Progressivism and Political Violence

The modern Left idealizes political violence.  That’s a bold statement, but it’s true, and the truth of that claim dates back to the French Revolution.  That revolution—so different from our own—was the root of almost all totalitarian movements in the 20th century, and of the American Left’s current mood for mob activity in the name of “progress.”

The big story in the world of the American Right this week has been Democratic Congresswoman “Auntie” Maxine Waters’s calls for active disruption of Trump administration officials in their private lives, to the point of harassing them at restaurants, department stores, and gas stations—even picketing at their homes, as happened to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen‘s home twice.

Waters’s execrable remarks—and her blasphemous contention that “God is on our side” (if she’s referring to Baal, the ancient Canaanite fertility god who worshipers tried to appease with child sacrifices, I’m sure he is pleased with Democrats’ support of abortion, but THE One True God must be weeping constantly over those lost lives)—were inspired by the ouster of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the Red Hen, a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.  In a Fox News interview after the fact, Sanders’s father, former Arkansas Governor and bassist Mike Huckabee, alleged that the progressive owner of the restaurant followed the Sanders party down the street, heckling them.

None of these events, in my mind, are surprising, but, rather, a reminder of the progressive Left’s taste for violence—or, at the very least, of achieving its long-term political goals by “any means necessary” (a slogan of the so-called “Resistance”).

Recall the soon-forgotten shooting of congressional Republicans last year as they practiced for Congress’s annual interparty baseball game.  That attack, the fevered result of a Bernie Bro’s break with reality, nearly killed Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise.  It’s easy to forget the anti-Trump hysteria of 2017 (because the anti-Trump hysteria of 2018—after the President’s proven himself in office—seems even more unhinged), but the Left was out for blood after the Inauguration, with pink-hatted activists shouting at the sky in protest.

The Left has taken America’s cold civil war hot because it doesn’t control any of the levers of power in government.  With the retirement of swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, progressives may see their last ace-in-the-hole, the courts, lost for a generation (to be clear, the Left is still dominant in academia, pop culture, the arts, major non-profits, the corporate world, and pretty much everything that isn’t the federal and State governments).  The last tactic, then, is to amp up their social intimidation to borderline—and, if necessary, actual—violence.

Consider that the Left can only push forward its agenda for any length of time through means of coercive power (although maudlin emotional manipulation comes in handy, too, and works well with easily-manipulated “feel-good” types).  Traditionally, that’s been through the power of the state—the massive reach of the federal government.

It was the modern political Left, growing out of the Progressive movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that brought first the New Deal, and then the Fair Deal and the Great Society, that vastly expanded the size, scope, and reach of federal power.

While Americans were largely content with some government assistance during the throes of the Depression—and naively believed that the federal government could actively solve the nation’s problems after the Second World War, given the government’s success in fighting that global conflict—they could not stomach actual Marxism.  So it was that Democrats began gradually to lose their mid-twentieth-century vice grip on the ballot box.

With the rise of the “New Right” in the 1960s and 1970s, followed by the election of His Eminence Ronaldus Magnus in 1980, Leftists increasingly turned to the courts to fulfill by judicial fiat what could not be achieved at the ballot box.

Take, for example, the overturning of California’s ballot initiative, Proposition 8, to amend the State’s constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.  In California—the beating heart of the modern progressive movement—a small cadre of unelected officials overturned the will of the people.

Similarly, Justice Kennedy more or less decided that federalism doesn’t matter, and we should believe that the Founding Fathers meant to support casual same-sex boning, but just forgot to put it in the Constitution (I have friends who support same-sex marriage who disagree with the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, arguing that it oversteps the Supreme Court’s constitutional authority).

The courts were the back-up plan.  I’ve actually read (anecdotal evidence alert) some progressives posting on Facebook to the effect that, “Well, we overplayed the judicial activism thing for too long, and we relied on it at the expense of electoral victory.”  Those comments are rare—more of them are childish weeping and/or promises to move to Canada or “stop joking around.”

Now that President Trump is in the White House, Republicans control Congress, and the Supreme Court is ready to tip narrowly toward constitutional originalism, Leftists are apoplectic, and are showing their true colors.  They have two choices:  make a compelling case to the American people to elect more Democrats in November, or double-down on hysteria and send us hurtling closer towards the Second American Civil War.

While there’s been much talk of a “blue wave” this November, the Left’s outbursts and fascistic tactics seem to be hurting Democrats nationally.  That doesn’t mean they won’t take the House or the Senate—after all, some of these districts are so blue they keep voting in borderline illiterates like Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas—but their chances are narrowing.

Even if they do take control of one or both chambers, President Trump will still control the executive branch, and, as yet, has done nothing impeachable (being crude or saying awesome stuff on Twitter don’t qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors”).  Sure, they might try, but it would be like the Radical Republicans impeaching President Andrew Johnson for ignoring an unconstitutional act of Congress—purely politically-motivated.

If there is impeachment in the House, it will fail—Trump will not be removed from office by the Senate—the Democrats will find themselves stuck for another two years with a president they irrationally despise.  The way things are going, he’s likely to win reelection in 2020 (please, sweet Lord).

But all of this is conjecture.  There’s a good chance Republicans hold onto the House and pick up vulnerable Democratic seats in the Senate (such as Heidi Heitkamp’s seat in North Dakota).  What then?  With a new conservative Supreme Court justice, the Left is marginalized at the federal level, other than their Deep State cronies.

My guess is that we’ll see more insanity and violence before we see less.  The Left will double-down on this progressive agenda for a decade, until a moderate, Bill Clinton-style moderate appears, or the economy turns sour (not likely!), or they can cobble together another Obama-style rainbow coalition.

The question is, will their propensity for political violence boil over into full-scale warfare and defiance of constitutional authority?  We’ve already seen California nullify federal law by refusing to enforce immigration law.  Distrust between people of different political backgrounds is at feverish highs.

Beyond some fringe kooks, no one on the American Right wants to see violence.  But the progressive Left’s deep-rooted love of “punching Nazis” and strangling dissent won’t broach much room for disagreement.

We’re living in scary times.

 

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12 thoughts on “Progressivism and Political Violence

  1. Obama made sense as a reaction to Bush Jr.’s imperious arrogance (Iraq). But the Democrats squandered their goodwill by marrying all kinds of random, idiotic causes. Someone needs to speak for the American poor! But Waters, Pelosi, & Pochahontas come across as kleptocratic klowns.

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    • I think Obama matched the imperious arrogance of planting a democracy in a land dominated by authoritarian regimes for 6000 years with his own imperious arrogance about his own untested abilities, but your point is taken. I think Trump tore the mask off the post-World War II/post-Cold War “New World Order” consensus that free trade is an unalloyed good (it’s great in general, but it’s not the _only_ facet of national life that matters), even if it means gutting America’s industrial heartland.

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  2. […] Yesterday’s post about the Electoral College—and why the American constitutional system generally eschews raw majoritarianism at the national level—reminded me of an essay I wrote in 2016 about Rousseau’s idea of the “general will.”  It was probably the least popular post of the summer, but it highlights the dangers of succumbing to “mob rule,” a system of radical egalitarian democracy that inevitably results in tyranny and violence. […]

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