Free Speech Friday: The False Doctrine of “Weapons of the Weak”

This movement has become dangerous. We can talk about the mass shootings by armed trans identifying people (four so far, with a fifth event thwarted by the police). But far more common are acts of harassment, intimidation, and physical violence short of murder. Ask Kellie-Jay Keen about it. Or ask twelve-time All-American swimming champion Riley Gaines, who was attacked by trans activists after giving a speech on saving women’s sports at San Francisco State.

All-American swimming champion Riley Gaines believes males should be excluded from female sports.

“Yeah you fucking transphobic bitch—I fucking see you!” a deranged activist screamed as Gaines as she escaped the mob down a hallway to a safe room, protected by security and university staff. “Bye bitch! Fuck you,” the activists shouted. Holding “Trans Lives Matter” signs, they chanted “Trans rights are human rights” and “Trans women are women.” Gaines was barricaded in the room for several hours. The San Francisco Police Department had to be called in to manage the situation.

What justifies the harassment, intimidation, and violence we see from this movement is a false doctrine popularly known as “the weapons of the weak” (a phrase taken from James Scott’s book by the same title). This doctrine holds that a minority can exert control over the majority by deploying such terroristic tactics as deploying or threatening violence to prevent people from speaking and receiving information, or restricting the free movement of people.

Terrorism is a form of political violence that aims to create fear, panic, and terror among the population or some group to achieve an ideological, political, or religious objective. Terrorism takes many forms (bombings, hostage taking, shootings). Terrorism is typically carried out by non-state actors, such as members of extremist groups or radicalized individuals, rather than by governments. However, some terrorism is developed and effectively used by government actors.

The goal of terrorism depends on the ideology that animates it. In the present case, the ideology puts central to its praxis the transgression of norms concerning sex and gender, for example erasing age of consent laws. This is a movement founded in anarchism in its most nihilistic tendency, fueled by postmodernism, and dressed in the clothing of critical theory (queer theory). It’s the same cloth that covers today’s anti-white bigotry (anti-racism, critical race theory). All this is smuggled into corporate board rooms and public institutions as DEI and progressive education. At universities, these programs draw those in society’s disordered pockets and incubates the subaltern forces—organized as “SFSU’s Queer and Trans Resource Center”—who show up at Turning Point USA events and mob the attendees.

Terroristic tactics are popular among those who believe their cause is so righteous that they can run roughshod over the civil and human rights of others. We see this in members of a neo-nazi cell who are so convinced of their racist beliefs they believe they’re justified in disrupting a meeting of liberals discussing the threat neo-nazism represents to the community. Less hypothetically, we see this in members of Islamist cells so convinced of their religious beliefs that they feel justified in shooting cartoonists who mock the prophet. Whatever means are deployed, the end is the same: to suppress the fundamental rights of people.

The “heckler’s veto” is not an exercise in speech. It is a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The weapons of the weak is free speech and association. What you see in the video above are the weapons of the authoritarian.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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