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Liberal Fascism Attacks Robert Mercer’s First Amendment Rights

You can’t make this stuff up.

Now comes the news featured in this headline from CNN (among a number of other places):

Trump supporter Robert Mercer sued by employee who says he was fired for speaking out on politics

Sounds bad, yes? There is yet another thug-like Trump supporter acting out in full totalitarian mode to silence dissent from just another good American with a different opinion on Donald Trump.

Sounds bad — and it is bad. But a look into this situation reveals the story is not only bad but worse than bad because it is exactly the reverse. It is the story of liberal fascism on the march. It is about the attempt to silence a Trump supporter — this one by happenstance a most prominent Trump supporter. But make no mistake, the underlying story is the same kind of story Trump supporters all over America have long since gotten used to. If, that is, they haven’t experienced some version of it themselves.

Here are the bare bones of the story as reported by CNN and many other outlets. The CNN version says this:

Robert Mercer, one of President Trump’s top financial supporters, is being sued by a former employee of his investment firm who says he was fired for complaining publicly about Mercer’s political views.

The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia on Friday by David Magerman, who was a research scientist at Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund where Mercer is the co-CEO. Magerman’s suit said he designed algorithms used in the firm’s investment decisions.

Philly.com, the website for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News (Magerman lives in suburban Philadelphia), reports, “According to Magerman’s lawsuit, he called Mercer in January about Mercer’s support for Trump.”

Which is to say, this controversy began when Magerman picked up the phone to deliberately confront Mercer about the latter’s political views. They disagreed. There would be a second call, this one at a later date from Mercer to Magerman.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, there was this gem of a story replete with an interview of Mr. Magerman. This story is mentioned in the lawsuit. The headline and subheadline read:

‘You Have to Stop,’ Renaissance Executive Tells Boss About Trump Support

At some companies, a divisive presidential campaign has led to disharmony in the workplace

The WSJ story says, in part, this:

David Magerman says he was in his home office in suburban Philadelphia earlier this month when the phone rang. His boss, hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, was on the line.

“I hear you’re going around saying I’m a white supremacist,” Mr. Mercer said. “That’s ridiculous.”

In the prior weeks, Mr. Magerman, a registered Democrat who calls himself a centrist, had complained to colleagues about Mr. Mercer’s role as a prominent booster of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Now word of Mr. Magerman’s criticism had reached Mr. Mercer, co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies LLC, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds.

“Those weren’t my exact words,” Mr. Magerman said he told Mr. Mercer, stammering and then explaining his concerns about Mr. Trump’s policy positions, rhetoric and cabinet choices. “If what you’re doing is harming the country then you have to stop.”…

Mr. Mercer declined to comment through a spokesman. In a statement, Renaissance’s chairman and founder, Jim Simons, who has been a prominent financial backer of Democrats, said, “I have worked closely with Bob Mercer since he joined our firm almost 25 years ago. While our politics differ dramatically, I have always thought him to be of impeccable character.”

A presidential campaign that divided much of the country also has created tensions within companies. Some senior employees, accustomed to settling grievances behind closed doors, are rebelling in unusually public ways, the polarization playing out for the world to see.…

Historically, some leaders of Renaissance, which is based on Long Island, N.Y., have leaned Democratic, including Mr. Simons, who donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Some Renaissance executives chafed at the unwanted publicity brought to the firm by Mr. Mercer’s activities during the presidential race, according to people close to the matter. In addition to providing crucial financial help when Mr. Trump’s candidacy was lagging, Mr. Mercer and his daughter Rebekah advised the campaign, suggesting the installation of two Mercer family confidantes, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, atop the campaign. Those two now hold senior White House positions.

Until now, however, nobody within the tight-lipped hedge fund has gone public with a grievance.

“His views show contempt for the social safety net that he doesn’t need, but many Americans do,” said Mr. Magerman, 48 years old, during an interview with The Wall Street Journal at the Dairy Café, a kosher restaurant he owns in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. “Now he’s using the money I helped him make to implement his worldview” by supporting Mr. Trump and encouraging that “government be shrunk down to the size of a pinhead.”

Mr. Magerman, a 20-year Renaissance veteran who helped design the fund’s trading systems, says he is speaking only for himself, and that there is no sign of a broad insurrection at the firm.…

Mr. Magerman makes millions of dollars a year, drives a Tesla and says he gives more than $10 million in charity annually. A research scientist, he is one of 100 partners at the firm, but he isn’t one of Renaissance’s most senior executives.

“I’d like to think I’m speaking out in a way that won’t risk my job, but it’s very possible they could fire me,” he said. “My wife isn’t comfortable with me jeopardizing my job, but she realizes it’s my prerogative and agrees with my sentiments.”

He has concluded that every new piece of code he developed for Renaissance helped Mr. Mercer make more money and gave him greater ability to influence the country.

To try to counteract his boss’s activities, Mr. Magerman says he has been in touch with local Democratic leaders and plans to make major contributions to the party. He says he called Planned Parenthood to offer his assistance and contacted Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, to voice his concerns about Ms. Conway and Mr. Bannon. He says he failed to reach Mr. Kushner.

Note well. There is zero wrong with Magerman working with “local Democratic leaders” and making “major contributions” to his party or supporting Planned Parenthood. Those are Magerman’s First Amendment rights. He can voice all the concerns he wants about Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway — both of whom I know and who have been wildly and deliberately misrepresented by opponents exercising their own First Amendment rights. (One wonders if Magerman has ever read this account of the real Steve Bannon as here in the Hollywood Reporter by Bannon’s liberal business partner.)

There’s more — oh so much more — in other news stories. Including here at Bloomberg, again at the WSJ, and here at Philly.com.

The Philly.com story says among other things that Magerman “sent a memo to other senior Renaissance officials, stating that Mercer and his politically active daughter Rebekah, in their ‘blatant support for the Trump candidacy, presidency and agenda, has cast a taint on all Renaissance employees,’ and that he and other employees should respond publicly.”

Stop. Full stop.

Let’s be plain here. David Magerman is no victim. He was the employee — and clearly a highly paid and valued employee — of a well-to-do American company. And out of the blue he sought to clearly and deliberately confront his boss, Robert Mercer, for Mr. Mercer’s use of his, Mercer’s, First Amendment rights to free speech.

Take note of the heart of Magerman’s complaint. What does the attitude behind this Magerman statement communicate? Philly.com reports that Magerman sent a memo that said of Mercer and daughter Rebekah that their “blatant support for the Trump candidacy, presidency and agenda, has cast a taint on all Renaissance employees.”

Hello? Excuse me? Note well that Mr. Magerman is a resident of my own Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And Mr. Magerman’s fellow Pennsylvanians voted for — Donald Trump. Have all of us who share the Commonwealth with Magerman “cast a taint” on all of Pennsylvania? Clearly, in Magerman’s view, the answer is yes.

Recall this statement during the campaign from Mr. Magerman’s favorite candidate? The excerpt comes from Time magazine, which reported Hillary Clinton now-famously saying as follows:

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?

[Laughter/applause]

The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable….

Magerman’s actions in suing Mercer over Mercer’s free speech are the very epitome of that snotty, arrogant, elitist holier-than-thou attitude on vivid display not just in Clinton’s speech (and the laughing, applauding of liberals in her audience) but in all of American liberalism.

It is rich beyond words that Magerman takes issue with Mercer on civil rights, apparently blissfully ignorant that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were needed as “do-overs” in the first place because Magerman’s own party — aka The Party of Race — spent 100 years after the Civil War defying one constitutional amendment and civil rights law after another — all passed by Republicans over repeated Democratic opposition. That includes, as noted here years ago, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments (ending slavery, giving the ex-slaves due process and the right to vote), not to mention the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1870, 1871, and 1875. Mr. Magerman’s party has uniquely positioned itself not unlike the fireman who arrives to save the burning house — yet is in fact the arsonist who set it on fire in the first place. Worse, the culture of racism so freely exhibited in Magerman’s party has not only not been cleansed and eradicated, the party to this day — with Magerman’s apparent support — depends on the politics of skin-color judging, repeatedly dividing Americans by race for political gain. Exactly as it has always done when it was supporting slavery, segregation, and writing all those Jim Crow laws.

Let’s be clear here. By all the public accounts of this incident, it is Magerman who went out of his way to confront Mercer over the latter’s support for Donald Trump. Thus setting all the rest in motion. There is no record of Mercer deliberately seeking out Magerman to intimidate him into not supporting Hillary Clinton.

Why is any of this important? In short, who cares about a court fight between a billionaire and an employee?

Everybody should care. Because Robert Mercer is the momentary stand-in for all Americans who care about free speech. The other week it was Ann Coulter at Berkeley — where Ms. Coulter’s physical safety and that of anyone wishing to hear her was literally threatened if she went ahead with her plans to give a speech. Up there at Middlebury College in Vermont it was conservative Charles Murray who was forcibly denied his speech and then physically attacked. Murray wrote this of his experience over here at Fox:

We walked out the door and into the middle of a mob. I have read that they numbered about twenty. It seemed like a lot more than that to me, maybe fifty or so, but I was not in a position to get a good count. I registered that several of them were wearing ski masks. That was disquieting.

What would have happened after that I don’t know, but I do recall thinking that being on the ground was a really bad idea, and I should try really hard to avoid that. Unlike Allison (Professor Allison Stanger of the Political Science Department), I wasn’t actually hurt at all.

I had expected that they would shout expletives at us but no more. So I was nonplussed when I realized that a big man with a sign was standing right in front of us and wasn’t going to let us pass. I instinctively thought, we’ll go around him. But that wasn’t possible. We’d just get blocked by the others who were joining him. So we walked straight into him, one of our security guys pushed him aside, and that’s the way it went from then on: Allison and Bill (Bill Burger, Vice President for Communications at Middlebury) each holding one of my elbows, the three of us plowing ahead, the security guys clearing our way, and lots of pushing and shoving from all sides.

I didn’t see it happen, but someone grabbed Allison’s hair just as someone else shoved her from another direction, damaging muscles, tendons, and fascia in her neck. I was stumbling because of the shoving. If it hadn’t been for Allison and Bill keeping hold of me and the security guards pulling people off me, I would have been pushed to the ground. That much is sure. What would have happened after that I don’t know, but I do recall thinking that being on the ground was a really bad idea, and I should try really hard to avoid that. Unlike Allison, I wasn’t actually hurt at all.

The three of us got to the car, with the security guards keeping protesters away while we closed and locked the doors. Then we found that the evening wasn’t over. So many protesters surrounded the car, banging on the sides and the windows and rocking the car, climbing onto the hood, that Bill had to inch forward lest he run over them. At the time, I wouldn’t have objected. Bill must have a longer time horizon than I do.…

Extricating ourselves took a few blocks and several minutes. When we had done so and were finally satisfied that no cars were tailing us, we drove to the dinner venue. Allison and I went in and started chatting with the gathered students and faculty members. Suddenly Bill reappeared and said abruptly, “We’re leaving. Now.” The protesters had discovered where the dinner was being held and were on their way. So it was the three of us in the car again.

Across the country there has been one incident after another in which a Trump supporter or a conservative has been targeted for silence — sometimes with violence.

Make no mistake. David Magerman is represented in various stories — some about this episode and some not — as a civic-minded professional who makes a point of giving money for charitable purposes. Good for him. But this episode is disgraceful. Not to mention typical of the left-wing mindset, something Sean Hannity has taken to referring to as “Liberal Fascism” (borrowing from Jonah Goldberg’s book of the same name).

Magerman’s lawsuit, according to one of these reports, says that Mercer “attempted to silence Magerman and prevent him from speaking out on political issues.” The fact is that, based on all these news reports, there is zero evidence Mercer sought out Magerman about Magerman’s political views. It is precisely and exactly the opposite. Note well this sentence from one of the Bloomberg stories. It says that:

The dispute started on Jan. 16 when Magerman called Mercer and asked to have a conversation about his support of Trump, according to the complaint.

Exactly. Just as those thugs at Berkeley and Middlebury sought out confrontations over the political views of Coulter and Murray, so too, in typical left-wing style, Magerman sought out Mercer for a (nonviolent in this case) confrontation. Why? Because in the style of liberal fascism and its contempt for fellow Americans as “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” Magerman had decided Mercer’s “blatant support for the Trump candidacy, presidency and agenda, has cast a taint on all Renaissance employees.”

Never, but of course, does it cross Magerman’s mind that just maybe there are those who might think it is Magerman’s actions and the resulting lawsuit that is casting a “taint on all Renaissance employees.” Does he really believe a majority of his own fellow Pennsylvanians — who agree with Mercer and voted accordingly for Donald Trump in November — are tainted? Does Magerman even consider that it is possible — just possible — that a lot of Americans will learn of this lawsuit and see Robert Mercer as a hero for being unafraid to stand up for his beliefs when Trump supporters of all descriptions are being contemptuously vilified by their opponents when not fired from a job or subjected to harassment? Clearly, no.

So what do we have here?

What we have, based on all these news accounts, is a liberal employee who took umbrage at his boss’s political views. Not content to support his own candidate and exercise his own First Amendment rights, he took it upon himself to ever so not-subtly try to intimidate his boss into silence. And then got fired for doing so.

Recall what Magerman himself says he told Mercer? This? “If what you’re doing is harming the country then you have to stop.”

What Magerman and all these self-righteous and arrogant anti-Trump cultists with such contempt for their fellow Americans are doing is exactly “harming the country”and rest assured they have zero intention of stopping.

They have no obligation to support the President — indeed they are well within their own First Amendment rights to oppose the President or anyone else. But they have no right to try and intimidate the rest of us into silence. In fact? Mercer’s support of the controversial President Trump reminds of an earlier American’s support for another controversial president. That would be Lincoln supporter and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. Threatened repeatedly for his outspoken views on ending slavery — on one occasion he was saved from a lynching by the Boston police — Garrison famously said this of his abolition beliefs and his right to free speech:

“I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch. And I will be heard!”

This is no ordinary lawsuit. This is, plain and simple, a battle about free speech. Robert Mercer is Ann Coulter is Charles Murray is you and me — and eventually, even though he doesn’t recognize it — David Magerman himself.

Liberal fascism has taken Robert Mercer to court. Robert Mercer is fighting back. In the style of Lincoln supporter Garrison, Mercer will not retreat a single inch and he will be heard.

Good for him. And good for the all the rest of us, too.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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 Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan. An author and CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com and @JeffJlpa1. His new book, What America Needs: The Case for Trump, is now out from Regnery Publishing.
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