UNC Professor: Destroying Public Art Like “Silent Sam” Is A Justified And Moral Act

First and foremost, McGowan makes interesting points in his column and I commend it to readers to consider.  He first and foremost objects to the university’s criticism of the destruction as “mobe rule.”  McGowan insists that the mob that formed around the 105 year old statute was the “antithesis of mob rule” and the destruction was “obviously well-planned and carried out with care.”  McGowen seems to believe that so long as the mob acts with “targeted precision” rather than wanton destruction, it is a “principled and disciplined collective act of civil disobedience.”
He states “civil disobedience entails breaking the law. It does so when the established modes of redress for a wrong have proved unavailing, and it does so in the name of a good that it claims the law is flouting.” It is certainly true that civil disobedience often involves breaking laws like parading without a permit or refusal to disperse.  However, there is a difference between violent acts and intentional property destruction and the type of non-violent civil disobedience embodied in Martin Luther King.
McGown position is heavily laden with subjectivity and relativity in the definition of moral action.  Because he agrees with the mob, he simply declares the mob had no other choice but to turn to criminal acts.  He insists that, because society did not simply cave to such demands, “established modes of redress for a wrong have proved unavailing.” Would the same justification apply for a white supremacist group tearing down a statue of Martin Luther King — arguing that “established modes of redress . . . prove unavailing.”  The answer is obviously no because McGown can pick and chose between mobs and declare one wrong and the other right.
McGown does compliment the police in saying that “the police (like the crowd itself) showed admirable restraint. Obviously, a decision was made that the welfare of a statue was not worth harming a single, real living human being.” I am not sure about the restraint of the mob since they destroyed the monument but again McGown seems to credit them with not going wilding through the city in a rampage of destruction.  I was more critical of police in standing by as the statue to toppled. 
McGown does criticize the police as perhaps too caught up in the crime that the mob was committing and missing “the moral point the protesters are making.”  So police, according to McGown, should decided which crimes to prevent based on whether they agree with the criminals or their motivations?
McGown appears to suggest the same approach taken earlier by Durham District Attorney Roger Echols who caved to the pressure in dropping all charges against protesters who destroyed an earlier statue.  McGown writes “If it comes to actual prosecutions, the question of deciding what side you are on, and what are the ultimate values that you want the law to embody.”  I chose the side of neutral and equally applied law rather than distinguishing between popular crimes and unpopular crimes.
McGown’s implied position easily devolves into highly biased, outcome-determinative logic.  It is mob rule dressed up as moral imperatives.  

25 thoughts on “UNC Professor: Destroying Public Art Like “Silent Sam” Is A Justified And Moral Act”

  1. “moral and ethical relativism that is becoming increasingly common”

    That means taking it for granted the demonstrators were guided by a moral or ethical cause and could explain how destroying ‘Silent Sam’ served it. It’s more likely they were lashing out in a Twitter-fueled fit of self-righteous anger that could be described as nihilistic.

  2. The good news is that these very same nut jobs decry masculinity. They have no idea how to fight. Most were bed-wetters and got beaten up in school. When it come to an actual confrontation, they run.

    1. their power is not in the fist. it’s in words, and devious cleverness and the power to organize.

      organization is the ultimate power. not one finger but many make the fist. and ten thousand fists beat the hell out of two.

      right wingers are too absorbed with the cult of individual strength.
      one person is nothing compared to a million.
      … eis aner, oudeis aner

  3. I doubt Mr. McGowan will be so agreeable if an unruly mob decided to destroy his vehicle because they didn’t agree with his course syllabus.

  4. Mr. McGowan won’t be so forgiving if an unruly mob decided to vandalize his property or his face if they for instance didn’t agree with his course syllabus.

    1. OLLY – if it was well-planned, with military precision, then it would not be a mob and he would be hoist on his own petard.

      1. civil disobedience entails breaking the law. It does so when the established modes of redress for a wrong have proved unavailing, and it does so in the name of a good that it claims the law is flouting.

        One of the civics lessons being taught through the Senate confirmation hearing for Judge Kavanaugh is the power of the administrative state. Our established modes of redress through elections has been weakened by the power shift to unelected bureaucrats. If we as a society decide wrongs have been committed by some government agency without a reasonable means of redress, according to Mr. McGowan, it would be well within the citizen’s rights to commit some act of civil disobedience. All in the name of a relative good.

        As slohrss stated: I’m afraid we know how this will end.

  5. Wow, I’m afraid we know how this will end. There will be nothing left of civilization that is above being destroyed. I wonder what Malcolm McDowell thinks when he reads this kind of news. Going to see a steep ramp up in vandalizing humans soon as well. That’s what mobs do.

    Bring in the scoops?

    1. Solyent green is people!

      The funny thing is, the people that this guy clearly hates, are far more ready for chaos than he is.

  6. Miki Dash, this woman is running on it. She is coming right out and saying that this is what she will do.

    1. “conspiracy theorists” say it’s “community organizers” paid by Geo Soros’ constellation of “charities”

      i wonder if there is any truth in that?

      I wonder if a RICO action could be brought to confiscate the billions which would be involved in such a criminal conspiracy?

      The Hungarians are looking into this.

  7. Mob rule can get out of hand and yes we are a nation of laws and justice should be blind but many times it’s who is under the blindfold that determines what is “justice.”

    The Police had their instructions and I feel many of them may have said a prayer for poetic justice as they were obediently following orders yet hoping the statue may give a last hoorah to its defilers.

    The Police were on Private property and the fix was in. Too bad the “art” was not removed in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning to remove the empowerment it held on both sides of the coin.

  8. There is a democrat running for DA in Suffolk county in Ma. Part of her platform is that she will not prosecute all cases brought before her by law enforcement. She( if elected) will arbitrarily choose which cases to prosecute. If we are a country of laws then she prosecutes all of them. She feels there are some laws that are not worth enforcing( not cases). I don’t believe that she, by herself can choose what laws to enforce, and which laws not to enforce. I don’t believe we should ignore laws. If we( as a society) find laws that we don’t want anymore, then change the law or get rid of it altogether.

    1. Independent Bob – selective enforcement of the law has been around for a long time and I think even has a SC case backing it up. The only thing citizens can do is find out which laws she intends to not enforce in advance and then decide if she is the right candidate for them.

  9. Academics don’t waste opportunities to demonstrate that they are unworthy of the privileges that law and custom have settled on their arrogant heads. You’re a frigging English professor buddy. You’re expendible. It’s time the trustees of UNC Charlotte made an example of him.

    1. Defund these phony “nonprofit” universities sucking up public resources and failing to pay their fair share of property taxes and all the rest. Parasites!

      There’s no way onto one of these boards unless one is a gutless turd tried and true, steeped in political correctness, or maybe a boss of the same shadow caste that leverages large institutions to deepen the existing social trajectories.

    1. I wish this progrram wiould quit jumping around in mid type….

      Find something they do like and return to the favor. Objectively speaking object lessons are useful.

  10. “UNC Professor: Destroying Public Art Like “Silent Sam” Is A Justified And Moral Act”

    Destroying “Affirmative Action Privilege,” quotas, unfair “Fair Housing,” discriminatory “Non-Discrimination,” forced busing, welfare, food stamps, WIC, Supplemental Security Income, HAMP, HARP, social services, utility subsidies, public worker strikes, “comparable pay,” Social Security, Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, illegal immigration, unassimilable immigrants, etc., which constitute communistic redistribution of wealth and social engineering, are constitutional and existential acts.

  11. When your concept of moral is self-relevant in a multicultural situation, what standards does this self-absorbed man use when deciding what is to be destroyed. No society has lasted when it loses its agreed upon moral core concepts and we are witnessing this dissolution of our core daily with acts such as the one in discussion

    1. Eventually this will clearly degenerate into what it always was, subrosa, in the first place: group resource competition, and a contest of social organization, wits, and tribal power.

      Wake up if you are on the wrong side of this kind, wake up and get with the program fast.

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