No human being wants to feel that what he or she is doing is evil. As such, it is a truism that historically, every fascist movement, from Hitler to Stalin and beyond, will ultimately justify murder in the name of “self-defense,” i.e., “for the cause.”
So we see similarly that University of Rhode Island Assistant Professor Erik Loomis justified the killing of Patriot Prayer supporter Aaron Danielson by Antifa “security guard” Michael Reinoehl.
“He killed a fascist. I see nothing wrong with it, at least from a moral perspective,” Loomis remarked on a blog post, adding, “Tactically, that’s a different story. But you could say the same thing about John Brown,” referencing to the 19th century militant American abolitionist who, with his violence and murder, arguably escalated tensions between the North and South before the Civil War to the point of no return.
Clarifying his position on violence, Loomis attempted to backtrack, saying, “The problem with violence is that it usually, though not always, is a bad idea. That I agree with.”
But then he quickly added,
“… sometimes violence is necessary, say to avoid greater physical harm, i.e. self-defense, or to defeat a literal army of fascists who are trying to kill people.
But, ideologically, I think the idea that violence is good if it’s against our political enemies is a core part of fascism, and so the ideological opposition to that idea should be its opposite – that violence as a general rule is bad, unless the specific context of that situation requires a violent response.”
With seamless equivocation, in just these few short sentences, Loomis both justifies political violence (i.e. “[if] the specific context of that situation requires a violent response.”) while giving himself an out (“violence as a general rule is bad”).
As in any relativistic moral system, we must ask, whose “context” should we rely on? This question, Loomis already answered when he said:
“He killed a fascist. I see nothing wrong with it, at least from a moral perspective.”
And before anyone gets upset that a person espousing such views is teaching the next generation of the Americans, Loomis has an answer for them:
“Fears about CANCEL CULTURE are always projections from right-wingers who want to fire, if not imprison, liberals and left-wing professors for speaking out for justice. And thus of course, they are trying to cancel me.”
But Loomis will have no fear about being cancelled. As noted by George Washington University Law Professor Jonathon Turley, “few of his colleagues have come forward to denounce his statements.”
In fact, when the president of the University of Rhode Island came forward to speak out against previous incendiary rhetoric by Loomis, he was attacked by the university’s faculty members.
As further noted by Turley, “Indeed, academics have been sacked for declaring “All Lives Matter” but Loomis does not even generate immediate condemnation for saying that this life does not matter if actually terminated in the name of the greater good.”
But the real danger of Loomis’ words, along with many who voiced similar sentiments after the killing of Danielson, was spelled out chillingly by Turley,
“What is so striking is how Danielson is no longer treated as a human being with family or even individual worth. Loomis seems to revel in the notion that such lives are now inconsequential and can be taken for purely tactical reason.
It is the liberating element of extremism. Once uncoupled from the confines of morality, Loomis and others can assume a license for violence, even murder, to advance their agenda.”