Civility

What Politicians Must Do When Protesters Attack

Learning from Robert McNamara's mistakes and magnanimity

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In June, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled out of MXDC, an upscale Mexican eatery in the nation's capital. In September, Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) and his wife were hounded from Georgetown's Fiola. In each instance, protesters associated with the group Smash Racism D.C. entered the restaurants and harangued their targets until they left.

The incidents provided further fodder for a newly heated national conversation about "civility" under Donald Trump's presidency. Critics of the protesters bemoaned the radical left's lack of good manners, while defenders argued that, with family separations at the border and the confirmation of an accused rapist to the Supreme Court, the time for politeness had passed. Both sides seemed to think the other was crossing lines that had previously been inviolable.

But such a claim is historically illiterate at best. The U.S. government has done worse, both domestically and abroad, and America's public servants have faced much harsher blowback.

Consider former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, today remembered as the overseer of America's disastrous war in Vietnam. On November 2, 1965, he was in his office at the Pentagon when a young Quaker from Baltimore named Norman Morrison parked 40 feet from McNamara's window, stepped into plain view, and doused himself in kerosene while holding his own infant daughter. As the story goes, Morrison tossed his daughter to a bystander seconds before burning himself alive to protest America's military presence in Southeast Asia. McNamara watched him die; even three decades later, talking about the incident with his literary collaborator Brian VanDeMark "brought him to tears."

While Morrison's death was more jarring than any heckling visited on contemporary D.C. power holders, McNamara would face a still more physical and intimate protest a year later, when he traveled to Harvard to speak at the business school, which he'd attended, and to address undergraduates in an off-the-record seminar hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics.

The American ground war had just officially begun, and the radical-left Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) wanted McNamara to come clean about civilian casualties in Laos and Vietnam. When the SDS was denied a chance to question him at the Kennedy School forum, they decided to confront him as he left for another speaking engagement. Some 800 protesters surrounded McNamara's car, which contained only the secretary and a driver armed with a pistol. (In his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect, McNamara says the car also featured a tear-gas dispenser shaped like a pen, with which he once gassed Eunice Kennedy Shriver during a backseat demonstration.)

That's when "all hell broke loose," McNamara recounted. The protesters managed to block the car from the front and the back and began to rock the vehicle with McNamara inside. He had to stop his driver from running down the students, and then concluded that the only way to resolve the impasse was to step outside. Unguarded, he emerged into a furious crowd, where he agreed to answer two questions posed by Michael Ansara, the president of the Harvard SDS chapter.

What happened next depends on whose history you're reading. McNamara writes in his memoir that in order to prevent the protesters from becoming violent, he told them that he, too, had been politically engaged during his undergraduate days at Berkeley. "I was tougher than you then and I'm tougher than you today. I was more courteous then and I hope I am more courteous today," he claims he said.

Ansara remembers the moment a little differently. In a 2017 retrospective published by The Harvard Crimson, the former student activist told reporter Laszlo B. Herwitz that the toughness line was a response to Ansara asking McNamara if he wouldn't disclose civilian casualties because he didn't know or because he didn't care.

"He started shrieking, 'I was tougher then and I'm tougher now,'" Ansara told Herwitz, claiming that McNamara put his finger on Ansara's chest as he said it. (Both men agree that McNamara didn't say much else before jumping off the car's hood and rushing through Quincy House, escorted by a student named Barney Frank, who would later go on to a 30-year career in Congress.)

After McNamara returned to Washington, D.C., he received a letter from Harvard College Dean John Munro, apologizing for the students' behavior. McNamara wouldn't have it. He wrote back to Munro that "dissent is both the prerogative and the preservative of free men everywhere."

In fact, McNamara endured dissent pretty much everywhere he went during his tenure as defense secretary, and he typically handled it with the same magnanimity. At the Seattle airport, a fellow traveler spat on him and called him a murderer. In Aspen, Colorado, a woman approached him and his wife at a restaurant while they ate dinner and called him a "baby burner." McNamara recalled these incidents as stressful and upsetting, but he never once suggested that the people who confronted him were out of line, and he certainly didn't feel they were endangering him. (Even when he actually was in danger, as was the case in 1972, when a young man tried to throw him over the railing on a ferry headed to Martha's Vineyard, he refused to press charges.)

McNamara defended Americans' right to protest and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. While he and his family likely felt that certain parts of their lives should be off-limits, he seems to have understood, in a way contemporary wielders of bureaucratic and political power seemingly do not, that public servants should not expect the people they serve to observe government office hours.

To say they don't make them like McNamara anymore would not exactly be true. The American war machine is chugging right along, and American politicians and bureaucrats will occasionally cop to their bad judgment once they're no longer in power, as McNamara did in his memoir.

Even in real time, McNamara had his doubts. He writes that he knew the Vietnam War was a bad idea before the U.S. deployed a ground force, and he knew that bombing Laos into oblivion wouldn't stop the flow of supplies and people from the North Vietnamese Army into South Vietnam. He did not do enough to stop President Lyndon Johnson from wading deeper into the conflict, and he accepted that the American public would make him pay for it.

Perhaps that's what is missing from today's debate about civility. Public confrontation is a historically normal—if unpleasant—response to the immense power wielded by office holders. Our leaders have become incessantly sanctimonious, almost eager to be victimized. They seem not to understand, and certainly not to accept, the tradeoffs that come with their positions.

In a 2004 interview with the Harvard Business School, McNamara, then 88, insisted that America's ruling class—its politicians but also its private sector leaders—lacked integrity. "Integrity," he told Garry Emmons, "is the fulfilling of one's responsibility to all constituents."

Likewise, integrity means suffering the protesters during dinner, at the airport, at the grocery store, because every person affected by a power holder's decisions is his or her constituent, regardless of party ID. And if the interruptions and catcalls are too much, our rulers can do what McNamara arguably waited too long to: relinquish power and return to life as a private citizen.

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92 responses to “What Politicians Must Do When Protesters Attack

  1. “Likewise, integrity means suffering the protesters during dinner, at the airport, at the grocery store, because every person affected by a power holder’s decisions is his or her constituent, regardless of party ID.”

    Ideally, that’s true. The problem crops up if you are being abused for things you didn’t decide or do… that’s public life, these days, but it’s not really fair.

    1. It is completely fair. Elected officials in particular have created lifetime sinecure for themselves (and family/noble dynasties in more than a few cases). Repeatedly voted/acted to reduce representation in government whenever it conflicts with ensuring power for the status quo. Turned the capital into a modern-day Versailles filled with revolving-door courtiers who use ‘public service’ as a way to defuse criticism for what is actually rent-seeking personal corruption. Surrounded themselves with staffers and flunkies who generally prevent all except donors and special interest lobbyists from accessing them during the day. Gerrymandered districts so they can never face a competitive election back home in irrelevantland. And now they whine that the rabble are disturbing their taxpayer-paid dinners.

      Fuck them and and everyone who makes excuses for them.

      1. I can’f think of anything dumber or more shortsighted than this.

        Declare Open Season on government officials in all settings public and private, and only power-hungry sociopaths will enter government service. The Betsy Devos’ of the world will just say “fcvk it, I don’t need this”

        1. None of that stuff is necessary when those officials make themselves available to those whom they represent AS IS REQUIRED under the 1st Amendment. It is the people’s right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. A right which has been explicitly protected going back to the Magna Carta.

          That means that being on the receiving end of that IS a burden of public service. There are tons of ways those folks could make themselves responsive while they are actually doing the work of the public. The obvious being that they could actually see part of their job as LISTENING instead of just making speeches at photo ops. Which would in fact eliminate almost all interest by the public in trying to play Where’s Waldo. They choose not to and choose to encase themselves in a corrupt permanent unpierceable bubble during their taxpayer-paid work. And then have the gall to pretend that once the day ends, that they should also be immune from listening as well. THAT mindset is what encourages the corruption and sociopathy.

          1. I would think this is all self-evident to anyone with a healthy distrust of govt.

            The more time they have to spend listening at work – the less time they have to either a)satisfy their ego by making themselves the center of attention (which can only lead to power-seeking and charismatic sociopathy) or b)impose their will on others in the most coercive possible manner (because they simply don’t want to listen to the squeals of those they are imposing on).

            And if that is a hassle and a burden, then leave office and return to the private sector – where one will once again become an OBJECT of govt imposition. And let someone else – who is more recently aware of what those current govt impositions are – take on the burden for awhile. Rotation in office is a good thing. And was also the ‘normal’ thing until about 100 years ago.

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  2. In “Kennedy’s Last 100 Days” R. Strange McNamara is portrayed as having worked with JFK to get our military personnel out of Vietnam. During the heat of things afterward, non-communist hepcats were more concerned with getting rid of military conscription than anything else. The mixed-economy fascists and communists seem made for each other, and there were way fewer objections to their archbishops and field marshals duking it out while the rest of us watched and cheered. McNamara seemed almost like a conscript himself at times, having to stick up for the party line.

  3. Protesting is free speech in public places. Not private restaurants.

    Threats, assault are never ok.

    All the examples of “protesting” should have resulted in either leaving to a public place or charges for assault, trespassing and disturbing the peace.

    It’s only tolerated because public figures fear bad propaganda in the media

    1. +100

    2. I agree with the first part, but I think it’s tolerated simply because people lack the courage of their convictions. Nobody is willing to be the adult in the room and stand up and say this is wrong. They’re too willing to give evil and ignorant people the benefit of the doubt, assume they’re making good-faith arguments and allow that they’re entitled to their opinions. People may be entitled to their opinions but when they start acting on those dangerous and harmful opinions they must be stopped forcefully. Regardless of your opinions to the contrary, you do not have the right to steal my shit and run my life and interfere with my consensual interactions with other people.

      1. How many times can we argue that minimum wage hikes, rent control, punitive taxation, “free” shit, and all the other socialist unicorns are counter-productive to the goal of helping the poor and the disadvantaged as if these people are merely ignorant rather than evil? They *know* this shit isn’t going to help anybody but themselves, but they don’t care because their goal is simply getting control of the face-stomping boot. Arguing over these issues only validates their arguments, as if there’s seriously something to argue over. If you want to argue over whether Peyton Manning or Tom Brady is the better quarterback, we can argue. If you want to argue that Helen Keller was a better quarterback than either of them, you’re retarded and there’s no point in even listening to you. Shut the fuck up and go away, you’ve got nothing to say.

        1. +10

      2. People have rights, but not all of them are supported by law and many are being violated in part for the reasons you suggest.

        Perhaps the media is the most powerful force on this planet and it is not altruistic. The power of propaganda is for sale privately, and it ruins people.

        I remember the story of one person who stood up for his virtuous principles and would not kowtow. He was crucified and has since inspired billions of people for thousands of years.

        1. The documentary “the war you don’t see” by John Pilger demonstrates how much the media controls your thoughts and subsequently your free will.

          If we can eradicate propaganda, with a few laws and human rights, people won’t fear for their lives when standing up for what’s right.

          http://johnpilger.com/videos/the-war-you-dont-see

        2. are you referring to Nick Sandmann?

          1. I wasn’t.

            Nicks case saw grownups with personal and political agendas use propaganda ruthlessly to harm an adolescent with principles.

            If it wasn’t for all the video evidence that corroborated Nicks story and discredited the propaganda, that young persons life would be ruined.

            As it is I’m sure he’s still suffering and afraid. What kid wouldn’t be. But if he can summon the principled courage he demonstrated against that fake Indian veteran, he’ll be ok.

    3. “Protesting is free speech in public places. Not private restaurants.”

      Protest in public places is confined to free speech cages where the speakers can be properly supervised. Restaurants too could be equipped with such facilities and watched over by the maitre d; who never seems to be busy anyway.

    4. As I was reading the article I was thinking the same thing about threats and assaults. If our political figures are just citizens like the rest of us (as they should be), the laws of the land apply to them also. That means that, no, you cannot threaten and assault or their families them during office hours or after. McNamara made personal decisions for whatever not to press charges that had nothing to do with whether the people were breaking the law or not and that shouldn’t be any kind of proof that it’s okay.

    1. That’s guy is a major league asshole.

  4. How are they to react when their friend and trusted associate of 10 years tells Congress under oath that they’re racist conman criminals?

    1. Say that he was never a trusted friend and associate, that he was really no more than a coffee boy that you hired out of pity because he was so dumb and such a pathetic skeeze.

      1. So more lying. Ok.

        1. As if you don’t know the playbook. It’s only got the one play in it. Say anything critical and you’re a failed loser, you’re a liar and a crook, you’re fat and ugly and stupid and nobody likes you.

          1. Orange Person could never admit that Trump is so rich that he can afford to hire an army of tax attorneys, general attorneys, problem solvers, and advisors.

            He thinks Trump does his own taxes and never gets good and bad legal advice.

            He probably thinks Trump personally types every tweet.

  5. The writer is an idiot . Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.
    Having thick skin is not having or acting with Integrity.

    1. +1

    2. You might disagree with him, but Mike Riggs is not an idiot.

      You make yourself look ridiculous when you write ridiculous things.

      1. Well put Ken. Glad to see the comments here havent completely degenerated.

      2. Weird that he’d write about integrity
        While omitting the group he’s cited assaulting Tucker Carlson’s home, invading Mitch McConnell’s property, and torching a middle eastern man’s limo (business) while rioting.

        F this one-way tolerance for only progressive psychotics (but I repeat myself) BS.

        Totalitarians take your tolerance and civility as weakness.
        It’s passed time to stand up to them, by any and all means.

      3. He is not an idiot. Sometimes he says idiotic things though.

  6. “With family separations at the border and the confirmation of an accused rapist to the Supreme Court, the time for politeness had passed.”

    We’ve been in crisis mode for at least 18 years and counting. Some of this might have been justified under similar logic going back to the Anita Hill accusations in 1991. Haven’t you heard that we’re cooking the planet to death?

    The crisis will never end until the American people learn to laugh in the face of Chicken Little.

    1. You must be young, Ken. We’ve been in crisis mode for my whole long life and parent’s life before that.

  7. while defenders argued that, with family separations at the border and the confirmation of an accused rapist to the Supreme Court, the time for politeness had passed.

    A kind of emergency had been declared!

    1. We were always at war with the Midwest.

    2. with [any grievance] and [any other grievance], the time for politeness had passed.

      Just fill in the blanks with your outrage du jour.

  8. Fight back with your fists, knives, guns or what have you

    The scum must be beat down bloody.

  9. Smash Racism D.C. entered the restaurants and harangued their targets until they left.

    What a bunch of fucking losers. Get over yourselves and go out and get a fucking job. Or if they’re in their early 20s, go out with your buddies and get drunk, high, and chase the muff around. Haranguing politicians would be at the absolute bottom of the list of things for me to do. Fucking nerds.

    1. The true believers; they have a start at this and will only get worse.

      Let “notorious” RBG die, or Trump get re-elected in 2020 [given what Democrats are saying and doing every day I am increasingly convinced that this will happen] there will be a lot more than heckling from the assholes in black

  10. Public confrontation is one thing, coordinated harassment, trespass and violence are quite another. It is appropriate to criticize the propriety of the tactics of protest organizations. They do not get a free pass from public judgement.

    1. Public officials should be scared that the public might speak out, yell at them on the street, protest, have hundreds of millions of guns, and want to come to their government offices to speak our minds.

      Much of this is about Trump and Hillary losing not government fucking up. Lefties are fine with government fucking up as long as it’s for Team Blue.

      1. The downfall of republics lies in the distance, thus physical safety, the rulers put between themselves and the governed.
        A little bit of fear is a good thing.

        But these “protests” aren’t about holding leaders accountable or protecting liberty of the governed. They’re brownshirts, the totalitarian’s thugs, trying to bully the populace into submission. They are “protesters” demanding that the rulers take more power.

        They have no legitimacy.
        F this article for the agitprop it is – there is no equivalence between progressive street thugs and Americans with legitimate grievances.

        1. +1000

  11. I saw Fog of War, in which McNamara talked about the immorality of the firebombing of Tokyo and elsewhere. He suggested he might have been brought up on crimes against humanity for his part in such things had the allies lost the war.

    McNamara may have been a rare bird: someone who saw his own evil clearly and could talk about it honestly and objectively. Intellectual honesty is the key here for free expression and persuasion to be effective in getting ideas across to the American people. And these spectacles of confronting people in restaurants, etc. aren’t really intended to impress the people who are subjected to them. They’re trying to create spectacles that will covered and discussed in the media. The kids who went after Dianne Feinstein the other day to sign off on the Green New Deal were the same thing. Rationally engaging those kids isn’t about to change their minds, but the way to combat the organizers isn’t to change the kids’ minds. It’s to use the spectacle to get your own message across in as rational and honest a way as possible.

    1. McNamara was about burning the city of Atlanta to make the South capitulate and wiping out the buffalo herds to make the Indians surrender for lack of food. McNamara was about firebombing Tokyo to wipe out the Imperial Japanese labor force, and he was honestly about using the same tactics in Vietnam, Laos, etc. He knew it was evil but he thought the evil means were justified in terms of objectives. in McNamara’s case, I don’t suppose using logic and honesty could help him much with his Vietnam argument since his argument in all its honesty was about as ugly as ugly could be. On the other hand, nothing sticks to the wall without reason and honesty.

      1. McNamara was a piece of shit who got tens of thousands of Americans killed in Vietnam.

        Him trying to compare himself or his actions to WWII generals just takes the cake. Japan attacked the USA and Germany declared war on the USA. Japan and Germany would have happily destroyed or occupied the USA, if they had the capacity. North Vietnam never attacked the USA nor our actual interests.

        The story of Vietnam and American involvement is a complex one but comes down to 3 major points: The USA at the close of WWII refused to command the upper hand against the USSR and its desire to spread Communism allowing for a divided Vietnam and Korea, later the USA wanted to stop the spread of Communism using half-measures in Vietnam and the region (Domino Theory), American politicians and bureaucrats like McNamara refused to do whatever it takes to win or push to leave.

        The Domino Theory was bullshit as clearly more Socialist states did not save the USSR from collapse and are likely partially the cause of the collapse as they drained off Russian resources which upset Russians.

        1. NeoConservatives like McNamara love what war can do for them and theirs but they never want to risk themselves, like threatening to resign if the USA does not leave Vietnam.

          These people never want the USA to fully engage and win the wars that they start.

          Even FDR, who wanted the USA to help Britain did not want to deal with the realities of Stalin and life after WWII.

          1. “Neoconservative”?

            I think you need an expanded vocabulary if you apply that to McNamara, if it is not entirely anachronistic.

            1. What would you call McNamara then?

        2. Ya know, I used to be really “WTF, Vietnam… Such a dumb idea!”

          But as I learned more, I can really see how the Domino Theory didn’t seem UNREASONABLE at the time. The various communist states around the world were VERY powerful, and expanding aggressively. They ended up taking over a good chunk of the world. In the 60s who could have known it was all going to collapse on its own a couple decades later? Plus, after saving half of Korea, they probably figured they could do the same or better in Nam.

          IMO the biggest mistake was not FULLY committing to doing what it took to win.

          As to the general “we did evil shit” thing… Yeah. It’s war. I mean one should try to be as decent as one can in war, thinking about the peace that will come after… Sometimes you gotta do fucked up shit. You might do some fucked up shit that works and makes sense, and other stuff that ends up being a total fail. Sometimes you don’t know until after you try.

          I try to not be too judgemental about some stuff done in the heat of the moment, as if you were in the hot seat at the time things would seem VERY different than arm chair quarterbacking decades later.

          1. The reason that the Domino Theory never was proven was that the Communists were never stopped and pushed back after the Korean War.

            The Communists either gave up and left whatever hellhole they were trying to take over or they kept fighting.

            I am definitely of the opinion that if you get the USA into a war, you better help us win. Bombs cities into glass for all I care. The Linebacker bombing in Laos, Cambodia, and north Vietnam actually has strategic effect on Communist’s ability to fight in South Vietnam. The bombing campaign was intermittent and happened after tens of thousands of Viet Cong had already infiltrated South Vietnam with supplies.

            Truman did one thing right- He Nuked Japan to save about 1 million US Military members that would have died attacking mainland Japan. That’s how you win.

            1. Can’t say I disagree.

              Sometimes I think we need to nuke ONE more country, just to prove the point. And then we can just toss around the threat all casually anytime anybody pisses us off… That would sure save us a lot of time and effort!

    2. Though McNamara applied the same faulty reasoning for the success of bombing campaigns in Vietnam that his boss did I bombing the Japanese homeland in WWII did. That is, that number of bombs dropped over a target area was more important an indicator of success than whether the bombs destroyed any of the enemy’s warmaking capacity.

      1. Well, in a total war situation like Japan, killing civilians really WAS something that hurt their wartime capacity either way. It might be less effective than blowing up a factory with workers in it, but killing a worker in his house still makes some headway. It’s shitty, but it’s true.

        1. Except they were not necessarily hitting anything at all. The high level high explosive raids had poor results hitting their targets due to prevailing high wind currents over Japan. That was one of the justifications for firebombing when it was realized how ineffective the more conventional bombing campaign has been.

          1. You are either ignorant or dishonest.

            Records from Japan clearly showed that they were preparing to fight an invasion pretty much to the last inch. It would have killed millions, Americans and Japanese.

            The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki convinced the Japanese government that it was finally hopeless. That this new weapon the Americans had would allow them to completely destroy Japan without an invasion. Bombing a few factories would never had accomplished that … they were already prepared for that.

            Even in hindsight, and with all of what we know about deaths due to radiation through to this day … those bombs saved lives.

            Until we had the atomic bomb, firebombing was what was used … and for the same reasons. The attempt to break the enemies will and end the war.

            1. +10 MJBinAL

            2. Yup. Sometimes doing something extremely brutal is actually the LESS harmful thing. Not always mind you, but sometimes.

            3. “Even in hindsight, and with all of what we know about deaths due to radiation through to this day … those bombs saved lives.”

              And not just American lives or military members’ lives. Extrapolating from the various island landings, we’d have lost a half million Allied soldiers to kill one or two million Japanese soldiers – but the civilian deaths would have been much higher. We planned to land in the early fall, when most of the food for the next year was unharvested in the fields. The invasion would have disrupted harvesting, destroyed bridges, roads and railroads to inhibit Japanese troop movement and incidentally made it difficult to move any food that was harvested, and destroyed the cities where most of the food was stored. City dwellers and farmers alike would have been bombed out of their homes and driven from the lowlands. I expect that 10’s of millions would have died from starvation and exposure that winter – and that it would not have ended in the spring. Given the stubborn to-the-last-man resistance we’d seen even in islands that were never Japanese territory, the Japanese Army would still be fighting through most of 1946, and another year of crops would have been destroyed. And I doubt that we’d have worked very hard to harvest surplus crops and ship food to Japan…

              (continued)

              1. Part of the problem was our policy of unconditional surrender. Peace talks with the Nazis were pointless; Hitler would have destroyed his own country before ceding power over it, and he broke treaties as soon as it became convenient, so we had to break Germany and re-make it. But the Japanese government, at least in theory, considered it much more important to preserve the Emperor and the people of the home islands than to preserve themselves, and should have leapt at an offer that was much harsher than what we finally did. Japan had no traditions of restraint in taking revenge on a defeated enemy, except when there were negotiated conditions, so they never surrendered without some sort of negotiations, except when it was quite impossible to keep fighting. OTOH, those conditions could be harsher than we’d have ever asked for – if a Samurai could save his employer by slitting his own belly, the code required him to do that, and the entire Tojo government claimed to be Samurais in the employ of the Emperor and the nation.

                But within the limitations we’d imposed on ourselves by agreement with the Russians and British, we could not negotiate conditions, and so the best possible solution was to nuke a couple of small cities to demonstrate that resistance was futile. (Unless we’d been ready to betray the Russians right then – it would have been a good idea, but it wasn’t politically possible after 4 years of portraying them as our friends.)

  12. Seems really strange to read the comments of my fellow libertarians and see just about everyone falling over themselves to defend state beauracrats from some harsh words at dinner.

    Worldwide internet surveillance, targetted assassinations, extraordinary rendition, border patrol trampeling on 4th amendment, mass immigrant detention, asset forfeiture, unaccountable violent law enforcement? NBD. The *real* problem is the peons forgetting their place at mealtimes.

    State infringement of civil rights does not become acxeptable based on your favorite Team controlling the statehouse at the moment. But hyperpartisanship does ensure that issue specific coalitions around issues critical to libertarian interests will never happen because the other side are “libtards” or whatever.

    1. “Be nicer to brownshirts!”

      Notably, you advocate for libertarians to cheer on totalitarian minions bullying the populace and politicians into ceding more power to government.

      F that

    2. “State infringement of civil rights does not become acxeptable based on your favorite Team controlling the statehouse at the moment.”

      And, of course, this just started when *your* fave team lost the whitehouse, right?

    3. Seems really strange to read the comments of my fellow libertarians and see just about everyone falling over themselves to defend state beauracrats from some harsh words at dinner.

      Who the hell is defending state bureaucrats?–wait–you think this only happens to bureaucrats and elected officials?

      This is happening all over.

      You only hear about it when the video goes too viral to hide.

    4. Is it okay to hate Ted Cruz AND communist shit heels who will screw with him for all the wrong reasons??? Cuz I think it is.

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  14. McNamara says the car also featured a tear-gas dispenser shaped like a pen, with which he once gassed Eunice Kennedy Shriver

    No icepick?

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  16. Today’s protesters are more likely to douse you with gasoline, than themselves. That makes dealing with them a bit difficult.

    The basic problem is, after generations of the Democratic party accusing Republicans of being monsters, they’ve finally managed to convince a significant number of people that it’s true.

    And you don’t protest monsters, you hunt them.

    I don’t see how, having started this dynamic going, they stop it. The Red Guard are easier to turn on than turn off again.

    1. Honestly, most of the shit they’re doing they can be prosecuted for under normal laws. These people need to start being arrested and prosecuted. Period. Thing is, they’re smart enough to only do it in prog areas where there are lots of sympathetic judges. In a few cases where ANTIFA guys were brought up on charges because it was unavoidable, they were all plea bargained down to slaps on the wrist by shit lib prosecutors.

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  19. I guarantee that if people physically confronted Governor Commode over SAFE and the new Red Flag law he just signed with a smirking Pelosi at his side, the NYSP would open fire.

    1. Shoot back.

      If the NYSP want to open fire on non-violent protesters, then this experiment is over and we get to defend ourselves.

  20. “…while defenders argued that, with family separations at the border and the confirmation of an accused rapist to the Supreme Court, the time for politeness had passed. Both sides seemed to think the other was crossing lines that had previously been inviolable.”

    Some actual facts would make things much more clear here.

  21. I agree completely. Let the people speak out. Eventually they will run out of gas. Here’s a lovely demonstration. Codepink disrupts the event, speaks for 2 minutes and then leaves. The guy says, “If you do that in Venezuela you could be in jail.” The fact is, Codepink is starting to be ashamed of themselves for their tactics, and realizing they are discrediting themselves, and they will stop on their own. The worst thing to do would be to criminalize them, because then they would only be radicalized. In fact Ariel’s goal is to get arrested. She takes pride in it. But the whole point of free speech is that you can speak out without getting arrested. She’s luckier than she will ever know.

  22. When protesters attack they should be arrested, tried and hopefully convicted.
    But be warned.
    Those who arrest, try, convict and support their punishment will be called “fascists” because, after all, spoiled, clueless, angry white kids who throw tantrums should be able to do what they want, when they want.
    After all, they didn’t get a spanking when they threw their tantrums when they were toddlers, why should they get their spanking now?

    1. It depends on what you mean by “attack”. Yelling at a public official on the street, even yelling obscenities, is free speech not an “attack”.

      1. Throwing rocks, bottles and other objects at businesses, cops and people would be a good example.
        Any physical attack on anyone or anything would be considered battery or vandalism.

        1. “Any physical attack on anyone or anything would be considered battery or vandalism.”

          What option does that leave today’s anti-government radical if they can’t attack the state and its minions? You want them to gather in crowds marching down the street with signs and puppets, shouting slogans from their free speech cages? It’ll never work. If it did it would be illegal.

      2. No longer true.
        Even having an affiliation with a disfavored group is ‘violence’ sufficient to warrant a violent attack as ‘response’.
        See any liberal college campus in the last three years.
        Free speech is the right to advocate for totalitarian controls of individuals, not at all the right to advocacte for individual freedom.

  23. “Likewise, integrity means suffering the protesters during dinner, at the airport, at the grocery store, because every person affected by a power holder’s decisions is his or her constituent, regardless of party ID. And if the interruptions and catcalls are too much, our rulers can do what McNamara arguably waited too long to: relinquish power and return to life as a private citizen.”

    Maybe. But they’re still full of shit because they were silent during the Obama years. They’re okay when their guy does it it seems.

    Not exactly principled if you ask me.

  24. Just to expand on what some people above were suggesting:

    This isn’t about protecting politicians as such. The brownshirts will attack anywhere they think they can get away with it. If they get away with attacking politicians, they’ll be emboldened to attack normal people.

    Since politicians have more protection than normal people, if the brownshirts see that they can attack the politicians, they will virtually wet their pants at the prospect of attacking the less-protected.

  25. Nonsense. That McNamara may have suffered abuse is not a good argument for anyone else to do so. And there is a difference between protesting outside someone’s government office (at any hour in almost any way not physically harmful to others), and harassing them out with their family, and making it impossible to enjoy their life. No one signs on for that and should not have to suffer it.

  26. “The incidents provided further fodder for a newly heated national conversation about “civility” under Donald Trump’s presidency. ”

    When Leftists harass, it’s Trump’s fault.

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