“If the oil and gas industry puts fracking wells in our neighborhoods, threatening our lives and our children’s lives, then don’t we have a moral responsibility to blow up wells and eliminate fracking and workers?” environmental activist Andrew J. O’Connor wrote in the Boulder Daily Camera on April 19.
It was a letter to the editor, and it was later edited online to remove some of the violent comments. It now reads, “don’t we have a moral responsibility to take action to dissuade frackers from operating here?”
But O’Connor isn’t backing down from his extremist stance.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with a sniper shooting one of the workers” at a drilling site, he told ColoradoPolitics.com in an interview about his letter. “I see fracking as murder, and there’s medical and scientific evidence of that,” he added.
O’Conner’s advocacy of violence has prompted no small amount of controversy.
The Colorado Springs Gazette pointed out, in an editorial, that had O’Connor been threatening attacks on abortion clinics his screed would probably be national news. But, alas, as we here in North Dakota saw in much of the media coverage of the #NoDAPL protests the political extremism of left wing environmental activists is often handled with kid gloves.
By the way, O’Connor isn’t exactly a fringe figure in environmental politics. He’s behind a ballot measure in Colorado to double that state’s taxes on oil and natural gas production. Not surprisingly, state officials are now beefing up security at meetings concerning oil and gas issues (including those discussing O’Connor’s ballot measure).
But O’Connor and his ugly views are a symptom of a larger ill in the political left. One which has many progressive activists feeling justified in thuggish, violent activities because they feel they’re fighting evil. Indeed, they’re often told they’re fighting evil by their leaders.
Left wing #NoDAPL groups pursued the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s case against the Dakota Access Pipeline with acts of violence. The #BlackLivesMatter movement regularly sponsors violent demonstrations.
Berkeley, once touted by the left as the home of the free speech movement, now can’t host (admittedly caustic and controversial) conservative speaker Ann Coulter because her safety can’t be guaranteed. Nor is this mere supposition. A speech at Berkeley former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was greeted with violence.
In Portland the 82nd Avenue Rose Parade has been canceled after left wing activists threatened disruptions over the inclusion of a float representing local Republicans.
Here in North Dakota those who want to study the social and fiscal impacts of refugee resettlement, something we actually know very little about, are derided as racists.
All of this – whether it’s calls for the murder of oil and gas workers or violent attacks on a pipeline project or violent attacks on conservative speech – springs from the same fundamental attitude on the left which is growing frighteningly common. They have come to hate dissenters from their world view so much that they feel justified in silencing them. Attacking them.
In O’Connor’s case, even murdering them.
These are not good times for the left. Not just because Donald Trump won an election last year, but because leftists and their influence in American governance has been on the decline since the first years of the Obama administration:
It’s hard to discern which came first, the increasing extremism of left wing politics or the decline of the Democratic party as a force at the ballot box. Did the latter cause the former, or vice versa?
Either way, there’s no question that left wing politics has become more extreme, and it has a lot to do with hate.