There is a difference, and not a small one either, between answering an argument and responding to a tantrum. When you try to make the tantrum stop through appeasement, all you are actually doing is purchasing the next tantrum. “A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: For if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again” (Prov. 19:19). It is a most unfruitful way of paying it forward.
This is why the removal of Confederate symbols and statues is a big deal. A people can decide to put up statues, and a people through their elected representatives can decide to take them down again. It might be a shame or not, depending on the symbol. But because it would be a function of debate and deliberation, what is at stake is the subject under discussion—the statue or symbol itself.
But there is another way of conducting public affairs, where the impetus to do something is because somebody is pitching a fit. And that means that if you capitulate, you are not just capitulating on that subject. The issue is not what decision you are making, but rather how you make decisions. If a surly two-year-old boy is throwing down in the toy aisle at Walmart, you are not just negotiating with him about the particular toy he wants. You are actually talking about everything in the store.
Because we are living in a time when any attempt at rational discourse will get you branded as a racist, and then shouted down, this means that we are talking about every toy in the store. We are talking about Stone Mountain, the American flag, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, Mt. Rushmore, the name of Washington D.C., the name of Washington State, the name of Washington State University, the name of the Washington Redskins (how about the Beltway Indigenous Peoples?), and so on. There is no logical stopping point because we are not dealing with logic. We are dealing with what the Left wants, with what the Left demands, with what the Left is drumming its heels on the floor about.
As we respond to the tantrum, it does not need to be reasoned discourse. It should be a simple no. Deal with it, buttercup. There is no need for argument in response because no arguments are being offered. There has been far too much appeasement already, and so the appeasement should skid to stop at the very next thing that is demanded. Sorry, kids. Moscow, Idaho will continue to have streets running north and south with names like Washington, Jackson, Jefferson, Grant, et al.
Of course, in the meantime, we do have to take some account of the losers on the bent-Right who want to make paper mache shields with stark and frightening lightning-bolty thingies on them. But these are people who live on the margins, and are not likely to be able to run anything larger than a convenience store. They are a bugbear—they are not a real threat. They can overrun a comments thread on a blog like nobody’s business, but the only big thing they can successfully do is besmirch the reputation of honorable men like Robert E. Lee. And the only thing real conservatives actually have to do with regard to them is to make it absolutely clear how much we genuinely detest their venomous posturing.
Meantime, the antifa types are a genuine threat because they do have backing of the actual commies who run places like Illinois, say, or California. These people can’t even run a convenience store, but they can take anything, however large, and run it into the ground. They can do that, and have done, many times.