LOS ANGELES: The intellectual world was rocked by the untimely death of Dr. Charles Krauthammer at age 68. The psychiatrist turned columnist and Fox News analyst was mandatory viewing for politicos. Adults would shush people in their homes to hang on his calmly spoken words.
While nobody knows everything, those who saw him speak live walked away thinking, “Maybe this guy does know everything.”
With Charles Krauthammer’s death, Conservatives lamented the
loss of one of the brightest minds in the history of civilization.
The real testament to Krauthammer came from the many liberals who praised him, despite that he changed from being liberal to a Reagan conservative. Vast swaths of people who oppose his conservative views nevertheless admire the man.
The reason for this boils down to one word: Civility.
The civility of Charles Krauthammer
Try finding a speech or column where Dr. Krauthammer raised his voice, screamed, cursed, or personally attacked an opponent. Krauthammer was intellectually ferocious, yet unfailingly polite. His book, “Things that matter” is exactly that. The good doctor’s readers and viewers knew that he was all substance all of the time.
His death leaves a gaping hole. The world lost not only an intellectual titan but a moral one as well. His civility brought people together. His death could bring about the death of civility in a world already frayed to the end of the yarn.
The incivility of the American left
While neither ideology has a monopoly on virtue or vice, the American left has taken incivility to dangerous new levels.
The left does not have the intellectual equivalent of a Krauthammer. They have not had anyone even near that level since Christopher Hitchens died in 2011.
Far too many American liberals are being consumed by rage. They are simply unable to accept losing the 2016 election.
Their behavior has become frightening.
Not this Red Hen Restaurant
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was kicked out of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, because the restaurant’s owners hate President Donald Trump. For this same reason, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirtsjen Nielsen was screamed at while she tried to eat in a restaurant.
Protesters are now protesting outside her home and frightening the Nielsen children.
Comedian Kathy Griffin showed herself proudly holding a picture of Donald Trump’s severed head. Singer Madonna spoke of blowing up the White House. Actor Robert Deniro threatened to punch Trump in the face. Actor Peter Fonda threatened violent acts against Trump’s 11-year-old son Barron. Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters screamed to her supporters that they must confront Trump supporters.
Trump and the 63 million Americans who voted for him are repeatedly
compared to Adolf Hitler, Nazis, fascists and other Holocaust proponents.
When these acts of bad behavior are pointed out to liberals, they fall back on two equally invalid and dishonest talking points.
First they claim that their actions are justified because they are fighting against hate. They are the good warriors taking on evil. The recent immigration controversy (perfectly timed to distract from the Inspector General Report) has seen mass numbers of Trump-as-Hitler comparisons.
This is hysteria.
Hitler murdered six million Jews, many of them children. Trump is not killing children. The President is not ordering shootings at the border. He is placing them in safe housing that is nicer than most college dormitories. Or, if we believe the narrative, nicer, and safer, than the homes they have left behind.
The children are well fed, given physical and dental health exams and treatment. They are receiving educational classes.
Rather than have an honest debate about immigration, the left finds it easier to label Trump a murderous dictator. They then use that label to justify harassing his employees and supporters.
Ironically, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder did oversee the murder of mass numbers of people throughout the globe. Holder’s bungled Fast and Furious gunrunning operation got 200 Mexicans, many of them children, murdered. No rational person would call Holder a murderer, despite those facts. Yet they call Trump a murderer without a death at his hands.
The Left conveniently hiding behind the First Amendment
The second disingenuous argument proffered by the left is that the First Amendment gives them freedom of speech. The First Amendment allows for peaceful speech. There is no constitutional right to violent protest. In 1951 the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against Irving Feiner when his speech started a riot.
“Inciting a breach of the peace” is not protected speech.
The idea that verbal violence leads to actual physical violence is far from theoretical. Actual examples exist in the current American left. Conservative Congressman Steve Scalise was shot by a leftist. Republican Senator Rand Paul was beaten within an inch of his life by a leftist. North Carolina Republican Party Headquarters were firebombed.
Liberals can claim that they are angry and frustrated, but there is no justification for settling political disagreements with Molotov cocktails.
Instead of inciting violence, what Liberals could do
There are plenty of things liberals can do to assuage their anger. They can vote. Register voters. Or they can see a therapist and consume as much Prozac as their physician will legally prescribe.
What liberals cannot do is resort to violence.
Donald Trump did not cause their rage, nor is anger at his policies a justification for that rage. Their lack of civility is an internal behavioral issue. To put it bluntly,
Liberals are the new Palestinians. They simply refuse to accept that the other side has a right to exist.
Since conservatives plan to keep existing, the only choice liberals have is to accept this. Refusal to do so will lead to physical violence, and this potential conflict does not end well for liberals. Conservatives have guns. God help this country if conservatives have to use them in self-defense against their liberal neighbors.
A better solution is for liberals to find their own Charles Krauthammer, or even their next Christopher Hitchens.
Liberals need to argue their beliefs passionately but civilly.
It was former Democrat turned Republican Well Miller who in 2003 lamented “A Deficit of Decency.”
That deficit has only widened as the American left resorts to violence first rather than last. From Black Lives Matter to Occupy to La Raza to Code Pink to Occupy, the left is all violence all the time.
Most American voters want peaceful calm. They want food on their table and their loved ones safe at night. Most like their neighbors and want a more civil nation. They have repeatedly elected optimistic candidates like Ronald Reagan and rejected angry candidates such as Howard Dean.
Americans of all stripes admire civility and desperately want more of it. That is why the nation mourns Charles Krauthammer.
By lifting up the quality of debate, he lifted us all up. That is far better than the violent leftist mobs willing to endanger the lives of political opponents to win a policy fight.
All that does is tear America down.