Opinion: The right road

Stephen D’Abreau

Stephen D'Abreau

“As much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in liberalism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in liberals.” These eerie words of G. K. Chesterton haunt me as I look at what is happening in the world.

At the beginning of the month, a riot at UC – Berkley shocked me as I watched rioters assault attendees of a Milo Yiannopoulos event hosted at the university. The rioters shot fireworks at the buildings, assaulted Milo fans and the damage and violence was so great that the FBI is investigating it.

Yet, Berkley’s student paper published five op-eds defending the violence, and organizers of the riot said recently they were “proud to have shut down fascism.”

The use of political violence to shut down a speaker at a university flies in the face of America’s commitment to freedom of speech. The university that started the free speech movement in the 1960s acts to ironically shut it down half a century later. No wonder Amazon’s best selling book of 2017 so far is George Orwell’s “1984.”

But the irony doesn’t end there. Milo, the British gay, right-wing free speech advocate, had his book catapulted to the Amazon’s 2017 best sellers list as well, where it remains as I write this. “Dangerous” briefly held the No. 1 spot immediately after the riot, and still holds a top 20 spot at this very moment.

President Donald Trump, too, has enjoyed a surge of popularity. According to the Morning Consult/Politico poll, even Trump’s most controversial executive orders have higher approval ratings than disapproval.

For example, the order to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership boasts 47 percent approval and 33 percent disapproval. Ending federal funding to abortion provider’s abroad, also known as the Mexico City Policy, stands at 47 percent to 42 percent. Most shocking is the travel ban, which has an approval rating of 55 percent, making it Trump’s second-most popular order.

The right wing is gathering traction, and even moderates like me find that the left wing isn’t being honest or representing the nation’s desires. I feel this more and more as the right wing rises in popularity.

I would plead with other liberals and moderates to end the dishonesty and violence, as well as hyperbolic partisan pandering, but I’ve done so already.

As C.S. Lewis put it, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

I honestly don’t know if liberals are capable of turning back and coming onto the right road. As the weeks roll by in Trump’s America, it seems more likely “Make America Great Again” will be the the battle cry of the about-turn this nation will get.

I’m just not sure that will lead to the right road either.

Stephen D’Abreau is a columnist, contact him at [email protected]