Violence in the Name of the Left is Wrong
Posted on August 25, 2017
Committing violence in the name of the left is wrong.
It isn’t wrong in some absolute moral sense for all time, but it is wrong in a moral and political sense under existing conditions, and indeed under most conditions.
Antifa makes a case for contemporary political violence. Here is the part I agree with:
1. Demonstrators have a general moral right to self-defense.
2. If they are threatened or attacked with guns, they have a general moral right to respond defensively with guns.
3. The defenders have a general moral right to wear masks, as a defense against subsequent retaliation.
However here is where I disagree with Antifa:
1. These general moral rights are not the same as moral rights in specific cases. Political factors matter in an overriding moral sense.
2. A demonstration is a moral and political action to achieve positive change. It is morally wrong to use political tactics that you do know or should know are likely to make things worse.
3. Successful demonstrations generally depend on a show of courage. Showing up with guns or wearing masks generally demonstrates a lack of courage-especially so under existing conditions in mass democracies.
4. Successful demonstrations depend on organized discipline. It is morally wrong to crash someone else’s demonstration and ignore its discipline. It is egregiously wrong to show up at a nonviolent demonstration uninvited and armed and in masks.
5. It is unimaginably wrong and self-centered and narcissistic to turn one-sided radical right violence into two-sided street fighting.
6. Fighting cops is even more counterproductive. Cops beating up passive demonstrators and captured on Youtube sends an important positive message. Black block warriors beating up on cops or destroying property send the opposite message.