I have to ask, is this the kind of thing the cool crowd has in mind when they declare it’s a moral imperative to resist Donald Trump?
Breaking store front windows. Smashing ATM machines outside of banks. Surrounding, intimidating, and even assaulting fellow Americans. And celebrating it all with the brilliant hashtag: #keeppunchingnazis.
Are we supposed to look permissively on anarchic mob violence because the thugs attach themselves to true believers conducting peaceful protest?
Not on your life. Find out who they are and throw them all in jail. These low-lifes have no respect for your property or mine. They hate us enough to be thrilled when they can stop us from getting to or from our jobs, homes, or hospitals. Our lives and livelihood don’t matter to them. They hate themselves, they hate their country, and they hate the very idea of ordered liberty. They claim to hate fascism but they conduct themselves like fascist thugs.
Name me one thing Donald Trump has done in his well-documented life that even approaches the malicious actions of these black-shirts. Same for anyone on Trump’s team. Same for Milo, for that matter. Name one thing.
We’re supposed to believe Americans are terrified at the prospect of a law-and-order administration. Why on earth are Americans afraid of law and order? What nonsense. We can’t gush about the virtues of the rule of law one minute and be outraged about a president’s promise to enforce the law a minute later.
Guess who has something to say about all this? Abraham Lincoln. In 1838 when he was just 28 years old, Lincoln gave a speech at the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, on the subject, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.” That day, Lincoln fiercely condemned mob action and lawlessness, imploring, “Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others.”
For if the people see “the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.”
How insightful for a 28 year old self-taught man to perceive that the perpetuation of our political institutions depends on the attachment of the people to those institutions: there has to be buy-in. There has to be trust.
The big issue of Lincoln’s day of course was the ominously violent tension between abolitionism and the defenders of slavery. Lincoln declared, “There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. In any case that may arise, as, for instance, the promulgation of abolitionism, one of two positions is necessarily true—that is, the thing is right within itself, and therefore deserves the protection of all law and all good citizens, or it is wrong, and therefore proper to be prohibited by legal enactments; and in neither case is the interposition of mob law either necessary, justifiable, or excusable.”
Bad laws? Use our political institutions to get them fixed. “When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, or that grievances may not arise for the redress of which no legal provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in force, for the sake of example they should be religiously observed. So also in unprovided cases. If such arise, let proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible delay, but till then let them, if not too intolerable, be borne with.”
With reports from north to south of “mobocratic” spirit unleashed against people and property, Abraham Lincoln warned that,
“By such examples, by instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the lawless in spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint but dread of punishment, they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Having ever regarded government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the suspension of its operations, and pray for nothing so much as its total annihilation.
While, on the other hand, good men, men who love tranquility, who desire to abide by the laws and enjoy their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense of their country, seeing their property destroyed, their families insulted, and their lives endangered, their persons injured, and seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the better, become tired of and disgusted with a government that offers them no protection, and are not much averse to a change in which they imagine they have nothing to lose.
Thus, then, by the operation of this mobocratic spirit which all must admit is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any government, and particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed—I mean the attachment of the people.”
That’s a serious 28 year-old, 179 years ago, articulating why law and order is essential to the perpetuation of the institutions that secure our liberty, self-governance, peace and prosperity.
What do we have today? A bunch of violent black-shirts throwing bricks and tweeting hashtags.
Credit to my son Patrick for bringing the Lyceum address to my attention.