Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Rhetoric and tactics that are reminiscent of a dark time

It's true, alas, and shameful, that Donald Trump's rhetoric about "punching people in the face" and so forth, and the tactics of some of his particularly overheated supporters, bring to mind the rhetoric and tactics of the fascist parties of the 1920s and 30s. That is among the many reasons I have forcefully and publicly spoken out against the Trump campaign, including in a recent public appeal by a group of Catholic thinkers to our fellow Catholics and all citizens of goodwill. But it is equally true, and every bit as shameful, that the hard left, including many Bernie Sanders supporters (though, it must be emphasized, without encouragement of any sort from Senator Sanders himself), employ vile rhetoric and engage in acts of intimidation that also call to mind the rhetoric and tactics of those fascist parties. The clashes between the Trump people and the left-wing radicals are beginning to get violent and I fear that they will escalate. More memories of Europe in the 20s and 30s. On Friday night, the hard left (urged on by MoveOn.org and an organization styling itself "People for Sanders") succeeded in a deliberate effort to shut down a Trump campaign rally in Chicago by deploying intimidation tactics and creating an atmosphere in which the threat of violence was palpable. That is fascism. And its effect will be to reinforce the narrative Mr. Trump has so successfully pressed about the need for a strong leader who will stand up against those who have been assaulting American values, undermmining America's interests, stifling America's public debate, and threatening the basic freedoms of ordinary Americans. (One more thing, the hard left honed its techniques of intimidation by using them successfully over the past decade or more to shut down dissenting speech on campuses and to enforce ideological conformity. Those of us who earn our daily bread in university environments are all-too-familiar with the kind of thing that went on in the streets of Chicago last night. You can expect more of it.)


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