The progressive left and their media comrades have been trying hard in recent weeks to construct a sympathetic narrative for “antifa.”
This is no easy task. These self-proclaimed “anti-fascists” (hence the name) have been showing up at rallies across the country since Trump’s inauguration, assaulting police with urine bombs, beating journalists bloody, and setting the occasional car on fire. All this is somehow supposed to protest fascism. Or Inequality. Or capitalism. It really depends on the day.
The good news is, to know antifa is to despise it.
Unlike in Charlottesville a few weeks ago, there was no Nazi rally to speak of in Berkeley, just some run-of-the-mill Trump supporters gathered to exercise their First Amendment rights. This was too much.
Antifa showed itself to be a pack of childish vandals posing as heroic resistance. For a mob of predominantly white males to gather in paramilitary formation, dressed from head to toe in black, with masks and batons to protest “fascism” shows that this group has no sense of history.
That some of its storm troopers use shields with “no hate” emblazoned on them as battering rams shows that they have no sense of irony either. There’s only so much that favorable media coverage can do to downplay or obscure the truth about antifa, and it’s anti-free speech zealotry. The Berkeley violence broke through that barrier.
Now the political left feels exposed. Otherwise sympathetic outlets have called for “soul searching” about antifa, and even Nancy Pelosi finally felt the need to denounce the violence of the masked malcontents. But none of what we have seen of antifa is new.
Despite some media efforts to explain away the obvious, antifa has always been entirely indefensible. It’s not a political movement, it’s a violent outburst, an expression of the progressive left’s delusional emotionalism. Its primary mission is not the opposition of fascism, but the suppression of ideas.
Words more than anything else seem to raise antifa’s ire. They don’t rally against specific policies, for example, but they will swarm, menace, and shut down conservative speakers on college campuses. Antifa claims for itself the heckler’s veto under the cover of so-called “Nazi punching,” but it rarely if ever even attempts to punch actual Nazis.
And so this lie is exposed for what it really is: an excuse to inflict violence on any ideological opponent, at any time, for any reason. All they have to do is throw around the term “Nazi” to smear a conservative, and basic respect for the freedom and the rights of others no longer applies.
We cannot allow such thuggery to dictate political discourse. This is a deeply unsettling trend that extends far beyond fringe factions on the Left. Hysterical progressives have been brainwashed to believe that speech that they don’t like is hate speech, that hate speech is tantamount to violence, and therefore violence to prevent such hateful speech is justifiable.
It is not enough to loudly oppose, they must silence. Antifa wants to stop certain speech from ever happening, and it will employ brute force to that end. This is simply censorship enforced with threats of violence, hiding behind the façade of a valiant struggle against Trump’s creeping fascism.
In reality, antifa is the closest thing to an authoritarian political movement in this country, and its ideology is a serious threat to freedom. Any concession to their side only encourages radical elements to demand even more restrictions on speech. That these leftist hardliners have either failed to read, or failed to understand, the First Amendment is all too apparent. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon the rest of us — Republican and Democrat alike — to educate antifa on the non-negotiable place of free expression in America.
And that’s going to require saying a lot of things they will consider hateful.
Buck Sexton is a political commentator, national security analyst and host of the nationally syndicated radio program, “Buck Sexton with America Now.” He is a former CIA officer in the Counterterrorism Center, appears frequently on Fox News Channel and CNN and has been a guest radio show host for Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Follow Buck on Twitter @BuckSexton.
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