The ongoing comedramedary that is electoral politics has entered its next season, as the French presidential elections have completed their first round of combat. As expected, right-wing hate fear fascist nazi Hitler Trump white privilege patriarch poopyhead Marine Le Pen has made it to the second round, as has "centrist" Emmanuel Macron, an international banker and former member of the Socialist Party. No points for guessing which one George Soros is paying college students to riot for. Further research: what does "antifascistes" mean in French? It is a mystery!
Macron is expected to mop the floor with Le Pen in the runoff, and this is not predicted to be anything like the way Hillary Clinton mopped the floor with Donald Trump, nor the way "remain" mopped the floor with "leave" in the British EU vote I still refuse to call "Brexit" because honestly that’s hideous. We all know that the two things that are always and everywhere honest and correct are elections and electoral polls, so I’m sure that will remain the case.
"This is what tolerance looks like at UC Berkeley," Mike Wright of Berkeley College Republicans, the group that invited Yiannopoulos to the campus, said outside the student union building as smoke bombs went off around him.
As he spoke, someone threw a glass bottle of red paint at him. The bottle shattered and splattered paint on his clothing. "It’s sad," he said.
Milo Yiannopoulos was supposed to speak to a sold-out crowd at Berkeley a few days ago. His speech never occurred. Let’s be blunt: the reason for this is that Berkeley is infested with barbarians. Which may come as a surprise to the sort of person who believes the mainstream press, the barbarians don’t come clad in "Make America Great Again" hats swilling from cans of Bud Light as they drive their pickup trucks to Super Bowl parties. Quite the opposite. The barbarians wrap themselves in rainbows, carry signs about love and peace and unity, and then smash windows, spraypaint their slogans on other people’s buildings, assault innocent people, and set fire to the campus. Welcome to the modern left, where tolerance has become what it beheld.
Lately, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with goofballs like Peter Van Buren and Robby Soave — goofballs who have persuaded themselves that there exists a "right to free speech" that libertarians must defend. This has put them in the awkward position of supporting governmental expropriation of private property in the former case, and saying word miasma like "the university is failing to cultivate an environment of maximally free speech" in the latter. Both could have been avoided with a few moments’ reflection, since the abstract "right to free speech" is a nonexistent right that finds no support in libertarian theory.
This seems unusual to people, since we’ve all had it drilled into our heads since childhood that the right to speak freely is the cornerstone of democracy and apple pie and mom and so on. Now, there’s a sense in which this sort of free speech rah-rahing is correct; it is the case that the government should not be policing speech, and if what you mean by "the right to free speech" is simply that the government doesn’t lock you in a box for saying unapproved things, then, sure, libertarians will get behind that. Pretty much anything that involves fewer people locked in government boxes is a winner with us. That’s not the way libertarians use the term "rights," though; since we have this stubborn tendency to view the state as illegitimate, we tend not to view rights as reprieves granted to us through the forbearance of our overlords.
The mincing communists over at Salon gave all four of their readers a bad case of the vapors a few weeks ago by calling on Twitter to ban Donald Trump. Their reasoning? He’s, like, rude and stuff. This sort of clueless line-toeing is par for the leftist course with Salon, to be sure, and I don’t intend to waste my time or yours refuting it, not least because I think it would be quite frankly hilarious if Twitter were to ban a popular celebrity loudmouth who will, in a few weeks, also be the sitting president of the United States.
No, what I’ve come to talk to you about today is Peter Van Buren, who is normally a reliable foreign policy commentator, but has apparently acquired some type of Trump Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome, as he’s written an entirely madcap article entitled "Ban Trump, Twitter, and Free Speech" in which he seems to claim that the First Amendment compels the government to nationalize Twitter. You think I’m making that up? You tell me:
First they came for my beloved puppet mascots, and I did not speak out
I gotta be honest with you guys: those terrorists are no good. I mean, sure, we were all kind of miffed back when they crashed airplanes into notable American landmarks, but fifteen years is a long time, and terrorism has become almost passé. It’s definitely gotten to the point that, whenever a terrorist does pop up to do evil deeds, we libertarians can be so blinded by the fact that the plot was actually dreamed up, funded, and executed by the FBI that we forget to be viscerally offended by the very idea of terrorism and pledge our lives and treasure to the FBI. Last week, that all changed.
A Swedish chef was reportedly assaulted by three Muslim men who punched and kicked him in the face and head, sending him to the emergency room. Writing about the assault on Facebook, he said he was attacked because he looked like Donald Trump.
What? No! Not the Swedish Chef! Terrorists, listen to me: there are some lines that are not to be crossed. When you beheaded Miss Piggy, we could look the other way. When you crashed airplanes into Rowlf, well, the American spirit is one of forgiveness. When you burned Scooter alive, I think we were all secretly pleased, to tell the truth. But the Swedish Chef? Americans will not tolerate this! All I can say is that, if you mess with Sam the Eagle, things are gonna get real.
Let’s begin today by going back to everybody’s favorite whipping boy, Gary Johnson, and everybody’s favorite subject, compulsory gay wedding cakes. Here’s a portion of the recent interview with Johnson conducted by Reason’s Nick Gillespie:
GILLESPIE: Let’s talk about your stance on religious-liberty issues, which has angered a lot people on the right and many libertarians. Your position is that you essentially want to extend anti-discrimination protections for race and gender to cover sexual orientation when it comes to businesses that are open to the public. Yet you support an opt-out for vaccinations. Why not support an opt-out for the religious owner of a business who doesn’t want to bake a gay Nazi wedding cake?
JOHNSON: Because it would create a new exemption for discrimination. At the end of the day we’re just going to agree to disagree. But you bring me specific legislation dealing with a cake baker not having to decorate a cake for a Nazi and I’ll sign it.
At the risk of being deliberately misquoted by the New York Times, I’m compelled to point out that if there exists a group in the modern Western world that is the consistent victim of unremitting, crushing discrimination, Nazis are that group. Nazis are so relentlessly discriminated against that here we have anti-discrimination law champion Gary Johnson, in the middle of his screed about the evils of discrimination and the important role government can play in fighting it, pausing to explain that he believes the anti-discrimination laws themselves should discriminate against Nazis. That, my friends, is some hardcore discrimination.
For the last several weeks, Louisiana has been inundated with rain — reportedly receiving 6.9 trillion gallons of rainfall in one week alone — which has, of course, led to massive flooding. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the floods (though, thankfully, very few people have died), and many of them needed rescue. Fortunately, many area residents took it upon themselves to help their fellow man, and a loose coalition of boat owners called the "Cajun Navy" sprang up, which headed out to patrol flooded areas and search for people in distress. There is no doubt that the quick and comprehensive action of the Cajun Navy is much of the reason why so few people have been killed by this record-breaking flood, and it’s a wonderful and awe-inspiring thing to see people coming together to help those in need.
A month ago, a Democratic National Committee staffer called Seth Rich was shot to death in Washington D.C. The police advanced the notion that his killing was part of a robbery, which deranged conspiracy theorist his father refused to believe for no better reason than because absolutely nothing was stolen from the young man, despite the fact that he was carrying cash, credit cards, a cell phone, and a watch, all generally things that robbers display a tendency to rob. The internet picked up the story and ran with it, eventually linking Seth Rich to the DNC e-mail leak that led to the resignation of chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a fairly hefty amount of embarrassment for the Clinton campaign. As snotty media outlets with large onhand supplies of scare quotes explained, though, this was a "crazy conspiracy" and a "fantasy," and as much Donald Trump’s fault as anything he was completely unconnected to could possibly be.
Then last week that crazy Julian Assange stopped just shy of confirming that, yes, Seth Rich was a Wikileaks source:
Our whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material, and often very significant risks. There’s a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, shot in the back — murdered — just a few weeks ago, for unknown reasons, as he was walking down the street in Washington…
I’m suggesting that our sources take risks, and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.
One of the most enduring symbols of the American liberty movement is the Gadsden Flag. Designed by Colonel Christopher Gadsden in 1775, it consists of a bold yellow field emblazoned with a coiled rattlesnake — which had been used as a symbol of the American colonies since the 1750s — and the legend "don’t tread on me." Though it was originally designed as the standard to be flown by Commodore Hopkins’ flagship in the brand-new continental navy, its striking design and powerful message made it popular with liberty-minded sorts, and it was frequently used in the revolutionary government, and has remained in use to this day among the people opposed to what that government has become.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reportedly investigating the issue surrounding the ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ snake logo after an African American employee of a federal agency complained they [sic] were racially harassed when a co-worker wore a cap showing the symbol.
The complainant said he found the cap racially offensive to African Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, who [sic] he described as a ‘slave trader & owner of slaves’.
Sometimes strange things happen that may seem to have some sort of causal relationship with one’s actions, but are really just pure coincidence. The classic example would be "street light interference phenomenon" — people who believe that, when they approach street lights, those street lights are disproportionately more likely to turn off. While boring reality suggests that, actually, the mysterious phenomenon is primarily a product of confirmation bias, to one experiencing it, the effect can seem pretty profound. Similarly, while it’s no doubt purely coincidental, it can certainly seem suspicious that John Ashe, former president of the United Nations General Assembly, accidentally crushed his own throat two days before he was set to testify against Hillary Clinton. Man, what are the chances?
The New York Post’s Page Six reported that after Ashe was found dead Wednesday, the U.N. claimed that he had died from a heart attack. Local police officers in Dobbs Ferry, New York, later disputed that claim, saying instead that he died from a workout accident that crushed his throat. [Lack of italics original]