Dan Popp
I stand with Shakespeare
By Dan Popp
June 20, 2017

This was the most unkindest cut of all.... – William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Through the past few years we've watched in revulsion as barbarians disrupted commerce, destroyed property, threatened conservative speakers and generally acted like babies when they found anything "unacceptable." This, we said, showed that they had no persuasive arguments.

And we were correct about that.

Now, two people ostensibly on the right have adopted leftist tactics by interrupting a performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in New York City's Central Park. The character of Caesar in this production looks like President Trump, and the protestors believed the play was promoting violence against Republicans in government.

If you're unaware that old plays and operas are often performed in modern dress in contemporary scenes, then you really do need to get out more.

Still, there are limits to free speech. We may not yell "fire" in a crowded theater, or incite violence against others. It was supposedly that dangerous kind of speech that Laura Loomer and Jack Posobiec were protesting.

But if they'd remained seated for the rest of the play, they might have had a different impression. It's been a while since I've read Julius Caesar, and even longer since I saw the old black and white movie, but I don't think Caesar is the bad guy and the assassins the good guys. As I recall, the main thrust (oof!) of the play was that conspirators Cassius and Brutus thought they were the pure ones, saving Rome from a corruptible leader, only to realize that their motives hadn't been so pure, and the corruption was in them, too.

If Caesar equals Trump, and the assassins are the self-styled "resistance," then things don't turn out well for the snowflakes. Several barbarian notions like the perfectibility of man and "It's OK, I'm above the law because I mean well" take a pretty big hit in this play. This is one we would like people to watch. All the way to the end. Without interruption.

The usually thoughtful Dinesh D'Souza tweeted: "The protesters @LauraLoomer & @JackPosobiec were exercising the same free speech rights as the people putting on the play [.]" But if everyone believed that statement, Mr. D'Souza would never be able to make a speech again, nor could any of his movies be shown in public. His opponents would simply shout him down.

If everyone speaks at once, there's effectively no speech. So we see that something else is necessary beyond the right to speak. That forgotten element is the ideal of civil discourse. You say your piece, then I say mine. This has to do with order, which we know is of great interest to God. "Let all things be done decently and in order," Paul taught. (1 Corinthians 14:40, NKJV) He was writing about conduct in a church service – apparently things had gotten quite chaotic in the name of "freedom" in the Corinth assembly – and the underlying principle surely applies to any kind of public gathering.
    Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:29-33)
Let's allow for a free exchange of ideas by adhering to the rules of civility and order. Conservatives have always understood that freedom requires rules; anarchy and license are just forms of oppression.

I believe that barbarians torpedo their own cause when they use the tactics of disruption, intimidation and chaos. There are already plenty of barbarians. Don't be a barbarian.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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