This post is authored by Mitch Nemeth
The world in 2020 is rather bizarre. We began the year with what appeared to be a potential war brewing between the United States and Iran. We quickly shifted to the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (the Novel Coronavirus), which led to an extended shutdown of almost all activity. As more became known about the virus’ true lethality and potential harm, we quickly shifted to another intense focus towards the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers.
What followed the tragic death of Floyd furthered the seemingly apocalyptic trajectory this year has taken. The tragedy was followed by what began as peaceful protests in Minneapolis; which quickly descended into chaos as mass looting and destruction began taking place.
These riots and the looting started in Minneapolis but as Mayor Jacob Frey allowed the rioters to burn down the 3rd precinct police station everything escalated. Beginning last Friday, May 29th, riots and looting occurred throughout urban centers in the United States. This rioting continued into the following week.
The riots caused chaos and madness with cities instilling curfews on their law-abiding populace. The law-breakers were held to a different standard by those in positions in power. Remember, just a few weeks ago we were told that attending funerals for our loved ones violated social distancing guidelines. As Tucker Carlson said on his show, “This is how nations collapse. When no one in authority keeps the order, and when someone in our professional class encourages violence, American citizens are forced to defend themselves.” Making matters worse, some in the media have promoted the absurd notion that destroying property is not violence.
At Politico, Rich Lowry correctly points out that property destruction is, in fact, violence. It is traumatizing to those who live nearby and it directly affects the lives of those who have worked their entire lives to build the business and of those who are employed on the premises. Those who condone property destruction provide a useful test case in understanding the hypocrisy at the heart of this matter: ESPN’s Chris Martin Palmer “exulted in an image of a building burning in Minneapolis” only to “lash out at” rioters when they “got close to where he lived, trying to scale the gates of a nearby gated community and destroying his local Starbucks.”
This is the fundamental hypocrisy of these elites posing as advocates for criminals. They are the classical NIMBYist urban elite and in many cases the children of the managerial class. As Michael Lind writes at Tablet, “These children of the economic elite end up harming those on whose behalf they pretend to be speaking. Like the upper-middle-class hippies of the 1960s who called police officers “pigs,” today’s affluent hipsters despise the police, many of whom are their age but are more likely than leftist radicals to be from working-class backgrounds and to be nonwhite.”
They advocate for sets of policies for everyone else, while simultaneously deriding those same policies in their own neighborhoods. They advocate for defunding the police while hiring private security. They support riots and looting until those same riots come to their neighborhoods. They contest school choice while sending their children to the best schools and universities, private or public. How do I know this? I live among these individuals. I grew up with them and I went to university with them.
They reap their power by promoting the agitation of the masses for their own gain. They genuflect at the altar of social justice since they believe that religion is the opiate of the masses. Their obvious hypocrisy towards the destruction of private property is telling. It is part of a larger effort to delegitimize our nation’s respect for private property rights and capitalism. At the core of this push for social justice is a lurch towards legitimizing cultural Marxism and socialism. We must push back at every turn but our effort must begin with addressing the root cause of our current predicament: retooling the power dynamic between law enforcement and the public-at-large.
Some ideas for actual reform include 1) curtailing the Supreme Court doctrine of Qualified Immunity, which requires plaintiffs to meet a heavy burden when challenging police “excessive use of force;” 2) pushing reform at the police union level by ensuring that corrupt or abusive officers are fired without union protections, and 3) encouraging police forces to hold private liability insurance to hold themselves accountable. These proposals are a starting place, but conservatives can make inroads among atypical Republican voters by espousing reality-based solutions to very real problems. We must be better to ensure a better future for ALL Americans.