’s okay to punch people who aren’t Nazis but are awful and sort of remind us of Nazis. Then it becomes okay to punch the people who say Nazis and Milo are bad but we shouldn’t punch them. You know those slippery-slope arguments people are always rolling their eyes at? Well, there’s the slippery slope for you. And we’ll be normalizing a whole lot of violence as we slide.”
You can read the full article at Reason.