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Is this doing battle or shooting oneself in the foot?

June 19, 2017

This is from Andrew Klavan: The Attack on ‘Julius Caesar’ Was Wrong in Every Way. The question is, was it wrong in every way or not wrong in any way at all? Here’s his article.

There was a lot of Twitter hysteria over the weekend around a two-person assault on Shakespeare in the Park’s offensive version of Julius Caesar. In a conformist and shallow piece of political whinery, the playmakers opted to dress Caesar up as Donald Trump (which I guess made him Orange Julius). Audiences could thus watch the president of the United States brutally assassinated each night for their edification and delight. No matter what the point was supposed to be, it was a disgusting and despicable thing to do. Shame on them.

At the Friday performance, Rebel Media journo Laura Loomer charged the stage, screaming, “This is violence against the right.” Alt-right activist Jack Posobiec stood up in the audience and shouted, “You are all Nazis.” Loomer was arrested and must appear in court to face charges.

A segment of the right vociferously supported the attack online. #FreeLaura was the top trend on Twitter for part of Saturday. There was the usual taste-of-their-own-medicine braggadocio about how we on the right had to use the tactics of the left to beat the left and anyone who disagreed was a coward and we weren’t going to knuckle under to any of this Alinskyite stuff where the right has to live up to its values while the left can do whatever it wants, etc. This was civil disobedience! This was Jesus among the money changers! This was what winning looks like!

If we become the anti-speech people, what are we protecting? What are we fighting for? What are we trying to win?

This is not a question of cowardice or of being too fine to play smash mouth politics. Five-foot-nine Ben Shapiro has repeatedly faced down Social Justice Snowflakes and Black Lives Matter thugs to speak the conservative truth on campus in no uncertain terms. But he doesn’t stop others from making their speeches and delivering their points of view. Because then he could no longer represent his own values. He’d be them, not us.

This is not a question of two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right either. Sometimes, awful as it is, the other side plays so dirty you have to play dirty back. If a peaceful conservative demonstration is attacked by Anti-fa fascists while the police stand by and do nothing, protecting such gatherings with right-wing vigilantes may become a terrible necessity. But if right-wing vigilantes respond by attacking a peaceful left-wing gathering, the battle is lost. Because then, you’ve destroyed the very principle you were trying to protect.

I voted for Donald Trump in large part because I thought Hillary Clinton would destroy the First and Second Amendments. I knew there were moral hazards to a Trump presidency, but I thought the risk was more than worth it to stave off leftist oppression. So far, I’ve been well pleased with my decision. Wild as Trump can be, he has stood up for our rights and reinvigorated the freedoms eroded under Obama. The continued grumbling of Never Trumpers has seemed to me poorly reasoned, unhelpful and ill-advised. I’m glad Trump won.

But there is no point in winning if you forget what it is you’re fighting for. A conservatism that can’t tell the difference between doing battle and shooting itself in the foot is a conservatism that will not win anything except perhaps the power to become the very tyrants they opposed.

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