If you have access to a cable news network, or, in fact, one of those annoying (but necessary) apps that pings you notifications regarding the latest on-goings in the world, then you will have noticed last night the Donald Trump Rally in Chicago was cancelled.
While individuals on the left-hand side of the divide jumped in jubilation, to varying degrees, individuals in the center, and most definitely the right, gnashed their teeth in agitation. For the cancellation of the rally represents a growing problem amongst the so-called “progressive” movement.”
“Progressives” call for diversity. They want to hear you if you are marginalized, oppressed, or at the mercy of “institutional racism.” They call for diversity of skin color, diversity of race, diversity of gender, and diversity of class. But it seems the most vital diversity required for a well-functioning society with checks and balances is often swept under the rug, or thrown into the fires of “progress”: the diversity of intellectual opinion. It’s fine and well if you believe what is common speak amongst the group. But don’t you dare voice a differing opinion. It’s a strangely disturbing phenomenon. It seems that students and young people on The Left are unable to ingest narratives that clash with the ones they hold near and dear to their hearts, and what their highly Left-leaning professors have taught them.
What seems most ironic is that many commentators pointed out that the protesters, (which were apparently well organized Bernie supporters, University of Illinois at Chicago students, and Black Lives Matter members), “were protesters exercising their free speech and first amendment rights.” You may not like what Trump has to say, and the way in which he riles up a frenzy in his supporters. You may think that he’s a megalomaniacal jackass who’s not consistent on any issues. You may know, for fact, he openly encourages violence at his rallies and has called for protesters to be “punched” and “roughed up.” You may think he’s a racist fascist. But resorting to fascist tactics in your own response is certainly not the way to go — and that is definitely what factions of “Progressives” are guilty of. These behaviors trample on the fabric of western enlightenment values, upon which we’ve built the great societies in which we live — and also strengthen Trump’s position with the mildew-eyed masses who lap up his rhetoric. The very same masses who will now use the cancellation of his rally in Chicago as another blow on the figurative stake which solidifies their position — and their votes for Trump.
And yes, Free Speech does allow individuals and groups to protest against the speech of others without the worry of retribution to follow — specifically from the government. But there is a fine line between protesting, and the way “Progressives” consistently use heckling and hounding to force conservative opponents into submission.
This is intolerance from the “Progressive” movement. And we are all slowly coming to realize it and see it all around us. It is not the bigotry with which The Right is often accused with — to do with racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia etc. But something, which I believe in the long run, is definitely more damaging: intolerance of differing ideas, and the blanket belief these differing ideas stem from places of hate.
The cancellation of the Trump event in Chicago has firmly brought this into front-page territory. However, for the past few years, these instances of the stifling of speech have been taking place on university campuses fairly consistently. It is only now we are beginning to see what is becoming of extreme fringes of The Left, and the mindset which is trickling its way towards the majority of the movement. These instances where The Left has reared its fascist head on campus are far from isolated. At the end of February, a conservative speaker, Ben Shapiro, was escorted out of his speech from CSU-LA under police guard for his stance on rebuking, “institutionalized racism.” Comedians are no longer electing to play on college campuses for fear of running into students that can’t take a joke. Bill Maher, a staunch liberal, had troubles delivering his commencement speech at UC Berkley last year due to his strong criticism of Islam. Conservative speakers are protested against and de-platformed on the regular. The list goes on. And on. And on. If your views don’t fit the “Progressive” narrative to the T, then, sorry, you have no place here.
Now, before I’m maligned as a Trump supporter, I must point some things out. I’m pro a woman’s right to choose. I believe there is a gun problem in the USA. I’m against mass deportation (and the idea of a wall). I believe welfare is necessary in some cases. I’m for gender equality. And I’m most certainly for gay marriage and equal rights. All the things that make me a “Liberal” and should make me fall on the left-hand side of the scale. However, the way things have been shifting lately, I feel I am more centered than ever.
I am by no means the first person to point this out. And, I hope, I certainly will not be the last — for we need to speak up. And I say this as an individual who is not even an American citizen.
In the words of Peter Tatchell, a tireless campaigner for gay & human rights for 49 years, who recently found himself de-platformed by the Student Left from an appearance at Canterbury Christchurch University:
“Bad ideas are best defeated by good ideas.”
And that is the crux of the issue. What are we so scared of? If we believe our values, ideas, and beliefs are truly superior and better for humanity, why can’t we take them into the marketplace of ideas? Why can’t we defeat terrible ideas in the public forum and shame them for their stupidity? That is where they will crumble. Terrible ideas will not fall apart by stifling them, oppressing them, and locking them away like unwanted children or the black sheep of the family. There they will only fester and grow to be more insidious, more contagious, and more appealing to those that have been withheld from expressing them.
We cannot expect to muffle the mouths of those we disagree with and then wonder in frustration why those very same people are pushed to the extremes with their positions. Trump is a smart man; I’ll give him that. He’s found an effective moniker to swoop in on and provide a mouthpiece for those that are frustrated beyond belief. And we liberals and “Progressives” in our actions, and inability to accept and engage with contradictory points of view, are only fueling him, and his supporter’s fire.
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