You are the enemy. While you may not be interested in the mob, the mob is interested in you. And in the aftermath of George Floyd’s needless death at the hands of law enforcement, the mob is in full force around the country.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) May 31, 2020
You — being part of “the system” — have been accused of being the source of oppression for the last 30-plus years. Your presence is “problematic” and might get you banned from college campuses. Your job “perpetuates injustice” if you risk your life patrolling city streets. Your business hordes the wealth, no matter the margins. Your presence at a polling location will get you assaulted.
If you live a quiet life, your silence endorses whatever oppression your accuser fetishizes because your “silence is violence.” If you protest, you might be instructed to “shut up and listen,” dare you take away the voice of someone more aggrieved than you. If that’s not bad enough, David Brooks of The Atlantic thinks your nuclear family is a mistake.
You can’t win in all of this. Nothing you do will ever be good enough. The mob will never be satisfied.
So the mob riots and tries to tear down the country. Libraries and bookstores are ransacked. Courthouses, the place where victims can seek justice, are burned. National monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial, have been vandalized. As I write this, the mob has set the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., on fire. Consecrated in 1816, this church has hosted every sitting president since James Madison. Even sacred places of national and religious significance are not safe.
Historic St. John's Church across Lafayette Square from the White House has been set ablaze by rioters tonight pic.twitter.com/CDvMGjtnQM
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 1, 2020
Meanwhile, it’s smash and grab at retail stores, large and small. Big businesses such as Apple and Verizon will be OK. Luxury retailers such as Gucci won’t fold after their Rodeo Drive stores were looted. They can absorb the losses.
Many small businesses can’t, however. The corner store and the pharmacy. The grocer and the technician. If these good men and women were at the edge of COVID-related financial ruin before the riots, the mob kicked them off the cliff. Many of these people and families will never recover. Maybe the communities will, but the victims won’t.
“I was outside saying, ‘Please, I don’t have insurance!’” said Hussein Aloshani, an immigrant from Iraq, waving his arms in frustration as he recounted the scene Friday night outside the deli his family owns.https://t.co/RjUubvvUwC
— Essential Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 31, 2020
Business owners’ plans of reopening to the public have been foreclosed. They sacrificed their livelihoods for the sake of public health during the Wuhan virus shutdown. And for what?
For city and state governments to allow the mob to loot and firebomb their businesses?
For city and state governments to stand back as these owners are dragged from their stores, humiliated, and beaten to a pulp?
“Protestors” beat the hell out of female shop owner as husband pleads helplessly. In broad daylight. pic.twitter.com/oJVvR1Sfl1
— Andy Swan (@AndySwan) May 31, 2020
The Actor, Not the Act
Roger Scruton observed that the mob “washes its own conscience in a flow of collective indignation.” That is certainly true.
Yet the absolution goes further than that. Many prominent members of society forgive the mob’s many sins, which now apparently include murder, because deep down they share the mob’s outrage.
The response of a large part of the establishment media, celebrities, academics, and others has been to shift blame away from the mob. The mob is angry. The mob sees no other option. Blame Trump. Blame the institutions. The mob seeks justice, however misguided their intentions may be.
To paraphrase author Douglas Murray, they judge the actions based on the actor. They write think pieces on the reasonableness of destroying police precincts. Or they express understanding and sympathy, saying “it’s hard to remain peaceful” when NYPD officers are driving through the mob’s blockade on the way to assist parts of the city that need their help.
There’s more to this than the tragic, unjust, and criminal killing of George Floyd. The mob was spawned by years of increased rhetoric against American institutions and ideas by those who identified America itself as the enemy: a greedy, colonizing, racist, sexist, homophobic, patriarchal society. This is what they wanted.