[Serious] Did Trump actually incite violence?
I love the controversial topics, I find them intellectually interesting. From what I understand, Trump never said “Hey, go storm the Capitol beat people up”. Everyone I’ve talked with has said “Well, what he said was obviously going to lead to violence”, or something along those lines. I’ve heard the argument that given his position, as the president, things that he said should be treated differently. I’ve only seen the video that said that “We should go to the Capitol and make our voices heard” he mentioned the word “peaceful” and the word “fight” in somewhere in there. But I never heard anything he said that I would consider “incitement”.
As libertarians, I feel like we are a party of principals. On 9/12/2001 Harry Brown wrote an article basically saying, of course Muslims attacked us. Do you think that we can just go over there and dominate these countries for years and years without expecting retaliation. I think that’s an example of a principled man keeping with his principals, even when it’s not popular. I think, as libertarians, we should not change our principals in times of bad things happening, emotional reactions are not good, giving up freedoms based upon emotion is not good. We didn’t fight hard enough against government spying because we were too caught up the emotional anger towards the people that attacked us. We were willing to give up our freedoms because of an emotional response. This has led to a slippery slope effect where government has taken more and more freedoms away from us in the form of “national defense”. I don’t want this to be yet another example of that.
example 1) President Trump accused the government of stealing the election which is something that, if true, would justify violence. Also, he’s the president and therefore he should be held to a different standard than others. I think that’s the best steel-man argument for why Trump “incited violence”. I’m open to hearing a better steel-man than what I’ve proposed, but I’m trying my best to give a fair and honest framing of the other side of the argument.
Should the standard for “incitement of violence” really be: If what you say leads to violence, you’re held accountable for the actions of others? Should the standard be, there’s a range of things that can be considered “incitement of violence” depending on how much public influence you have and whether what you say leads to violence? Should the standard take into consideration your level of public influence AND whether what you say COULD lead to violence? If so, consider these examples and apply the principals you used to condemn what Trump said to these.
example 2) People accused the President of Treason. This did not hold up in the court of Law, he was not found guilty of Treason, he WAS impeached, but not convicted. That could have led to violence. If that had led to violence, do you hold people who claimed he committed treason to the same standard? If not, why? Do you only hold powerful people accountable? Politicians? News workers? People with X followers on Twitter?
example 3) AOC said something along the lines of “Black people are being gunned down in the streets by police officers for sport”. That definitely led to violence in the form of BLM/ANTIFA protesters. Should AOC be held accountable? If not, why?
example 4) What if I accuse the government of lying us into Iraq? Am I now guilty of something because that COULD lead to violence? What if someone does something violent and quotes me as the reason for doing violence? Should I be held accountable because, if true, that SHOULD warrant violence?
Yes, I posted a click-bait title, but I’m actually hoping that we can have an intellectual discussion. I’m honestly interested to hear good-faith arguments that make me think about where the line should be drawn for “incitement”. If I only get responses that “Trumps an idiot he should burn at the stake”, I’m going to assume that there really is no argument that he did “incite violence”, also, I assume that other people who feel like he didn’t incite violence won’t be convinced.
In the comments, I hope that there will be a discussion which:
- states the principal
- Apply that principal to Trump and the other examples given.
Edit: Whether or not he should be impeached is NOT what I’m arguing. I’m arguing whether we should use the legal term “incitement of violence”. When people that specific term they are using it intentionally. If you were to argue that he should be impeached for what he did. I agree. If you were to say that what he did was wrong. I’d agree. However, I don’t think that we should move the goalposts on the term “incitement of violence”. I don’t think we should change what is meant when people say “incitement of violence” to mean what Trump did. I think it’s dangerous to change the colloquial use of the term AND the legal use of the term. I think it challenges what is considered “free speech” in the eye of the public and give credence to those who wish to legally change the definition of the term.
Article from r/Libertarian: For a Free Society