I try to stay off Twitter on April first. The jokes are rarely as good as their authors think, which is why the Internet Rage Machine attack unleashed on the Memories Pizza parlor in Indiana couldn’t have happened on a worse day. This had to be a joke, right?
Sadly, it wasn’t. It was a custom-made moral panic story perfectly tuned to stroke the egos and ideological erogenous zones of Washington and New York’s media classes. It was a perfect opportunity to play their Red State Haters narrative at full volume. Of course, we’re locked in the Stupid Spiral now, talking about this instead of the news of a Democratic U.S. senator being indicted for corruption or of Hillary Clinton destroying evidence under subpoena, or of Barack Obama willing to sell his soul for a bad nuclear deal with a gleeful Iran.
As with immigration, race, abortion, guns, income inequality, and a host of other topics, I’m reminded that gay marriage and religious liberty questions will never be resolved in the eyes of liberals. A large segment of the Left wants their vote-driver issues to never, ever be in the rear-view. There is no shining city ahead for them, just an endless arena of raw, almost inchoate rage and complaint. Their entire model is predicated on the creation and maintenance of grievance demographics, and the latest flavor is the hypothetical oppression of gay couples in contrived scenarios in tiny Indiana pizza shops. Oh, this one will fade soon, but the sense that these fights are getting louder, and uglier, is troubling.
Political Violence Is Never Okay
At some point, the social-justice warrior crowd is going to incite their people into something more than Ferguson or Occupy or Internet harassment. At some point, their fanatic desire to erase God from the hearts and minds and actions of red America will cross a threshold. Someday, in some town, a Christian shopkeeper who becomes the focus of the 4chan or Reddit Rage Machine will be killed by some militant atheist or black bloc kid or some other flavor of crazy. That day, their rage won’t come from the click of a mouse, but from the barrel of a gun.
On that day, instead of reacting with horror and disgust, someone important enough in their social-justice-warrior universe–be it a political figure, a celebrity, or just a popular activist–will say something like, “I abhor violence, but…”
On the day that “but” becomes acceptable on the Left, it’s a ratchet that turns only one way. When political violence becomes mainstreamed, it infects a society quickly. It’s a short, quick slide into hell. The tolerance crowd will read that scenario and explode with denials. They’re never going to call for violence. Leftism is a peaceful religion. (Sound familiar?)
Sorry, kids. The twentieth century (really, every century) is replete with examples of the boundaries of civilization fraying when the cause of the day made religiously or ideologically driven violence acceptable. In almost every case, the owners of the dominant share of cultural and social power did let it happen there. I fear that even here, even now we’re not beyond it.
It’s Reprehensible to Punish Thoughtcrime
If, following a breathless media report, it’s okay to destroy the business of someone who objects to you or your lifestyle on religious grounds, why not burn their home down? Does someone like that really deserve to have a place to live? Why not torch his cars? His kids are allowed in school? Hell, why not drag those hateful, homophobic bigots outside and hang them, pour encourager les autres? Of course, it couldn’t happen here, says America’s justice-warrior class, “We just want you to stop having Wrong Thoughts.”
The Rage Machine’s footsoldiers are unable to imagine consequence, or accountability–and it shows. They’ve been told what the Wrong Thoughts are and, by Tyson, they’re going to punish the people who hold them. You might think some vestigial moral center of the Left would rein in their vanguard, but as in so many cases before, they’re hiding behind the “it can’t happen here” argument. It resonates well in their minds–and with their media enablers.
I imagine that promise sits less comfortably with the uneasy ghosts of Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Armenia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and a hundred other less-known excursions into correcting the Wrong Thoughts of the Wrong People.