Observations On The Chicago Trump Rally Protests

Trump rally riot

Donald Trump postponed a rally in Chicago after fights between supporters and demonstrators and protests in the streets convinced him that the event could no longer be held safely. “People For Bernie,” a pro-Sanders group that grew out of the Occupy movement, claimed early credit for shutting down the rally. Later, the left-wing sophomores at Move-On.Org announced that they were responsible, their leader, Illya Sheyman, stating,

“Mr. Trump and the Republican leaders who support him and his hate-filled rhetoric should be on notice after tonight’s events. These protests are a direct result of the violence that has occurred at Trump rallies and that has been encouraged by Trump himself from the stage. Our country is better than the shameful, dangerous, and bigoted rhetoric that has been the hallmark of the Trump campaign. To all of those who took to the streets of Chicago, we say thank you for standing up and saying enough is enough. To Donald Trump, and the GOP, we say, welcome to the general election. Trump and those who peddle hate and incite violence have no place in our politics and most certainly do not belong in the White House.”


1. Trump was right to postpone the rally. It is true that this kind of anti-democratic speech censorship should not be encouraged by giving protesters a success from their unethical tactics, but violence was likely.

2. The protesters, whoever they were, are completely responsible for the incident. Blaming it on Trump’s “hate speech” and “irresponsible rhetoric” is a transparent rationalization. He has a right to hold a private event and say anything he wants to say. This is unequivocal.

3. Has Trump been playing with fire by taunting protesters in other events? Yes. He’s a jerk. That’s a reason to not vote for him for President, not to blame him when the left’s fascists disrupt his rally.

4. Sanders supporters are just as deluded as Trump supporters, and now we know they are equally authoritarian and unwilling to tolerate views they find repugnant. A match made in Hell.

5.  Move-On is, as it has been from the very start, beneath contempt, a blight on the culture and the political landscape, run by arrogant arrested juveniles who foul democracy by their slimy participation in it. This is a new low, however. “Those who peddle hate and incite violence” include you, you hypocritical thugs. Ethically, there is nothing to choose between Trump’s minions and the worst of the progressives, and if Move-On isn’t it, I don’t want to see what’s worse. Their idea of democracy is to intimidate the opposition; their idea of ethics is tit for tat, and the ends justify the means.

6. There is sometimes a benefit from even the worst conduct. This should remind the Republican Party what kind of environment they will be cultivating if they don’t do the right thing and refuse to nominate Donald Trump. People who feel as strongly as I do that he will be a disaster for the nation, but do not have the emotional and intellectual tools to make their opposition civilized, fair and consistent with democratic principles, will continue to court violence. Trump supporters, who by definition lack comprehension of those principles and the intelligence to apply them responsibly, can be counted on to react in kind.

7. Both Rubio and Cruz immediately used this episode to condemn Trump, which is the equivalent of blaming a rape victim because she was dressed provocatively. They would have shown themselves more worthy of high office if they had reserved their attacks for those who used violence to silence Donald Trump.

Cruz and Rubio are not worthy of high office , however, so their response, while disappointing, was also predictable.

8. Ethics test: Let’s see if Bernie Sanders, without prompting,  has the integrity to condemn the conduct of his fervent fans.

My guess?


[The answer is here.]

50 thoughts on “Observations On The Chicago Trump Rally Protests

  1. The Left in America has embraced a toxic mix of political correctness and totalitarianism.

    * Loretta Lynch recently admitted DOJ debated whether or not to file civil charges against so-called “climate deniers.”
    * On Obama’s watch the IRS targeted political opponents of the Administration (Romney donors and Tea Party groups)
    * During the Supreme Court arguments on Citizen’s United, the Obama Administration argued that the government should be allowed to ban the publishing of books.
    * At USC, a student government representative is being targeted for removal for the thoughtcrime of having Milo Yiannopolous come to speak.
    * At another California school, left-wing protestors tried to shut down a speech by Ben Shapiro.
    * In California, pro-life pregnancy centers are being compelled to provide information about where to get abortions or face massive fines that would bankrupt them.

    As I said before, this combination has become a cancer… and it often takes chemotherapy to have a chance to beat the cancer back. Hillary or Bernie would only encourage that cancer… with Trump. maybe there is a chance to knock it into remission.

    • * Loretta Lynch recently admitted DOJ debated whether or not to file civil charges against so-called “climate deniers.”

      Here is a smoking gun as to why “climate science” is not based on science.


      Well, retired chemist, I studied chemistry as well and not a damn thing I studied had squat to do with atmospheric science. It’s like saying I studied soccer so I’m an expert on football. What I find most compelling about the global warming argument is that it encourages a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, an increase in clean energy and in protecting the environment, and seems to do nothing to harm anyone. In fact, I’ve never seen a cogent argument that reducing our dependence on polluting fuels will harm us one iota while it will (1) make the air and water cleaner, (2) reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels and thus reduce our dependency on people who utterly loathe us, (3) increase the lot of the poor in the third world who’ve been brutalized economically by increases in fuel prices over the years, (4) stop the danger of oil spills, and (5) generally make our lives simpler and easier, put more disposable wealth in our pockets and improve the economy.

      I learned about the scientific method when I was in high school, and I never heard that we are to presume the truth of an argument because it might encourage certain desired actions.

      If these people want to sacrifice freedom, then we should turn the tables and sacrifice their freedom first.

      • What I find most compelling about a scientific argument is the science. I guess some of these people find the details boring.

    • On Lynch: what she really said is that they debated whether there was a parallel between the statements of energy producers and the lies of the tobacco companies regarding cigarettes. So someone brough it up, they talked about it, and decided, “No. Too big a stretch.”

      It’s not as ominous as it has been spun.

  2. Quoting myself on another thread….

    I criticised Steve-O-in-NJ for “frankly having no problem” with political violence when it was his side doing it. I’d be a damned hypocrite if I condoned in any way the same when it’s my side doing it. Provocation is no defence, because if you go back far enough, everyone provoked everyone at some time. It’s got to stop.

    As an “activist” I’m all too aware of Nietzche’s warning – those who fight monsters must beware that they too don’t become monsters thereby.

    It’s a constant temptation to fight fire with fire.

    All sides have to be better than that. Starting with mine.

    • I say bring it. Be aware that a LOT of Trump supporters are gun owners. If the left wants to take us back to the era of the Black Panthers “observing” police shotguns in hand and Weathermen planting bombs and robbing armored cars, then don’t complain when we on the right come back shooting wooden dowels and stinger grenades, using the BUMP (Basic Use of the Motorcycle Push), and knocking you down with fire hose streams.

      • 2015 Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting 3
        2015 Charleston Church Shooting 9
        2014 Las Vegas Police Ambush 3
        2014 Kansas Jewish Center Shooting 3
        2014 Blooming Grove Police Shooting 1
        2012 Tri-State Killing Spree 4
        2012 St. John’s Parish Police Ambush 2
        2012 Sikh Temple Shooting 6
        2011 FEAR Militia 3
        2010 Carlisle, PA Murder 1
        2010 Austin, TX Plane Attack 1
        2009 Pittsburgh Police Shootings 3
        2009 Holocaust Museum Shooting 1
        2009 George Tiller Assassination 1
        2009 Flores Murders, Pima County, AZ 2
        2009 Brockton, MA Murders 2
        2008 Knoxville, TN Church Shooting 2
        2004 Tulsa OK, Bank Robbery 1

        The Weathermen? No, various Right-wing groups or individuals. You’re living in the past if you think Radical Leftists are the mad bombers now.

        • What, you’re not going to lump the Chapel Hill shootings or Eric Frein’s wargames in PA in with this litany? How about Fort Hood or the USMC recruiter shootings or the San Bernadino Muzzie-whacko killing spree or the recent spate of lone wolf Muzzie attacks? How about a list of all the killings by illegal aliens, especially those hiding out in sanctuary cities?

          Of course not, because that would disprove your point. This is a list of unconnected killings by racists or white supremacists, some of them simple murders, others much simpler incidents that just got out of hand. That’s not the political right, and your attempt to tie the two together is despicable.

          You are the one who’s off living in some fantasy world, and the fact you had to stoop to this list, which you probably pulled off some lefty website, since the last time you had an original idea you left it swirling in the bowl, shows just how delusional you are.

        • Foul. You’re better than this. There is a plethora of data that shows that the majority of crime is committed by democrats, mostly because the majority of crime is committed by the poor, and the poor tends to vote democrat. Given 20 minutes and a Google search, there is no doubt in my mind that I could find just as many instances of partisan related murders from left field, and you know it.

  3. You go looking for trouble you will get trouble. Plenty of blame to go around, but I don’t like the idea of an event being postponed over hooliganism. And what goes around comes around.

  4. “Nobody can valuate without devaluating, revaluating, and serving one’s interests. Whoever sets a value, takes position against a disvalue by that very action. The boundless tolerance and the neutrality of the standpoints and viewpoints turn themselves very quickly into their opposite, into enmity, as soon as the enforcement is carried out in earnest. The valuation pressure of the value is irresistible, and the conflict of the valuator, devaluator, revaluator, and implementor, inevitable.” — Carl Schmitt

    It is the subtext that is more interesting, in my view. Yet I think sometimes that ‘meta-views’ – sitting on fences and observing – has a suspect side. Since that is my angle, I am by definition suspect.

    Yet the ‘subtext’ seems to be the unravelling of narratives. It seems possible that the ‘unravelling’ is the unravelling of the post-war classical liberal narrative. One that has been ‘imposed’ but not ever agreed to – that is, by the populus. Now, disagreement as reaction is surging up.

    There is a ‘rising tide of reaction’ which shocks the sensibilities of the designing, intellectual class: a social management class who have indoctrinated themselves into a specific value-set, and who see their activity as a form of divinity-in-action. That is to say the imposition of righteousness on recalcitrant unrighteousness.

    As the mind has balkanized, and as viewpoints and indeed entire Weltanschauung(s) become evidently irreconcilable, the proximate step is the enactment in the social-political spheres.

    Inquiring Mind wrote: “As I said before, this combination has become a cancer… and it often takes chemotherapy to have a chance to beat the cancer back. Hillary or Bernie would only encourage that cancer… with Trump, maybe there is a chance to knock it into remission.”

    The cancer metaphor, as with any metaphor that arises from a partisan political position (without the advantage of a *metapolitical inhaler*) seems to me absurd since – and this is my assumption, the idea I am presently working with – that no one can really claim to know what the ‘disease’ is, nor claim to have a cure for it, since in our political and discursive environment *we seem all to be steeped in lies*. Lies, lies, lies, lies and more lies no matter where you turn.

    To have established a culture based in persuasion of the PR-Propaganda variety – is this a fair and honest assessment? – is to establish an inevitable consequence: layer upon layer of competing, assertive, domineering lie. At a certain point it all becomes too complex to handle.

    The narratives fall apart.

  5. The constitutionally protected voices of extreme group A tries, en-masse, to intentionally silence the constitutionally protected voices of extreme group B and then the ensuing violence is blamed on one constitutionally protected voice from extreme group B. What the hell?!

    I get it, Trump is a dirt-bag, narcissistic snake-oil salesman; but, is no one going to accept the fact that the actions of extreme group A to intentionally instigate extreme confrontation would likely end in violence?

    It’s a direct reflection of the times that even more moderate voices that “seem” to be outside extreme group A & B are blaming that constitutionally protected voice single voice from extreme group B.

    Here’s what bothers me more than anything else from this incident; a statement comes out from extreme group A openly stating, “to Donald Trump, and the GOP, we say, welcome to the general election”. Just in case the rest of you failed to recognize it, that folks is what a very intentional and very direct political threat looks like; don’t oppose their point of view or else! What do you honestly think this threat will inspire from their opposition?

    When does it become unconstitutional to use your own constitutional rights to intentionally violate someone else’s constitutional rights?

    I stated in early 2010 that, the United States was headed towards a head-on collision with the Constitutional, a major Constitutional crisis. I see nothing from any of our “leaders” to veer us away from that forthcoming crisis, in fact from my point of view, I’ve seen evidence piling up to support my statement.

    • Zoltar, to answer your question (and making an assumption that it was not intended to be rhetorical), it is always unconstitutional to use our own constitutional right to intentionally violate someone else’s constitutional right. The institution of a right simultaneously institutes a legal obligation on others to uphold the right. This obligation precedes any exercise of one’s own rights. (Rights are something we may exercise while obligations are something we must exercise.)

      Of course, our constitutional rights refer to the actions of the federal government; and, any time we leave that field of interaction, we enter a gray area. My constitutional right to free speech prevents the federal government from interfering with my speech. It does not necessarily apply outside that field of interaction. In the case at hand, we have private parties going out of their way to intentionally instigate violence and interfere with the speech of other private citizens. However, until someone actually became violent (thereby engaging in illegal behavior), the hands of the government were essentially tied.

      Still, it would have been nice to see more accurate and truthful media coverage of the event. As Jack observes, the protestors are completely responsible for the incident, but this would have been difficult to discern given the reports I saw. Excepting the too many on the far left cheering such incidents, as a nation and culture, we generally feel that the ideals expressed in our constitutional rights apply to all of us, and that the obligations of the federal government are the obligations of each and every citizen. (For example, we feel that all of us are obligated to protect the free speech of others.) Perhaps it is only my conservative bias, but this seems to be how it should be in a nation of the people.

    • Zoltar! Hath Written: “The constitutionally protected voices of extreme group A tries, en-masse, to intentionally silence the constitutionally protected voices of extreme group B and then the ensuing violence is blamed on one constitutionally protected voice from extreme group B. What the hell?!”

      There is a great deal I don’t get about this world, I admit, and it is hard to figure things out, that’s for sure. But it has been my impression – please correct me if I am wrong here – that our post-ww2 civic training has been: You have to stand up to fascism and tyranny. You have to be willing to put your own life on the line to do so.

      Historical retrospectives, that is, when we tell our innocent little ones about this terrible European war; when we explain that National Socialism was pure evil, we induce in them the question (it always happens): Why did no one do anything to stop it? Why didn’t enough people do something to stop it?

      Any steps taken to have stopped it are seen, described, and understood as acts of righteousness. They are celebrated in popular films, novels and such. If there is a God, and if God stares mutely down upon human affairs, He surely feels that if there is one evil that people should have risen up to stop (at any cost and through any means) it is the German Evil.

      Am I on-track so far?

      OK, I read the newspapers, and Trump is described in the same or similar terms all across the board: An eruption of the same evil, just fast-forwarded in time and no moustache. Trump, Front National, Pegida, Frauke Petry, the rising tide of popular reaction in Europe, : this is all stuff that derives from the same evil.

      Thus, for certain people who drink down various interpretive potions, and who feel their tissues swell with a righteousness imbedded in creation’s divinized atoms, Trump is just that evil and ‘he must be stopped by any means possible’.

      Failure to do it is to invite a Nuremberg trial for oneself at a later date.

  6. “..and now we know they are equally authoritarian and unwilling to tolerate views they find repugnant. ”

    My guess is that you knew this a long time ago.

        • Steve has been posting his violent power fantasies, justifications for violence, and bragging about threatening violence upon women who were rude to him for as long as I’ve been reading this site. One wonders about the ethics of letting someone like this continue to post such material on an ethics blog.

          • That was nice, passive-aggressive way of impugning my moderation: thanks. Gutsy.

            The ethics of the moderation of this blog is that once someone has established their credentials as contributing substantive arguments and ideas to the discussion, I will tolerate individual eccentricities, flaws, obsessions and periodic steps over the line, sometimes way over. I am guided by my belief that open expression deserves the benefit of the doubt, and leave the discussion to be self-policed by the consortium, which they are neither shy about doing nor ill-equipped. One thing I find especially admirable about Steve in particular is that he has shown himself willing to evolve his thinking, rather than just dig in and argue past those who disagree with him without listening.

            I’m not in the business of redacting comments. Either you’re trusted as a participant, or you aren’t. Posts that undermine a commenters credibility and respect carry their own punishment. I also want commenters here to be as candid as possible, and I do allow venting and hyperbole, as long as there is sufficient substance too.

            And, yes, I permit readers to be abusive to each other on occasion, because sometimes passion and emotion and intensity is enlightening. Moderating a blog with this topic is time-consuming—I ding several attempted first time comments every day—and I keep learning, but the typical quality of the threads validates my standards. There aren’t many sites that have better, more varied, more erudite commentary, and I’m proud of that.

            • Well argued, and I admit I have seen Steve contribute more substantive comments as well.

              His violent fantasies are still creepy, though.

                • You guys enlightened me and then immediately made me lol in a busy coffee shop. That was the bets sub-comment thread I’ve read in a hot minute.

                • I wonder if everyone on this site would bridle themselves a bit more if we actually had to use our real names. I won’t pretend I don’t hold back more with the violence and the profanity on social media where I have to use my own name.

                  I am friends in the social media sense with someone who is a gun nut and conspiracy theorist. I posted a news story about how the NJ police are finally going to use tasers (in real life the police and firemen are my coworkers) and he posted that he would hunt down and kill any cop who used one on him. Given that the guy owns six M-16s (he’s posted photographic proof) I wouldn’t put carrying out that threat past him, and that goes double in light of his shudder-worthy post about taking up arms against the lockdown while the police searched for the Boston Bomber.

                  I will plead guilty to bluster in the heat of passion here. I won’t plead guilty to being stupid enough to act on bluster.

                  • Steve-O-in-nj,
                    For what it’s worth…

                    There are real world (non virtual world) reasons why I have personally chosen to use a pseudonym and I respect the same choice by anyone else as long as they don’t personally abuse that anonymity. Anyone that personally knows me in the real world will actually know my identity here, it would be obvious to them. I choose not to say anything here that I wouldn’t say to anyone’s face if confronted with the exact same conversation in person – can you honestly say the same?

  7. On this topic… Hillary has once again highlighted her amazing propensity towards tone-deafness, to the point where I feel ableist (TYSRL) just bringing it up.

    Hillary, at the latest Democratic Debate (If that doesn’t impugn the word debate I don’t know what doe…. Oh yeah. CEDA…. Google last year’s winners, and brace for impact.), decided it would be a great idea to blame Trump for his protesters… Saying (and I’m paraphrasing) that protests are the direct result of actions, and are the protestees responsibility.#Which Hillary. Just saying.

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