People Won’t Vote For Republicans If They Can’t Restore Order In The Streets

People Won’t Vote For Republicans If They Can’t Restore Order In The Streets

As cities are held hostage by amateur warlords, it is time to remember that inaction in the face of hostility discredits conservatism a lot more than radical marches and riots.
Sumantra Maitra
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Consider the sentiment this statement implies: “We have demands and they need to be met … we’re not asking you anything. We’re telling you what’s about to happen with your permission or not. … You can listen to us, or you can get run over.”

That is a threat or, worse, a demand like one seen during hostage situations. This one is from a Black Lives Matter leader proudly on camera in Chicago. Similar ones are issued regularly in Portland by marching Antifa hooligans, shining bright lights in residential areas during the middle of the night, and chanting obscenities while banging drums.

In Britain, it is even worse. Main streets are being closed in the middle of the working week by Antifa and Black Lives Matter marches, just as the country is starting business again after lockdown. The riots are supported as usual by posh leftist academics sitting in London.

Meantime, the Democratic presidential candidate is planning to reimpose Title IX kangaroo courts on campuses and make tackling “systemic racism” a core priority and principle of his administration if he wins, while woke capitalists spend millions to prop up a two-penny activist who quite literally advocates for an ideological commissar to oversee every single aspect of human life for thought crimes.

The question that naturally occurs in these depressing times is where is the conservative vision of governance, and why is it not being forcefully advocated or enacted? If Republicans win elections, to what purpose?

The only counter-argument is that a leftist victory in a general election will mean that the revolution will have administrative backing and governmental force behind it. But a cynic fails to see how worse that might be, given what is already happening in most major cities in both Britain and the United States. What is the point in winning repeated elections if parts of the country are heading in the direction of Somalia or Sinaloa?

There are often two distinct sentiments about conservatives winning elections. One, given the representative government system, conservatives are supposed to be empowered by the authority vested in them by the public to govern on their behalf. Two, conservatives should exemplify their good governance in contrast with lawlessness and therefore influence more and more people to see the values in ancient and natural conservative wisdom.

Variations of these are prevalent in both Britain and the United States, despite the countries’ different systems. But in neither variant do conservatives win continuously by not governing at all.

Britain of course has a more parliamentary and centralized system, which renders conservative inaction even more prominent. At least an American president can excuse himself that he is constitutionally bound not to interfere in a city or state, although how far that excuse is justifiable when parts of the country are in open anarchy is legally debatable.

Recently, for example, when Federalist editor Mollie Hemingway tweeted that Portland’s federal courthouse is closed due to fear of bombing, Harvard University constitutional law professor Adrian Vermeule replied noting that a classical definition of a state of insurrection warranting martial law is when the courts are no longer functioning.

The British prime minister, ostensibly Her Majesty’s representative voted in by the British public, has no such excuses. Boris Johnson is different than Trump in a million ways. Nevertheless, they are both similar insofar that they both won on a conservative ticket, and the primary task of conservatism is to impose order over chaos.

So, what is the purpose of inaction in the face of warlordism? Is anyone punished for all the vandalism and iconoclasm? Is social deterrence restored? Are small businesses, the lifeblood of both giant economies, feeling a return for all the taxes they pay?

Boarding up Winston Churchill’s and Thomas Jefferson’s statues due to fear of arson isn’t a sound long-term strategy. What to do with the roughly 2 percent of the population whose sole purpose is to stand against everything that your way of life considers sacrosanct, who are spearheading all the violence and disorder?

As Douglas Murray wrote, “Throughout the pandemic, the Government has hidden behind technocrats. When our history has been attacked it has been silent or beseeching. When people take advantage of our fundamental decency and system of rules, it fails to stand up for us.” What is the point of electoral politics when a government with an 80-seat majority, capable of doing practically anything in the Parliament, is still wasting time with “obesity campaigns”?

A good way to understand if your government or ideological side is working well is to compare the events in your region to the worst place you can imagine. If in a Middle Eastern or East European country we saw petty amateur warlords holding otherwise economically thriving cities hostage and making demands, we’d consider their country to be a borderline failed state, and might advocate for a military intervention to restore order.

The worst aspect of both Trump and Johnson administrations is that despite repeated and mindless charges of authoritarianism when they were needed to restore governmental writ and authority, both turned out to be meek, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. That craven inaction discredits conservatism a lot more than Black Lives Matter or Antifa do.

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.

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