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Republican Weakness Taught Democrats Power Works Better Than Persuasion

Leftist mobs’ demonstrations depend upon the acquiescence of those in official positions of authority.


The point of displays of power is, well, to display power. This is why, when liberals complain about the tactics deployed by their leftist allies, they are missing the point. Of course, riots, roadblocks, and the like are not persuasive in the sense of being rational arguments. Rather, they are exercises of power, and power has a persuasiveness all of its own.

Power provides reasons for compliance regardless of whether its cause is reasonable. Thus, the Jew-hating, terrorist-supporting mobs currently in the streets and on campuses may achieve their ends without convincing anyone. Intimidation often works as well as argument, if not better.

What they are demonstrating is not the righteousness of their cause, but that they have the power to work their will, from driving Jews off Columbia University’s campus to shutting down roads and bridges with no real consequences.

These efforts, of course, depend upon the acquiescence of those in official positions of authority, such as mayors, prosecutors, and university presidents, and securing this compliance is itself a further demonstration of power the radical left wields.

Leftists are granted far more leeway to disrupt, intimidate, and assault, and the consequences, if and when they finally come, tend to be minimal. Imagine the rapid, severe response if major roads and bridges in New York and San Francisco were blockaded by pro-lifers or gun-rights advocates. Contrast the relentless prosecutions of those involved (even marginally) with the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and the leniency toward those who participated in the far more destructive Black Lives Matter riots of the previous summer.

As has been noted, this is not hypocrisy, but hierarchy. Leftists are allowed to break the rules, from violating student codes of conduct to committing felonies. It is possible these tactics will provoke an electoral backlash — liberal worries about leftist radicalism being self-sabotaging are reasonable. But an effective response would either require liberals to find a spine, or Republicans to become competent after regaining power. Neither seems likely.

On the first, the disorder is largely in deep-blue enclaves because most Democrat leaders, from Joe Biden on down, believe leftists and Jew-haters are essential parts of their electoral coalition. Thus, just as with the 2020 riots, they are slow to respond, and when they do, the punishments meted out to participants are weak at best.

Republicans might be able to turn this into an effective campaign issue. But they need to learn to effectively use the vast powers of the executive branch. After all, Donald Trump tweeted about law and order during the 2020 riots, but he didn’t impose it, even after federal buildings, including the White House, were besieged by violent mobs. The president does not have jurisdiction everywhere, but he could have done much more to at least defend federal property and personnel.

Dominating the Public Square

Thus, both pusillanimous Democrats and impotent Republicans confirm the power of left-wing radicals and that public spaces de facto belong to them. The failure of those in authority to enforce the rules gives leftist cadres permission to hurt the rest of us whenever they want — which they always will; today it is hatred for Israel and Jews, before that it was climate change, before that it was Black Lives Matter, and so on.

If leftists are given a free pass to threaten, destroy, and assault, they will always find another excuse to do so. And they won’t bother with rational persuasion when they can persuade through intimidation. The world isn’t a polite debating society in which resorting to threats and violence is an automatic forfeit; rather, shutting down debate is often an effective way to win.

Force can make arguments irrelevant, and dominating the public square can allow a minority to be in control, even in a democracy. Most people are not eager to volunteer to be targeted by radicals. And violent and destructive tactics tend to escalate and spread if not forcefully stopped.

Such methods are not repulsive to everyone. Power is alluring, and people have a natural, self-preserving instinct to want to ally with (or at least not antagonize) it. Getting away with breaking the rules can be fun, even exhilarating. Add the cruel pleasures of bullying and the invigorating fury of a supposedly righteous cause, and it is easy to see why so many people with nothing better to do are eager to join the mob.

And once it is established that crimes committed in the name of a particular cause will be overlooked, criminals will embrace that cause. This was particularly evident during the BLM riots — it was no coincidence that the men Kyle Rittenhouse shot in self-defense were all white scumbags out looking for trouble.

Prosecuting people who dare to defend themselves and others (e.g. Daniel Penny) further entrenches the power dynamic, as it reinforces that citizens must rely for protection on authorities who are indifferent and incompetent at best.

Conservative Response

In contrast to the feckless liberals who allow this, the conservative response must be to vigorously enforce the law wherever we have jurisdiction. Thankfully, we see some Republican-led states doing that by promptly breaking up Jew-hating campus mobs and their illegal encampments.

Conservatives must avoid the temptation to write off the disorder in Democrat-run cities and campuses as a fitting self-inflicted punishment on their residents. Yes, many of them did indeed vote for this (though there are also millions of conservatives stuck in blue states and cities). But the best way to change that is to offer a real alternative, especially when a Republican is in the White House. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of 2020, with plentiful tweets about law and order but insufficient follow-through.

The next Republican administration should instead vigorously enforce the law, including by prosecuting federal crimes committed by radical leftists while Democrats held power. Just going after these criminals with half the effort that Biden’s administration has put into punishing every granny who wandered into the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot would significantly reduce our nation’s endemic leftist violence.

Likewise, future Republican presidents should use civil rights laws for their legitimate legal purposes — such as not allowing mobs to drive Jews off of college campuses. This will be a welcome contrast to Biden, who wants to hijack civil rights laws to put a man in every girls’ locker room. And, of course, Republicans should make reforming our corrupt, incompetent education system a top priority.

Strong conservative governance will force liberals to own their tacit endorsements of leftist violence, criminality, and disorder, as well as the ideologically captured education system that feeds them. If not — if conservatives are unable to get serious about governing for the common good — then we will be ruled by those who hate us.

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