Sunday, June 7, 2020

Intellectuals Foment Revolution

The intellectual elite is not out in force promoting and provoking riots. They are sitting safely in their dens penning rationalizations for the protests and the violence that has been sweeping America.

I have already suggested that the Democratic Resistance to the Trump presidency, for having preached the gospel of rebellion and the gospel of delegitimizing the American president, wrote the script for the current uprising. Having failed to remove Trump by using all legal means, from Congressional hearings to an impeachment trial, they are happy to hand off the baton to the inhabitants of America’s inner cities.

So, intellectuals are now rationalizing violence, as the only solution. It was only yesterday that they were touting the virtues of democratic elections and deliberative debate. Those cynical few who believed that they were fomenting an insurrection turned out to be correct.

Joel Kotkin offers a few words about this aspect of the current scene:

Perhaps the most alarming development during these riots has been the urgent revival of what urban historian Fred Siegel calls “the riot ideology.” The roots of this thinking can be traced to the late-1960s when they were set down among progressive analysts who decided that violence and looting constituted a just response to abuses by law enforcement and other agents of oppression. This notion became painfully popular during the 1992 LA riots, which I covered as a journalist, when random looting and even killings were applauded by some radical activists as part of a glorious “rebellion” or uprising.

They gazed at their television screens and imagined that the Revolution had come to America. By 1992 the manifest and horrific failures of every modern Communist Revolution had been shown to all who cared to know. And yet, American radicals, not knowing anything else, declared that only a Marxist Revolution could save America from capitalism. 

Kotkin notes that the ideology has never really died. It is making a comeback with the current insurrection:

Today, two generations later, this ideology is staging a comeback. Progressive outlets like Vox scold anyone who refers to outbreaks of widespread mayhem and looting as “riots” preferring to describe them as righteous protests; Mother Jones says that anyone using the word “riot” to describe violent looters is intrinsically racist. Writers at the New York Times have even proposed “de-funding” police forces in favor of spreading more money to other government programs. Slate, for its part, endorsed the burning of the Minneapolis police station as “a reasonable reaction” to George Floyd’s death, and suggested that such wanton destruction is a “quintessentially American response, and a predictable one” comparable to the Boston Tea Party and Stonewall.

Cheering from the bleachers, or is it from the owner’s box, they are saying: Down with the police. No more policing. Let’s hand America’s cities over to the criminal gangs. Let’s allow them to continue their work of destroying the livelihood of the shopkeepers and store owners in those neighborhoods. It will make capitalism look bad, and that’s what we want. 

Keep in mind, small shopkeepers are less likely to be insured. Large corporations running top-of-the-line boutiques are certainly insured. And let us understand that insurance companies are not going to be rushing into neighborhoods that have seen rioting, fire-bombings and looting.

As they watch radical ideologues rushing out to genuflect before the demonstrators, the odds are good, Kotkin continues, that rioters will see this as a victory. And this will encourage more such “political action:”

The ambivalent responses to the current violence may encourage future outbreaks. The more political leaders and pundits push the “riot ideology,” the greater the incentive for protestors, including professional agitators of whatever political stripe, to attack the police, disrupt neighborhoods, and loot stores. At a time of diminished opportunities, you can get to be both a celebrated “protestor” and help yourself to an iPhone along the way.

And, of course, the pandemic has wiped out many of the jobs in low income neighborhoods. Given the disparities between the rich and rest in places like New York City, the odds are good that many of the rich will be leaving for more congenial climes:

A deeply bifurcated economy provides most urban residents with only a low wage job at best, and sometimes no job at all. A new urban paradigm is needed to supplant the current economic patterns and the suicidal embrace of the “riot ideology,” which will simply drive business and upwardly mobile families out of the city. The inner-cities need policies that will create opportunity more than they need expressions of sympathy and solidarity from the affluent.

What the inner cities need, the inner cities have not been getting. Governed by leftists for decades now, they are in disrepair. They have lost their middle class residents and are now on a downward spiral, one that the riots are accelerating.

As a supplement to Kotkin’s analysis, I offer a few words by George Neumayr, from The American Spectator (via Maggie’s Farm). Neumayr begins by pointing out that the riots show what liberalism has achieved in running America’s big cities:

Do the protesters have a legitimate point? Not if you look at their hideous signs, dripping with hatred towards the police. These are the signs of brainwashed students acting on lies and propaganda fed to them by armchair anarchists in academia. To the extent that they are right, it is only ironically: the “system” has failed them, but not for the reasons they suppose. Run by liberals for decades, the “system” has ruined their schools, corrupted their families, debased their culture, secularized their churches, propagandized their media, and pretty much wiped out every character-forming institution in society. They have been misled by everyone from academics to archbishops, who have failed to foster any virtue or sense in them.

People who make the point that police brutality is the problem simply ignore the facts about police brutality. It has been decreasing, not increasing:

Anyone who dares point out that racist police brutality is decreasing, not increasing, can expect to be read out of society. Yet it is the law-abiding who have a legitimate grievance against politicized police departments for not policing their neighborhoods firmly enough. If anyone deserves to be out protesting, it is the members of under-policed black communities who pay the price for the political correctness that follows these demagogic protests.

He adds that those who are whining about the need for a national conversation about race would be embarrassed to find their politics, used to govern America’s largest cities, have failed abjectly:

The intelligentsia do not want a real “discussion” about race. That’s the last thing they want. That would mean looking at the data that contradicts their propaganda. It would also mean having to explain why the “system,” which they shaped in America’s largest cities, has failed so badly.

Neumayr conclude:

Liberals like to say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Yet that is precisely what liberalism advocates after each of these crises. They have controlled America’s inner cities for decades. The problems in them have only gotten worse. The riots of 2020 simply punctuate their misrule. Nevertheless, they continue to pontificate from their mansions, à la Barack Obama, demanding that failed policies be applied even more strenuously and telling the looted and robbed that they should find “hope” in their misfortune.

Leftists do not want and will never accept a free and open discussion about the governance of America's inner cities. If they did they would have to admit that they failed. And they will never, ever do that. They would rather see the cities burn down and they would rather see the people they supposedly care become more impoverished.


UbuMaccabee said...

During the Russian Revolution, Peter Ouspensky wrote a series of letters about what was happening in Russia. They were written to an English audience and published in The New Age, an English journal of arts edited by A.R. Orage. Ouspensky was correct on all counts. He saw what was coming and why it would come. He identified the Bolsheviks for what they were long before anyone else did; he took their measure completely. Substitute Bolshevik for Leftist and you have a complete blueprint of what's coming. Read it, it's brief and to the point. What's coming is a movement to comprehensively destroy the United States as it exists. We are in a Civil War, and we have begun shooting. Winner takes it all.

It's too late to destroy the universities, they have already done their damage; that damage is what you see when you observe the FBI bowing down before mobs of deranged criminals and rioters.

A warning to the Jews. The Antifa Left hates you and the lumpenblack really hates you. You are white and you are capitalists. They hate you for being religious, for being Jews, for Israel, and for being successful. This is the reign of L. Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright. The lumpenblacks are already saying your name out loud. Muslims will join them. Religious Jews will be murdered and their property stolen. If you thought attacks on Hasidism were bad before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Get out.

urbane legend said...

Liberals like to say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Yet that is precisely what liberalism advocates after each of these crises.

I don't believe "progressives" ever say that. They believe they are the only sane ones in the room. People living in the real world say it, because they realize that at some point changes have to be made.

The ivory tower academics and democrat rulers over failure still don't seem to realize their "burn it down" revolution will not come to pass in most of the United States. We saw some of the small business owners in these burning cities defend their property with weapons. A good proportion of America is ready to do the same thing, and not just their businesses, their neighborhoods, and their lives. Antifa has already found groups that will not bow to them.

I saw this post on Facebook: While y'all were burning and looting, we were buying ammo. C'mon down.

I find the this time it will work conviction incomprehensible. I simply cannot understand why anyone clings to it.

whitney said...

I have that book. It's still in my read pile. I'm working my way through Spenglers The decline of the West right now

Sam L. said...

urban legend, when I see or hear the word "progressive", I think "CANCER". Both are killers.

urbane legend said...

Sam L.
Good call.

trigger warning said...

As I noted here before, this is a remake of 1968. And, as with all 21st century Hollywood pussed-out remakes, the original was much better. In fact, our bombs were much, much better, and the cop-killing was far more professional. Not a single bank robbery yet, AFAIK. Stealing sneakers is strictly amateur. C'mon millennials! A las Barricadas!


Sam L. said...

Wellllll, the Dems are destroying the big cities. Mr. Trump should tell them that the federal government is NOT going to shovel money at them. The cities are ON THEIR OWN. They made their beds, they have to sleep in them. It'll be a hard lesson, but they will have to learn it.