Better pop that dictionary open again. Liberals are redefining yet another word.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts recently staked out the position that student debt is a form of “violence.”
Let’s make it plain: student debt is policy violence.
We’ll keep fighting to relieve families across the country, to make sure our policies & budgets reflect their lived experiences & that we build this grassroots movement to #CancelStudentDebt together?
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) December 17, 2021
Unless you’re a newly-arrived illegal immigrant with zero English (and there are a lot of them this year), you’ve already seen this rhetorical stunt.
Like the monetary supply, the physical universe, and Stacey Abrams, what counts as “violence” to the American left is forever expanding. And it will continue to expand, because however ridiculous it may seem from the outside, constant invocations of “violence” are useful to the Regime and its apparatchiks in the journalist and academic class.
According to Pressley’s Squadmate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, evicting people who don’t pay rent is violence (but living somewhere while refusing to pay isn’t, apparently).
Eviction is violence. – @AOC
We need to keep pushing to #ExtendTheMoratorium. No more excuses.
— Team AOC (@TeamAOC) August 2, 2021
Per the Secretary-General of the United Nations, saying mean things on the Internet is “violence.”
Virtual violence is violence.
Online abuse is abuse.
Women and girls have the right to feel safe in all spaces.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 3, 2021
A recent anthropology paper makes the unsurprising claim that deporting illegal immigrants is “state violence,” but there is no need to go that far; when a Texas judge merely blocked additional DACA approvals that was, of course, “violence” as well.
BIG shoutout to one of our organizers, Yazmin, who is featured in this CNN article discussing the violent ruling by a Texas judge to end any new DACA approvals. (1/3)https://t.co/VlKxO0Z9Qs
— Sunrise Movement KC ? (@sunrisemvmtkc) July 20, 2021
Saying there are two sexes, or that men who take hormones and put on a dress don’t suddenly swap which one they are, is exceptionally violent.
Truth is violence ¯_(ツ)_/¯ pic.twitter.com/VIWgXrxarq
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) August 5, 2021
And back in 2017, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett said that it was “violence” to let Milo Yiannopoulos (remember him?) give a speech on campus:
It’s reasonable, scientifically speaking, not to allow a provocateur and hatemonger like Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at your school. He is part of something noxious, a campaign of abuse. There is nothing to be gained from debating him, for debate is not what he is offering.
But white people really can’t win. When they speak, it’s often violence, but if they try and shut up, that’s violence too!
About the only thing that progressives don’t consider violence is burning, maiming, shooting, and killing people. Just days after mobs torched downtown Minneapolis, 1619 Project prophetess Nikole Hannah-Jones said there was nothing violent about such mayhem.
"Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man's neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence. To use the same language to describe those two things is not moral" –@nhannahjones on CBSN pic.twitter.com/GGteXRFwAr
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 2, 2020
Two months later, after a summer of arson, murder, and mayhem, Pressley was still going on TV to say that America needed “unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives.” A week later, after “mostly peaceful protesters” inflicted a fifty million mostly-peaceful dollars in damage on Kenosha, Pressley described Kyle Rittenhouse as a “white supremacist domestic terrorist,” and his serial child rapist attacker as a peaceful person “who had assembled to affirm the value… of Black lives.”
A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15.
He shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives.
Fix your damn headlines.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) August 27, 2020
In the moral universe of liberals and the Regime, everything is violent except violence.
On the right, and even in many corners of the left, the left’s ever-expanding definition of violence is often treated as a reason for contempt and ridicule.
Salon writer Will Saletan’s argument is the same one made by many. After Pressley’s comments on student debt, Saletan said that calling it “violence” was a weak argument unlikely to persuade many:
Abusing terms like "violence" doesn't persuade people. It just makes them discount the rest of your message.
— Will Saletan (@saletan) December 18, 2021
The perpetual hysterics of liberals certainly do merit mockery, not the least because even the slightest ridicule exposes the mental fragility and instability of our corrupt Regime’s defenders. But Saletan and those who agree with him miss the true point of Pressley’s rhetoric. For regime progressives, non-violent behaviors by one’s enemies aren’t labeled “violence” to persuade, but to enable. Regime progressives do not care about convincing their critics and opponents. They care about overpowering them. Constant shrieks about “violence” are a call to fellow true believers to remain relentlessly aggressive, to use any tactics available to achieve victory, and to justify or ignore any violence by one’s own side as simply a necessary response in the face of “violence.”
More than a year ago, during the Summer of Floyd, Revolver’s Darren Beattie explained the power of the left’s moral imperialism, and how imperative it is for the right to reject this imperialism if it ever wants to truly govern again.
Beattie: “Having the moral high ground gives you the confidence to hold frame in a discussion… Not only are you going to sit back & say it’s wrong — you are going to defend against it — with the same kind of conviction… that the left uses to destroy everything that is just" pic.twitter.com/P5osvXlSdG
— Echo Chamber (@echo_chamberz) August 5, 2020
Thanks to its dominance of the press, the academy, and the bureaucracy, the left has immense power to shape what is considered right and wrong, and what is considered normal or transgressive. In essence, the constant invocations of “violence” are a subconscious reminder to left-wing advocates to always maintain a posture of aggression. When you have the power to define reality, then you should define it such that your enemies are always the aggressors — always the ones engaging in “violence” — while even your most depraved act is one of self-defense.
So, if calling everything “violent” works for the left, does that mean well-meaning Americans should copy that tactic? No. Well-meaning Americans often make the mistake of thinking they win by simply imitating the left. This is how one gets Republican-led “criminal justice reform” and Mitt Romney marching with BLM.
As Revolver wrote a year ago:
This wave of moral inversion cannot be defeated by claiming that the left is failing to meet its own standards. It cannot be beaten by calling the left “the real racists” or by saying that those on the right are “the real feminists.” Their moral framework must be rejected entirely. Their cries of racism must be identified as disingenuous attacks by the immoral, who care not one bit for the long-term well-being of any race of people. The right must meet the left head-on with the goal of defeating and subduing it, and make a stand for virtue as its own end. For God, family, faith, reason, truth, justice, beauty, liberty, and law and order. The right must make a stand for civilization itself, on its own terms, with no concessions.
As it is for bogus cries of racism, so it must be for bogus cries of “violence.” The left is able to constantly move the line on what is considered “violence” because they have steadily succeeded in blurring the lines between actual, real violence and everything else. Cowardly politicians have tolerated actual riots, looting, and assaults, thereby making it easier to pretend that that “words that wound” actually wound. Paradoxically, when American cities like Chicago or Washington D.C. become violent “sh*tholes” (to use a former president’s terminology), it normalizes violence, and thereby makes it easier to pretend other normal things are “violent” too.
The way to blunt the left’s “violence” rhetoric is to stop being controlled by it. Conservatives must refuse to concede any similarity between the violent, society-destroying behavior of the west and the just functioning of an orderly society. That means sharply punishing real crimes and adhering to the laws that really matter. There is a very real connection between throwing rioters in prison and halting the left’s effort to rewrite the dictionary.
When Americans simply point and laugh at the left’s rhetoric, and do nothing else, they lose. When they point and laugh, but also understand and react, they can win.