Incitement To Mob Violence, Acceptable Versus Unacceptable Forms — Manhattan Contrarian
"In case you were wondering, the Manhattan Contrarian hereby condemns mob violence without qualification, and whether coming from the left or right side of the political spectrum.
Until this past week, I had actually been quite impressed at the ongoing restraint of Trump supporters and others on the right for not having responded in kind to the hundreds of violent riots across the country perpetrated during 2020 by Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and numerous other groups on the progressive left. The assault on the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday was a huge unforced error by those who crossed the line into lawbreaking and violence.
I would have thought that the Democrats who had condoned and encouraged mob violence for months on end would have been too embarrassed to speak out against this rare transgression by their opponents. But of course, that’s not the way this works. The New York Times, having spent months downplaying and dismissing mob violence from Antifa and BLM as “mostly peaceful protests,” had this on its front page on Thursday January 7:
By Friday January 8, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had had her team draw up a new draft article of impeachment against the President. The draft accuses the President of “incitement of insurrection” and “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
According to the draft article, the alleged “incitement” occurred on the afternoon of January 6, during a speech that the President made addressed to supporters who had assembled in Washington. It was several hours after that speech that the violence erupted, and the Capitol building was breeched.
It occurred to me that it would be worthwhile looking at the text of that speech to see how it compares to various statements made by prominent Democrats and leftists that might also be characterized as incitement to violence. Ann Althouse on January 8 helpfully went through a transcript of Trump’s speech and picked out the statements that she characterized as “the most violent.” You can decide for yourself whether in fact they are “violent” at all.
In the list below, I have included what I think are the six most concerning statements from Trump’s speech. And then I have mixed in various statements from prominent Democrats and progressives with regard to leftist mob violence. See if you can tell which are which:
“Make the phone calls, send the emails, show up. You know, there needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives.”
“We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
“I believe injustice is a threat to the safety of all people. Because once you have a group that is marginalized . . . they have no choice but to riot.”
“We will not let them silence your voices.”
“[W]e’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there and our country will be destroyed, and we’re not going to stand for that.”
“And everyone beware, because they’re [violent protests] not gonna stop….They’re not gonna let up. And they should not. And we should not.”
“We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”
“I just don’t even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be. . . .”
“We’re not going to let it happen.”
“The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right to fight back!”
“Together we are determined to defend and preserve government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
Answers below the fold.
Quote 1: Democrat Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, on MSNBC, August 15, 2020 — a time when violent riots were occurring around the country,.
Quote 2: Trump at the January 6 speech.
Quote 3: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a July 2020 radio interview with New York’s Hot 97 radio station.
Quote 4: Trump at the January 6 speech.
Quote 5: Trump at the January 6 speech.
Quote 6: Incoming Vice President Kamala Harris on Stephen Colbert show, August 28, 2020.
Quote 7: Trump at the January 6 speech.
Quote 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a 2018 interview, discussing the issue of family separation at the southern border.
Quote 9: Trump at the January 6 speech.
Quote 10: Ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a tweet on May 28, 2020. A few days later (June 3) Twitter’s Jack Dorsey announced that he was giving Kaepernick $3 million.
Quote 11: Trump at the January 6 speech.
Do Trump’s statements really appear to be more of an “incitement to violence” than the statements of Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi and Harris? Not from anything I can find in the words. You just have to understand that there is good mob violence and bad mob violence. It all depends whether the rioters on on our side.
UPDATE, January 11: I thought I might do readers a favor and read all the way through that NYT article with the headline “Trump Incites Mob,” to see if they ever quote any words that constitute the supposed “incitement.”In the whole very long article, the entirety of direct quotation from Trump’s pre-riot speech is found in this one paragraph:
“‘We will never concede,’ he told a group of thousands gathered near the White House, inveighing against members of his own party preparing to finalize his loss as ‘weak Republicans’ whose leadership had gone ‘down the tubes.’ He then repeatedly told them to march to the Capitol where the vote tallying was about to get underway. The violence began a little more than two hours later.”
In other words, they couldn’t find anything that remotely constituted “incitement,” but they ran with that gigantic headline anyway. Shameful."