In light of the tragic events of this weekend, it is important (as President Trump says) to condemn hate and extremism in all its forms. It is equally important to put matters in their proper context. On Saturday 12th August 2017 a beautiful young woman called Heather Heyer was killed when a car (apparently driven deliberately) crashed into her during a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States.
A suspect has been arrested for the crime and if guilty, they will pay. Even so, how did things reach this stage? Neo-nazis and Ku Klux Klan members like those in Charlottesville used to be laughed at as a pathetic and irrelevant fringe – a sort of far-right live action roleplay group in their weird costumes.
I believe that the answer lies in the legitimisation of violence and intimidation by members of the anti-free-speech, far-left, “Social Justice Warrior” movement and their organisations such as ANTIFA. As a society we need to end extremist left-wing radicalisation of our youth and this may require laws to curb the excesses of those on the far left as well as the far right who contribute to any promotion of violence.
On April 15 of this year, violent riots broke out at Berkeley when black-clad far left thugs associated with the ANTIFA organisation (self described “anti fascists”) caused mayhem along with $100,000 of property damage. The protestors were ostensibly aggrieved at a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, an openly gay right-wing journalist and agitator. Needless to say, the property damaged did not belong to Yiannopoulos but to the campus. The main victims were not, “Nazis” but innocent students, the majority of whom could not care less about either side.
The events were part of a broader trend of rising violence and intolerance in the United States and Europe, fuelled by extremist leftists – predominantly students and unemployed recent graduates. University culture has shifted over the years, to the extent that even the Guardian Newspaper has criticised the trend, stating that “voices are being silenced”.
Equally sinister, as noted in the Guardian, left-wing student activists are increasingly describing offensive words and images, as “violence” – even a statue of Cecil Rhodes. This redefinition of words or even inanimate statues as “violence” is then used to justify a literally violent response.
The consequences were seen recently at Mizzou University and Evergreen College. Both campuses erupted in violence, followed by recriminations and a marked drop in student enrolment in each case. In each case, at least some faculty were blamed for encouraging and inflaming matters. One such example was Melissa Click at Mizzou, who was sacked for her part in the violence.
Leftist intolerance of free speech has, only recently, been exposed as making victims and witnesses afraid to speak out about child abuse when the perpetrators are non-caucasian. The effect has been so extreme that after a recent case of racially motivated rapes of white girls in Newcastle, the UK Solicitor General Robert Buckland called for tougher sentences.
In all of these diverse cases, the root of the violence was institutional left-wing hatred for freedom of speech. The very ugliness and obvious unfairness of the SJW left contains the seeds of their destruction. The take-home message from Mizzou was that many ordinary non-political students were frightened by the left-wing violence. The same fear and resentment is felt when young people cannot wear fancy dress costumes for fear of being assaulted on campus for “cultural appropriation”.
The left wing culture of lawless, hysterical overreaction to controversial wrongs they call, “micro-aggressions” has made people fear them. But fear is a two edged sword – when people fear things they strike back as they can, openly or in private – such as in the ballot box. To a person just shoved into a wall or harassed by left-wingers for some imagined grievance, the rhetoric of the right can gain a new credibility. Only the deformed madness of the SJW left could make dressing up in a pointy white sheet appealing.
Normal people mostly did not go to the rally in Charlottesville this weekend. Those present were journalists, members of the far-right and members of the violent extremist left. Violence was an inevitable possibility.
No doubt, over the coming days, perpetrators will be identified but sending a lone madman or extremist to prison will not address the root causes of the problem. Instead, the United States and Europe must accept that our universities are afflicted by a cancer within – a self-regarding echo chamber of left-wingers who no longer accept the concept of a pluralistic democracy.
Free speech is an important right and an intolerant minority of academics must not be allowed to undermine it or condone violence. In memory of Heather Heyer, we need new laws to combat campus extremism starting with the far left. A failure to do so will lead to a far more divided society, more extremists and more tragic, avoidable deaths.