Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
I want to respond to something that I’m encountering in various forums, this idea that the President incited the mob to violence.
I can find nothing in the President’s various comments that can plausibly be interpreted as a call to violence. Impassioned speech, unsubstantiated claims of fraud and victory, and an enthusiastic rallying of his supporters, I can find all of those things. But at no point does he call upon the people assembled to commit criminal acts.
(Rudy Giuliani is on shakier ground, I think. His choice of words was astoundingly poor; with all due respect to the man, I think he should have left the public eye years ago, and encourage him to do so now. I don’t know how his comments relate, in terms of timing and exposure, to the behavior of the small portion of the crowd that acted illegally, but I think he may well have exposed himself to serious and legitimate criticism. [Update: Or maybe not. I have to read more of what he said.])
But I can find nothing in the President’s words that any responsible adult would consider constitutes a call to violence.
This is important. The left would very much like to equate speech with violence, and to criminalize speech of which it doesn’t approve. This is a core thesis of Antifa, that violence in response to speech is justified when Antifa doesn’t approve of the speech. This is the “it’s okay to punch a Nazi” school of thought, and the justification for everything from Facebook and Twitter’s bald censorship of “wrong-think” to the shouting down of guest speakers at America’s premier universities. It’s wrong, it’s antithetical to essential American values, and it must be opposed.
Trump may well have been ham-handed, unwise, desperate, misguided, and simply wrong in his insistence that, absent fraud, he won the election in a landslide. All of that can be debated. But that does not constitute an incitement to violence, no matter how inelegant and undignified one considers his comments to be.
If someone can provide me examples of an actual incitement to violence by Trump, I’ll change my opinion. Otherwise, I encourage people to put respect for our freedom of expression ahead of their dislike for this President, and to stand for freedom as the higher good. Criticize him all you want, but don’t call for impeachment unless you want to make the argument that speech you find offensive constitutes a “high crime or misdemeanor.” Because the left would love to go there, and we shouldn’t be eager to give it our help.Published in