Megan McArdle, writing on the harassment of Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines by the persecutorial left, is so, so right. Excerpt:

What message does this send? “Sure, the government won’t actually shut your church down. But the left will use its positions of institutional power to try to hound anyone who attends that church from public life. You can believe whatever you want — but if we catch you, or if we even catch you in proximity to people who believe it, we will threaten your livelihood.”

I’ve heard from a number of evangelicals who, despite their reservations about the man, ended up voting for Donald Trump because they fear that the left is out to build a world where it will not be possible to hold any prominent job while holding onto their church’s beliefs about sexuality. Discussions I’ve had in recent days with nice, well-meaning progressives suggest that this is not a paranoid fantasy. An online publisher’s witch hunt against two television personalities — because of the church they attend — validates the fears of these Christians.

When you think that you may shortly see your church’s schools and your religious hospitals closed, and your job or business threatened in the private sphere by the economic equivalent of “convert or die,” you will side with whoever does not seem to set its sights on your conservative beliefs. If that side is led by an intemperate man who more than occasionally says awful things … well, at least he doesn’t want to destroy you.

Had I voted for Trump, that would have been precisely why. In fact, had I lived in a swing state (instead of a state that Trump won easily, as predicted), I might well have done so in the privacy of the voting booth, for this reason and no other. Trump is not one of “us” (i.e., a religious conservative) and scarcely pretends to be. The one thing we can probably count on is that he doesn’t want to destroy our institutions and drive us from public life. Unlike his opponents and the side she represents. The Law of Merited Responsibility has not yet been repealed. They will say that they don’t want to do anything like that, but they almost always end up doing exactly that, and justifying themselves on the grounds of higher morality (anti-discrimination).

The progressive writer Freddie de Boer:

Similarly, treating aspects of ordinary, everyday life — such as attacking people for going to a church where the pastor preaches things that attackers don’t agree with — as an occasion for monstering innocents is a great way to drive reluctant people into the arms of Trump, if only out of self-preservation. This is going to continue over the next four years, you watch.

On another thread, a commenter named “Lisa” remarks:

As a Canadian leftist and progressive, what I have seen in the US has been devastating to any remaining faith I had in my “side”.

I once believed that hate speech laws were necessary and would not be overly abused, because surely people could distinguish when human life was at risk vs simply silencing offensive or hateful opinions.

During the Rwandan genocide, which took place when I was in fourth grade, Hutu Power Radio broadcasted day and night, calling Tutsis cockroaches, traitors, dangers to the country, etc. This was obviously building to something, and in fact, the order to actually kill Tutsis – “cut the tall trees” – was broadcast by the same station. The locations of people in hiding were also broadcast so they could be found and killed. The American government refused to jam the signals at any point because it would violate the principles of free speech. I was appalled by this and still am.

I believed hate speech laws were necessary to prevent the vilification of vulnerable minority groups, who could be put in physical danger as a result.

Now it has become clear that hate speech laws are being wielded as weapons. I saw feminists at an anti-rape protest claim that people holding signs decrying the concept of rape culture were engaging in hate speech and should be arrested.

I saw a man wearing a #buildthewallshirt (a sentiment I find ignorant and foolish) be harassed and threatened for ten minutes, despite him refusing to engage:

This is not how you win hearts and minds. It is not how you conduct yourself, even with people with view you find immoral or despicable. I’m vegan and my personal view is that the meat industry is the biggest “evil” in our time. I have never, ever approached anyone eating meat to tell them this, nor told anyone to become vegan – not because I don’t think they should (I do), but because I know damn well it will result in nothing but defensiveness and backlash.

You change people by being a positive example. You engage respectfully when questioned. You show people what CAN be and you live out your principles in a way that makes people say, “I want to be like that, too.”

Leftist SJWs are the anti-inspiration. They inspire nothing but contempt, even from me, and I agree with their positions 95% of the time.

There is no place for me anywhere, anymore. I will not abandon what I think is right, but I’ll be damned if I jump on this hateful, anti-speech bandwagon the regressive left is championing.

The regressive left is on track to ruin their brand with sanctimonious, imperious crap, just as the religious right did. You can already happening. And the innocent people who they rightly advocate for are going to suffer the consequences.