It’s been known for quite some time that the political left is much better than the right when it comes to protest. One can see a continuum that extends from 60’s and 70’s era anti-war progressives to 2011’s Occupy Wall Street crowd to the fever pitch that has become anti-Trump events. Though not always the most classy affairs, the recent anti-Trump Women’s March, for example, included tens of thousands of women lecturing us all on human dignity while dressed as vaginas, the left can always seem to rally people and, more importantly, outrage.
In fact, the only recent protest success for the political right has been the Tea Party “revolution”. Unfortunately, what started as a clarion call to low taxes and a small constitutional government was co-opted by the GOP establishment almost as quickly as it started. Though, in fairness, the Tea Party’s rise did give us Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY), as well as Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT).
It Comes Down to Tactics
One of the main differences between the political right and left when it comes to protests are tactics. Recently, the left has become much more aggressive protesters, largely taking their cues from the postmodernist, neo-Marxist social justice warriors whose mantra can only be described as “we provide no platform for people who disagree with us, regardless of the reasons”.
That’s a main reason why Antifa protests of pro-Trump “free speech” rallies and anti-free speech protests on college campuses, have become so tumultuous, even to the point of violence. This turn of events can’t be a surprise given the above mantra; SJW’s have no interest in honest, open debate. Their only interest is in shutting down their opponents by any means necessary, including mobbing and shouting down opponents and stopping speakers they don’t like by calling in bomb threats to venues. Though these tactics are reprehensible enough to demand denunciation by any responsible party, the fact is that a friendly media and political class has only exacerbated the problem.
This has led many on the right to seek a more direct strategy when dealing with the left: use the tactics of the left on the left. We have seen a few cases of this recently. First is the push to declare leftist violence as hate crimes. The whole idea of hate crimes is ridiculous and succumbing to the left’s linguistic games plays right into their hands by normalizing and justifying bad laws. The second strategy is even worse: to start shutting down free speech events themselves.
I can understand why this strategy is appealing. It is certainly frustrating to see your political enemies seemingly getting away with anti-free speech violence, but that’s no reason to resort to their tactics.
There is simply nothing to be gained for the political right by using the same pernicious tactics that their rivals use. It makes the right look childish, spiteful, and only continues to justify similar leftist responses. One reason for this is because conservatives and the right will never get fair treatment in the mainstream media. Another reason is that the public will simply throw up its hands and declare the two sides equally destructive.
As Nietzsche said, “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”