On June 29th, “Antifascist” (Antifa) protesters took to the streets of Portland, Oregon, to oppose a scheduled Proud Boys rally. Police officers positioned themselves between the two groups to prohibit a violent clash. This did not, however, prevent several assaults from occurring.
The Assault of Andy Ngo
Since 2016, Andy Ngo, a resident of Portland and editor at Quillette, has independently documented multiple Antifa events. He has frequently gone into the middle of dangerous mobs, recording everything he sees. Antifa does not like this behind-the-scenes publicity, possibly due to how it exposes their violent, fascist tactics.
For instance, at the June 29th Antifa event, protestors filled milkshakes with ‘quick-drying concrete’ and distributed them among Antifa members to be used as weapons in the assault of cops and/or right-wing adversaries. To Antifa, the label of right-wing adversary seems to extend to Asian, gay, non-aggressive reporter Andy Ngo.
Attacks like these expose the true heart of Antifa. Fundamentally, Antifa is not about disrupting fascistic movements, because they are a fascistic movement. They take what they want through violence, and they cover their faces to avoid the consequences. They’re so aware of the immorality of their actions, in fact, that they will assault anyone filming their actions for fear of exposure. Antifa is absolutely contemptible. That hasn’t stopped Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler (D), from silently siding with them at every turn though.
Portland’s Impotent Mayor
Despite consistent violent assault and property damage perpetrated by Antifa, Portland’s mayor frequently orders police to stand down from breaking up their riots. Wheeler has stated that Antifa members are simply exercising freedom of speech, but this is grotesquely non-factual. In no way does the right to “peaceably assemble” include mob-battery of select individuals.
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) June 29, 2019
In truth, Wheeler is sympathetic to these nigh-on domestic terrorists because he broadly agrees with their political agenda. Portland’s mayor is happy to see right-wing events and reporters shut down by any means necessary. And this is exactly Antifa’s prerogative. Antifa isn’t interested in a healthy political dialogue. Neither are most left-wing entities these days, it seems.
Conservative Censorship in the Public Square
The actions of Antifa and their support from left-wing media and democratic officials is downstream of a larger cultural problem. The most outspoken elements of the left in today’s America appear eager to simply silence conservative speech. This goes for Antifa and many students on university campuses; but also to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. In the technologically inclined modern world, these social platforms essentially serve as the public square. In other words, they’re vitally important resources for the distribution of free speech. When that resource is taken away from a particular class of people, namely, conservatives, it’s a bad look for the tradition of free expression.
When large corporate entities that regulate speech, like Google, have employees referring to Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Dennis Prager as ‘Nazis’; there’s an important question about the motivations of those who selectively control what information we see on a daily basis. This is doubly true considering Peterson is a professor who has taught about the evils of the Nazi state for decades, and the fact that Shapiro and Prager are both practicing Jews. To compare them to Nazi’s is an assertion animated by political bias.
Where we go From Here
First, it’s important to note that not all conservatives are paragons of free speech. Several right-wing organizations and people are perfectly happy censoring liberal viewpoints.
There are, however, no right-wing mobs assaulting or de-platforming left-wing thinkers on a weekly basis. There are no right-wing social media sites attempting to silence popular left-wing commentators. The tides of cultural censorship seem to flow in almost entirely one direction, from left to right.
It’s cowardly and wrong for police, media, and politicians to take no action when political zealots are beating conservatives in broad daylight. When a soft-spoken, harmless reporter gets assaulted in the streets of Portland for the crime of doing his job, and the perpetrators see no consequences; it’s an affront to the rights of all Americans. It’s an affront to civil society, to justice, and to what’s right.
This type of treatment is something all Americans must stand up, united, against.
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