by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
This past weekend, my brother and his girlfriend came out to visit and it once again reminded me of what really matters in life. I’ve noticed that having friends and family in town forces someone like me to disconnect from the 24/7 news cycle more than usual, which I always find to be extraordinarily healthy.
On the few occasions that I checked in with Twitter, it seemed as if half the stream was yelling hysterically about antifa and the other half was fear-mongering about neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Both groups seemed utterly deranged and intent on fostering the very destructive environment they claim to be fighting. As I’ve made clear since I started writing many years ago, I’m completely against violent solutions to our problems. It doesn’t make a difference to me whether that violence comes from insecure white dudes with swastika tattoos, or cowardly “anti-facsists” dressed up like video game ninja characters assaulting people. Why does it seems so difficult for people to just condemn both groups for the unconscious goons they are without picking a side.
One especially concerning thing I’ve noticed recently, is a push by many of those who would self-identify on the “right” end of the political spectrum for the government to identify antifa as a terrorist group. I couldn’t think of a more idiotic strategy if I tried — unless your goal is to give Trump, or whoever comes next, an excuse to further entrench and institutionalize our already existing and unconstitutional surveillance state. As I noted on Twitter:
This foolish drive to popularize a categorical use of the word “terrorist” to domestic groups you don’t like, reminded me of an article by Jonathan Turley published last week in The Hill.
He accurately notes that misguided people on both sides of the political spectrum are now playing this extremely dangerous game. Here’s some of what he noted:
Yet, the racist protesters in Virginia had a permit to march and Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas denounced the violence on both sides. That raises the question of whether the presence of a “criminal element” on either side is enough (when combined with extreme views) to meet a new evolving definition of terrorism. Some have insisted that Nazi rallies are inherently threatening to public safety and terrorizing to various groups. The clear message is that politicians want these groups not simply denounced for hate speech but declared actual terrorists.
Conversely, over 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Trump administration to formally recognize the Antifa movement as a terrorist organization. The petition states, “Terrorism is defined as ‘the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims.’ This definition is the same definition used to declare ISIS and other groups, as terrorist organizations. Antifa has earned this title due to its violent actions in multiple cities and their influence in the killings of multiple police officers throughout the United States. It is time for the Pentagon to be consistent in its actions — and just as they rightfully declared ISIS a terror group, they must declare Antifa a terror group — on the grounds of principle, integrity, morality, and safety.”
A similar movement has called for Black Lives Matters to be declared domestic terrorists for the violence seen at various protests. There is a striking similarity in the rationales for declaring both sides to be terrorists. Neither side is willing to recognize, let alone respect, the right of the other side to free speech regardless of the content of their views. For years, some of us have been warning about a dangerous tide sweeping over Europe as Western countries in the criminalization of speech deemed offensive or insulting while banning whole groups deemed hateful. The West is losing faith, and patience, with free speech.
It has not worked, as history has consistently shown. Germany criminalizes symbols like the swastika or Holocaust denials. Neo-Nazis however continue to flourish and simply slightly altered their symbols and salutes. France, England and other countries routinely prosecute people for expressing views deemed hateful, but both extremism and terrorism continue unabated. The reason is simple. The enforced silence produced by these laws is purely superficial. It does not stop extreme views or change minds, it merely forces it below the surface.
As shown by Europe (and Canada), criminalizing of speech places countries on a slippery slope toward what the Framers feared as the “tyranny of the majority.” It becomes an insatiable and satisfying appetite for those who want to simply silence opposing views. For their part, politicians want to show voters that they feel their anger by declaring unpopular groups “terrorists” or unpopular speech crimes. If you are not with those declaring the other side terrorists, you look like you are not sufficiently appalled or opposed to their views.
Street violence appears to be a burgeoning problem, but it’s extremely short-sighted and counterproductive to respond to it by begging the feds to call whatever violent group you happen to dislike more than the other, “terrorists.” The U.S. government and the oligarchs largely in control of it would love for this to happen. It’ll allow them to crack down on all dissent as harshly as they’d like by eventually calling all protest “terrorism.” This seemingly has been the game plan for many years, and many seem to be falling for this trap hook, line and sinker.
I implore everybody to please stop this sort of commentary. If you encourage the federal government to increasingly label domestic groups terrorists, you won’t like the end result. Calling someone a terrorist dehumanizes them, and will give the bad actors with actual power (unlike neo-Nazis and antifa) an excuse to exercise increasingly brutal repression measures. Before long, it won’t just be the violent groups you dislike labeled “terrorists,” but anyone at all who voices dissent at our genuinely oppressive and corrupt neo-feudal society.
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