Trump, Free Speech and the Radical Left

free speechI don’t support Trump, though I understand the sentiment that is driving his popularity.  I just don’t believe he has the right solutions for the problems we have.  While the establishment right is as much to blame as anyone for Trump, I also liken it to what happened with Obama: those on the right are falling for pure rhetoric just like those on the left fell for “hope and change”.  

His popularity is also similar to the sentiment that drove the liberal left to ram down the throats of the American people, 60% of which did not believe in it, the fiasco that is Obamacare. It’s the sentiment that “we have to do something, so let’s completely tear up the system, like cutting a piece of paper into a thousand pieces, throw it into the air, and hope that when all the pieces hit the ground the system that results is better.” That in my mind is what we will get with Trump.

Having said that, I absolutely support his right to say what he wants, hold rally’s with his supporters and otherwise practice his constitutional right to free speech. Compete in the arena of ideas, so to speak. The problem is that the far left and organizations like moveon.org only believe in free speech that they agree with. Rather than debate issues and ideas, if the left does not agree with you, then they will call you names.

I recently told someone I was voting for Cruz in the NC primary. They were somewhat incredulous and said, “…you can’t vote for Cruz, he hates gay people!” Now try as I might, I have not seen anywhere that Cruz has said he hates gay people. Does he believe that the traditional definition of “marriage” is between a man and a women? Well, yes, he does. That is not the same thing as hating gay people.

Why is it that if you support the traditional definition of marriage you are automatically labeled a bigot and a homophobe? That continues to baffle me. It is just one of many examples of how the left when they don’t agree with you would rather label you in a negative way rather than debate the issue on merits and understand your position. I am not saying everyone does that or that it does not happen on the right, but it just seems to me it is more prevalent with those on the left.

LE HAVRE, FRANCE - MAY 21:  Anti-G8 activists protest during a demonstration on May 21, 2011 in Le Havre, France. The demonstrators were protesting against the G8 summit, to be held May 26 and 27 in the north-western French city of Deauville. (Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)

I wonder what would happen if radical right-wing groups staged protests and tried to disrupt say BLM events, or a Hillary campaign rally, or maybe a Bernie Sanders campaign stop? That would lead to all sorts of consternation in the press, outrage and name calling. Those evil conservatives.  But when it happens on the left, well that is the fault of Trump’s rhetoric. It is not the fault of the protestors. They are perfectly justified in creating problems at Trump rallies, just as BLM protestors are justified burning down cities, or attacking and beating a war hero at a McDonald’s in DC (1).

Frankly Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are just as dangerous, and maybe even more so than Donald Trump. But you do not see those who disagree with them disrupting their events. HRC has two big problems. First, as far as the email scandal, there are only two possibilities. Either she did not realize what she was doing, and therefore is incompetent, or she knew and is lying. Second, many point to her foreign policy experience. Name one important country or hot spot where the situation is better. Russia? Syria? Israel? Libya? Iran? Iraq? North Korea? China? Oh wait, that is not her fault. That is George W. Bush’s fault. Sorry. I forgot.

Then there’s Bernie Sanders. An avowed socialist. Hold on, hasn’t that been tried and failed miserably? Little detail called human nature. He is being supported mostly by Millennials who are coming out of the American colleges having been taught by far left liberal faculty. Many have been coddled all their lives. Free stuff sounds pretty good to them. Maybe they should read history a little more and stay off of social media. Of course, he has no chance despite his popularity given the Democratic primary system with super delegates. Moveon.org ought to be protesting that.

So despite the fact that HRC and Bernie Sanders are just as dangerous in my opinion, philosophically speaking, as Trump, you don’t see anyone disrupting their events. How is that not a double standard? Tell me where I am wrong.

Notes:

  1. See this article: White Privilege?

Jeff Groh is a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. He believes more often than not, both sides of the political spectrum actually agree on the ends, but it is the means that fuel disagreements, with the far right and left resorting to name-calling rather than a pursuing a rational debate on the issues, trade-offs and unintended consequences. His consulting company, New Product Visions, helps companies improve their innovation management practices, and he is passionate about the creation of economic value and prosperity by restoring our country’s manufacturing base. Want to email me? jgroh@newproductvisions.com

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Trump, Free Speech and the Radical Left

4 thoughts on “Trump, Free Speech and the Radical Left

  1. There have been protests at every candidate’s rallies. BLM staged a variety of stunts at Sanders and Clinton events. Remember the podium scuffle with Bernie, and the hidden banner at Hillary’s event held in a home? The difference is that the Democrats and most GOP candidates take meetings with these groups, accept that protest is also free speech, and try in a variety of ways to acknowledge, answer and address their concerns using behaviors that indicate a basic level of respect for differences of opinion.

    But at Trump events, as in debates and online, he dehumanizes and profanely insults those who disagree or protest, and encourages supporters to act in a similar fashion. It’s no mystery to me why things get violent at his rallies, and at no one else’s. Characterize it any way you like; biker gangs, brown shirts, hooligans. Words have power. Verbal violence leads to physical violence.

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  2. Thanks. You make valid points, but I still don’t buy the argument that those who commit violent acts bear no responsibility for their actions. That is not their fault. Is that what you are saying? That instead, they are responding to his rants and that the violence is justified? I don’t agree with Trump’s rhetoric any more than I agree with those who use it as an excuse to commit violent acts.

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    1. Of course those who commit violence ALSO bear responsibility. Just not SOLE responsibility. There’s a thing in the law called mutual negligence, like when two cars collide and both parties are determined to be at fault. We have so many historical examples, and psych studies about mob rule. Inciting violence from a podium by implying it is acceptable behavior is the same thing as falsely shouting FIRE in a crowded theater.

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  3. I don’t know, I still have a problem with your argument…but agree you have the right to say it! I do believe that what he is saying and how he is saying it does not solve problems and one of the reasons I don’t support him, but anyone who commits violence based on what someone says bears full responsibility for their actions in my mind. Nothing anyone says to me gives me the right to harm them physically, no matter how crazy it might be. I think it is slippery slope, and is the same argument I heard when protestors burned Baltimore. I think my larger point is that you find the ideological left more often making this argument than the right, but I doubt you will agree with me on that! Thanks for your thoughts.

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