What calamity in U.S. is worse?
The crackdown and overreaction to last week’s Capitol Hill riot is so lacking in proportionality as to constitute pure pretext for what has and will continue to follow.
In the last few years, there have been widespread riots, two attempted coups, and an election awash in fraud. Following these events, a few hundred protesters stormed Capitol Hill, destroyed property, and fought with the police. The police shot one protester dead, three people died from medical issues, and one police officer later died from his injuries.
First, consider the rioting and looting. Writing in the New York Post, Andy Ngo pointed out that last May, rioters brought Minneapolis to its knees. He noted that rioters burned entire neighborhoods to the ground, burned down a police station, and looted hundreds of businesses. Widespread destruction, looting, and violence also broke out in Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and dozens of other cities. During the riots, at least two dozen died.
Leftist elites – for example, Democrats, heads of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, Hollywood, and university presidents – largely refused to condemn the violence. Ngo pointed out that Kamala Harris encouraged her followers to donate to a Minnesota fund that bailed out accused rioters. A dozen Joe Biden campaign staffers did the same. The fund, Ngo reports, raised $35 million.
In Portland, Ore., Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters repeatedly attacked a building that houses a jail, police station, and sheriff’s office. The rioters tried to free prisoners. They then started fires that caused workers to flee for their lives. Radicals forcibly occupied areas in Seattle and Portland. Vandals pulled down statues.
Did you see the prissy members of Congress clutching their pearls following these outrages?
Did you miss the sensitive members of the media needing to be revived with smelling salts? No one seemed to have gotten too upset when Target stores were looted, parts of cities occupied, highways disrupted, restaurant patrons harassed, etc. What happened last Wednesday paled in comparison.
Second, consider that the left staged two coups. The Inspector General’s report makes it clear that the Obama administration knew that the Russian investigation was fraudulent almost from the start. The Inspector General’s report and later news stories tell us that the case rested heavily on stories from a single source (the source for the Steele dossier). Under oath, the source said that he made up the stories. The source was even investigated to see if he was a Russian spy.
The FISA court — a court that the FBI and DOJ used to get secret search warrants — took a very dim view of the Obama administration’s abuse in getting warrants. We know there was criminal activity — the Inspector General Report even referred to officials for prosecution – and yet, unbelievably, only one person has as of yet been prosecuted. It is increasingly clear that Barack Obama was part of this. The same Congressional and media virgins who are so outraged at Wednesday’s riots, could not care less about this far more dangerous development.
The impeachment of Donald Trump was only slightly less ridiculous than the Russia Hoax. Hunter Biden was engaged in illegal influence-peddling in the Ukraine, thereby profiting from Joe Biden’s influence. Joe Biden had a prosecutor looking into the Hunter Biden situation fired. Trump suggested that Ukraine investigate this activity. On a side note, the New York Post story and statements by Hunter’s business partner provide us with yet more evidence that Joe and Hunter were caught with their pants down. The law permitted Trump’s actions and, arguably, required them.
Third, consider that the recent election was awash in fraud. Texas’ attorney general’s motion to the Supreme Court documented the various illegal changes in voting procedures in the battleground states. This included illegally changing the way in which mail-in ballots were distributed, mail-in-date requirements handled, signatures verified, and so on.
Seventeen other states signed onto the complaint. Many election workers signed affidavits alleging vote-counting irregularities and other illegal activity, especially in the cities that were at the heart of battleground-state controversy. The vote counting stunk to high hell as vote counting was paused, poll workers were kicked out or told to leave, and suspicious activity caught on tape. Trump lost the presidential election despite the fact that the Republicans won almost all of the presidential bellwether counties and toss-up House elections and the fact that Trump got nearly 10 million more votes than last time. Clearly, there was widespread election fraud. The issue is whether there was enough to reverse the election. Likely, there was.
In response to Wednesday’s Capitol Hill riots, Twitter permanently banned Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and Donald Trump. Simon and Schuster canceled Senator Josh Hawley’s book in retaliation for his challenging the election. Amazon, Apple, and Google shut down Twitter’s competitor, Parler, because it does not censor those whom the left wants censored. The Conservative Treehouse, Laura Loomer, and the WalkAway site are being or have been deplatformed in various ways. Pressure is being brought on cable companies to shut down Fox News and, especially, Tucker Carlson. Earlier Big Tech – for example, Google, Facebook, and Twitter – censored the New York Post and sharply reduced traffic to Breitbart, while the mainstream media refused to Any Ngo’s videos of Antifa and BLM violence.
In general, people should not trespass, hit people, break other people’s things, or violate the law. Still, we often think that civil disobedience is sometimes permissible. Consider, for example, sit-ins at lunch counters in the segregated South, Edward Snowden’s release of information that showed a massive illegal search, and the illegal release of classified documents that showed that we were losing a war (Pentagon Papers).
Is protesting an election awash in fraud following two attempted coups and a summer of rioting a good reason for civil disobedience? I do not know because I do not have a good enough theory of civil disobedience. In any case, the Capitol Hill riot does not justify the crackdown or pearl-clutching.
Stephen Kershnar is a State University of New York at Fredonia philosophy professor. His views views do not express those of the university. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org