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September 24, 2017

9/8/2017 7:28:00 AM
Violence next time
Stephen Moore
Columnist

Does hatred and violence reside only on the far right, as the media seems to be spinning things? Consider this personal anecdote.

Late last year I was attending a board dinner for the American Legislative Exchange Council in Pittsburgh. ALEC represents conservative state legislators around the country. The left hates ALEC because it promotes conservative reforms to state government and challenges the public-sector unions.

In the middle of our meal we were jolted by shouting, shrieking and banging. Shortly thereafter about 25 left-wing activists pushed past a security guard and stormed into the room. I don't know if they were organized by unions or radical antifa groups.

They were mostly young, angry and thuggish. They began throwing things at us and swearing. They surrounded us in a menacing and intimidating way. I confess to having been very frightened. We were outnumbered, and they seemed unhinged.

Thankfully, the security reinforcements finally showed up, but when they tried to escort these protesters from our private dinner, they became indignant and started kicking and shoving while hissing things like: "Get away from me, you (expletive) fascist." Of course they have a right to free speech and assembly, but not a right to trespass on private property.

During the campaign season, I attended many Donald Trump rallies across the country. It wasn't uncommon for fights and brawls to break out when protesters showed up. In most, but not all, cases - there are nut cases on both sides - the left instigated the violence. I saw it with my own two eyes.

Now, in the wake of Charlottesville, the media and the left are preposterously accusing not just the nitwit white supremacists but also Trump, conservatives and Trump supporters of being racists and bigots. If you don't renounce any association with Trump, you, too, are morally inferior.

So the left really does believe that Trump voters are "deplorable" people.

Ironically, many of these same media mavens and political commentators spent the last decade bemoaning the degradation of political discourse.

If you can paint all your political adversaries - who disagree with you on tax cuts, Confederate statues and the minimum wage - as Nazi-sympathizers or white supremacists, then you can justify shutting them up or shutting them down through intimidation and violence.

Many left-wing publications aren't condemning violent acts by liberal protesters; they're excusing them as a "practical" response to Trumpism.

All of this, I fear, will be manifested in the months ahead in some very unhealthy and dangerous developments. Here are my predictions:

The shameful war on free speech and open debate on college campuses will intensify. Those on the right will be shut down. The closing of the American mind will get worse.

We may see more militancy from antifa groups, who have been emboldened by the media. These groups will become increasingly aggressive in their political tactics. People with a Trump T-shirt or a "Make America Great Again" hat are going to get humiliated or beat up.

Next, the demands from the grievance lobby on the left will grow increasingly ridiculous and outlandish. Will taking every Confederate statue in America satisfy the left? Of course not. The demands will never end.

All of America - not just college campuses, news rooms and the public square - will be declared a "safe space," granting liberals a de facto right to never be offended by hearing a viewpoint contrary to their own.

Don't be surprised if we see routine acts of violence and mayhem and shootings that will make the 1960s riots look like a picnic. The country will be ripped apart. The media will then throw up their hands and hypocritically say: "Gee, whoever thought someone would actually shoot a congressman?"

The other day on CNN I noted that Robert E. Lee was revered by many Southerners and that taking down statues of him was a bad idea. I was inundated with hate mail and even threats of physical injury.

It's ugly and dangerous out there. For decades the left has preached the need for tolerance, but now they want to use their own force or the power of the state to silence any voice that disrupts their worldview.

The shame of all this is that if liberals had simply ignored the wacko white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and who represent perhaps 0.01 percent of the conservative movement, their flame of hatred would have burned out quickly and quietly. Love would have triumphed.

That's the last thing the left wanted. They gave the wackos on the right a media platform so that militants on the left would have their own soapbox and spotlight.

So just who is spreading a message of hate in America?

Stephen Moore is a senior economic analyst with CNN. His latest book is "Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy." He served as a senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign. To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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