Andy Ngo Unmasks the Real Threat to American Freedom

Whether Donald Trump’s January 6 address to his supporters rose to the degree of criminal incitement below the Supreme Court’s possibly excessively liberal Brandenburg conventional, it was a thoroughly reprehensible act, or, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell set it following the impeachment trial,”a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.” Nothing could excuse it.
However, while news media have every right and reason to condemn Trump’s behaviour in provoking a mob (despite his admonition that they need to act”peaceably”) to engage in a violent assault that led to five fatalities (and might have more, had it not been for the brave acts of the understaffed Capitol Police), it’s unfortunate that couple have put Trump’s action in a broader context that would admit the threats to our Constitutional order originating from elsewhere on the ideology. Starting with the election of 2000, prominent Democrats have questioned the legitimacy of every election in which a Republican won the Presidency–truly, devoting the vast majority of Trump’s sentence to trying him to eliminate him, on grounds a lot more spurious than those which his post-Presidential impeachment rested.
More recently, a thoroughly anti-constitutional precedent was established by then-minority pioneer Chuck Schumer only last March, after he directed a posse of about 75 members up the measures of the Supreme Court to warn newly appointed justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh that they had”published the whirlwind,” could”pay a price,” and could”not know what hit” them whenever they voted the”wrong” way in an abortion case. (Schumer’s action acquired a rare rebuke from the normally reserved Chief Justice Roberts, that denounced Schumer’s comments as”inappropriate” and”reckless,” stressing, which”members of the court will continue to do their task, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.” At a proto-Trumpian answer, Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman clarified that his boss’s words didn’t mean what they sounded like, and denied that. Schumer was threatening or encouraging violence.)
A decade before, an even more direct and threatening, though ultimately (mostly) nonviolent, struggle to constitutional government was provided by Wisconsin public employee unions that invaded that nation’s Capitol to protest and make an effort to block Governor Scott Walker’s application of reforming public-employee contracts in order to balance the state budget without increasing taxes, and also liberate public school administrations from rigid tenure rules (closely paralleled in school districts throughout the nation ) that prevented them from hiring teachers according to merit and adjusting their pay based upon performance. Walker’s reforms went so far as to take public employees to contribute to their health-insurance and pension costs–although still paying for those advantages than the average Wisconsin citizen. (See Walker’s retrospective view of the”Capitol Siege,” with over 100,000 occupying the building and its neighboring square). And one girl who emailed death threats to Republican lawmakers also pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat. Nevertheless it would be difficult to find criticism of either Schumer’s warnings or even the Wisconsin unions’ attempt to intimidate their nation’s public institutions in the majority of those”mainstream” media.
The danger of the principle of law, and even to the constitutionally protected freedom of speech,” in today’s America goes well past the attack on the U.S. Capitol, let alone the other attempts to intimidate lawgivers and judges just mentioned. The tide of riots, violent crime, and looting apparently provoked by George Floyd’s death while police attempted to control him is of course well known. However, as independent journalist Andy Ngo documents in his just-published book Unmasked, widespread rioting led from the loosely organized anarchist group Antifa started in his home town of Portland many years before the Floyd event. With considerable courage, Ngo equally reported and photographed the weeks of rioting in Portland and Seattle, devoting direct assaults on police departments and courts in both cities, attacks on police resulting in hundreds of injuries, and a number of deaths. Yet in every case local governments let the majority of the violence go ashore, with Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan even celebrating the establishment last June of the”Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ), where police and other government employees had been excluded, as exemplifying a”Summer of Love”–until mounting deaths and other casualties, to mention nothing of costly damage to neighborhood shops, finally compelled her to close it down following fourteen days.
The simple fact of the riots in Portland and Seattle, in addition to in many other cities, has of course been extensively reported. Repeatedly, news commentators and columnists have denied the existence of Antifa as a thing, or at least its responsibility for any criminal action. (See recent documents from Tarisai Ngangura or Mark Bray, for example.) And everybody from public officials to professional sports stars to Hollywood celebrities to the owners of sports teams has embraced the banner of Black Lives Matter, mistaking a slogan (from lower-case letters) with that no sane person can disagree, with an especially Communist-directed company (as its website supports ), as if joining its leaders from wishing to cause the violent onslaught of American democracy. The degree to which the actors’ acceptance of the BLM movement is the result of sheer ignorance, fear, or the pursuit of gain is a ruling which would have to be left on an individual basis.
It is a sign of our changing political times which Andy Ngo, who describes himself as gay, an unbeliever, and (at least in the past), a Democrat, needs to locate his chief defenders among those who recognize as conservatives.But the most troubling aspect of the Ngo story is not the simple fact that he endured severe beatings at the hands of mobs whose actions he had been attempting to picture and report (unsuccessfully trying to disguise himself), that landed him in the hospital. It is quite that bookstores, starting with Powell’s (the most bizarre independent bookseller not only in Portland but probably in the whole U.S.) have been intimidated by Antifa into not stocking the novel.
Though Unmasked reached no. 1 status on Amazon ahead of its release, when Antifa members protested Powell’s strategy to sell the book, the shop’s supervisors instantly apologized, explaining that although a lot of the shop’s stock was hand-picked, which wasn’t accurate of Ngo’s book. They consequently vowed that the book”will not be set on our shelves. We will not market it.” They did add that Unmasked would”stay in our online catalogue,” because”we take a good deal of novels we find abhorrent, in addition to those who we treasure.” One might think that they had been talking of Mein Kampf! But despite the pledge that Powell’s would not stock the novel, a crowd of protestors gathered outside the shop’s flagship, downtown place (according to ABC News) on the day of the announcement, plastering the windows using hints and prompting the shop to close early as a security precaution.
A dialogue with a friend and former pupil of mine that possesses another of America’s top independent bookstores, situated in a trendy downtown neighborhood much removed from Portland, assures me that Powell’s really had no choice in the subject. Actually, my buddy, that is of a reasonably conservative inclination, told me that he would not dare stock the book himself, since the outcome might be the burning of his establishment. If he will not, I doubt that lots of organizers, out of the most conservative regions of the country, would dare to.
It is a sign of our changing political times which Andy Ngo, who describes himself as gay, an unbeliever, and (at least in the past), a Democrat, needs to locate his chief defenders among those that identify as conservatives. But while the son of Vietnamese boat people who risked death to escape Communist prison camps,” he evidently enjoys the value of law-based freedom more intensely than several native-born Americans who choose it for granted. And most American conservatives, one expects, have begun to recognize that what they discuss with fighters for freedom like Ngo matters a lot more than any disagreements about sexual orientation, religion, or party affiliation. However, what could John Milton or even John Peter Zenger, Thomas Jefferson or John Stuart Mill say of a scenario in which a nation that prides itself in an unsurpassed freedom of speech and of the media allows anarchist groups to prevent novels that express views against their own from being sold? And just why are the mainstream media, both print and electronic, which makes so little of it?
Needless to say, it’s now well-known that leading social media utilized their capacity to steer public opinion into what Time magazine recently described as a”conspiracy” to make sure that Joe Biden could win the election–for instance, by suppressing the New York Post’s story on the most popular information on corruption, and potentially involving his father, discovered Hunter Biden’s laptop. But should they not at least have the sense, or even of principle, subsequently of knowledgeable self-interest, to value, promote, and take a firm stand against, the endeavor of violent gangs to stamp the fair coverage of events which severely undermine America’s well-being?
Donald Trump’s contested followersthough their attack on the nation’s seat of government was, never posed a threat to our Constitutional order. The story makes no reference to the violence and intolerance of Antifa or even Black Lives Matter (neither of which have any connection to the Christian, or any other, faith ), let alone alluding to such past, non-white inciters of violence and murder as Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, or even (once again a darling of Democratic politicians) the Rev. Al Sharpton. The story blames American churches (with no evidence being supplied) for ostensible participation in the January 6 attack.
Meanwhile, the Times contributor Sarah Jeong, that made headlines 2018 for her history of sometimes obscene tweets denouncing white folks as a course, has branded Ngo because”harmful” and lately known for his censorship on Twitter. And in a meeting with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley denounced Ngo for encouraging a”false equivalence” between left- and right- wing political violence in the U.S.. But it had been Ngo, maybe not Jeong, that received so many death threats from Antifa that he decamped to London.
Whatever noises he can make, and however outrageous his behavior from office, Donald Trump will pose no danger to the preservation of the inherent liberties and the rule of law. If these principles are threatened now, it’s due to the spinelessness of civic governments who dread to defend the them, and believe that the proper reaction to riots is to”defund law enforcement .” One is tempted to remember Robert Frost’s definition of a liberal as”a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.” However, in this example, Andy Ngo’s facet should be considered the cause of decent Americans. Whether liberal or conservative, we need to stand with him, and the principles he reflects.