Of Protests and Violence

If the title of this piece looks familiar, there is a reason. It is a followup to last week’s piece “Of Protests and Courage.” The gentleman making the comment, it took courage to protest, made another comment deserving of analysis. As noted in Courage, he stated, “In the history of the world what great change came without discontent, anger, protest, or even violence.” The gentleman on the other side of the dialogue agreed, but noted those changes may not always have been for the better.

OneOldCop can agree with both of the comments noted above. Great change in the world has often been accompanied by discontent, anger, protest and violence. The problem, as noted by the conservative side of the dialogue sparking this series of essays, is one cannot tell if the outcome of the discontent, anger, protest or violence will be a step forward or several backward. Additionally, one cannot tell if the discontent, anger, protest or violence is valid, trumped up for political reasons or the product of boredom on the part of minimally productive individuals.

One need look no further than the early twentieth century to see where change wrought by discontent, anger, protests and violence was not something to applaud. Unrest and uprisings in Russia during the early part of the century led to the overthrow of the Tsarist rulers and the birth of the Soviet Union. Shortly thereafter, Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany due to discontent, anger, protest and violence. The Nazis and the Soviets were two of the worst scourges on the world one can imagine.

The truth is that in more modern times positive changes have not come about through protests such as the ones seemingly endorsed by some liberal or leftist writers and advocates. If one looks objectively around the world, one can find many examples of such tactics bringing about changes that are far from positive. Of course, leftists, as do some others, take a long view of history. They are willing to inflict a great deal of pain and violence on society to achieve their version of a perfect world. Which brings up another point made during the dialogue being discussed.

A minor participant in the discussion expressed the thought that the protests and violence seemed designed to divide the country even more than it is at the moment. This is certainly a conclusion one can reach when witnessing or hearing about what is happening today.

Clashes between protestors and authorities are to be expected at times. Clashes between different groups of protestors are possible as well. What seems to be on the increase are groups showing up specifically to disrupt or attack another group. Of course, this is not a totally new phenomenon, and such actions are not limited to one side of the question or another. Still, many of the incidents reported lately seem to be planned aggression against a particular group or political thought. Additionally, most of the aggressors seem to be aligned with the left side of the political spectrum.

If that is true, one must wonder why. Why would the protesters at Berkeley and other campuses shut down the free speech of others through their over the top actions? Do they want to make the country more divided? Why do they apparently want to limit the free speech of those with opposing views?

One answer goes back to the nature of the beast so to speak. Many of the younger people involved in these activities have never been told no. They have never been required to deal with the consequences of their actions. Their parents have abrogated their responsibilities to the schools and the government. The result is a generation of overgrown children who only know one way to deal with not hearing what they want. They throw a tantrum, and try to destroy anything and anybody who irritates, disagrees or confounds them. Of course, the sad part of this is they have no idea they are being played by those they trust and respect.

One reason to escalate violence and create chaos is to force the government and one’s political opponents to overreact. At some point, if the Left is successful, there will be chaos in the streets, and it will not be limited to small areas. So far, the authorities and the system of government in this country have managed to avoid allowing the country to devolve into anarchy or a police state. One can hope this will hold true for now and the future. One can hope, but one cannot be certain.

Fellow travelers such as the gentleman who lauded the protesters for their courage may wake up one day to find the dark side of the movement is the one in control

© OneOldCop – 2017

About S. Eric Jackson

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