"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Friday, August 14, 2020

Capitulation To Mob Rule–Insurrection, Disorder, And Violence Will Follow

The City of Chicago recently closed its downtown from 9pm to 6am. Bridges across the Chicago River were raised, major arteries leading to and out of downtown were closed or blocked, and all businesses, shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes were closed.

“This is not a curfew”, a City Hall spokesperson said on Tuesday, and all legitimate residents will have complete and full access; but the historic closure was worse than a lockdown – it was a capitulation to mob rule.  The City, rather than deploying forces of order, both local, state, and federal to prevent violence and civil disorder and to quell it quickly if it began and to allow citizens to go about their business without interruption, took the easy, accommodating way out.  Fearful of violent protests and hesitant to deploy heavily-armored police for fear of reprisals and shouts of ‘racism’, city officials chose to hide and hope that the intimidation and destruction of unruly mobs bent on destruction would look elsewhere. 

Image result for images chicago bridges up over river night

The Washington political Left has been nowhere to be seen, as callow and accommodating to urban insurrection as local officials.  They have given tacit approval to violent protests suggesting if not openly stating that the black community has good  reasons for such aggressive demonstrations.  An anger borne of hundreds years of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination, and white injustice is a legitimate expression of identity, worth, and unrequited political grievance.  Moreover, said the most radical progressives, whitey deserves whatever he gets.

The Democratic mayors and governors in the cities and states in which the mob violence has been most extreme have bought into this philosophy.  An omelet cannot be made without breaking some eggs; what are a few broken glass fronts, a few looted televisions, some burned cars compared to the brutality and oppression black people have suffered for so long?  Outrage at the physical destruction of buildings and vehicles is nothing more than capitalist grievance – property for the white, ruling, acquisitive owner class has always been more important than black lives.  Black Lives Matter while an outward expression of racial injustice, it is at heart a movement to dismantle the capitalist system which has promoted a nation of property and armed forces to protect it.

Image result for images looting portland seattle violence

These officials and legislators have been taken and held hostage by their own political extremism.  The civil unrest, aided and abetted by complicit political leaders shows no sign of abating.  And why should it? Violent demonstrators are getting everything they have asked for – the right to set up legally exempt jurisdictions of their own; to set exclusive laws and orders; to keep out federal troops and agencies; to neuter the police; and to continue looting with impunity.

The consequences of this moral lassitude are serious – an erosion of the foundational principles of democratic justice.  Accommodation to incivility and insular political demands and capitulation to violence and intimidation not only encourage destructive anarchy in the short run, but admits that non-judicial, street ‘justice’ is a legitimate replacement to institutions of law, adjudication, fair hearings, and reasonable punishment or reward.

Nations are built civil order assured by both public and private institutions.  Civil society – communities, neighborhoods, private institutions, local councils and advisory boards, parent-teacher associations – is the foundation for larger, national democratic institutions, courts, legislative bodies, and government agencies.  Once disrespect for such institutions begins, it spreads; and the infection of suspicion if not hostility becomes endemic.

Image result for images constitution us

It is not so much the criticism of a particular institution which is troubling, it is the defiance of institutions in general.  Investigation, critical appraisal, and reform are necessary and essential to the health of institutions which if left unchecked turn inward, corrupt, and insensitive to those they are supposed to serve.  Wholescale rejection of democratic institutions and the liberal democracy of which they are a part is tantamount to terrorist insurrection.  Polity, a commonwealth of a free citizenry, equality and justice for all cannot come about from revolution only through intelligent, systemic change.

It was easy for American colonists to revolt against King George and England.  Peaceful means of accommodation and compromise had borne no fruit, and insurrectionists felt they had no recourse.  Fortunately the leaders of the new republic had very clear ideas about the new nation to be founded – ideas based on the Enlightenment, Christianity, and the native values of those who had been in the country for almost two hundred years.  The Founding Fathers knew precisely what would replace colonial tyranny and how.  Other revolutionary leaders either had no idea or a bad idea.

Image result for Images Jefferson

Revolutions do not always turn out this well.  The Russian Revolution, while ridding the country of the hated monarchy, enabled the rise of Communism, one of history’s more brutal, inconscient, and depraved social experiments.  The French Revolution enabled the Jacobins and The Reign of Terror, an anarchic, bloody, senseless period of murder, plunder, and gross injustice.  In Africa coups and minor revolutions come and go without consequence.

Violent reprisals and demands within a functioning, prosperous democratic economy are counter-productive.  The American system of liberal democracy and market economics has been in place for two-hundred and fifty years.  Its institutions are firmly rooted and stable; and while there will always  be judicial, financial, economic, and social reform, the institutions themselves will be removed and replaced with great difficulty if at all.

Image result for images guillotine french revolution

The forces of order deployed to ensure general safety, protection of property, and respect for institutions are not the jack-booted Nazi storm troopers they are made out to be.  They have been deployed not to oppress but to suppress anti-civil violence.  Theirs is not the presence of an authoritarian dictator bent on retaining supreme control over anti-government forces; but one of political fundamentalism – the nation as envisaged by Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison is too important to be let to wolves.

The insurrectionist movements of today are inchoate, disorganized, and without guiding principle. ‘Systemic racism’ is an easy soundbite, but there are no reformist agendas to deal with the problem of racial equality, caused not by white supremacy and economic elitism but by systemic problems of community, family, and community dysfunction; political exploitation and venality, manipulative entitlements, and a lack of personal responsibility.  The rise to power of black men and women like Barack Obama, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and others suggests that the majority population has no problems with race per se, just the dysfunctionality of race.

The historian Francis Fukuyama notoriously wrote about ‘the end of history’ when the Soviet Union collapsed; and little did he know that the equal fall of international polarity if not parity that had kept the world under control and peaceful would result in anarchic violence everywhere.

Image result for Image Flag Soviet Union

Yet the institutions of Islam, empire, and democracy – while at times in conflict and great contrast – are foundationally strong.  It is no surprise that the leaders of Russia, China, and Turkey want to return to the principles which underlay the Russian and Ottoman Empires and the great imperial dynasties of China – respect for authority, the preeminence of religion and religious institutions, a cultural integrity, and a concept of individual freedom marshalled for the common good.  Hopes for an Islamic Caliphate have dimmed now that the radical militancy of al-Qaeda and ISIS has been neutered.  At the same time such a Caliphate, created out of religious neo-fundamentalist heresies and ignorant of the cultural integrity if not supremacy of historic Islamic cultures, has no such institutional pillars.  An abiding belief in a Supreme Being has never been enough to sustain any culture.

Image result for images last russian emperor with family

Capitulating to the inchoate, muddled, and discursive demands of street protestors is tantamount to giving them license for even more anti-democratic demands and a free pass for uncivil disobedience.  Worse, it is opening the door to sectarian, political movements which have no goal except the dismantling of democratic social and economic institutions.

The mayors and governors of Washington State, Oregon, New York, and other jurisdictions have a lot at stake – not just to return their communities to majority, democratic rule and take it out of the hands of minority insurrectionists; but to protect and preserve the institutions of the Republic.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.