Antifa Violence and Conservative Silence
Antifa Violence and Conservative Silence
Antifa has struck again in Berkeley, literally.
The function of terrorism is to create fear that leads to a change in human behavior. Fear makes people willing to exchange their customs, habits, and freedoms for a feeling of safety.
B. F. Skinner didn’t have to shock rats for us to know this. Humans have understood the manipulative power of fear for eons. And violent Antifa members, like the white-supremacists in Charlottesville, deeply understand the power of fear.
According to WaPo and the AP, Antifa members attacked peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley this past Sunday. The peaceful demonstrators were outnumbered. Here’s a video of five Antifa members pounding a man into the pavement:
Antifa beat down apparent alt-righter. pic.twitter.com/WVdDJqLKmA
— Shane Bauer (@shane_bauer) August 27, 2017
Here’s a video of Antifa members shoving and pouring urine on a retreating demonstrator:
Here is a video showing how Antifa members attacked Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer:
Gibson has denounced racism and was apparently unarmed and retreating, but the attack still happened.
Antifa violence and other far-left violence has a recent history in Berkeley. In February, UC Berkeley officials had to issue a “shelter in place” order when 150 rioters caused mayhem and $100,000 in property damages during an otherwise peaceful protest. At that time, a Syrian Muslim was maced and beaten because he looked like a Nazi.
And then there was the young man who took a bike lock to the head in April.
So why use violence against the peaceful to create fear? What behavioral effect do they want to create with fear?
I can tell you personally that the fear is supposed to create silence.
Antifa’s fear-mongering agenda has impacted me. I have been scared into silence in my own town. As a conservative living in the Bay Area, I deeply hate and denounce white-supremacist and neo-nazi ideology. I condemn the racist events in Charlottesville. I’m non-violent. I do not align politically with the alt-right. I don’t spew hate speech. But none of that matters. Where I live, I’m still at risk to be physically attacked if I talk about my beliefs. Other Bay Area conservatives feel the same way.
Recently, conservative pundit Ben Shapiro announced he was going to give a talk at Berkeley in September. My husband and I are big fans of Ben and the Daily Wire, but just standing in line to see the talk would be enough of a statement about our beliefs to put us in physical danger. I told my husband we shouldn’t go.
“I think we should go,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because we should stand up for what we believe in, and we should support others who stand up for what we believe in, even when it’s dangerous.”
My husband was right. Remaining silent out of fear would only contribute to the violent far-left’s goal of making conservatives be quiet. If we stay home from the talk, we will be helping Antifa undermine free speech. That’s not a good thing. If free speech continues to be undermined because of the threat of violence against the peaceful, the rest of America is going to start looking a lot like Berkeley, CA.
So, if we’re able, we’re going to go to the talk. We will be kind, peaceful, and we’ll pray that the Berkeley police will protect us and anyone else who is non-violent.
In the words of David French at National Review, we have entered a time where “political tribalism [has] trumped human decency,” “[blind] hatred for Trump” has perhaps inspired liberals to “romanticize violence,” and “a combination of cowardice and political correctness” has allowed violent mobs to have more control over the streets than police.
We cannot be afraid. We cannot obey masked combatants who cry “Silence!” while threatening us with foul liquids and blunt objects. If we do, the values we hold dear are lost. We must speak up for our beliefs despite the threat of violence.
Conservatives must be brave. It’s not the time for silence.