Remember the attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo? They published something that, in this case, militant Islamists found offensive. The militants demanded they get their way and, when they didn’t, they killed 12 people. The trustees at Charlie Hebdo stood up for free speech and against threats – and 12 people were martyred for it.
At the very start of our American experiment, Benjamin Franklin said: “You have a Republic, if you can keep it.” The battles to preserve our Bill of Rights are fought in the pages of newspapers and on the Internet and on the lips of people, no less than on the battlefields of war.
As in the case of Charlie Hebdo, some people have demanded that an image they deem “offensive” be removed and the “perpetrator” – in this case, it was merely “re-tweeted” – be punished. Now they are equating what they call “hate speech” with acts of actual violence.
By the way, when is a crime of violence – any crime of violence – not hateful?
When is a sexual assault not hateful? When is assault and battery a cheerful crime? When is murder done without malice? When is the rape and murder of a child not hate?
Officially, the rape and the murder of a child is not an act of hate. “It is about what was going on in your mind at the time of the crime,” they explain. In other words, the crime is in the thought, not the act. So now we have “thought crime”. The actual rape and murder isn’t the bad part – what makes it really bad, what elevates it to a “hate crime,” is the thought.
Go to the United States Justice Department’s compendium of “hate crimes” for 2001 and you will find that the attacks on September 11, 2001, are not counted as “hate crimes”. Yeah, sure, those boys who flew those airliners into the Twin Towers did it out of benign affection for America.
The fact that the official compendium of “hate crimes” for 2001 is short 2,977 victims is a testament as to how deep the rot of political correctness has gone.
In politically correct parlance, hate is what they say it is.
And who are “they”? Anyone who sets themselves up as a “victim” or a “victims’ group” or a spokesperson for such. In short… any old mob.
The Democrats asked Leslie Huhn, a supporter of Governor Phil Murphy and the former Chair of the Sussex County Democrat Committee, to dig up some dirt on Jerry Scanlan, the Chairman of the Sussex County Republicans and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sussex County Community College (SCCC). Murphy was concerned that his illegal Sanctuary scheme was getting bad press across the state – with a big part of the pushback coming from Sussex County.
On July 22, 2019, Leslie Huhn started “following” the Twitter page operated by Jerry Scanlan. Huhn was looking for something to be offended by and she found it. A mob was organized to storm the SCCC Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for later that same week. Among its members was an outspoken, self-identified “anarchist”. Sweet.
Initially, Scanlan drew attention to the timing of the Democrats’ carefully planned oppo-attack (which it clearly was). Then the Sussex County GOP stepped in and took control of the Twitter account from Scanlan. Scanlan issued an apology and said that the re-tweets were part of long twitter “trains” which he had not paid close attention to, but took responsibility for in his apology.
In more “liberal” times, that would have been enough. But this is not how today’s Left works.
The way it works today is that a mob is formed, the mob calls for someone’s head, that person is taken out and publicly lynched by his colleagues, the head is ceremoniously removed and thrown to the mob, the mob beats it about and tattoos the forehead with words like the ubiquitous “racist” or the fast-becoming “Islamophobe,” and then, having been sexually satiated, the mob departs… until the next time.
There is no time allowed for rational discussion, legal due process, or civil deliberation. The mob wants its head and there are always cowards who will give it someone’s head. The cowards’ wish is only that it not be them.
Instead of succumbing to the mob. Instead of participating in an act of extra-judicial punishment. Perhaps this is a teachable moment?
The mob fears rational discussion. Maybe it is simply beyond people whose vocabulary is limited to a very few epithets? But the Board of Trustees of the Sussex County Community College should not place itself at the disposal of a mob. As an institution of higher learning, it should use this moment to broaden the discussion. It should use this moment to teach the Bill of Rights, which are our greatest cultural, political, and legal inheritance.
This is no longer about Jerry Scanlan. He admitted he was in error and he apologized. The calls for further punishment (and for physical violence against him) are superfluous. They will not make him more in error or give further weight to his admission that he was in error.
Curiously, these calls for further punishment (and violence against his person), come at a time when the Democrat Party is on record as supporting the decriminalization of actual criminal activity, the end of mandatory sentencing for actual crimes of violence, and the extension of rights (such a voting) to actual violent criminals. The Democrats don’t wish to make anyone safer. They just want to police your thoughts so that nobody is allowed to oppose what they say.
The Trustees of the SCCC have an opportunity to bring reason and knowledge to the table. Let the Bill of Rights be their guide. The SCCC can use this opportunity to teach. And isn’t that what an institution of learning should do anyway?