I have been thinking a lot about the societal dangers of “bending the knee” to political violence or threats of violence. There has been a lot of talk about a group called “The Nordic Resistance Movement” recently, due to their planned demonstration having its permit pulled by the police. It had initially been given the green light by the police, but that decision was reversed. The reason given by the authorities was that they feared that violence might erupts. Counter-demonstrators (code words for violent left-wingers) has stated their intent to disrupt the event with violence.
Signals are important. I think it is extremely harmful for the health of the societal political discourse when violence and/or threats of violence are seen as effective tools in silencing your opposition. It is irrelevant what you think about the group that was going to speak. Personally, I only know what I’ve read about them in the mainstream press, in other words I have no credible neutral information about them. I thus have no opinion at the moment. Shouldn’t we as modern, Western, free and open societies encourage as many disparate voices as possible to take part in the debate? The group in question followed the rules, they applied for a permit and followed the process. Shouldn’t this be encouraged?
Instead what they got as a reward for playing by the rules was a firm “no” as a result of violent political opponents. Violence won the day. No-one can claim to be surprised if this pushes the group or elements within towards using violence themselves in the future. The signal sent to them is, violence gets respect from the police, being law-abiding doesn’t. The media and people should be up in arms over this. I’m often saddened over the lack of rigorous support for free speech. People lack the ability to think long term or about principles. This reminds me of the criticism heaped upon Western men by feminists. It baffles the mind why imaginary crimes like “mansplaining” or “manspreading” deserves more scrutiny than the barbaric oppression of women in Islamic countries. It is a manifestation of the same kind of thinking.
I finished Peder Jensen’s “Witness to Madness” earlier today. He is another example of someone that played by the rules and got attacked viciously for it. Following the terror attacks of 22/7/2011 in Norway, Jensen was singled out for hatred, due to the fact that some of his writings were quoted in the terrorist’s manifesto. Jensen went voluntarily to the police, wasn’t charged with anything and followed the norms of public discourse in engaging with newspapers. He was handsomely rewarded with mudslinging, hostile reporters and police acting extremely questionably. If I wanted to design a self-defeating system to push as many people as possible out of the mainstream the system we have would be close to perfect. Words like “radicalization” are apt.
Recent events have shown what happens when your own rules are used against you. The political left has for a long time worked outside formal and informal rules for political conduct. They are increasingly seeing their opponents adopting their own tactics. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t support actions such as the recent disruption of the “Julius Cæsar” play in New York. But this time I can’t blame the activists for their conduct. The poisonous atmosphere of political discourse that has resulted from numerous physical and verbal attack by the left were bound to have consequences. They are truly getting a taste of their own medicine. Smarter people than I have stated that we can’t hold ourselves to a higher standard than our opponents, if we do we are bound to lose. When the stakes are nothing less than the future of Western (human) civilization, it should be quite self-evident that our tactics must adapt to the circumstances.