History Shows Free Speech Is The Loser In Mob Action

Below is my column in The Hill on the ongoing destruction of memorials and statues. After this column ran, I learned that one of the iconic busts of George Washington University had been toppled on my own campus. I did not learn that from our university, which was conspicuously silent about this destructive act at the very center of our campus.  There is something eerily familiar in the scenes of bonfires with police watching passively as public art is destroyed.  Such acts are akin to book burning as mobs unilaterally destroyed images that they do not want others to see.  There are valid issues to address on the removal of some public art but there is no room or time for debate in the midst of this spreading destruction.  Even when there is merit to objections to literally or artistic or historical works, mob action threatens more than the individual work destroyed by such action. The media has largely downplayed this violence, including little comparative coverage of an attack on the Democratic state senator who simply tried to videotape the destruction of a statue to a man who actually gave his life fighting against slavery in the Civil War.  As discussed earlier, history has shown that yielding to such mob rule will do little to satiate the demand for unilateral and at times violent action. People of good faith must step forward to demand a return to the rule of law and civility in our ongoing discourse over racism and reform.

Here is the column:

The scenes have played out nightly on our television screens. In Portland, a flag was wrapped around the head of a statue of George Washington and burned. As the statue was pulled down, a mob cheered. Across the country, statues of Christopher Columbus, Francis Scott Key, Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses Grant have been toppled down as the police and the public watch from the edges. We have seen scenes like this through history, including the form of mob expression through book burning.

Alarmingly, this destruction of public art coincides with a crackdown on academics and writers who criticize any aspects of the protests today. We are experiencing one of the greatest threats to free speech in our history and it is coming, not from the government, but from the public. For free speech advocates, there is an eerie candescence in these scenes, flames illuminating faces of utter rage and even ecstasy in destroying public art. Protesters are tearing down history that is no longer acceptable to them. Some of this anger is understandable, even if the destruction is not. There are statues still standing to figures best known for their racist legacies.

Two decades ago, I wrote a column calling for the Georgia legislature to take down its statue of Tom Watson, a white supremacist publisher and politician who fueled racist and antisemitic movements. Watson was best known for his hateful writings, including his opposition to save Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager accused of raping and murdering a girl. Frank was taken from a jail and lynched by a mob enraged by such writings, including the declaration of Watson that “Frank belongs to the Jewish aristocracy, and it was determined by the rich Jews that no aristocrat of their race should die for the death of a working class Gentile.”

Yet today there is no room or time for such reasoned discourse, just destruction that often transcends any rationalization of history. Rioters defaced the Lincoln Memorial in Washington and a statue of Abraham Lincoln in London. Besides attacking those monuments to the man who ended slavery, rioters attacked statues of military figures who defeated the Confederacy, like Grant and David Farragut, who refused to follow Tennessee and stayed loyal to the Union. In Boston, rioters defaced the monument to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the all black volunteer regiment of the Union Army. In Philadelphia, the statute of abolitionist Matthias Baldwin was attacked, despite his fight for black voting rights and his financial support for the education of black children.

This systematic destruction of public art is now often rationalized as the natural release of anger by those who have been silenced or marginalized. Even rioting and looting has been defended by some as an expression of power. However, a far more extensive movement is unfolding across the country, as people are fired for writing in opposition to these protests. In Vermont, Windsor School principal Tiffany Riley was placed on leave for questioning protest rhetoric on Facebook, where she posted, “While I understand the urgency to feel compelled to advocate for black lives, what about our fellow law enforcement?” She was denounced on social media as “insanely tone deaf” and is being forced to retire.

At the University of Chicago, there is an effort to fire Harald Uhlig, who is a professor and senior editor of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy. His offense was questioning the logic of defunding the police and other messaging from the protests. Writers like Paul Krugman of the New York Times denounced him, and he was accused of the unpardonable sin of “trivializing” the Black Lives Matter movement. Professors across the country are being targeted because they object to aspects of these protests or specific factual claims. Students also face punishment.

Syracuse University student journalists at the Daily Orange have fired a columnist for writing a piece in another publication that questioned the statistical basis for claims of “institutional racism” in police departments. Adrianna San Marco discussed a study published last year by the National Academy of Sciences that had found “no evidence” of disparities against Blacks or Hispanics in police shootings. Such a view could be challenged on many levels. Indeed, this once was the type of debate that colleges welcomed. Yet San Marco was accused of “reinforcing stereotypes.”

The merging of journalism and advocacy is evident in academia, where intellectual pursuit is now viewed as reactionary or dangerous. Many opposed a recent recognition given by the American Association of University Professors to an academic viewed by many as antisemitic. I disagreed with the campaign against the professor as a matter of free speech. However, I was struck by the statement that she “transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.” That “encumbrance” was once the distinction between intellectual and political expression. As academics, we once celebrated intellectual pluralism and fiercely defended free speech everywhere.

However, we now increasingly join the mob in demanding the termination or “retraining” of academics who utter opposing views. In my 30 years of teaching, I never imagined I would see such intolerance and orthodoxy on campuses. Indeed, I have spoken with many professors who are simply appalled by what they are seeing but too scared to speak up. They have seen other academics put on leave or condemned by their fellow faculty members. Two professors are not only under investigation for criticizing the protests but received police protection at home due to death threats. The chilling effect on speech is as intentional as it is successful.

Such cases are mounting across the country as academics and students enforce this new orthodoxy on college campuses. What will be left when objectionable public art and academics are scrubbed from view? The silence that follows may be comforting to those who want to remove images or ideas that cause unease. History has shown, however, that orthodoxy is never satisfied with silence. It demands speech.

Once all the offending statues are down, and all the offending professors are culled, the appetite for collective suppression will become a demand for collective expression. It is a future that is foreshadowed not in loud cries around the bonfires we see every night on the news. It is a future guaranteed by the silence of those watching from the edges.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

225 thoughts on “History Shows Free Speech Is The Loser In Mob Action”

    1. interesting analysis. this is what people need to do. connect the dots, follow the money, map the networks.

      mapping social networks is a key activity of any form of intelligence.

      every relational database is potentially a social network mapping tool. they are all around us.

      1. Kurtz, isn’t amazing how often our leftist friends are proven wrong and how we never hear them admit it? When a Supreme Court Case comes in against Trump they are very vocal but not so vocal when it goes for Trump like the 7-2 victory on immigration.

  1. No one has the white man’s back

    “US Tech Solutions CEO affirms Leslie Brown’s Facebook termination”

    1. Manoj, an Indian name. High caste? LOL. Well thanks Mr Manoj, she deserved to be fired.

      Now change the policy and dont just shoot the messenger who leaked it stupidly

  2. With respect for Prof Turley I want to point to what i believe is the fundamental error in treating this according to neutral liberal principles:

    ” It is a future guaranteed by the silence of those watching from the edges.”

    Here is my thesis:

    1. the failure to enforce the law is the policy of current leadership. At universities and cities and whereever the vandalism is allowed. It is not negligence action nor negligent omission. It is a deliberate STAND DOWN order being issued quietly to police. I made this assertion about a year ago when blood red paint was splashed on a statute and the officer stood by until protest was complete then arrested the vandal. The police are being ORDERED not to inferfere with these acts of crime.

    2. Who has the authority to give such an order? University leadership, or mayors. Such as they may be from place to place. The political process can deal with the mayors. But let’s focus on universities. They are all, private and public alike, under TRUSTEESHIPS. Boards of governors or directors which have the authority to REMOVE errant chief operating officers for cause. This has not happened — so we must conlcude that the likes of GW university board of trustees APPROVE of the vandals toppling the bust of Geo Washington.

    3. This is not a failure of people “watching from the edges.” It is a failure of LEADERSHIP and CUSTODIANS APPOINTED BY LAW.

    They are also generally elites. Big name lawyers, financiers, big politicians, and the occasional big name academic. Generally, they are representatives of what I call PLUTOCRACY for want of a better word.

    This takes you to the immediate question of who is the plutocracy, and why would they WANT vandalism and crime?

    Which is answered by my economic analysis. There are factions of American business that are so tied into international commerce and trade and financial ties to the PRC that they are being deeply hurt by Trump’s trade war and they want him GONE. SO it is a planned destabilization campaign and they all understand it. So they do nothing. Because they want a weak Joe Biden to succeed him who will let them truck with the PRC and exploit the PRC slave labor all they can.

    I’ll round out my economic analysis with a specific observation. 85% or so of the Apple Iphone in recent years was made in China. But once the trade war started, taxes and duties were imposed on certain goods. The price of imported goods being taxed, the taxes passed on to consumers. The consumers can only pay so much, so in effect, the United States took money from the consumers, which could have gone to Apple. Very simple. why Apple hates Trump., Same idea for NIKE and other such importers of components made in China.

    Then there is immigration., SIlicon Valley relies on thousands of new H1B programmers from India and elsewhere in Asia every year. They get a lot of asylee labor too from China. That is a little understood component of the temporary migrant laborforce but look it up. then there are the illegals from Mexico mowing all the lawns in Palo Alto. These various forms of cheap migrant labor are endangered by Trump. So Silicon Valley hates him.

    They form opinion by their editing on FB and Twitter and youtube, enflame passions, pass out some millions to subversive organizers like BLM, and POOF !

    Color Revolution in the USA.

    Dont be naive folks. This is backed by Silicon Valley and global finance. The last thing the financiers could care about is you me or even the poor black folks in whose name it is all done. This is about a policy of reviving American industry versus the angry men of global finance.

    Is this a paranoid Bircher fantasy as someone suggested today? Is it “marxist claptrap” as someone said to me last week? Well I say, try and find out. Just go read some “World Economic Forum” commentary on the “dangers of populism” or one of the many essays by Geo Soros and they should fit with my interpretation quite well, I am sure.

    If you accept this premise, then, the thing to do first and foremost, is call for law and order, and second of all, punish as high up as you can go. Punish those trustees who have ordered law enforcement to stand down by whatever means are available. Punish them and target as high up the ladder as you can when you measure out your reprisals. Do not aim low at the hooligan on the street, they need only be contained. For reprisals, aim at his director, his boss, his employer, his financier, as high up as you can go.

    And yes, this is a contest of powerful forces and in such things reprisals and revenge and punishment are tools which must be used.

  3. Wave Of Radicalism Is Bernie Bros Seizing Moment

    Early this year, before Joe Biden became the presumed nominee, Professor Turley was posting at least 3 columns per week asserting that Democrats were ‘rigging’ their primaries against Bernie Sanders. In these columns Turley kept telling us that Bernie was being ‘victimized again’. Sanders, Turley contended, without a shred of evidence, had been screwed out of the 2016 nomination by the DNC establishment. And now, in 2020, ‘it was happening again’; or so Turley claimed without a shred of evidence.

    In these preachy columns Turley essentially proclaimed himself an honorary Bernie Bro, beseeching Democrats to accept Bernie and listen to his followers. Turley even made a trip to Ann Arbor Michigan where he was emotionally transfixed by the passion of Bernie Bros. Turley was awestruck by their ‘energy’!

    It was obvious to some of us that Turley’s ‘Poor Bernie’ columns were totally disingenuous. Not for a moment did I believe Turley had any inclination to vote for Sanders. Turley’s only motivation for these ‘Poor Bernie’ columns was stoking division among Democrats. In fact, Donald Trump was singing that same ‘Poor Bernie’ song. Interestingly Black Democrats seemed to sense that Bernie was being pushed by Trump-friendly Republicans. So Blacks pushed back by voting for Biden in such numbers that Super Tuesday became a disaster for Bernie.

    The Bernie Bros, of course, were more than a little upset their man was dealt such a stinging defeat. After stewing for 3 months, Bernie Bros seized the moment when a rash of police misconduct cases flooded the media. It was then we saw how ‘passionate’ and ‘energetic’ Bernie Bros can be. For all of June so far, Bernie Bros have facilitated a leftist uprising unseen in America since the Vietnam era. Their aim, I venture, is to put Democrats between them and Trump forces. Hopefully, they calculate, Democrats will be forced to veer left rather than side with conservatives.

    This wave of radicalism could have been predicted by every mainstream Democrat. We saw in 2016 how destructive the Bernie Bros were. And it was clear, as this year began, that Bernie Bros hadn’t moderated in the least since 2016. They were still quasi-Maoists itching for revolution. That should have been obvious to Turley when he kept posting those ‘Poor Bernie’ columns. Though perhaps Turley is secretly pleased by this radicalism. Perhaps Turley hopes the Bernie Bros will come through again by giving liberals such a bad name Americans will decide Trump is ‘not so bad after all’.

    Unfortunately for Trump this pandemic has a mind of its own. Most recently Covid 19 is reclaiming the news cycle in defiance of both Trump and leftist radicals.

      1. STORY BEHIND BIDEN’S ALLEGED ‘PRAISING’ OF CONFEDERATE GROUP

        Original Headline: “Moseley-Braun Chastises Senate”

        Carol Moseley-Braun, the nation’s only black senator, gave her fellow lawmakers a double-barreled sensitivity lesson Thursday, in one instance singlehandedly shaming the Senate into reversing itself.

        Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the freshman Democrat from Chicago chastised the panel’s ranking Republican for posing “personally offensive” questions about the infamous Dred Scott slavery decision to Supreme Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

        Just minutes later on the Senate floor, she threatened to mount a filibuster unless the Senate changed its mind on a move to renew a U.S. patent for the emblem of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which contains a version of the Confederate flag.

        In both cases, Moseley-Braun told her fellow senators-all of whom are white and most of whom are men-that senators had made offensive statements and taken highly offensive actions without even recognizing that they had done so.

        The Senate at first approved, and then rejected, the attempt to extend the patent for the emblem.

        Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) had attached an amendment to extend the patent to a bill on national service. Moseley-Braun had persuaded the Judiciary Committee in May to scrap the renewal of the patent.

        After a little debate, senators trooped to the floor and voted 52-48 to accept Helms’ amendment.

        That brought Moseley-Braun to her feet with a threat to filibuster until the chamber changed its mind. “I have to tell you this vote is about race, it is about racial symbolism. It is about racial symbols, the racial past and the single most painful episode in American history,” she said.

        “On this issue there can be no consensus. It is an outrage. It is an insult. It is absolutely unacceptable to me and to millions of Americans, black or white, that we would put the imprimatur of the United States Senate on this kind of idea,” Moseley-Braun said.

        “If I have to stand here until this room freezes over . . . I am going to do so,” Moseley-Braun said. “Because I will tell you, this is something that has no place in our modern times. It has no place in this body. It has no place in the Senate. It has no place in our society.

        “Moseley-Braun was aided in her filibuster attempt by more senior senators, including fellow Illinois Democrat, Paul Simon.

        About two hours later, the Senate reversed itself and voted 75-25 to kill the Helms amendment, with 27 senators, including 10 Democrats and 17 Republicans, switching sides.

        Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), appearing to speak for many senators, said that when he had voted the first time to support Helms, his fellow Republican, he did so without knowing precisely what he was doing.

        After the second vote, one by one, the senators praised Moseley-Braun and noted that they had been given a lesson none was likely to forget.

        Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), a 21-year Senate veteran, said he had never seen the Senate reverse itself just because of a speech by one senator.

        Sen. Howell Heflin (D-Ala.) said at a press conference after the vote, “We must get racism behind us. Many of us in the South have had feelings about racism for some time. We’re proud of the progress . . . but much more progress has to be made.”

        But Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended the use of the Confederate symbol out of “respect for my forefathers.

        “Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (D-Colo.), the Senate’s only Native American, said he understood Moseley-Braun’s feelings.

        “I know that some of my colleagues who did not support her in this last issue feel they were upholding tradition,” he said. “I would point out to them that slavery was once a tradition, like killing Indians like animals was once a tradition. That did not make them right, and we sought, as a body, as a nation, to correct that.”

        During the Judiciary Committee hearing on Ginsburg, Moseley-Braun objected to a line of questioning in which Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.) cited Dred Scott vs. Sanford, the 1857 ruling upholding slavery, and Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 abortion decision, as examples of the Supreme Court “making up rights that aren’t in the Constitution.”

        “I find it very difficult to sit here as the only descendant of a slave in this committee, in this body, and hear a defense . . .for slavery that can be discussed in this chamber at this time,” Moseley-Braun said.”It’s very difficult for me to sit here and . . . quietly listen to a debate that would analogize Dred Scott and Roe vs. Wade,” she said, calling on Hatch to “take a different approach.”

        Full Story: “Moseley-Braun Chastises Senate”

        From Chicago Tribune, 7/23/1993

        1. REGARDING ABOVE:

          This passage stands out: But Sen. “Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended the use of the Confederate symbol out of “respect for my forefathers”.

          Another key passage: During the Judiciary Committee hearing on Ginsburg, Moseley-Braun objected to a line of questioning in which Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.) cited Dred Scott vs. Sanford, the 1857 ruling upholding slavery, and Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 abortion decision, as examples of the Supreme Court “making up rights that aren’t in the Constitution.”
          …………………………………………………………………………….

          It seems that Braun, the first Black female Senator, was insulted that a Republican, Orin Hatch of Utah, compared Dred Scott to Roe Vs Wade.

          1. that story was boring. Mosely Braun was a nonentity. She got whipped in one election by a Republican, not exactly easy trick in Illnois, then again he had an Irish name. And, last time around lost the primary race for mayor to Rahm Emmanuel. but thanks for sharing.

            Now let’s have some fun with a real leader. I’ll stick with a Democrat. From Philly.

            Let’s hear about a great man, Frank Rizzo, the kind of Democrat we should wish for again today. Little chance we will have such luck, but let’s enjoy a story

            https://www.takimag.com/article/the-posthumous-murder-of-frank-rizzo/

          2. I don’t think your follow-up regarding Biden soft-soaping the matter puts him in good stead.

            There is nothing to celebrate or honor about the confederacy, or to refer to people with kid gloves who do so. . I am willing to agree that places like Auschwitz and Gettysburg should not be demolished. But these are somber places. You do not go there with birthday hats on and noisemakers.

            I am sorry that Robert E. Lee made a historically monumental reprehensible moral choice. You do not erect a statue to admire him for it. And you do not refer to people as “fine people” who do.

            1. Steve, it looks like Mitch McConnell was the one praising Confederates. And Republican Jesse Helms was totally tone deaf while Republican Orin Hatch disingenuously compared Roe vs Wade to Dred Scott.

            2. Steve– “There is nothing to celebrate or honor about the confederacy, or to refer to people with kid gloves who do so.”

              *****

              Wrong. Clearly you know little of the history. Grant fought them savagely and yet helped General Longstreet after the war, a man whom he regarded as honorable. My own family fought for the Union but I am not prepared to say there was nothing about the Confederacy that was admirable. There was. More was involved than the issue of slavery.

              If you want to get the vapors about slavery get over the long dead practice in America and do something about actual slavery existing now in the Muslim world. Somehow nobody seems to worry about Muslim slavery currently practiced, just as the people pretending that black lives matter shrug when the slaughter in Chicago and Baltimore are mentioned. Your fretting is phony and historically illiterate.

              I will listen when you preach about real problems.

    1. Excellent post Seth and a thought which has crossed my mind as well. The crocodile tears for Bernie are yesterday’s news and the righties are now trying to pretend that defeated left wing of the Democratic Party won. Trump tried to lash BIden to AOC and the Squad in his Tulsa debacle, as if Pelosi hadn’t made them sit in a corner in the House and Biden wants nothing to do with them.

      1. Seth,

        I acknowledge there is an apparent validity to some of what you say.

        However I am not convinced of it just because you say so. Did you actually research the facts, or spin a hypothesis? It’s ok to speculate, just admit it when you do.

        Or, prove it to me and yourself with names and numbers. Did Bernie fund BLM? Who are the Bernie Bros who are active in the BLM? I want names. It is possible but I don’t form such beliefs on mere possibility. I want to know how and why.

        I did a fundraising analysis for BLM which did not go back to either Bernie nor any of his organizations. But it was a very complicated web. It’s well known and admitted however that one of the biggest BLM supporters has been Geo Soros. That is factual. Did Soros support Bernie? I dont see any evidence of that here. But I do see that he gave Pelosi $250K. See FEC data below. And, ah, Pelosi, who we just saw bowing and scraping for BLM, sees a role for herself in this current drama

        https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=george+soros&two_year_transaction_period=2020&min_date=01%2F01%2F2019&max_date=12%2F31%2F2020

        So, unless you can show me some money which proves this hypothesis that it’s the crazy bernie bros like we saw talking tough on the project veritas videos, I will just have to assume these guys are home smoking pot watching this stuff unfold. Because to me it very much looks like it is benefitting Pelosi and Biden at least, for now.

  4. The more the Leftists feed their gawping chipper-shredder, the wider and hungrier it gets, and by the time their Reign of Terror comes to an end, they’ll only have each other to throw into it. Perhaps if they spent more time reading history than burning it, they’d realize their growing peril.

    But march on, Leftists. March on – décadi thermidor awaits you.

  5. Two decades ago, I wrote a column calling for the Georgia legislature to take down its statue of Tom Watson, a white supremacist publisher and politician who fueled racist and antisemitic movements. Watson was best known for his hateful writings, including his opposition to save Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager accused of raping and murdering a girl. Frank was taken from a jail and lynched by a mob enraged by such writings, including the declaration of Watson that “Frank belongs to the Jewish aristocracy, and it was determined by the rich Jews that no aristocrat of their race should die for the death of a working class Gentile.”

    Leave it there. A curious person can try to learn what his contemporaries appreciated about him.

    In re Frank, it’s a reasonable proposition he was not guilty. The evidence against him was of doubtful validity (and a crucial piece of exculpatory evidence suppressed by the prosecutor), the police were convinced of his guilt by observing his ‘demeanor’, and there is evidence that the Mayor of Atlanta was threatening the investigating officers with dismissal if they didn’t gin up someone to prosecute. That having been said, he would have been on the short-list of suspects to consider because the victim was found in an obscure locus in the factory’s basement and he was one of a small number of employees on the premises in the 15 hour interval between when she was last seen alive and when her body was found. (The production lines weren’t running that day and there were just a few office and service employees at work).

    1. i learned how to tie a noose in boy scouts. along with square knot clove hitch taught line hitch two half hitches and the bowline

      the difference to that and the bimini twist knot is very slight., in the hangman’s noose the end comes out 180 degrees opposite the noose from the coils, and is not folded under a middle bight.

      1. Kurtz, my understanding is that a hangman’s noose tightens and the Bimini knot does not. They do look slightly different. No one should have made a big thing over a garage pull and apparently some are saying this whole episode was intentional having nothing to do with racism. They base their opinion on the timeline and the full picture.

  6. “I was struck by the statement that she “transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.” That “encumbrance” was once the distinction between intellectual and political expression. As academics, we once celebrated intellectual pluralism and fiercely defended free speech everywhere.”
    *****************************
    Those cowering academics JT mentions are the worst sort of heel. Living around the works of all those great men, they somehow absorbed none of their courage. Instead, they pontificate on every nuisance of their lives — real or imagined — and quiz mush-brained kids about dates and events without ever explaining the guts needed to accomplish great deeds. More timely, they failed to pass on America’s legacy to their charges and filled their heads with vitriol and hatred of the very system they were exploiting. The real culprits in this Revolution of the Illiterate are the professors. These nihilist hordes smug in their certainty are the issue. I hope Harvard Business School is right and half the colleges close in ten years. We’ll never miss the professors and their mischief will end. We’ll then marvel at what vile prigs they really were.

  7. Western political philosophies evolved under the assumption that civil libertarians always needed to maintain a careful watch for signs of governmental overreach. While not untrue, recent events indicate individual rights are increasingly under assault from other quarters. Foundational freedoms long taken for granted are now declared by today’s ascendant collective activists as roadblocks obstructing their societal objectives. Their inflamed pursuit of a retributive social justice has caught a society built on classical liberal doctrines by surprise. And worse, those doctrines seem impotent as this energized faction seeks to unilaterally impose its brand of political orthodoxy on their fellow citizens.

    A brand that many in American society, upon analysis, would be uncomfortable instituting given its conceptual roots wholly grounded in the toxic soil of racial, gender, and class identity politics. Sentiments uniting these groups include a seething hatred of President Trump and his supporters, an unhinged vilification of those supporting the tenets of traditional cultural norms, a tortured linkage of capitalism with oppression, and a professed desire to abolish many of the institutions of an ordered society. Their favored tools to realize their inchoate demands are not applied through moral persuasion but instead by economic intimidation and street violence. Civil rights can be kicked aside because the jackboot is worn by a corporate entity or a street mob instead of the government. The picture emerging is an emboldened faction burning with a revolutionary zeal that is actively probing for weaknesses in American society.

    The question becomes how should the established social order respond to these nascent revolutionary incursions? What are the available remedies to engage with loose federations of groups and massed citizens invoking both extra-legal as well as illegal actions? And as important, who owns the responsibility to reinvigorate the ideals that stand against the imposition of political will through violence and intimidation? These are tough questions but answers are needed now. Liberty hangs in the balance.

    1. Neumann– Excellent post. I know it sounds simplistic, and maybe it is, but I believe that those who so eagerly try to destroy what others have built need to be shown that there is a steep price they must pay for their behavior. Only then will it stop. So far, those who have chosen to riot, loot and burn, or tear down monuments, face no real consequences. In fact, the democrat leaders of the social order and the MSM, hoping for short-term political gains, praise them as if they are making a serious contribution to improving our country. I don’t know much about this type of “movement” but it seems that if these would be revolutionaries are allowed to continue unchecked, we may soon reach a point of no return. What happens then is anybody’s guess.

      1. Honest, as a Democrat – of the Democratic party, please get it right – neither I or any party leaders are praising rioters and looters, I might also note, as a literal builder, speaking to an attorney on an attorney filled comments section, I may be the only actual person to “build” here, though apparently John Say is an architect. Given that many if not most attorneys these days chase ambulances or figure tax scams, I don’t know if they are in a position to use that metaphor. How about you?

        If you want to here a Democratic leader speak to rioters and looters, here’s the mayor of Atlanta. I encouyrage you to watch it and see if there is anything you disagree with:

        https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/05/30/keisha-lance-bottoms-full-address-atlanta-protests-vpx.wgcl

        1. bythebook–
          “…neither I or any party leaders are praising rioters and looters”
          Aside from he bad wording, I don’t know how you think or act, but that comment is BS. I think Mayor Bottoms is the exception to the rule but that’s probably because I am biased, having been born in Atlanta. The rest of the democrat mayors, to quote John Nance Garner, are not worth a bucket of warm spit in this crisis. If they are not surrendering territory to anarchists, they are dismantling the police. And, it’s easy to take pot shots at lawyers. Years ago in a speech to members of the medical profession I reminded them that 200 years ago when their colleagues were drilling holes in people’s heads for headaches, mine were writing a constitution for the greatest republic in the history of mankind. Yeah, we lawyers never build anything.

          1. bythebook– and by the way I worked construction during summers in high school. The foreman was a deacon in my church. I asked him what to do about the blisters on my hands from digging ditches for beams. He told me to go around a shed and urinate on my hands– it would toughen them up. I did and when I came back around the whole crew was doubled over laughing. On top of that, it didn’t work.

            1. “On top of that, it didn’t work.”

              Honest, Are you sure? I seem to remember Gandhi drank his urine. There is such a thing in alternative medicine as urine therapy where one might massage their skin with their own urine. I don’t think urine therapy and massage has been proven but it probably protects one from Covid-19 as people will likely want to avoid you and stay more than six feet away.

              1. Allan says: “I seem to remember Gandhi drank his urine”

                According to his grandson, he didn’t.

                https://www.newsweek.com/explain-your-letter-time-we-falsely-accused-gandhi-drinking-his-own-pee-375339

                “Were you angered by that assertion?

                Not angered. Amused. Many people have attributed all kinds of things to my grandfather. Sometimes they’re right, and sometimes they’re absurd. This was one of the absurd situations.

                Where did that rumor start?

                It’s possibly because Morarji Desai, who was the prime minister for a while in India, was also a follower of Gandhi. A lot of people in the West associated the two. Maybe a person came to a conclusion that he might have learned it from my grandfather. He [Desai] used to drink his urine every day. And he attributed his long life to drinking urine. But my grandfather never did.”

                1. This is quite interesting. I can see the confusion with Desai, After all unrine therapy is ancient. No proof it works for anything but it is ancient.

                  1. “No proof (urine lotion) works for anything but it is ancient.”

                    *******

                    Harvard and Yale should do extensive double-blind studies on it.

                    1. I am sure Democrats can be convinced to pay 10’s of millions of dollars for that study.

                  1. It’s reading about Ghandi’s enemas that will really turn your head. He used to give them to the young girls who stayed with him. Very therapeutic.

    2. Kurt writes:

      “….Sentiments uniting these groups include a seething hatred of President Trump and his supporters, an unhinged vilification of those supporting the tenets of traditional cultural norms….”

      Kurt, clause 1 does not fit with clause 2. You understand that, right?

    3. Kurt its interesting how some of the things that I was taught by my ACLU constitutional law prof in law school have become so meaningful today.

      In particular one thing. She instructed us on how First amendment or a first amendment-like analysis can be imposed on certain private property venues which hold out to the public with general invitation, such as a utility.

      That needs to be applied to the social media censorship which is happening at FB, Twitter, and youtube, which was a thought evoked by this comment of yours:

      “Civil rights can be kicked aside because the jackboot is worn by a corporate entity or a street mob instead of the government. ”

      and when I was in school i sniffled at my prof, said the sort of thing my partner in dialogue “book” here often says, “it’s private property, first amendment simply does not apply”

      today i am more pragmatic about such things than when I was in my callow youth

      book is pragmatic too, but he favors the editorial tone of censorship at twitter and FB, and so, he defends their prerogatives. at the moment. he would turn on a dime if he needed to, however

      1. So then Kurtz, I’m sure you’d like to see the Fairness Doctrine reestablished on our public airways again, right?

        1. what public airways? radio and tv? not really that consequential these days. this is an old issue which is archaic given current media.

          different voices will have all the fairness they need on the internet if the major conduits like FB Twitter and GOOG are not out there censoring those they dont like

          perhaps your are having a hard time understanding that FB Google and TWitter channel the overwhelming majority of public discourse and they are all staunchly and aggressively ON YOUR SIDE. oh wait; of course, you do understand that, which is why you invoke the liberal trope that their venues are “private property”

          1. But they are a form of “PRIVATE PROPERTY” which communicates on the internet that was built with US taxpayer funded technology and in some cases direct funds and manpower. In some cases quite literally it was the Army building the first backbones of it.

            And what does FB and Twitter and GOOG pay in return to the US taxpayer for using the internet we built and making their billions off of it?> Zilch.

            I say ok, you want to pretend you are just private property, then, get ready to pay some PROPERTY TAXES like I do for the privilege of owning my own home and using it. Or you can be fair and quit censoring the dickens out of all those you dont like!

      2. PS I have never used FB and don’t GAF. Anyone who relies on it for news deserves their ignorance.

  8. In my 30 years of teaching, I never imagined I would see such intolerance and orthodoxy on campuses. Indeed, I have spoken with many professors who are simply appalled by what they are seeing but too scared to speak up. They have seen other academics put on leave or condemned by their fellow faculty members. Two professors are not only under investigation for criticizing the protests but received police protection at home due to death threats.

    Time for them to quit being so other directed. Faculty members who denounce them are sh!ts. You shouldn’t care what sh!ts think of you. And if you’re put ‘on leave’ in contravention of your contract, sue the institution and sue the official as a person. Make the process the punishment for these ba*tards. And if you actually are afraid, you and your wife need to buy guns and train yourselves to use them. Can’t rely on the police in blue cities.

  9. This is ongoing because Democratic politicians allow it. I’ve yet to see any evidence that voters will punish the politicians. Ultimately, the republic’s going down due to the cud chewing indifference of most of its inhabitants.

    1. The Discipline of Democracy.

      The American Founders restricted the vote to male, European, age 21 with 50 lbs. Sterling/50 acres. Self-governance, of necessity, was to be a disciplined proposition. The Framers failed to codify their vote criteria. They did, however, restrict and preclude any and all interference in the affairs of absolute private property through the 5th Amendment as they restricted and precluded any and all regulation, with the exceptions of the value of money, the flow of commerce (i.e. to prevent bias or favor by one state, nation or tribe over another) and land and naval Forces, per Article 1, Section 8.

      Restrictions on the vote have, however unfortunately, evolved but the limitations and restrictions on the power of government remain the same, but for the willful and deliberate unconstitutional usurpations and violations by communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) in America.

      The singular American failure has been the judicial branch, with emphasis on the Supreme Court. The discipline of democracy, the manifest tenor of the Constitution, has been lost.
      ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

      “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

      – James Madison
      ______________

      “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

      – Alexander Hamilton

  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MWzDKE4zbY

    “In Portland, a flag was wrapped around the head of a statue of George Washington and burned. As the statue was pulled down, a mob cheered. Across the country, statues of Christopher Columbus, Francis Scott Key, Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses Grant have been toppled down as the police and the public watch from the edges. We have seen scenes like this through history, including the form of mob expression through book burning.”

            1. Oky1– Thanks for the link. This is as bad as anything Orwell predicted. Of course, the first thing to go always is the humor but on top of that for a state supported university to endorse a racist hate group that promotes the murder of police is unimaginable. If OBU does something like this, I’m moving to a remote island because all will be lost.

              1. We miss some people when they’re gone & we can only guess what their opinions would be today current events, like OW Holmes, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin.

                BTW: I like those KS guy’s kind of jokes.

                And the comment msg bb, they made a meth of things over there. LOL;) A bit lame, I know.

  11. “Once all the offending statues are down, and all the offending professors are culled, the appetite for collective suppression will become a demand for collective expression. It is a future that is foreshadowed not in loud cries around the bonfires we see every night on the news. It is a future guaranteed by the silence of those watching from the edges.”
    *****************************
    The Dim Devil at work:

    1. “What would you do, cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

      “And when the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide…?”

      “Do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that will blow then?”
      ____________________________________________________________

      OMG! It’s true. The end is nigh!

      1. Mespo, have you seen any novel iterations of Washington, Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton or Madison frequenting one or more of the local/regional taverns late at night?

        These exceptional men must be rolling over in their graves – seeing no vigorous support for American freedom extant or developing.

  12. The Left hates America, and supports breaking the law. There is no point trying to argue that this isn’t happening.

    In virtually all areas of life, we were expected to pledge a loyalty oath to Black Lives Matter. Every single FB group I belong to sent a BLM message. Anyone who questioned their methods or purpose was publicly pilloried, and many left groups. Even sewing groups exploded. Criticism of the BLM movement, or claiming that everyone matters just the same, was punished. It’s group think.

    I have also received a steady flow of racist memes, where white people proclaim their intense guilt at the sin in their skin. It makes them feel virtuous. There are no good white people. Every white person is racist. Everything a white person has is because of white supremacy. The United States is a racist country. It’s a frenzy of self and country flagellation, where the pleasure and pain receptors have switched. The more cruel and racist the remarks against white people, the more pleasure they feel.

    And it’s all predicated on a lie. The FBI and DOJ data are clear. Cops across the country are not hunting black people to kill them. That’s tinfoil hat conspiracy theory that has been repeated so many times that it’s taken as truth. It is patently absurd. If cops were hunting black people, they would be hanging out of cars, shooting them all across the country. Rather, cops respond to 911 calls regardless of the race or ethnicity of the caller. They risk their lives for whomever needs help. During 9/11, cops raced into danger. There are myriad images of cops helping shell shocked people of all races out of a destroyed epicenter.

    The BLM founders were Marxists. There are videos of them discussing this. The formula that has been historically by Leftist dictators is to target a group of people and blame them for society’s ills. Then those activists will declare that if they were given power, they would solve those ills. The Holocaust, Holodomor, and all the millions killed by Mao, Stalin, Chavez…the list just goes on and on. It is formulaic.

    Target whites and cops in general. Demand the special privileges of rioting, looting, burning, and seizing entire city blocks. Burn down police precincts. Make demands for changes that would confer even more special privileges.

    We are all equal. But some are more equal than others.

    1. Karen S– you express very well things many of us are feeling. Thank you.

      I honestly do not know how any people who think of themselves as moral and Americans not only can tolerate but actually justify the mob rule we are witnessing. And yet millions do. It is as if merely speaking the words “black” or “African American” casts a voodoo type spell over their minds, rendering them incapable of anything but complete submission. You are absolutely right. There is no evidence to support any kind of systemic racism among the police or any other government entity– except ironically among liberal democrats who insist that black people are so dumb and incapable that we must lift them up beyond their own achievements. I know a lot of liberal democrats who are so afraid of being called racist they will look the other way, no matter how bad the conduct is. They are so afraid of blacks and those who “protest” with them, they have no words of condemnation even for those who beat a democrat State Senator or who shot a little teenage girl in Chicago who was dancing with her Mother. When this is combined with their white-hot hatred of President Trump and the constant drumbeat of MSM propaganda, the results may well be catastrophic.

  13. Oh, excuse me. Abraham Lincoln just arrived and he would like to say a few words.

    Abe, OK, go ahead, Abe.

    Ahem!

    I told you so!

    “If all earthly power were given me,” said Lincoln in a speech delivered in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, “I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution [of slavery]. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia, to their own native land.” After acknowledging that this plan’s “sudden execution is impossible,” he asked whether freed blacks should be made “politically and socially our equals?” “My own feelings will not admit of this,” he said, “and [even] if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of white people will not … We can not, then, make them equals.”5

    One of Lincoln’s most representative public statements on the question of racial relations was given in a speech at Springfield, Illinois, on June 26, 1857.6 In this address, he explained why he opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have admitted Kansas into the Union as a slave state:

    There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races … A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as an immediate separation is impossible, the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together. If white and black people never get together in Kansas, they will never mix blood in Kansas …

    Racial separation, Lincoln went on to say, “must be effected by colonization” of the country’s blacks to a foreign land. “The enterprise is a difficult one,” he acknowledged,

    but “where there is a will there is a way,” and what colonization needs most is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and, at the same time, favorable to, or, at least, not against, our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be.

    – Abraham Lincoln

  14. I think JT’s column today is one that every “American” should read. I think I’m a bit older then most here, maybe. I’m certainly not the most educated but I’ll compete with any of you for love of this nation. My dad died when I was 14, my mom an old Italian refused to take welfare. After years of never working and being a mother and homemaker she went out unskilled and got work $65.00 a week gross. My father was old Italian and believed husbands were the breadwinner. We all sat down at the dinner table and ate together, listen to the radio (couldn’t afford TV) and yes we went to church. I was drafted and went off to an unpopular war but I felt it was my duty to this nation, if for nothing else but to abide by it’s laws. I carried a rifle around for 2 years and saw things that scared the piss out of me, I was scared most of the time. When I returned home I put every firearm I owned away and said I’d never kill another animal again. That has changed with the recent turn of events. I’m not kneeling for anyone, no one is going to jump on my vehicle threaten my family, destroy my property and All lives matter. I’ve never owned a slave and any black Americans I know were or are slaves. I’m white and I’m angry, I know nothing about “white supremacy” and I sure as hell never had or have “white privilege”.

    Unless some of you have been street cops you know nothing about what happens out there. There are no “criminal” or “bad” cops and before you try to refute that go out there for one solid year and come back and tell me different. They don’t mount up every day to see who they can kill, they don’t look for trouble, it finds them. When they try to affect an arrest the guy either goes along or starts trouble and that’s when things get out of hand. When you work in a black neighborhood you arrest blacks, when you work in a white neighborhood you arrest whites. The majority of issues are in Democrat run communities where most are on welfare. We all know there is more black on black murder than there are police shootings. I think the biggest problems with black Americans can be eliminated right in the home. Two parent families not a man who fathers several children with different woman. Why is it that Asian Americans are a minority (5%) and are the most outstanding Americans you can meet? They have great family values, non violent and as far as education goes they’re at the top. Black America might take a lesson there.

    Something better be done about ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter and all the trouble that is poisoning our nation. Police must be free to do whatever is necessary to bring peace, order and end this violence without being fearful of some corrupt politician bashing them. The cities that are defunding and disbanding PD’s watch what happens. The politicians on the left are doing nothing and some on the right are well, I sure as hell don’t have to tell you about MSM and their part in this.

    Well I know I’m rambling, no offense is meant to anyone but I’m angry, I love this nation and all she offers but it’s on the precipice of something very dangerous. If you post this Thanks for allowing me to vent.

    1. To Mr. Viet Vet:. Your comment is one of the best I have seen. I learned some things and had some thoughts in my mind that you expressed well.
      I am probably the same age as you.
      Thanks for the comment and please talk here again.

    2. “I’m certainly not the most educated but I’ll compete with any of you for love of this nation.”
      ***************************
      You sound plenty educated to me, gumba.

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