The Left’s Right to Silence Dissent
Trump’s first two weeks have been, if not especially interesting, predictably exciting. A pattern has already begun to emerge: Trump attempts to carry out one of the promises on which he successfully campaigned for the White House, and his measures are met with criticism, abuse, and public rioting. It will be some time before we can know whether this pattern is merely a temporary panic attack or one that holds for the duration of his term in office.
By now my readers probably do not need to be told that the Bill of Rights does not protect people who riot, interrupt business, intimidate participants in public discussion, destroy property, or generally act out their compulsive jerkitude. Even a peaceful demonstration in favor of a good cause, such as the defense of innocent life, should not be permitted to infringe upon the everyday business of other people or cost the taxpayers a single penny for added police protection. The anti-war and civil rights protests of the 1960’s were exercises in low-level treason and insurgency and should have been put down with bayonets or Napoleon’s famous “whiff of grapeshot.”
The failure of American governments to respond properly did not so much indicate weakness of will as lack of principle and a tendency to side with the rioters. The exceptions—responsible leaders like Mayor Daley and Sam Hayakawa at San Francisco State—were tough men of the old school.
A good way, perhaps the only serious way to approach the current disorders is to ask: What would Machiavelli say? I think the wise Florentine would tell us something like this:
“Look again at the first amendment in your Bill of Rights. What does it say about protests? “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Why did this provision have to be included?
The answer is simple for anyone who as studied the history of England or pre-revolutionary America. English kings, like Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, had a nasty habit of responding to petitions by locking up the presenters of the petition in the Tower. The Roundhead Parliament, far more tyrannical than the king (Charles I) they were accusing of tyranny, followed suit. As the revolutionary movement in the colonies began to come to a head, the British government made similar attempts to crack down on the press and restrict the expression of political dissent.
While the Constitution was being debated, many Americans demanded the rights of political expression and public dissent that autocratic rulers had always attempted to deny. The protestors today, far from being dissenters from publicly imposed orthodoxy, are the walking talking automata created by an autocratic regime that exercises a virtual monopoly over the expression of opinion. The regime controls all the media that shape opinion—education, the press, entertainment—and has forged them into a national—in fact international—ideology that allows for no dissent.
Listen to the slogans mouthed by the so-called protestors: “No wall, no borders, no nation,” which is a neat summary of the official position of big capitalism (the Wall Street Journal) and big socialism (the New York Times). Nations, communities, regions, cultures, even families no longer exist, only abstracted individuals who bear rights created by the regime as a means of enslaving them. Or “reproductive rights,” which means, of course, the right not to reproduce, a right that can only be exercised when a mother decides to murder her own child in the name of sexual freedom, women’s rights, and—most seriously—the right to crawl upon the earth without really being alive in any human sense.
These demonstrators are, in fact, the bullying agents of a regime that will tolerate no dissent and no opposition. The big message of equality has been so engrained in them by the regime’s employees—uneducated teachers, professors and journalists—that they cannot imagine any moral or political opinion that would differ in the slightest degree from the slogans that have been poured into their minds stunted by propaganda.”
Thank you, Niccolò, for speaking the plain truth. A fastidious observer might object: “But surely, this President is an inept buffoon, whose tirades, tweets, and temper tantrums justify public outcry.” In other words, because our President is a boor, it is my civic duty to be even more boorish and join a group of thugs who are trying to silence dissent? This is nonsense. If Trump had all the political skills of Margaret Thatcher combined with the suavity and aplomb of an experienced diplomat, the reaction to his policies would be the same.
No, Donald’s crude manners and the absurdities of some of his leading advisors are irrelevant. For good and ill, this barbaric billionaire is standing up to an absolutist regime that has destroyed all the institutions of civilized life and was poised, after eight years of dictatorship, to impose the Thousand Year Reich. I cannot imagine that Trump or—more importantly—his collaborators and supporters—can come even close to reversing the revolution against all things human, but God bless them for trying.