Trump, free speech and Chicago

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have tapped into popular rage, and that rage is splitting America. Are we turning into Weimar, ready for open battle in the streets?


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 13, 2016 — The events at the Donald Trump rally in Chicago on Friday are reminiscent of the 1968 riots at the Democrat National Convention. Then, anti-Vietnam war protesters disrupted the convention.

Almost half a century later, nothing has changed.

Left-wing activists organized the protest against Trump. They placed themselves throughout the auditorium and prepared to rush the stage. After the event was canceled, videos show them on the floor, congratulating themselves that they shut him down.

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As ever, the supposedly tolerant left is intolerant of ideas other than their own. You don’t have to agree with Trump to feel badly about this defeat of free speech. It has become all too common on college campuses today.

Trump canceled the event, citing a wish to avoid violence. The left, however, blamed him for the threatened violence, saying he asked for it. The other four candidates in the Republican race have denounced the divisive atmosphere Trump seems to bring out.

What you believe depends on who you support.

One thing is certain: There is a lot of pent-up anger in this country. It comes from multiple sources. It is stoked by the left, which started the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements and seeks to drive crisis after crisis. It is aided by both political parties, whose standard-bearers say one thing to get elected and then do quite another once in office.

People are fed up across the political spectrum. Both Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders on the Democrat have tapped into it, fanning the flames. These are dangerous times.

The situation in this country is becoming like 1920s Germany. Gangs of communists and rightists fought in the streets. The democratically-elected Weimar Republic was unable to keep order. In Munich, a fascist gang leader named Adolf Hitler promised order and to make Germany great again.

A more American analogy is the Western movie. A town on the frontier is under the grip of a gang of “bad dudes,” and the town needs someone to restore order. They need a new sheriff in town.

They don’t much care who this guy is—the badder the better. They pin a badge on him and expect him to set things right. He does. What happens next varies: The sheriff may die in the attempt, he may ride off into the sunset, or the townspeople may kick him out, tiring of the methods he uses to get rid of the original problem. The cure may be worse than the disease.

Which is Trump?

If Trump is Hitler, what’s so special about Hitler?

Is he more like Adolf Hitler—a tyrant of the right rising to oppose the tyranny of the left? Or is he the new sheriff in town, all set to kick butt and set things right?

We project our own feeling on him, but in fact we can’t know which he will be.

The left hates him with a passion as they rightly know he will crack down on them. Those who feel disenfranchised by the political system—Republicans, independents and even Democrats—look to him to make the government responsive to them again.

Constitutional conservatives—certainly not everyone who calls themselves conservative—and libertarians are not so sure. They value a legal order of limited government.

The question is whether this Marxist cancer—the grandchildren of the 1968 radicals—has eaten so deeply into our national fabric that an orderly return to constitutional order is no longer possible.

We will get a new sheriff in November. Which kind of a sheriff will it be?

To get the right one, we need free speech and open debate. Many people both here and abroad don’t understand that.

They certainly don’t in Chicago.

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