Republican Leaders Need A Lesson In Law And Order From Richard Nixon

Republican Leaders Need A Lesson In Law And Order From Richard Nixon

As Nixon knew in 1968, if Republicans fail to be the party of benevolent order, people will elect anyone who gives them the justice they demand.
Sumantra Maitra
By

In light of the protests and rioting engaged in, in the name of George Floyd, no words are more prescient and timelier than Richard Nixon’s acceptance speech at the 1968 Republican National Convention. The relevance stems not from its oratorical delivery—it is unthinkable to expect any, and I mean any, current politician to emulate Nixon’s stern sincerity—but due to the striking thematic similarity between 1968 and 2020.

Nixon’s words were just as appropriate in 1968 as if they were spoken by a conservative leader today: “As we look at America, we see cities enveloped in smoke and flame. We hear sirens in the night. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad. We see Americans hating each other; fighting each other; killing each other at home. And as we see and hear these things, millions of Americans cry out in anguish. Did we come all this way for this?”

After eight years of relentless divisive race-baiting and institutional corruption under President Obama; after more than three years of relentless institutional partisanship in academia, media, to our bloated bureaucracy; from women’s marches to “Russian collusion,” from radical campus professors to nihilist youths with little loyalty to community or country; mix these with external factors like rising great power hostility and a stagnating war in a faraway land, and it appears the country has finally reached its boiling point.

This Struggle isn’t Racial, it’s Cultural

The last few days are the culmination of a societal breakdown that was a long time coming. From Killer Mike’s emotional speech blaming CNN and one of the recent monologues delivered by Tucker Carlson, it is evident this insanity is not racial but cultural.

Photos abound of lower and middle-class black and white protesters attempting to protect their neighborhoods, stopping and pleading with Antifa, and cleaning up after complete anarchy. Yet we have also seen photos of petty looters making off with Star Wars Lego sets and Louise Vuitton bags. Nothing proves one’s social justice bona fides like looting.

There is a direct tie from the chaos of the last seven days and what is taught and preached in up-market society—from college campuses to partisan media preaching hate and divisiveness. The thugs out to plunder require the hard end of a baton, they are not Madisonian rebels seeking justice.

Martina Navratilova promoted rioting, and celebrities like Steve Carell, Janelle Monáe, and Cynthia Nixon helped looters get bail. There are also some reports indicating protesters were organized through social media and came from outside the regions engulfed in flames.

Fighting the Roots of the Problem

Perhaps the FBI should focus more on infiltrating these Antifa cells and the radical institutions that promote and organize such rampant domestic violence. Unless, of course, the FBI itself is compromised, complacent, or worse, full of bleeding-heart liberals who’d much rather spend time on nonsensical issues like Russian teens posting memes from Ulitsa Savushkina. But why would we think that?

Labeling Antifa a radical organization isn’t enough. There are enough laws available to prosecute these groups. The bigger question is how best to tackle the hubs of the radicalizations, the universities that teach these people, and the groups that fund and organize them.

We need massive rallies and counter-protests against all those public figures who bailed out thugs. We need to publicly shame and protest all the sympathetic celebrities who egg the Antifa-types on. We must reinstall a deterrence to the radical leftist ideology that fuels these riots.

As Nixon said in ‘68, “I don’t promise that we can eradicate poverty, and end discrimination, eliminate all danger of war in the space of four, or even eight years. But, I do promise action—a new policy for peace abroad; a new policy for peace and progress and justice at home.”

Unfortunately, it’s easy to blather about Iranian ayatollahs than it is to rise up against radicalism within your own country. We have called for humanitarian intervention in other countries for far less. Even our libertarian cousins at Reason now lament how the police force failed to protect lives and properties.

Soviet influence on domestic terrorism was not curtailed by praying to Gaia, but by constant vigilance by intelligence services. Cancer is not cured by chanting; it is removed with clinical precision.

Choosing Law and Order Over Chaos

“If we are to restore order and respect for law in this country,” Nixon proclaimed, “there is one place we are going to begin. We are going to have a new Attorney General of the United States of America. I pledge to you that our new Attorney General will be directed by the President of the United States to launch a war against organized crime in this country.”

Realism dictates that in the worst possible choices, anarchy is always far worse than tyranny. For, if by an unfortunate scenario, you end up helplessly under tyranny, there’s a statistical possibility that you can somehow survive if you follow the brutal rules set by the tyrant. Anarchy, on the other hand, is chaotic. No matter how many rules you follow, you will still suffer.

A retired black firefighter started a bar with his life’s savings until rioters burned and destroyed it. This is a law-abiding citizen who forms the silent majority of most Western countries. Yet despite him following all the rules and paying his taxes, elected leaders have failed to protect him. In what civil society can this be considered just?

The rulers we’ve elected to govern us, have in many cases, failed to govern, opting instead to preach the social justice nonsense taught by their woke PR assistants. Liberal mayors and leaders have essentially prevented law enforcement to subdue this madness. Liberal media fans the flames even more

Nixon understood that more than the market, more than foreign interventions, the backbone of conservatism is law and order. Law-abiding people crave order among lawlessness, chaos, and anarchy. Law-abiding people are also the silent majority. They have no color or creed. They are not paid to protest or taught by radical professors or egged on by media and celebrities. As Nixon said, the silent majority “is the voice of the great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans—the non-shouters; the non-demonstrators. They are not racists or sick; they are not guilty of the crime that plagues the land.” That is the ultimate truth in any democratic polity.

Republicans should channel their inner Nixon, a stalwart conservative law-and-order leader, pledging “the wave of crime is not going to be the wave of the future in the United States of America.” Because if conservatives of the world refuse or fail to be the party of order, then the people may well resort to electing anyone who promises the justice they demand. Restore order, Mr. President, before it’s too late.

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

Copyright © 2020 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.