Monday, 21 August 2017

Quote of the Day: On #Charlottesville conditioning people to accept totalitarianism

"The ominous implication of [last] weekend's riots is that we are letting our politics descend into a brutal, unprincipled, physical brawl between two illiberal caricatures--which serves to drown out real debates over opposing ideas and marginalise any unifying principles that we might draw on as reasons not to just kill each other...
"The two sides are mirror images of each other, and both have an interest in making our politics devolve into street fighting. Both sides have also been priming their people to be ready to kill for the cause, and it appears that Spencer's gang got there first, with one of his followers ramming his car into a crowd and killing a young woman…
"We are in a state of emergency, and it's because we're letting our political debate be defined on illiberal terms. We're supposed to either back the guys who try to re-enact Nuremberg, or we back the guys who whip themselves up into a frenzy to 'punch Nazis'--and define ‘Nazi' as anyone who disagrees with them. We either want technology companies to conduct ideological inquisitions, or we've got guys chanting 'Blood and Soil. We take a vicious murder by a racist and turn it into another opportunity to score partisan political points on social media--as if we want racism to be a partisan issue rather than a common cause that transcends party.

"I wrote recently about the steps required to condition people to accept totalitarianism. One of those steps--one of the last ones--is that we get used to political differences being settled by a contest of force in the streets. We've been closer to that point before, during the 1960s, when the violent protests and race riots were far bigger. But that was the brink of a very deep precipice, and we should be doing everything we can, on both sides of the political debate, to pull back from it.”

~ Robert Tracinski, from his post 'Notes from Our State of Emergency'


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