The US is in a civil war, a civil war that is at its core a class war.
There are different terrains, forms of struggle and violence. Casualties come from different proximate causes -- police attacks, suicide, overdose, slow death from alcohol and despair, toxic environments, crashes and shooters -- but it's one war.
Terrains of struggle include streets and institutions, workplaces and domestic spaces, bodies and bathrooms, science and museums, churches, media, prison, farms, libraries, hospitals, and universities. There is no space external to this war.
The Left needs to defend whatever spaces we can. We have to make the cost of far right speech too high for them to continue it. The Right makes cultural gains by manipulating liberal ideas of tolerance and neutrality -- whether this is in the form of the white supremacism of Charles Murray and Milo or the climate denialist industry funded by the Koch brothers.
Liberal condemnation of the students who push back against these speakers when they comer to their campuses legitimate these speakers' views as worthy of consideration, as matters worth debating because reasonable people may disagree. Not only do most of these condemnations confuse protests against white supremacist speakers with state action (suggesting that there are liberals who can only think from a police perspective), but they proceed as if we were not in a civil war, a class war. They proceed as if society were a seminar or courtroom, not a war zone where people are daily under attack and where their attackers seek the cover of liberal institutions to justify these attacks.
Particularly incoherent is the way that so many liberals decry Trump as a fascist, yet remain unwilling to confront what this entails for so-called liberal practices and institutions, namely, that they are not functioning in a liberal society but are being made to serve fascist ends. This unwillingness suggests that either they don't really believe Trump is a fascist (and so their rhetoric is disingenuous), that they think that liberalism can defeat fascism (which has never happened), that they don't ideas seriously, or that arguments that some groups are genetically inferior are permissible liberal views.
Also galling is the way that resistance, protest, and "standing up and fighting back" is being championed by liberals and Democrats even as they quickly reject actual standing up and fighting back. Protests that remain controlled and symbolic are permitted. Direct action that shuts things down, that pushes back, that has effects is decried as too far. It appears, then, that for some liberals, protests are only early-stage campaign events, precursors to the only political acts they actually accept: writing letters, signing petitions, and the holy-of-holies, voting.
Some liberal arguments address tactics. They say that it’s a tactical mistake to protest far right speakers on college campuses because it gives conservative media fodder for criticism. Of course, right wing media will always attack the Left; they particularly like attacking liberals as leftists. The Left should welcome the attacks as opportunities to show we are fighting back and will continue to fight back. We should be the power the right fears, the power of the people as the rest of us, the oppressed against the oppressors, the many in solidarity against the few.
Liberals might care about being depicted as biased, not neutral. Anyone on the Left should take it as a matter of course that we are in no way neutral. The Right uses whatever opportunities they can get to spread their influence. We have to block them, shut them down, shut them out, refuse the pretense that we are in a rational debate between equally valid positions. We’re not.
It's a war. There are sides.