R.R. Reno writes on fascism and anti-fascism in light of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s public threats against members of the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week, wherein Sen. Schumer told two U.S. Supreme Court justice that—if they didn’t vote to strike down a Louisiana law mandating hospital safety standards for abortion clinics—those Supreme Court justices “will pay the price” and “won’t know what hit you”.
Chief Justice John Roberts issued an unprecedented public rebuke of Sen. Schumer, but the threats linger and no U.S. Senate censure has occurred. It’s in this context that Reno writes:
Every society maintains a boundary between what is clean and what is polluted, what is permitted and what is taboo. This is the boundary where civility stops and fierce resistance to that which defiles begins.
Our society is distinct in the way that the progressive left has politicized this boundary, using it as a powerful partisan tool. The right, in this scheme, is unclean. It is a polluting force. Strenuous efforts to eradicate its influence may tend toward “unfortunate” extremes. But establishment liberals excuse the excesses, which is why the antifa can riot with relative impunity and undergraduates can hurl obscenities at faculty and threaten to get them fired without suffering any disciplinary consequences.
Schumer’s words of implicit violence have precedent. In 2018, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib notoriously said of her class of newly elected Democrats, “We’re gonna impeach the motherf*****!” Establishment liberals raised no objections. I believe Tlaib could have said, “We’re gonna assassinate the motherf*****!” and suffered nothing more than perfunctory censure. There is no serious censure partly because of social media, which has created a video game atmosphere of verbal political violence that makes it hard to tell the virtual from the real. But there is also no censure because, in truth, our liberal establishment is not averse to the use of threats and intimidation—and even violence—in defense of its causes.
It is often said that conservatives, especially social conservatives, “drive polarization.” This is a willful reversal of the truth. Today, the forces of violence and intimidation are primarily on the left. Huey Long, a Louisiana populist, often had charges of fascism hurled at him by establishment liberals. He observed the irony of the attacks, noting, “When Fascism comes to America, it will come under the guise of anti-Fascism.”
“The right, in this scheme, is unclean.” And the right, insofar as it represents tradition, offers what tradition has always offered: “solutions to problems we have forgotten.”