MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘defunding the police’

My Corner by Boyd Cathey – Woke Rebellion

Posted by M. C. on September 14, 2020

http://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/

Boyd Cathey

Friends, 

The noted English professor and philosopher, John N. Gray, is controversial for his views expressed in a number of highly-touted books. If I can summarize one of his main contentions it is this: the experiment in universalist “democratic liberalism,” unleashed by the 18th century Enlightenment (and partially fulfilled by the American Revolution in conservative fashion, but by the Socialists and Marxists in a more radical fashion), is coming to a gagging and sputtering end. In a certain—if remote—sense, what Gray is saying is what the traditionalist Christian poet and author T. S. Eliot once famously wrote in his epic poem “The Hollow Men” (1925), written in the disastrous aftermath of the devastation, both intellectual and material, after World War I: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”

In the following essay, Gray examines the current woke rebellion in the streets, but also in the ivory halls of academe and among our elite government and cultural classes. The Age of Enlightenment Liberalism, he asserts, is ending.

And in reading and thinking about it, his short piece seems to go hand-in-hand with something I published recently both at The Abbeville Institute and LewRockwell.com. My essay titled, “Cancel Culture Comes South,” in a different version, was first issued in the MY CORNER series on September 6, as “Cancel Culture and the Religious Origins of the Revolution in the Streets.” I rewrote it to give it more emphasis on the effects of “cancel culture” in the South, and in that new version it was published…and it is that version that I offer today, immediately after Gray’s essay.

Gray compares the present day woke Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) to chiliastic millenarians—religious hyper-fanatics of the past—who attempted to overturn and in effect destroy the traditions of Western Christianity. Those movements, including the Cathares, Lollards, Puritans and Fifth Monarchy Men, and in particular, the Anabaptists with their supreme leader John of Leiden [AKA, Jan Bockelson], sought to either destroy those traditions, or, at the very least to completely re-invent them. And what followed was inevitably a period of social and political anarchy, and quickly the imposition of an authoritarianism more severe and brutal than anything established historic Christianity ever contemplated. They would bring on the thousand year terrestrial reign of the Deity, even if it took the massacre of every human life where they dwelt to do it.

Although there are striking parallels between those earlier millenarian movements and today’s zealots, there are also some significant differences. While both illustrate a kind of frenzied religious fanaticism, these latter day millenarians are mostly characterized by a dominant anarchism. Their religious zeal is secularized. Save for “defunding the police” and demands for total (but ill-defined) equality and reparations of some kind, much of their rhetoric betrays a lack of precision and deeper thought. And unlike earlier movements, our present SJWs are being funded and to some degree directed by our elites, ensconced many times in Silicon Valley, or Hollywood, and on Wall Street. It follows that those empowered elites wish to use the street warriors and the widely-diffused and praised Black Lives Matter campaign for their own purposes, their own well-being, and their own power. And, thus, they have literally cowed and shamed most of our political class into submission; who now dares criticize Black Lives Matter or the s0-called demands for “equality” (and some form of reparations for “white oppression” and past “injustice”) without bringing down the wrath of the entirety of the media and most political leaders? And this includes Republicans and establishment conservatives who run as fast as they can to the tall grass.

Notice one more significant characteristic: many of the street terrorists are rich white kids, children of wealth and position, educated usually (and badly) at places like Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, UNC, and Duke, and with families who can afford to live in gated communities, and who, in fact, in their insouciant and sneering liberalism, disdain and despise what the Jewish writer Philip Roth once called despectively, “fly-over country.” In other words, anyone outside of those centers of power and wealth who might possibly challenge their hegemony.  For them the SJWs are effective storm troopers…that is, as long as they don’t get out of control, or go into those posh neighborhoods where a Nancy Pelosi or Madonna live.

Or, if it seems that politically the street terrorism appears to get out of hand, maybe favoring President Trump politically. Ah, then those elites must offer their pro forma, generalized condemnations, just to be on record…despite their real encouragement of the revolution.

Never mind, Gray seems to say, the American faith in a secular universalist redemption and the myth that somehow we are a kind of New Jerusalem, that shining City of a Hill, is dying and we can hope only to pick up the pieces in the new age that is being born.

 

The woke have no vision of the future

Like medieval millenarians, today’s SJWs believe all that needs to be done to bring about a new world is to destroy the old one

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bionic mosquito: Reflections

Posted by M. C. on July 13, 2020

I suggest we start by reducing the number of laws on the books – eliminate all laws against non-violent offenses. Second, demilitarize; almost every department has SWAT teams and the like that are supplied like military invaders of Afghanistan.

After that, we can talk about defunding the police.

https://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2020/07/reflections.html

A few items rattling their way through my brain. Time to get rid of these.

History

We have seen statues come down, statues not only of slaveholders (which would require the removal of most statues around the world of anyone born before around 1830 and a few born since), but statues of those who worked to free slaves and those who were slaves. The point isn’t slavery; the point is history.

As many have noted, and I have recently written about, a nation without a story is not a nation. This is the endgame of removing all statues – more accurately, removing the symbols that reflect the history of the nation. Who does this benefit? If we can judge by the people who are tearing down the statues, it doesn’t benefit what might be described as civil society.

I have done my own share of tearing down statues, so to speak. Call it revisionist history. My contribution is meager compared to many who have done the same. I wonder: what is different about what I have done compared to what is done when statues are torn down?

I guess I would say: my work was with the aim of exposing false narratives in our history, of giving some evidence in history that would alter the narrative. It strikes me that such work can only help strengthen the nation by placing its history on firmer footing; it can strengthen the nation by properly reflecting on and recognizing its past sins.

But is this just rationalization on my part? Is this not what today’s (physical) revisionists would say?

This got me to thinking: a nation whose official historical narrative is compiled of many lies might inherently be headed down the road of its statues being torn down. Building a narrative of lie upon lie merely opens the door for those who wish to question the foundation – and rightly so, it seems to me.

We read in Proverbs 19: 5 “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” Perhaps tearing down statues is America’s comeuppance for building one false narrative on top of the other.

Anyway, returning to my question: what’s the difference of the work I have done vs. the tearing down of the statues today? I guess I can say my work was in search of truth – open to someone revising what I described; the physical revisionists are only able to tear down, regardless of narrative: slaveowner, slave trader, abolitionist, or slave. It is a task solely of destruction, with no attempt at leaving truth in its wake.

Such as these are not facing history honestly. I guess, ultimately, this is the difference of my work and theirs. Whether I am furthering truth or not is the task of the next revisionist to decide. But approaching it honestly? I believe so.

Secession

Why didn’t I cheer on CHAZ or CHOP or whatever name they wanted to use? Three years or so ago, Catalunya was voting on secession. I wrote then, and have written since: cheer on every opportunity for secession; if those in the seceding group do not wish to secede, then support their secession from this group.

So, why not cheer on CHAZ? What’s different? I guess I can answer it with a quote from Jeff Deist, writing at the time of the vote in Spain:

For libertarians, self-determination is the highest political end. In political terms, self-determination is liberty. In an ideal world, self-determination extends all the way to the individual, who enjoys complete political sovereignty over his or her life. The often misused term for this degree of complete self-determination is anarchy.

So, first there is the question of self-determination.

In an imperfect world, however, libertarians should support smaller and more decentralized governments as a pragmatic step toward greater liberty. Our goal should be to devolve political power whenever possible, making states less powerful and easier to avoid. Barcelona is less ominous than Madrid. The Legislature in a US state is less fearsome than Congress in Washington DC.

It seems correct to me – ever-smaller levels of government bring governmental leaders closer to the community, and give those in the community more opportunities to find a situation better suited to their preferences. But this only works to advance liberty if the higher governmental institution does not continue usurping life and property from those who have now seceded. So this is a second consideration.

But then we have this line:

Street gangs are bad, but they can be avoided in ways Uncle Sam cannot.

So, why did I not cheer on the street gang in Seattle as I did the secessionists in Catalunya? I guess for a few reasons – and I suspect Deist would concur: first, it is not clear that there was any “self-determination” by those who lived and worked and owned businesses in the district on this matter; from what I can understand, it was kind of the opposite. Maybe I am wrong one this.

Second, the higher levels of government didn’t leave those inside alone: still obligated for taxes, still obligated to the laws (well, not the armed thugs, but those whose homes and businesses were destroyed). The only way that these people were left alone was in the only function the higher entity owed them: defense of life and property.

Which brings me to the third reason: until we come to a stateless society, should we not expect those in government and authority to do their jobs? By “jobs,” I don’t mean spying and flying drones over wedding parties and the like. I mean protect life and property – the only proper role of a government if there is to be a government. This clearly didn’t happen in Seattle. In fact, it was the opposite.

Those looting and destroying were left free by the government that was supposed to protect from such thuggery. Imagine what would happen if a private citizen-victim of these looters did the government’s job in the stead of those who had the obligation. This defender of his property would have been the one sent to the gallows.

So, I guess my point is this: this event in Seattle was no secession. It was a militarized invasion, with those responsible for defense abandoning their duty while leaving illegal the possibility of defense by those whose property and lives were jeopardized. Which brings me to…

Pulling the Plug

Would libertarians be happy with pulling the plug on the existing state structures, confident that freedom would then ring – that eventually things would work out? Working through this question in the past is one of the reasons I concluded that a proper cultural foundation is necessary before one can consider anything like liberty – or consider anything like pulling the plug.

If I was a resident in the CHAZ district of Seattle, I suspect I would feel even more confident of this view than I did before.

And, Finally…

In the absence of my free ability to properly defend my property (as all legal risk and all laws are against those who will do so), and in the absence of my ability to secure the services of a private and competing defense agency (which would be cost prohibitive for many reasons and would also open me up to the liabilities of a criminal), what are we to do with today’s police? Defund them? Spit on them?

I suggest we start by reducing the number of laws on the books – eliminate all laws against non-violent offenses. Second, demilitarize; almost every department has SWAT teams and the like that are supplied like military invaders of Afghanistan.

After that, we can talk about defunding the police.

Be seeing you

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