Friday, January 2, 2015

There is No Such Thing as "Peaceful Protest"

Our liberal friends have a little problem. Their political strategy of leading the lower orders forces them to condone the normal political tactic of the lower orders: the street riot.

There is nothing shameful in this; humans have since the dawn of time settled their differences by war. But our liberal friends live under the conceit that they are different. They believe in peace and justice. Unlike the racists, sexists, homophobes, patriarchs and warmongers.

It is, of course, merely comical that racist agitators like Reverend Al Sharpton have reversed this political catchphrase about peace and justice into the direct threat of "no justice, no peace."

But politics in the modern era must deal with the idea that violence is scandalous. We moderns think that we ought to be able to settle our differences without violence. But many people that think this also think that politics is the way to create social peace.

In fact, the best way to understand politics is that it is civil war by other means. It is a couple of notches down from the violence of civil war, and as such deals in threats of violence rather than actual violence. The whole game of politics becomes a series of sham fights: the battle of elections; the battle of public opinion; the battle of legislation.

Sensible people understand that it is best to soft-pedal the confrontational aspects of politics. That is why sensible politicians declare peace and amity after an election: we are all Americans now, they say. That is why sensible politicians attempt only to pass legislation that can command a bipartisan majority. That way we can all attest to the fiction that "we all agree" that the government should spend money (forcibly removed from working Americans) to fund Social Security or Medicare.

But politics is always warped by the fact that the people that go into politics are people that like to fight. They like a good old political dust-up; they want to dominate and humiliate the other side. But they are hobbled by the fact that most people don't like the disturbance to social peace that politics creates. So they must lie about it.

That is why our lefty friends have created euphemisms for the street violence for which they hanker. What were once called riots became marches, then demonstrations, and now peaceful protest. What were once called political agitators are now called community organizers. It is all a lie. The whole point of all politics is to rally your side to fight for victory and demoralize the other side into giving up, preferably without a fight.

There is nothing remarkable in this. It is encoded in the military philosophy of the Chinese Sun Tzu. Rule One was that the best way to win a war was without a fight by persuading the other side to give up without a war.

That is the purpose of the "peaceful protest" or the demonstration. It is a show of force designed to persuade the government or other authority to give in to the "non-negotiable" demands of the protesters without a fight.

But the point is that the "peaceful protest" is still an act of war. It is designed to intimidate and to cause the government to change its policy.

Of course, in many ways the "peaceful protest" is more efficacious as a war strategy than actual violence. The resort to actual riots and destruction of property in the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting and the Staten Island death have demonstrated this. The riots and threats to police have tended to frighten people and cause them to look to the government and the police to protect them from looters and rioters. And the actual killing of two New York City policemen makes a mockery of the conceits of "peaceful protest" and reveal the aggressive political philosophy of social warfare that the pseudo-peaceful catchphrases are intended to conceal.

Conservatives recognize that all politics is war. We look past the shameful conceits of liberal politics to a post-welfare state society in which politics plays a much smaller role. We reject the idea, after two centuries in which the ordinary person has gone from a daily income of $3 to $100, that there remain fundamental inequalities and injustices that only government spending can redeem. We say that the incidence of force is way too high when government is spending (i.e., seizing) 35 percent of the national product to hand out to its supporters. We say that individuals, combined into voluntary associations, could and should be doing the heavy lifting of caring for and educating the poor. We say that the market does the best job of selecting the best products for the best price, policed by the developed law of commerce and fraud not prescriptive government regulations.

But today in 2015 it is clear, when you talk to ordinary people, that most of us believe that the heavy hand of force is necessary to secure justice for people in the day-to-day life of working and consuming. People do not seem to believe that good, diligent workers are highly prized by good, honest employers. They do not understand that every good, decent, producer of goods and services toils daily to deliver the best that money can buy to the consumer, knowing that anything less leads to failure and bankruptcy.

And worst of all, people do not seem to understand that the more power you give to government to smite its foes, the more power you give to government to control you, especially when the "other guys" get into power.

But let us start by calling things by their right names. There is no such thing as "peaceful protest." It conceals more than it reveals, and it is a recipe for social breakdown and strife.

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