Last week at an Alexandria, Virginia fitness club, leftist Georgetown professor Christine Fair harassed a fellow club member, white nationalist Richard Spencer. Fair was forced to leave the gym. Spencer was later kicked out of the club.
In terms of the facts, the two accounts are largely in accord. Spencer was working out when Fair recognized him. She approached him and demanded to know whether he was Richard Spencer.
Hoping to avoid a confrontation, Spencer first denied his identity. But Fair was having none it. She said (or screeched, in Spencer’s account) “so not only are you a Nazi — you are a cowardly Nazi.” She added:
I just want to say to you, I’m sick of your crap — that this country belongs [to people like you]. . . . As a woman, I find your statements to be particularly odious; moreover, I find your presence in this gym to be unacceptable, your presence in this town to be unacceptable.
Hoping to put an end to Fair’s continuing harassment, Spencer asked for the assistance of a club employee. That employee happened to be a black female. Fair would later write:
Seriously? This superior race of a white man needed the help of a female African American? What kind of martial race member is he?
When gym members intervened on Spencer’s behalf in the hope of ending the disruption, Fair lashed out at one of them. Finally, the general manager confronted Fair for creating a “hostile environment” for gym patrons. (Spencer says club personnel told him this wasn’t the first time Fair was disruptive.)
Fair was told to leave. Later, though, the club notified Spencer that he was expelled.
If the name Christine Fair sounds familiar, it may be because I wrote last winter about her string of attacks on a former Georgetown professor, a Muslim, who had the audacity to write a pro-Trump op-ed in the Washington Post. Fair told the woman to “f**k off” and “go to hell”; accused her of “pimping herself for media coverage”; attacked her for having no job, and thus needing Obamacare; and denied that she is a true Muslim.
The attacks were unrelenting and grew increasingly foul. Finally, the victim complained to the University.
The victim of this attack is hardly a white nationalist. Clearly, then, Fair’s viciousness extends to people who don’t fit that description.
Supporting Donald Trump is sufficient to set her off. Spencer’s alleged “Nazism” would seem to be nothing more than a pretext for abusing someone with whom she strongly disagrees. The professor is a monster.
But suppose Fair had limited her harassment to Spencer. Does his white nationalism justify harassing him while he works out or kicking him out of a fitness club?
Not in a free society. I find race-based ideologies — whether white nationalism or black nationalism — objectionable. But both white and black nationalists, if law abiding, should be able to work out at a gym in peace and without facing expulsion, provided they don’t bother other members and they adhere to the club rules.
Fair calls Spencer a Nazi and the Washington Post’s Faiz Siddiqui (who either couldn’t find the story of Fair’s prior harassing conduct or decided to cover it up) calls this “a common characterization of Spencer.” Common or not, the characterization may be hyperbolic. However, some of Spencer’s positions resemble those of the Nazis.
What about Fair? Her attempts to bully people whose political beliefs she strongly opposes bring to mind Fascism.
When Fair says that Spencer’s “presence in this town” is “unacceptable,” she appears to be advocating his forced relocation (let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she’s not calling for his execution). Fair certainly favored his forced “relocation” from the Old Town Sport&Health for no reason other than his political views.
Professor Fair may be an extreme case, but her authoritarian tendencies, which extend well beyond the suppression of white nationalists, are common among contemporary leftists. That’s why contemporary leftism strikes me as more dangerous, on balance, than a fringe movement like Spencer’s “alt-right” white nationalism.