- - Tuesday, July 30, 2019

There is nothing improper about righting wrongs. Every generation has its moment to be impetuous and impatient to make the world a better place. Some actually succeed, but many fail owing to the all-too-human tendency to see an angel in the mirror and a monster on the street. Antifa, the self-proclaimed anti-fascist movement, is but the latest example of high-minded idealism gone bad. It has become the hate it hates.

A loose affiliation of committed leftists, Antifa has largely been allowed to operate without opposition. The recent armed attack on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center by avowed Antifa member Willem Van Spronsen in Tacoma, Washington, has ended that. Van Spronsen was attempting to firebomb the facility when he was killed by police. With Seattle sympathizers lionizing the assault as a act of conscience, Americans have awakened to the reality that among a people who settle their differences at the ballot box rather than the battlefield, Antifa is anti-American.

President Trump has taken up the cry of political figures campaigning to saddle Antifa with an official terrorist organization designation: “Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others). Would make it easier for police to do their job!” Mr. Trump tweeted on Saturday.

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The president backs a proposed resolution introduced by Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana that would saddle the organization with a repugnant reputation. The resolution condemns, among other things, Antifa members who, believing “that free speech is equivalent to violence, have used threats of violence in the pursuit of suppressing opposing political ideologies.” The measure “calls upon the Federal Government to redouble its efforts, using all available and appropriate tools, to combat the spread of all forms of domestic terrorism, including White supremacist terrorism.”

Americans who have witnessed the televised devilry of black-clad bully boys and girls hurling Molotov cocktails at college buildings, and commandeering thoroughfares and intimidating drivers. Even more gut-wrenching, they have seen angry Antifa mobs surround and pound defenseless individuals they believe to hold values at odds with their own.

It’s hard to argue with the sentiments of the anti-Antifa resolution and its sponsors. “Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who ‘fight fascism’ with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege,” said Mr. Cassidy in a statement. “Bullies get their way until someone says no. Elected officials must have courage, not cowardice, to prevent terror.”

Resolutions uplift moral authority but fail to lay down the law. Mr. Trump could sharpen his efforts to tame the violence by urging U.S. Attorney General William Barr to open civil rights investigations of police departments that fail to perform their public safety duties in halting Antifa activism that devolves into rioting.

Obama-era predecessors Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch ordered probes of police operations in cities such as Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, following explosive street violence touched off by aggressive law enforcement. Similar treatment is in order where police have been instructed by bosses to stand back and allow Antifa violence to run its course.

Americans have already said no to the skulking thugs. A July Rasmussen poll found only 22 percent of likely U.S. votes maintain a favorable opinion of Antifa types, and only 10 percent view them very favorably. Considering the undeniable terrorist nature of the Tacoma attack, plus the recent videotaped savaging of conservative journalist Andrew Ngo in Portland, Oregon, it’s unsurprising that 43 percent regard the group unfavorably, and 30 percent very unfavorably.

To be sure, the ranks of the political right have no exclusive claim to the gates of Heaven. The mistake of trading blows with the masked marauders of the left in Charlottesville, Virginia, proved that in 2017. Still, only one side is organized to tear up public property and shut down invited speakers on campus, egg attendees of Trump rallies and lay siege to congressionally mandated immigration centers.

Before his Tacoma attack, Van Spronsen vowed to “take action against the forces of evil.” Somehow during his 69 years, he apparently missed or forgot the glaring hypocrisy of attempting to fight evil with evil. A wise man once warned that a beam in one’s own eye can interfere with efforts to remove the speck from a brother’s. It’s apt advice for the angry anti-Americans of Antifa.

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