Emmett Rensin, an editor at Vox, tweeted early Friday that if Trump comes to your town, you should “start a riot.” Now he’s suspended, according to a news report. That was pretty predictable.
Somewhat less predictable is that Rensin isn’t apologizing but rather defending and clarifying his “advice.” His long stream of follow-up tweets is worth reading, but these three seem to capture his point.
Rensin, a liberal journalist, also tweeted a link to a piece he wrote last month about political violence. He wrote that he is unequivocally opposed to it.
I take an absolutist line on violence: It is categorically immoral. It is immoral in war. It is immoral in criminal justice. It is immoral in conflict resolution and ethical calculus and in the name of political expediency. It is immoral under circumstances most would consider justified: Although I would likely kill in self-defense, I do not conflate the understandable with the good. I would do so because I am selfish and imperfect.
This sometimes puts me at odds with other members of the left, who may question the strategic wisdom of any violence against the modern state, but who do not in principle oppose it. They may regret it. They may seek to limit it. But as it is difficult to imagine any kind of revolution without at least some bloodshed, many accept political violence as permissible under certain circumstances, a kind of necessary evil. I do not.
So Rensin opposes violence in all circumstances but likes the idea of riots. Huh?
Call it the Rensin Rule: Riots are okay in the face of an existential threat to democracy, so long as the damage is confined to property, not people.
On the other end of the political spectrum, conservative commentator and Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes made a similar argument in March, after Trump suggested his backers might riot if he were not nominated at a contested convention.
“Riots aren’t necessarily a bad thing if it means it’s because they’re fighting the fact that our establishment Republican Party has gone corrupt and decided to ignore the voice of the people and ignore the process,” Hughes said.
She went on to clarify that she would not condone violence against other people but rather was talking only about a boisterous demonstration of anger.
(via: Washington Post)