There’s been a bit of a dust-up in the blogosphere lately over the assault of a pro-Bush blogger/demonstrator in Boston named Matt Margolis. Matt blogged about his experience here. One left-wing commenter responded to Matt’s post with the following:

Hitler had his beliefs, just like Matt has his. Sometimes violence is the only way to show people how devastatingly bad their ideas are. When society is so distraught about policy that individuals feel the need to take violent action, revolution is not only expected, but neccessary. I’m no union man, but I’d have probably taken a swing at you too.

This provoked a minor rant from Whomping Willow:

I am dumbfounded. I thought that was what civil discourse was for, but then again, I am assuming these people are civil. Bad assumption. Don’t you love people who claim that not only do they feel a certain way, but the entire society feels that way too and it’s only their ‘expected’ duty to act like stone age people and start beating the crap out of people who don’t fall into line?

I think the more revealing aspect of Hot Dem’s comment is what it tells us about when the left finds violence acceptable. Imagine, for example, a despot who oppresses the population of an entire nation. Women are raped. Children are murdered. Political opponents are fed into shredders or steamrolled underneath the asphalt of new road construction. Stipends are paid to the families of suicide bombers who kill and terrorize the innocent. The left’s response to such a despot is that we must negotiate. Endlessly. Using force against him without French permission is a violation of international law. If, hypothetically, the despot’s two sons were to be killed in a military engagement, we should put the soldiers who killed him up for war crimes.

But if someone dares to express a viewpoint that the left finds disagreeable, well then by gum it’s time for a bit of the old ultra-violence!

One other quick point for Hot Dem: You imply that you think a revolution is necessary. I disagree, but as Tolkien observed “it takes but one to start a war.” In revolutions the other side shoots back. I’ve got my gun. Do you have yours? Or would you rather go back to trying to convince people who disagree with you using words, like civilized people do?

Update: A few more thoughts.

First, I should probably refine my comment that the left is OK with using violence whenever a differing viewpoint is expressed. The hypothetical despot mentioned above expressed views that conflict with those of the left. It’s more precise to say that if someone expresses a viewpoint that poses a threat to the left’s desire for political dominance in the United States, then it’s time for a bit of the old ultra-violence.

Second, I wonder if Hot Dem would be willing to apply his stated principle symmetrically. If, for example, society is distraught about a policy that is a darling of the left (say abortion on demand), would that justify a right-wing anti-abortion activist physically assaulting a peaceful pro-choice demonstrator? My guess is no. After all, the left apparently gets to define who makes up “society”. A solid majority of the American public supported and still supports the Iraqi campaign. The president’s approval rating hovers around the 50% mark. To say that “society” is sufficiently distraught about his policies to justify physical violence is tantamount to defining those who disagree with the left out of society altogether.

It is precisely because a significant portion of society is not distraught about Bush’s policies that the left is slipping towards violence. They sense a real possibility that they will not prevail through peaceful persuasion, and so they’re starting to turn to violence as an alternative. I suppose one could say that the domestic left has learned the lesson of Madrid: it is possible to use violence directed against citizens to influence the outcome of elections.

22 Responses to “When the Left thinks force is OK”
  1. Ironbear says:

    Agreed. But don’t discount the leftista revolucionista’s ability to grab a gun – or find willing shooters – for the cause too glibly. Peru, Nicaragua, lots of other places just in South America, it’s happened. I’ve seen it up close a couple of times. It gets bloody. Guns hell – Guzman’s thugs liked the machete in the darkness.

    Dangerous people when we get to the level that we’re starting to see and read in this.

  2. Kyle Haight says:

    You’re right. I don’t want to dismiss the left’s ability to use violence effectively; as you note that’s been amply demonstrated in numerous left-wing insurgencies around the world. My hope was to get people to stop and think about the implications of what Hot Dem was saying. He basically came out and said that if the policies the left disapproves of aren’t changed, he thinks violence is an appropriate response up to and including the level of revolution (read ‘civil war’). That’s a profound rejection of the principle of democracy.

    You’re right that it’s scary to see this sort of thing happening in the United States. It reminds me a bit of incidents I’ve read about in Weimar Germany during Hitler’s rise to power.

  3. Leoy says:

    I hope the left is not that foolish as to go to armed revolt, but the level of animosity is approaching that of the 1850′s, so who knows what will occur.

  4. DaninVan says:

    i have to say that I’m a bit sickened by the hypocrisy of the Peace and Love messengers.
    Their inability to see themselves as others see them is painful to watch. I’m old enough to remember the violence directed at Anti-Vietnam protesters but it would appear that nothing was learned from that sad episode in your history. Our own (Canadian) history isn’t a hell of a lot better. The ‘Sons of Freedom’ violence in B.C., the Squamish 7…also in B.C., the FLQ bombings in Quebec, jeez, doesn’t it ever end?

  5. Ironbear says:

    “My hope was to get people to stop and think about the implications of what Hot Dem was saying. He basically came out and said that if the policies the left disapproves of aren’t changed, he thinks violence is an appropriate response up to and including the level of revolution (read ‘civil war’). That’s a profound rejection of the principle of democracy.” – Haight

    I saw it. And the implications. And my immediate reaction was yours: do a quick mental check on the rifle and the ammo locker. ;]

    It’s a holding action at this point, Kyle. We keep the fires burning. We keep illuminating the dangerous lunacies. And we pray – hard – that some form of sanity prevails. And we pray that those like Hot_Dem and some of the DU loonies *ARE* the “extreme”, not a growing norm. Because if they’re not…

    I keep remembering that Guzman was a left-wing college professor with high ideals. And that a lot of his cadre were upper-middle class idealistic college kids… and the end result was villages in the highlands macheted in the night: man, woman and child.

    Sorry guy. If I sound bleak, it’s because my thoughts run in depressing circles these days. I see too many paraellels, and I keep remembering the Latin American expression that “History is made from the barrel of a Winchester”.
    The fact that the idealistic puppies in the “peace movements” don’t see the connection between the rhetoric they shout and the blood that invariably follows scares the piss out of me some days.

    Guess maybe I’m too old for this shit, eh? ;)

  6. Ironbear says:

    Nope. Never seems to end, Danin. A pity, that.

  7. Aaron Margolis says:

    It’s great to see everyone helping to spread the work about how we were attacked by those union idiots… Thanks for getting the word out..

    Tyler, one of my writers for Pardon My English, wrote about the event here: http://www.pardonmyenglish.com/index.php?p=444

  8. Kyle Haight says:

    Ironbear: I used to think I was too young for this stuff, but I’m feeling older by the day. Even as a working adult, there’s still a powerful tendency to think that somewhere else there’s someone who makes sure the world stays basically sane and safe. Eventually it becomes apparent that even the people at the ‘top’ are just muddling through as best they can. That means we as individuals can never ignore our responsibility for preserving civilization. At bottom, there isn’t anybody else. And if we don’t value civilization enough to protect it when threatened, how can we expect other people to value it enough to protect it for us?

    That’s why one of the things that really scares me is the left’s dominance of the educational system. There’s a saying that each generation is faced with a barbarian invasion in the form of its own children. The educational system is supposed to be one of civilizations’ major lines of defense; its purpose is to assimilate children and teach them the values of the civilization they are joining. Today the educational system is largely in the hands of the barbarians, and instead of teaching children to value the good in our culture it is teaching them to hate and oppose it.

  9. Ironbear says:

    No problems, Aaron. I added a link to the chain over at our site also. Maybe some of our readers wil spread it a bit farther. All two of them. ;)

    Oh yeah, I hear ya Kyle. I learned to my dismay a long time ago that we’re all really just wandering through life in the dark, bumping into the sharp corners, and snarling at each other when it hurts. The people up at the top just have sharper corners to bump into, and when they snarl at each other, it means more than just bruised knuckles…

    That doesn’t stop me from snarking at the political idiocies. It just means that I recognise that they’re just people, too. Sometimes that’s spookier in and of itself than if there really was some vast conspiracy. Picture your batty old uncle or dotty aunt in the hot seat, and you know what I mean. ;)

    “That’s why one of the things that really scares me is the left’s dominance of the educational system. There’s a saying that each generation is faced with a barbarian invasion in the form of its own children. The educational system is supposed to be one of civilizations’ major lines of defense” – Kyle

    Well, it’s long established tradition that if you want to control a populace, you control the education system and the media. I can’t really fault them for following the tactical doctrine. It’s not to the mainstreams credit that we allowed it to happen almost without a fight.

    It *may* be to our credit if we can successfully avoid letting it go unchallenged. That reamians to be seen. And yes, I am including us “small L” libertarians like me in that “We” with the conservative middle and the classic liberal moderates: we all have more in common than a lot of Left/Right pundits allow.

  10. Kyle Haight says:

    There are some signs of counterinsurgency in the school system: the rise of vocal conservative college groups, organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, proposals like David Horowitz’ Academic Bill of Rights, the rapid growth of home schooling, school choice, charter schools, voucher experiments and the like. I meet more people all the time who have concluded that the educational system isn’t underfunded, it’s fundamentally broken and requires deep structural reform. If convincing people there’s a problem is half the battle then we’re making progress. There’s still a world of work to do, though.

  11. Phil Winsor says:

    Random thoughts for discussion:

    Education system- Is it possible that young people are smarter than we think? Despite the long hold on primary and secondary education by the Left in the US (and probably most of the world), why are today’s college students increasingly identifying with conservative/Republican ideals? And rejecting left/Democratic?

    Revolution-Conventional wisdom says that Republicans support gun ownership, while Democrats reject it. A corollary from this would be that more Republicans own guns than Democrats; perhaps a significantly greater number?
    Another question- which side would the US military likely take?

    Armed revolution in other countries vs the US- Is private firearms ownership in the US vastly greater than in those other countries? IMO, yes, making it difficult to draw comparisons between them. Also, the actual quality of life of most Americans vs that of the populations of the countries mentioned by Ironbear.

    Based on the above, if correct, a large increase in firearms purchase could indicate that the Left has decided to stock up for the revolution. I imagine we could find the stats that will help make an informed judgment on that question.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I agree that the Left is sliding (make that already there) down the slippery slope into Moonbat territory, but remember: despite their apparent idiocy, they are humans with brains, and as such MAY be dangerous. We need to keep our guard up and powder dry, because the day of reckoning is approaching.

  12. Anne Haight says:

    Based on the above, if correct, a large increase in firearms purchase could indicate that the Left has decided to stock up for the revolution. I imagine we could find the stats that will help make an informed judgment on that question.

    I’m not certain that such an analysis would be useful. Political affiliation is not one of the piece of information collected when someone purchases a gun (nor should it be). I recall reading that 9-11 resulted in a sharp surge in gun purchases, and it’s not hard to understand why.

    But I would not necessarily conclude that those people were all Republican, or all Democrat for that matter. So while it’s an interesting thought, I don’t think that a spike in gun purchases, per se could lead to any conclusion about the political affiliation of the buyer, or even necessarily their motives.

    Also, and this is sheer random speculation on my part, I would not be particularly surprised if any actual effort to “stock up” by leftists were undertaken off the radar of the legal gun purchase system. I forsee that they would abuse the privileges of various gun dealers who happen to be leftists, and acquire a stockpile in that way (as it is illegal in the US for anyone but a licensed dealer to own more than 1 of the same kind of gun — that constitutes an armory somehow).

    I can also foresee a more straightforward illegal method of acquisition, which is gun smuggling by organized crime. For some reason I think that the leftists would favor AK-47s (the preferred weapon of the oppressed masses), and those are not easy to acquire in the US, legally or otherwise.

  13. Phil Winsor says:

    Thanks for the comments, Anne.

    First of all, you are correct. The Form 2458 does not ask political orientation, and even if it did,(nor should it) this info is not reported to the BATF until/unless a crime is reported for a weapon the dealer has sold (BTW, I am an FFL holder) or the dealer goes out of business. Then, supposedly, the records are sent to the BATF for archival, and are not supposed to be entered into a database.
    What I was thinking was analysis based on locations where weapons were sold, as by state. It may be possible to infer that a spike in sales in CA or MA, for instance, might be a valid indicator. I’m grasping at straws, here, which is why I’m using so many qualifiers. Another potential indicator would be increase in shooting club memberships in liberal states. After all, it takes more than just going out and buying a gun to become proficient in its use, especially for long range shots. (I’m talking in excess of 50 yards, which would be considered long range for the vast majority of non- or new shooters). I am also not looking for conclusions, but indicators. For instance, spikes in gun purchases, coupled with increasingly heated rhetoric from the Left, would cause me to increase my supply of ammo on hand by several orders of magnitude.

    The Left could certainly make use of the “gun show loophole” (another incident of leftist propaganda) and purchase their firearms that way, but they would be in for a surprise when they tried to buy from a dealer at a show and found they had to go through the instant check first.

    As for using leftist gun dealers to obtain their “arsenal” (far better to buy one or two weapons, and a shitload of ammo for the both, and become expert on them, than own one of each type of weapon) how would they know a dealer was left-leaning? And isn’t a “leftist gun dealer” an oxymoron? I would certainly guess that a majority are conservative. Don’t forget, they are business(wo)men first.

    It is possible to purchase civilian versions of the AK-47 and its derivatives without resorting to Mafia smuggling (with the exception of CA & MA, and maybe others). Once you have one, it is very easy to convert one to full auto ONLY– with a minimum of mechanical skills and a file. Of course, the problem with full auto AKs (or most auto weapons, for that matter) is that if you are lucky, the first round might be on target- the rest might kill any birds flying by, but will more likely result in an empty magazine and plenty of holes in the sky.
    I do not believe the law you mention is a federal one, but may be state-related. A visit to Kim du Toit’s blog should illustrate that. I know it is not the case in VT.

  14. Mithras says:

    This is a really funny thread. Self-described “freepers” exchange words (which words were they, pray? I am sure the freepers were all very polite and used no profanity or insults) with union members and one of them takes a swing at them. One freeper gets his glasses broken, and another gets a scraped knee and a cut on his face.

    Clearly, reprehensible. Several liberal bloggers have said so. But really, no big deal. But suddenly the right is all like, “Another civil war in the offing!” Okaaaay.

    Why is it that conservatives always need to feel like they’re being repressed? It’s especially odd given that your adherents control all three branches of government.

  15. Kyle Haight says:

    My primary reaction was to Hot Dem’s comment, which specifically raised the specter of revolution. So I don’t think it’s too surprising to see the prospect being discussed. I do think the recent posts seeking signals that violent left revolution is imminent are going overboard.

    To the extent that liberals are also condemning this action, I support them. Force has no place in political debate, and it’s good to know that many of the people I disagree with politically also understand that.

    With respect to your closing comments, I often find myself wondering the same thing about the left. Leftists spend a hell of a lot of time bitching and moaning about oppression and fascism in America, when frankly their complaints are grossly overblown at best.

    I suspect this has something to do with David Horowitz’ 6th principle of political war: victory lies on the side of the people. This principle is generally implemented by trying to identify one’s position with the interests of the perceived underdog. Both political parties do this, and so do their adherents. Putting the point more bluntly, it’s easier to fire up supporters if your cause is presented as a crusade for justice. If you need to win a political victory to obtain justice, then it follows logically that the status quo ante is ipso facto unjust.

  16. Blogs for Bush says:

    I Now Have Even More Resolve

    The past few days have been interesting to say the least. I have to say I never expected the incident that occurred Thursday night (known now on the Blogosphere as “The Margolis Incident”) would have been such a huge story…

  17. David Foster says:

    The reference to Weimar Germany is an important one. Most people tend to think of Naziism as it was after gaining control of the German government. But long before achieving power, the Nazi party used thuggish behavior to intimidate political opponents.

    In the U.S., we have already seen economic power used by the left to intimidate opponents..many people in universities are afraid to speak their true opinions for fear of career retaliation. It’s not surprising that some leftists would also try to justify physical intimidation.

  18. Leftie says:

    Mithras is correct. The real victims are the Left here. Sure its wrong to punch a freeper. But more wrong to send it out to be mouthed by the corporate-right blogspere.

  19. Anne Haight says:

    That’s a pretty pathetic troll, Leftie. You want to try again with something a little less obvious?

  20. Sigivald says:

    Anne Haight said: “(as it is illegal in the US for anyone but a licensed dealer to own more than 1 of the same kind of gun — that constitutes an armory somehow).”

    What Mr. Winsor said; I know of no Federal law prohibiting such a thing (indeed, many gun collectors own a dozen or more of the “same kind” of gun, be it a P-08 Luger or a 1911 Colt or whatnot.).

    I’m further not aware of any state banning the practice (nor do I believe such a statute would withstand a 2nd Amendment challenge), though that’s no guarantee one doesn’t exist. (IANAL, but I do try to follow the state of US gun laws…)

    I guess I’d better buy a second 1911 before such a law is passed! (And does an 1890 model Nagant count as the same type of gun as an M44? So confusing!)

  21. Anne Haight says:

    Well, can anyone out there clarify this? That’s a piece of “common knowledge” that I’ve had forever, although I don’t know the origin of the belief. I’m sure I could be full of crap.

  22. Phil Winsor says:

    After a careful search of the BATF regs online and the NRA web site, I can report the following:
    No federal law exists limiting the number of firearms a private citizen may own (assuming the citizen is not prohibited by law from owning any firearm).
    However, multiple purchases of handguns in less than 30 days must be reported, but are not prohibited.

    There may be state laws on the books addressing an “armory” but they are probably subject to interpretation by the authorities as to what is an “armory”. I remember a case several (10? 15?)years ago where someone was charged with maintaining an armory (memories that far back are hazy), and I believe he was aquitted. Any amplification from other readers out there?

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