Across Canada and the United States, the disappointingly small groups of peaceful protesters who have supplicated the authorities to be allowed to return to work have been mocked by their political nannies as reckless and selfish yahoos endangering the lives of the rest of us.
Even immediate family members—some of whom have been known to sleep in the same bed—have been officially shamed and fined for violating the protocols of social distancing while walking in the park or kneeling in the pews.
But that was—as our woke millennials are wont to put it—so yesterday. Today, these corona-villains might consider joining the rioters the next time they feel the need for a little physical or spiritual recreation.
Apparently, marching shoulder to shoulder with your revolutionary comrades, bloodying the faces of Asian, Latino, and black shopkeepers trying to defend their livelihood, or clutching looted big-screen TVs to your bosom—all without wearing nitrile gloves or first dousing the teeming, pathogenic surfaces of stolen merchandise or victims of your violence in disinfectant—is virologically riskless when it’s for the sake of equality and justice.
Did I miss the announcement from doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx that massing in violent mobs has now been determined to foster the herd immunity that their unconstitutional lockdown forestalled? And does this mean that ordinary Canadians and Americans have finally been granted permission to leave their domestic prisons, resurrect their moribund businesses, and resume their foundational civil rights of freedom of assembly and worship?
Of course not. In fact, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was careful to stipulate that the recent rise in COVID-19 cases likely has nothing to do with the massive nationwide demonstrations (after warning solemnly that back-to-work protests in Republican flyover country were socially irresponsible). Is anyone still sufficiently credulous as to believe that holy science is politically disinterested?
Proudly Flying the Double Standard
The tacit approval by politicians and medical “experts” of the rioters’ flouting of the urgent social-distancing edicts tells you something more generally about our rulers’—to be generous, let’s call it—philosophy of governance. It’s an open secret that for decades the perennially enraged left has been formally exempt from the cinching restrictions that apply only to bourgeois, law-abiding deplorables, and the authorities have always been petrified to acknowledge, let alone repeal, this reeking double standard.
So long as you affirm that you’re “for the poor and downtrodden” you have legal immunity to trash and burn the neighborhoods of the poor and downtrodden. Little old ladies who recite their rosaries in menacing proximity to an abortion clinic are sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but Indigenous and environmental pipeline protesters have official license to occupy and blockade public rail lines and bring national transportation networks to a halt for months. The double standard is the patriotic banner, flown with pride, of the progressive army, which preaches diversity and inclusion while everywhere denouncing and censoring non-conformist opinion and speech, and blighting the careers of the insufficiently zealous.
Naturally, progressives oppose “fascism” (about which they are too young and badly educated to know anything); and to show how much they hate it, they use the violent tactics of the SS.
The torching and demolition of America’s “racist” cities—almost every one presided over by Democratic governors, mayors, municipal councils, and police chiefs (many of whom are black, to compound the irony)—by the oxymoronically named Antifa, Black Lives Matter, believe-the-women-(unless-they-accuse-Democrats) feminists, gay and trans activists, queers for open borders, Indigenous national militants, evangelists of abortion, daughters of Gaea, Trump resisters, and all of the assorted victim groups of the intersectional left, reminds us that “racial injustice” is one of an interchangeable and ever-proliferating set of pretexts under which progressives can parade their moral superiority, while enjoying the smashing and pillaging that never seem to tarnish their lustrous reputations for compassion and probity with the beau monde.
The killing of George Floyd was immediately and universally denounced, his tormentors summarily fired from the police force and charged with second-degree murder or aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and political leaders at every level have agreed to enact police reforms.
Since their demands were preemptively met, there was no plausible reason for the “protesters” to have gone on burning and looting for another three weeks, besides the sheer nihilistic joy of it. Anyone not yet impressed by the exuberant illogic and morally indiscriminate devastation wrought by the rioters need only book an iconoclast’s tour of the hundreds of historical monuments they have defaced across the globe, including the effigy of Gandhi, the statue of Winston Churchill, and the Lincoln Memorial: the original anti-colonialists, anti-fascists, and anti-racists, or so it may seem to the un-woke.
But progressive crusaders have never required a credible casus belli. Since the sixties, the left has marched, demonstrated, occupied, blockaded, rioted, burned, and looted with the noxious predictability of black flies in June, all the while anticipating and responding to the next provocation with Pavlovian reflexivity. At least when the Goths and Vandals broke and pilfered stuff in Rome, they desisted once they’d reached satiety, and they didn’t pretend it was for a higher cause.
As of last weekend (the numbers increase daily and have probably doubled by now), thousands of businesses across the United States, most of them minority owned, have been destroyed—many of which, already on life-support from the coronavirus lockdown, will never be resuscitated—undoing the decades of hard work, obliterating the life-savings, and beggaring the future existences of their owners (whose black lives apparently don’t matter in the least).
During the past three weeks, in every American city in which significant “protests” occurred, the number of burglaries, shootings, and homicides has increased by between 150 and 500 percent. In the riots themselves, more than 700 police officers have been injured by projectiles (rocks, bricks, cinder blocks, bottles, or Molotov cocktails, often strategically placed by “peaceful” protesters), deliberately run over by vehicular assassins, slashed with machetes, or felled by gunfire, many of whom will be maimed for life. In St. Louis, a 77-year-old retired police captain was shot and killed by looters—another immaterial black life—while responding to an alarm at a pawn shop. The same day four other officers were shot by a “protester” aspiring to dispatch an entire police line to the other side of time.
So far, at least two dozen people have died in the riots. Ten of the dead were either innocent bystanders caught in the cross-fire, business owners vainly attempting to protect their livelihoods, onlookers deemed insufficiently enthusiastic, or local residents guilty of “privilege” and “systemic racism” because they owned property or had white skin, all executed—10 times, that is, the number of unarmed victims to die in the custody of Derek Chauvin, not a single one of whose lives will be eulogized in a nationally-televised state funeral, or whose unjust deaths will mobilize worldwide demonstrations, or soul-searching conversations about systemic leftist hate and depredation.
Predictably, at CNN, MSNBC, PBS, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the rest of the mainstream media, the canonical euphemism to describe the riots was “peaceful,” while the “rare” and “incidental” violence was attributed to a few nefarious “outside” groups who tried to “hijack” the movement. (Here the words “outside” and “hijack” can be understood in the sense that crime families from out of state sometimes hijacked Al Capone’s getaway car.)
Some officials have blamed the violence on “white supremacists,” of whose presence not even the race-baiting Southern Poverty Law Center could find evidence. According to historian Stuart Wexler, writing in Haaretz, white supremacists typically infiltrate movements such as Black Lives Matter in order to foment a race war in which they hope to “purify” America through “ethnic cleansing.” Indeed, social media, and all the usual established media echo-chambers, falsely claimed to be in possession of a photograph of Chauvin wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” cap at a Trump rally.
It is, of course, a dogma of racialist orthodoxy that resurgent ghosts from the Jim Crow era maraud daily throughout the streets of contemporary America, whereby white supremacist phantoms continue to haunt the imaginations of the likes of Al Sharpton, Jussie Smollett, and the other Masters of the Racial Revels, though they are almost never seen in the flesh. (Oh, and we mustn’t forget “the Russians,” who, according to Susan Rice, were the main instigators of the arson and vandalism. Rice later admitted that she had no evidence for her preposterous claim, but on this theme, when has evidence ever mattered?)
A few observers remained un-woke enough to accept that the trashing, burning, and looting that were taking place before their eyes had indeed been perpetrated by the protesters. But to say so is impious, and so, as the Yemeni owner of a demolished convenience store reasoned, the violence was “okay” and “understandable” in the context of black grievance. Innumerable small and large business owners have agreed that their pauperization was all worth it, leading one to wonder whether they should now restock their empty shelves so that looters can mount a second campaign of theft for racial equality.
By now, every major corporation, from Nike and Google to Walmart, has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, in direct donation and advertising, on the corporately responsible principle, one supposes, that if you trash our stores and steal our merchandise, we’ll pay you. All of this seems somewhat beyond mere masochism. What we are witnessing are the psychopathologies of a civilization that has been taught to despise itself, and is entreating its progressive masters for euthanasia.
The New American Riotocratic Republic
And how have the brutal agents of oppression responded? As has so often been the case, the arson and looting by the mob has taken place in plain sight of the police, who assumed the posture of either neutral observers or comrades in arms.
Whenever the constabulary deigned to make arrests, the looters and vandals were ceremonially processed and released within minutes, so as not to be overly inconvenienced in their righteous struggle—policing on the sport fishing model, and a perfect reification of the “Big Rock Candy Mountain” hobo utopia, in which “the jails are made of tin,” so “you can walk right out again as soon as you are in.” In cities that imposed curfews, the violators were allowed to continue with their virtuous burning and looting until they were satisfied, as though to interrupt them were to interrupt a celebrant in mid-consecration of the mass (a sacrilege that the COVID-19 social-distancing police never shrank from).
The ritual “taking of the knee” by police chiefs, rank and file officers, and political leaders across the world is the perfect visual emblem of our rulers’ willing capitulation to extortion and mob rule, and more broadly, of our society’s suicidal complicity with the progressive thugs whose ideological imperative is to annihilate it. The only possible excuse for the congenitally tumescent, parasitical, self-serving, and duplicitous institution of government and its monopoly of force is to preserve the social order without which life is indeed nasty, brutish, and short, and guarantee the equal application of the law, without which might is right, and we may as well all emigrate to Mogadishu.
Like the police, America’s civilian rulers have also surrendered with unbidden zeal. In recognition of the justice of their cause, the mayor of Minneapolis peremptorily abandoned the police precinct to the rioters. Not to be outdone in demonstrations of piety, Mayor de Blasio ordered that streets in every one of the five boroughs be renamed after Black Lives Matter, just four days after Washington D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed Lafayette Park “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” marked by the words BLACK LIVES MATTER in 35-foot yellow capital letters (that color being a nice touch if you regard supine cowardice as a virtue).
It’s remarkable that in the blink of an eye Black Lives Matter has been exalted to the rank of sacrosanctity, as though it were the American chapter of Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity. Anyone who criticizes BLM (or its message of black persecution) is immediately censored, shunned, or fired.
Naturally, Black Lives Matters supports the entire panoply of progressive causes: unrestricted abortion, non-binary self-identified gender, transgenderism, “dismantl[ing] patriarchal practice,” the “disrupt[ion of] the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” the establishment of “a queer‐affirming network … with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking,” “dismantle[ing] cisgender privilege,” and opposing “trans-antagonistic violence.” (After all, even today’s Vandals have been to college.) BLM’S official website is a pretty comprehensive manifesto for the overthrow all the moral norms and institutions of Western Civilization; but I guess we’re all revolutionaries now.
The most instructive symbol of the great surrender, however, is Seattle, one of the perennial spiritual capitals of the Big Rock Candy Mountain hobo utopia. Across from another abandoned police station, six city blocks in Seattle’s municipal center have been ceded by the mayor and governor to the rioters as a fully autonomous state: CHOP, as its rulers now call it, the world’s newest sovereign nation. Around the perimeter of the Republic of CHOP, its “government” has posted armed guards to prevent foreigners from getting in (will border walls be next?).
Pre-CHOP residents who don’t share the revolutionary ideals of their new overlords have had no say over the proceedings. CHOP, or what might be called the Protestor Occupied Territories (POT), is thus a land that has been seized from the original indigenous inhabitants and colonized by its occupiers, but one doubts that the left will denounce it as an apartheid state, or demand full democratic rights for the occupied peoples.
CHOP also seems to have revived the great Stalinist tradition of propaganda art. Spray-painted on every available surface are inspiring revolutionary messages including “End America” and “Shoplift Your Future Back.” (When the owner of an auto repair shop and his son detained a CHOP citizen shoplifting his future back and trying to burn down the building, he was confronted by a mob of several hundred shoplifting causists who threatened to kill him if he refused to let the Good Thief go.)
In this “police-free” land of equality and justice, in what Seattle’s mayor has described as a “block party,” violence, break ins, and robberies have become commonplace. If well-intentioned liberal “idealists” are wondering what the New Progressive Order will look like once it’s been established, they ought to schedule their next holiday in CHOP, assuming its overlords will let them in.
And the Great Liberal Death Wish
All of this leaves the remnant of the sane with the insoluble question: Which is more nauseating? The images of protesters beating up septuagenarian female shop-owners, killing and maiming hundreds of innocent bystanders, torching or trashing whole city blocks, and demonstrating their grinding poverty/anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist bona fides by prioritizing top-of-the-line Nike runners and Gucci handbags on their cleptomaniacal wish lists? Or the contrite acquiescence of the soi-disant “power structure” to their rank criminality and lunatic demands?
The morally preening orgies of contrition and expressions of solidarity by our political, cultural, and corporate leaders, exacted to ensure ideological conformity with the same effectiveness as under Mao, have been rather too numerous and fulsome for optimistic conservatives to any longer discount as merely pandering, self-preservationist, or otherwise insincere.
For 50-odd years, nothing has been done to stop leftist “protesters;” the inescapable conclusion is that the ruling class doesn’t in fact want to stop them. The recent riots should at least have made it clear that the angry left’s heroic struggle against a “repressive authority” amounts to pushing against an open door. In genuinely repressive societies (China under Mao, China under Xi, the former Soviet Union) protesters get shot or dispatched smartly to re-education camps. In post-modernist America, the protesters re-educate their oppressors in the ever-more exquisite points of progressive dogma.
After almost every violent leftist “protest” of late, our political leaders have withdrawn to their own self-sentenced struggle sessions, and emerged from them wearing the nimbus of penitence and progressive enlightenment. The current legislative initiatives to defund the police and re-purpose their budgets to the same welfare programs as have, since the sixties, enslaved blacks a second time to their white Democrat masters, originated from the sober counsel of a screaming, criminal mob.
Many previous progressive desiderata have similarly silted up from the fever swamps of angry demonstrations and were thereafter ratified into law by political leaders, both Democrat and Republican. That’s not “anarchy,” as many on the right have soothingly called it, if anarchy still means unfettered license in the absence of central authority. On the contrary, it’s progressive theocracy, rule by the same heresy-hunters as have given us campus and media thought police, trigger warnings, censorship of conservative opinion by the Big Tech oligarchy, deplatforming, Maoist shamings and denunciations, and all the other coercive measures by which they punish the slightest deviation from orthodoxy, and in the process repeal the fustian individual liberties and rule of law upon which post-Enlightenment Western democracies were founded.
I said that the recidivist riots of the intersectional left have never required a coherent raison d’etre. But that’s not quite true. Their proudly proclaimed purpose is the shopworn utopian dream of abolishing the corrupt pre-revolutionary moral norms and institutions of the patriarchally oppressed, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Christian-bigoted, and white-privileged Eurocentric civilization they despise, and replacing it with—well, they’ve never deigned to tell us precisely what.
That the feral violence and criminality of the protesting armies never seem to impugn the righteousness of their cause in the media or the ruling class makes it plain that, as a society, we’ve not only accepted the old revolutionary lie that the benignant end justifies the malignant means, but have become oblivious to the fact that not all ends are desirable just because a braying mob says so.
The violence of the George Floyd protesters can hardly be incidental; it’s merely the objective correlative of their core beliefs and aspirations.
Harley Price has taught courses in religion, philosophy, literature, and history at the University of Toronto, U of T’s School of Continuing Studies, and Tyndale University College. He blogs at Priceton.org.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.