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Spare Me The Principles Lecture

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

I think it was mildly amusing that some loud right-wingers spent a minute disrupting a bunch of New York liberals’ conservative murder porn party.

There, I said it. And now, according to some people on the conservative side, I’m not a conservative anymore.

Oh. Well, if conservatism has morphed into a human centipede of onanistic purity-signaling, then you fussy guardians of the word can have it.

Now, there is a coherent and reasonable argument that hitting back liberals with a taste of their own medicine – that is, inflicting upon them a microscopic fraction of what they have spent decades inflicting upon us – is a bad idea. People I respect and who are friends adhere to this view. I’ve listened to their opinions – because they have earned my attention – and they are wrong.

Note that yes, we are allowed to disagree within conservatism.

Now, a few people I don’t respect also say the disruption was terrible, mostly because they are weak and scared because, in our new conservative world, they have been displaced by more interesting and influential talents who are committed to actually achieving results. Conservatism, Inc., is no longer dedicated solely to securing these timeservers’ mediocre status within the NY/DC establishment hierarchy, and they are understandably frightened of facing a future where mere posturing doesn’t get enough folks writing checks. People got woke because when it came time to fight the same leftist Democrat they had allegedly been fighting for decades, the wimpcons embraced her. After all, she went to the right schools, and under her they would be able to return to their comfortable, if ineffectual, positions in the political scheme of things. And that uncouth Trump – well, he and his supporters are just the wrong kind of people.

Regardless, it was appropriate and conservative to chastise the murder fetishizers at the Trump killing play. And you wusscons – don’t start with the, “Well, it’s a play and you don’t understand literature, and the whole butchering the president thing is art which you obviously don’t understand” baloney. Without their POTUS-murdering dog whistle, this would just be another bunch of theater geeks putting on a show. They are rubbing their violent threats in our faces while gaslighting us to the effect that we shouldn’t believe our own lying eyes.

Now, the good faith critique of the disruption, the one not made by conservatism’s Sore Loser League, is that we don’t silence presentations, that we don’t inject the political into the personal, and that we don’t interfere with free speech. Simply because liberals do all those things does not mean we should too. That’s true, to a point.

But let’s look at what actually happened. Some sort-of goofy people infiltrated the Murder/Trump staging of Julius Caesar and started yelling about how these giddy liberals needed to stop celebrating political violence, especially after one of their liberal ilk tried to butcher two dozen GOP legislators a few days before. They didn’t shut down the show – they paused it, for about a minute. After the main one was hustled off-stage, some guy started shouting about how the audience was “Goebbels,” which was embarrassingly silly. Then they followed it up with a lot of whining about being arrested, apparently not understanding how civil disobedience works. So, the initial stage rush was amusing and effective – a measured and short-term protest that did not prevent the moronic staging from continuing. The rest though, as Saul Alinsky warned, became a drag.

Overall, give it a B-. Next time, make your point and move on.

And yes, there should be a next time. There is a case for this sort of activity. It’s just not something we have done much of to date, but we should do more.

First, the “If it’s wrong for them to do it to us, then it’s wrong if we do it to them” formulation is less a principle than a tired cliché. This minor disruption was a tactic; shouting was a tool. It is moral for the good guys – and we are the good guys – to use tactics and tools against an enemy that are immoral when they do it. It was immoral for the Nazis to bomb London; it was moral for us to bomb Nazis. Of course every tactic and tool is not acceptable, but the guys who stormed Omaha Beach did not “become what they were fighting” because they used the same tools and tactics as the enemy.

Second, this sort of performance art is so harmless that the cost/benefit calculus weighs in favor of tolerating such occasional inconveniences. That’s not to say we should not impose higher costs on them – we disapprove of the firing of people for what they say, but Kathy Griffin’s defenestration was a sacrifice worth making to demonstrate the costs of liberal misbehavior. This is crucial. They must pay a cost for establishing their new rules.

Call it retribution or punishment or just payback, but causing pain to wrongdoers is a conservative principle we seem to have forgotten. The left needs to feel the pain that comes from their choices. If they want a world where people suffer for speaking, well, I prefer they didn’t, but I damn well know that if that’s the new rule, their side is going to get it shoved down their throat.

Yes, there is a slippery slope risk. I’ve seen it overseas, where the rule of law was replaced by the rule of power. But we will slip down that slope if we do not grab on up at the top. People are not going to sit back and take this leftist abuse and allow them to impose their leftist tyranny upon us without reacting. If we don’t stop the left now from taking this dangerous path – including by using tools like harmless civil disobedience – then that weakness, as my novels illustrate, invites real conflict with real bloodshed. And we can’t let that happen.

Finally, if our principles are worth having, they are worth fighting for in a way that might conceivably lead to success. One of the folks telling me how wrong and unconservative I am for finding it amusing – a patriot, though wrong – also mentioned that he had been fighting for free speech on campus and in the culture for 20 years. Hmmm. I’ve been fighting for them for 30 years, ever since my dean at UCSD called me in to yell at me because I wrote that the student government was composed of leftist dweebs. Shouldn’t the fact that we have spent decades using the same tactics and losing indicate that maybe we ought to try something new?

Are we going to reason the left out of its ruthless quest for absolute power? Are we going to talk them into civility? Is our sterling example of high principles – which apparently include never, ever, for even a moment, annoying leftists by interrupting their bloody assassination festivals – leading to anything but defeat?

At Fort Benning, they didn’t teach us to lose.

That’s why I reject any principle that somehow obligates me to submit to the left’s tyranny. If your principles told you we had to elect Felonia von Pantsuit and allow her to complete the transformation of the United States into Venezuela II, maybe that’s a sign you need some new principles.

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