When communists and Nazis are battling in the streets, don’t allow yourself to be pulled on to one side or the other. Totalitarian ideas are bad no matter what form they take. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute explains why here:
…I much prefer the coercion found in western democracies compared to the totalitarian versions of coercion found in many other parts of the world.
At least we have the rule of law, which limits (however imperfectly) capricious abuse by government officials. That’s not the case in many countries. Our courts also are generally independent and our Constitution still protects many personal liberties, things that can’t be taken for granted in some places.
Moreover, there is only a trivially small risk of getting abused by the state in western nations because you have unpopular views. And there’s little danger of persecution by government (at least nowadays) based on factors such as race and religion.
This is what makes liberal democracy a good form of government (with “liberal” in this case being a reference to classical liberalism rather than the modern version).
Unfortunately, there are some people in America that don’t believe in these principles. They call themselves all sorts of names, from white nationalist to antifa, but they share the common bond of totalitarianism.
J.D. Tuccille has an article for Reason that elaborates on this link.
Take a side? You bet. …advocates of a free, open, and liberal society are a side—the correct side—and the left-wing and right-wing thugs battling in the streets are nothing more than rival siblings from a dysfunctional illiberal family.
Losers who march with Nazi flags unquestionably deserve scorn. They represent a totalitarian ideology that subjugates individual rights to state power.
And Tuccille is rightly critical of Trump for giving even a shred of aid and comfort to such people.
But that doesn’t mean the counter-protestors (or, to be more accurate, a subsection of them) are praiseworthy. Indeed, some of them are similarly violent and evil. Tuccille lists some of the totalitarian efforts by folks on the hard left.
In June, James Hodgkinson opened fire on Republican members of Congress gathered for a baseball practice. …the supporter of Occupy Wall Street and former Bernie Sanders volunteer sent six people, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), to the hospital… Before that, left-wing protesters violently shut down a Middlebury College speech by Charles Murray, injuring Professor Alison Stanger in the process, rioted over a speech by professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and forced the cancellation of a Republican parade in Portland, Oregon, with promises that “the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads.” They boast of their contempt for free speech.
He closes with a rejection of the “whataboutism” argument, which is being used by some to suppress criticism of the violent left.
…for those of us already calling out the violent bigots flaunting Nazi imagery, it’s not whataboutism to point out that an alleged alternative isn’t actually an alternative at all—it’s just another version of the same thing. …There’s no reason to favor one illiberal force over another when our country has a long history based on much different, and much better, political principles. …Despite our many differences over specific policies, most Americans have traditionally supported the side of liberty, tolerance, free speech, and peaceful political change, within broad parameters. That side is in opposition to the violent, authoritarian thugs of the right and of the left.
Read more from Dan here.
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