Jared Whitley Pic resized 03In recent years, Americans have watched with horror and anger as left-wing rioters have terrorized places like Berkley or Portland, grinding their teeth in frustration but taking solace that their red states are protected from this kind of violence.

Well, not anymore.

Utahns ground their teeth a little harder on Tuesday with news that a variety of violent groups had invaded the Salt Lake Chamber offices, over stated issues ranging from environmental boogeymen to centuries-old racial issues. (One suspects they were also protesting the kitchen sink.) Listed grievances didn’t really matter though: they were political stagecraft designed to justify anarchy.

Nonsense like this used to be restricted to inane, meaningless college campuses. But as riots have gotten increasingly violent there – such as the 2017 activist takeover of Evergreen College – they’ve spread to the greater society as well. Indeed,  Andrew Sullivan wrote that, “We All Live On Campus Now.” In any other circumstance, the idea that the broader society was more like college would be a great thing. Now it’s a lament over anarchy.

These riots are not isolated incidents that just spring up organically because some people are simply passionate about the future. In some cases these individuals are professional protesters who attend training camps. This is organized, well-funded, and built around a specific purpose: foment social instability and drive opposition to our government and other institutions.

Left-wing anarchists, excuse me “progressives,” are engaging in violence all while insisting that any debate they disagree with is “hate speech” that must be repressed to protect their delicate sensibilities.

We’re not dealing with hippies anymore. We’re dealing with domestic terrorists.

These rioters understand that they can behave as badly as they want and conservatives will not fight back. It is not in our nature to indulge in this kind of behavior, both simply because of our nature and because we know that any “direct action” on our part will finally give left-wing media the ammunition to say, “See, this proves that Trump inspires violence!!!!”

This is the kind of double-speak that even George Orwell couldn’t have dreamt up.

All this violence comes with considerable irony: a society cannot provide the strong social safety net that these rioters demand while also simultaneously undermining its industrial base as much as they demand. How will you pay for every illegal alien’s dental care when you’ve put every business out of business?

But once people have decided that they’re entitled to violence, that kind of logical reasoning seems moot.

Left-wing extremists plunging America into this level of anarchy fundamentally violate our social contract as an open society. If public figures are supposed to be public, there has to be a certain expectation of safety. If our political disputes will no longer will be solved with words, then we are essentially in a civil war but the shooting hasn’t started. And if the nature of these riots continues to escalate, that outcome seems, tragically, inevitable.

The question is: if left-wing extremists in 2019 are willing to indulge in this kind of street-level political violence – excuse me “community organizing” – how will they behave if Trump doesn’t win next year? If they’re shown that violence and intimidation works, what will they do next?