Two revealing falsehoods have been foisted on a taciturn populace. One, that the raging mob violence has really anything to do about George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, or opposition to police brutality. Two, the rioters and looters, largely spearheaded by Antifa, are similar to the heroes who landed on in the beaches of Normandy under a hail of heavy machinegun fire. It’s a stirring version of alternate history. And it may even win Pulitzer Prize one day. But both these arguments were exposed as baseless, however, by the recent days of mayhem and violence across Europe.
What we’re currently witnessing across the West, is a power-grab led by dangerous anarchists.
In Brussels, Belgium, hardly a notorious hub of militarized police, protesters rampaged through the city, trashing and looting in the name of Black Lives Matter. In France, riots took place for an alleged killing from back in 2016. In Scotland, a statue of Sir Robert Peel, the founder of British policing, was defaced by actual communists, who proceed to tag it with “ACAB” (All Cops Are Bastards) in graffiti.
In London, Antifa thugs made a poor attempt to set fire to a British flag on the war memorial Cenotaph. A large number of radical leftists stood under the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in the parliament square chanting “Churchill was a racist”, as leftist historians and socialist journalists encouraged them on Twitter. Later, police cleared away men and women who had come to defend Churchill’s statue, in effect allowing protestors to vandalize it later. And in Bristol, police stood by as a statue of Edward Colston was toppled and thrown into Avon river, stating afterward that not intervening was a “tactical decision” to “prevent further disorder.”
The British state, like its American and European counterparts, now regularly and impotently gives in to criminal blackmail. Thanks to a widespread crisis of authority among leadership, even when police and government are nominally conservative, they are practically impotent.
The weekend of chaos marked the culmination of years of leftist policing and politics. An entire political theory based on the idea of “reasoned debate” never considered that a portion of the population might simply refuse to debate and be much more content to burn everything down.
For decades, liberals tolerated these forces within us, as they whittled away at the underpinnings State and swapped retributive justice in favor of “transformative” justice. With the sole exception of Belarus, no European nations have actively retained the death penalty for even the most heinous crimes (Russia has placed a “hold” on the practice.) Many crimes are not even recorded, and verdicts often only recommend criminals to undergo social service sessions or mental treatment. With the violence and disorder that consumes our streets, we’re seeing the results of these policy shifts.
Political elites never stopped to consider politics as anything other than slogans popular tweets. And so, most are hapless when real violence starts. Conservatives that may have impulses to restore law and order, balk at real action out of the fear they’ll be compared to Viktor Orban by the liberal media. The vacuum of authority at the heart of the Western nations is remarkable. No respecting authority should tolerate thuggery and anarchy. And yet, our cowardly elites are more concerned about their political image, than restore order by force if need be and do the right thing.
Anarchists cannot be reasoned within a “marketplace of ideas,” because the only language they understand is the language of power. In the end, someone holds power. Will it be law-abiding, reasonable citizens, or the radicals?
Unfortunately, we have moved to the statue toppling, book-burning, and purging stage of the revolution. If history is any guide, it will not end there. As we’ve witnessed the callous waves of destruction brought forth by the likes of the Taliban, the Red Guards, and ISIS, it may well be that no statues, no monuments, no museums are truly safe from a future mob.
Truthfully, it’s disheartening not to see more, outrage over the lawless and abhorrent destruction of historic monuments, statues, and buildings. As a historian, I care about civilizational heritage. Fanatics do not stop at one statue or one book. Tomorrow there will be manufactured outrage and cries of “Jefferson was a slave trader” and “Churchill was a genocidal warmonger.”
Right on cue, London’s socialist Mayor Sadiq Khan, treating London as his own personal sultanate, is now planning a “diversity commission” to review which monuments and statues are in line with the current cultural trends. Who knows what will come next?
Edward Colston, for all his flaws, was more patriotic than anyone present in that mob. For all tone-deaf comparisons likening members of Antifa to the original D-Day soldiers there really should be a large survey conducted to find out how many of them actually recognize the value of the concept of a nation-state, or would ever consider giving their lives for Old Glory, or the Union Jack.
Ultimately, the question is what next for conservatives? What seems clear, is that the West is already living under revolutionary chaos and that one this isn’t much hope of preserving the current system without major changes.
It’s difficult to conceptualize how peaceful citizens can coexist with those who seek to destroy the last vestiges of authority. Hubs of anarchy growing out from campus radicalism must be addressed. Thuggery will not be stopped by pleading; it must be subdued by force. If our current elites fail or refuse to bring order and reverse this march towards a cultural revolution, people should, and must vote for those who will. All the academics, pundits, and corporate interests fanning the flames of this disorder will certainly be there to take power when state authority collapses and conservatism retreats. And once that happens, only the laws of the jungle will.