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What the Woke Terror shares with the French Revolution Both radical movements are shot through with paranoia, emotivism and religious caricature

Where it all went wrong. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images


October 22, 2020   5 mins

It has recently become common to invoke a Jacobin parallel for the current state of the Left in America. A few guillotines have indeed appeared, as props in the theatre of protest. But they have been miniatures made of cardboard. Conservatives run the risk of melodrama – their own theatre of protest – when they invoke a woke Terror.

Still, study of the French Revolution is endlessly instructive, for the radical temptation in politics exhibits consistent patterns, and the French Revolution displays them in crystalline form. Here are a few historical works on the period that are beautifully written, and may prove helpful for understanding the present.

 

François Furet, Interpreting the French Revolution (1978) and The Passing of an Illusion (1995)

François Furet rescued the academic study of the French Revolution from an entanglement with Marxism that had grown debilitating in the decades after World War II. French historiographers of that period tended to project backwards onto Robespierre all the romance of 1917, and likewise to view the Soviet Union as the successor state chosen by History to advance the cause. What made this no longer tenable was the publication, in 1973, of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. The very parallels insisted upon by Marxist historians were now damning to their enthusiasms. Just as Solzhenitsyn showed that the gulag was no mere accessory to the revolutionary state, but rather its central manifestation and meaning, so it now became necessary to ask whether the Terror was not just a regrettable episode to be excused by extenuating circumstances, but the most revealing expression of revolution as a political culture.

This question had implications for how one was to understand the revolutionary passions of the youth movement of the 1960s, and Furet did not shy from drawing the relevant lessons. A member of the French Communist party in his youth, he came to see things in rather a different light. The opening essay in Furet’s Interpreting the French Revolution  offers many riches. For example, he explains the paranoid style of revolutionary politics, and its tendency to exercise power through contrived moral emergencies.

Furet’s final book, The Passing of an Illusion , traced the revolutionary passion in its career through 20th-century intellectual life in the West. Writing in the early Nineties, when Communism had just collapsed, the choice of title must have seemed apt to book buyers. But Furet knew that “the revolution” is infinitely elastic, so boundless is its promise and so limitless is its “capacity to survive experience”. It has a birth date (1789) but no end; it provides “the matrix of universal history”. That history is understood as a struggle of human emancipation, its polestar a vision of equality. Whatever stands in its way appears not as mere obstacle, but as hateful enemy.

 

Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989)

In the 1780s, the highest reaches of French society, as well as the broader reading public, was infatuated with the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Far more influential than his works of political philosophy were his works of sentimental education, Emile and the Nouvelle Héloïse. As Simon Schama wrote, “Rousseau’s works dealing with personal virtue and the morality of social relations sharpened distaste for the status quo and defined a new allegiance. He created, in fact, a community of young believers.” Rousseau gave no roadmap to revolution, but he did invent “the idiom in which its discontents would be voiced and its goals articulated.”

What distinguished the moral elect was possession of un coeur sensible, a feeling heart. Visible expression of inner sentiments became acceptable, and indeed to be overcome with passion was a sign of noble character. Weeping was a sign, not of weakness, but of sincerity. Schama writes that tears “were cherished precisely because (it was assumed) they were unstoppable: the soul directly irrigating the countenance. Tears were the enemy of cosmetics and the saboteur of polite disguise. Most important, a good fit of crying indicated that the child had been miraculously preserved within the man or woman.” Note the role of self-exposure in creating a moral typology of citizens. Soon, sincerity would become the virtue claimed by axe-wielding sans-culottes.

Reading Schama’s account of weeping French men and women before the Revolution, one cannot help but think of today’s emotivism, in which feeling replaces intellectual coherence as the index of truth. That is, of one’s own truth, which others must acknowledge and acquiesce to – or else wound one deeply. On Twitter, of course, tears are not visible. “I’m literally shaking” is a verbal embellishment that seems to serve the same purpose. It conveys intensity of feeling, hence the moral credibility of one’s response.

 

Mona Ozouf, “Revolutionary Religion”, in A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution (1989)

In 2020, shrines to George Floyd sprang up in cities across America, with candles set before garlanded pictures of the man (as in a Hindu temple). An enormous holographic effigy of Floyd went on tour through the southern states. We have all seen the videos of white people washing the feet of black people, in emulation of Christ’s servanthood, and prostrating themselves in various postures of abasement while chanting self-denunciations.

In Robespierre’s Festival of the Supreme Being, explicitly religious props, recitations and images were used to imbue revolutionary ideology with sacred feeling in a deliberate caricature of Catholic ceremonies. “Here there were not spectators but celebrants, not an audience but a people,” as the historian Mona Ozouf wrote. The Festival was preceded by the destruction of France’s statues by “iconoclastic commandos from the revolutionary army”. The heart of Marat (one of the bloodier Jacobins, himself stabbed to death in his bathtub by a provincial woman) was placed in a vessel and hung from the roof of the Cordeliers as the crowd was encouraged to recite new psalms (“O cor Marat, O cor Jesus”). The Festival coincided with a busy period for the guillotine, as intended by Robespierre.

Was the revolutionary cult a strategic ruse, then, meant to reconcile the Revolution with Catholic habits through a superficial continuity? Perhaps it was an effort to bring the Revolution to a conclusion by establishing a state religion, in the hope that this would help to secure social cohesion? Historians disagree on these questions, and Ozouf guides us through the controversies.

 

Contemporary America is about as far from Catholic France as it is possible to get. Religious longings, apparently a permanent part of our human makeup, have long been frustrated in our secularised society. But for just that reason, revolutionary piety may hold special appeal. This bears on a question that has long hovered over the phenomenon of “political correctness”: how sincere is it? And is the quotient of sincerity changing?

Writing in The Atlantic in 2018, which now seems a long time ago, Reihan Salam parsed the utility of “white bashing” as part of the verbal repertoire of success in elite institutions. In this setting it was generally ironic, even while doing important work to signal that one is competent in the codes of the ruling class. “The people I’ve heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who’ve proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces.” Salam, a child of Bangladeshi Muslims and Harvard student, came to view white-bashing as a form of “intra-white status jockeying,” a device by which the demarcation between “upper whites” and “lower whites” is made clear.

It would be hard to fix a date, but at some point this parlor game slipped the bounds of its intended audience. In the hands of the vulgar, it became literal-minded rather than playful, moralistic rather than urbane, a way of mobilising resentments and putting them to use. Again, one thinks of the trickle-down radicalism in France of the 1780s, as depicted by Simon Schama. The elite’s fashions of sentiment, its internecine dramas that seemed to be playing out in a safely “cultural” register, would become the seed of something more ominous. Something unintended and uncontrollable.


Matthew B Crawford writes the substack Archedelia


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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago

When it comes to the vast majority of those who’ve bought into the woke agenda, I think it comes from a good place. Many seem unaware of the malignant undertones of the BLM movement, and buy into the simple idea that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Of course Black Lives do Matter, but that is so obvious as to be almost a banality.

How, though, do the well-intentioned woke justify to themselves calling for the cancellation of anyone who counters with ‘All Lives Matter.’

I’m not paranoid enough (yet) to believe that the majority of the “woke” actually want to see society divided – but I cannot fathom how they think the divisive, separatist attitudes of their movement can possibly bring us together. It seems so self-evidently self-defeating.

Just a few years ago we were exhorted as a society to be colour-blind, to accept people simply as people, whatever their background, their lifestyle, their “differences”.

What happened to that idea?

For many years I lived in London and worked in an industry (Broadcast TV) that was as diverse as one could possibly find anywhere. As far as I was concerned the arguments of Race, Gender, Creed, Orientation had been fought and largely won. We seemed at the time – perhaps naively – to be enjoying the peace.

Maybe those who are inclined to be activists feel they have to keep picking at the scab and reopening old wounds or there is no point to their existence, but it seems incredible that we’ve gone so far backwards and quite so quickly.

As I say, I have a good deal of sympathy with the young in all this – not the activists who are driving this hideous movement, but those who’ve grown up in this atmosphere. They’ve been fed a constant diet of woke totems and “progressive” thought (actually horribly regressive thought) throughout their education and now must navigate a thought-crime minefield ““ where the slightest miss-step can blow up in their faces.

Some, believing what they’ve been taught ““ and with the best intentions – try to stick to all the latest approved attitudes and mantras and find themselves saying and doing things that (I can only hope) will make them shudder with embarrassment when they look back on them in years to come. I’m optimistic that they’ll be young enough to still have the chance of an awakening (from their awokening?). Others eschew the whole concept of inclusivity and adopt almost a siege mentality that helps no one (the rise of the young alt-right in America is a direct consequence of US College campus PC conformity).

The liberal-left decries inequality of opportunity and income disparity as the two main evils that are fracturing society. But I’d suggest this Identity politics agenda is a far more pernicious way to separate us.

Identity politics is the very antithesis of the principles of universalism ““ it suggests what differentiates us is more important than what we have in common. Surely we should treasure more what we share as members of a diverse community rather than seek to silo people and segregate that community into ghettos based on our racial identities, sexual orientation, age, gender or creed?

How do people who claim to speak for progressive attitudes justify shifting the argument from Martin Luther King’s dream of a future where people are judged according to their character rather than the colour of their skin to the point where these activists are calling for PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE? That you are defined, as a person, solely by the groups to which you belong. To abandon that call for universalism in favour of separatism is surely a retrograde step? That point seems so incontestable to me that I am utterly baffled how “progressives” can think their present strategy is advancing the cause of equality.

For those cultural Marxists driving this movement and cancelling any who dare gainsay it, of course debate must be silenced. The easiest way to prevent your argument from being examined, its flaws exposed to ridicule, is to prevent any discussion of it in the first place. The easiest way to elevate yourself among the woke is to tear down those who would even dare question your argument.

Thus those who seek elevation, who vie for greater woke status, compete with fellow adherents to identify and criticise (what reasonable people would see as) vanishingly trivial offenses. You can spend years going along with the progressive herd, but the minute you fall out of lock-step with them on a single contentious issue you will be turned on. Previous adherence to orthodoxy is no defence once you’ve been accused of heresy. Each and every trifling misstep – or statement of biological fact – must be campaigned against as if they are proof positive of racism – or transphobia, sexism or patriarchal oppression.

And so anyone who is not willing to go to war is compelled to agree with this nonsense, or at the very least stay silent on the matter, for fear that they too will be “cancelled” or face accusations of bigotry.

Reagan saw this coming in the mid-70s when he noted “If fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.”

But not only does the politics of grievance divide us, it makes us weaker. It glorifies victimhood and vilifies anyone who tries to suggest otherwise. The #metoo movement could have been empowering, yet insisting that a clumsy advance, or an unwanted touch of a knee, is somehow equivalent to rape is insane. Who is that empowering? Telling every woman they are a victim, teaching impressionable young women they are likely to become victims, that all men are naturally predatory? Does that heal divisions in society or exacerbate them?

Similarly, teaching young black men that they are oppressed, that society doesn’t value them as much, that the police are not to be trusted. Who does that help? Does it improve their chances of success in life or does it weigh them down with unnecessary baggage? Does it drive a wedge between communities, between groups? Of course it does.

In the end, the politics of grievance can only be defeated by a better politics – but that has to be rooted in honesty, not what fits the narrative. Honest assessments of a situation probably sell fewer newspapers, or get fewer Youtube views, than sensationalised hyperbole. This poses a dilemma for any media outlet that has bought into the identity fixated woke agenda.

The ongoing narrative is blatantly at odds with reality. The “liberal Left” media ““ in thrall to appearing Woke – has a narrative that drives and supports a worldview that is predicated on catastrophism and a dystopian future – it seems almost as though they are willing such a future into existence.

For each anecdotal instance of intolerance that gets trumpeted as “proof” of widespread bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc there are a million other instances of just everyday acceptance of people, – regardless of colour, nationality or gender – that aren’t worthy of anecdote simply because they are so everyday.

They seem not merely willing, but positively hoping, to see the country divided, pitting their Woke agenda against the reality of a tolerant and accepting society. In an attempt to appear Woke they are sleepwalking the country into the very same dystopian future that they imagine our present to be.

Worst of all this movement pits the young against their own families who have not bought into this madness. But the young have been told that any who do not immediately fall into line are somehow the intolerant and hateful ones!

Many of these woke activists would undoubtedly denounce any who’d think to pigeonhole someone whilst, almost in the same breath, constructing a fairly sturdy pigeonhole themselves and stuffing it with a well-fed pigeon.

You can’t win (unless you simply refuse to play their game).

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

BLM believe that ALM weakens the message which proves that it is indeed a political construct.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

BLM would be far more credible if it acted like black lives really do matter. How many blacks murdered by other blacks since the protests began? But no one is marching or protesting or looting over any of them.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I believe something like 7.500 black men are killed each year in the US. Approximately 95% of these deaths are at the hands of other black men. So, I would estimate that about 3,000 blacks have been murdered by other blacks over the last five months. (Did Floyd die in April or May?)

The figures are probably up a little this year due to the defunding and absence of police in many cities. For instance, there have been 600 homicides in Chicago alone this year, and September saw Chicago’s worst monthly tally since 1993. But that’s Democrat-run cities for you: death, debt and destruction.

J D
J D
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

This is what is so crazy about the BLM movement and the media and corporate world who promote it. It is founded on a great deal of dishonesty and very selective use of data.

Kelly Mitchell
Kelly Mitchell
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

I’ve decided to respond to the question, “Do you believe Black Lives Matter?”
with the answer,
“The lives of black people are every bit as important as anyone else’s.”

I refuse to use the phrasing Black Lives Matter because it carries with it a host of hidden and nasty assumptions that I do not support. I recommend using this approach – rephrase the explicit meaning that you agree with to remove the implicit assumptions that you do not. And get a stock phrase so you don’t stumble over it or step on a landmine like All Lives Matter.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Mitchell

Good advice Kelly, thank you.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Mitchell

No one talks about Jessica Whitaker.
https://summit.news/2020/07
This is the reality of “peaceful BLM”.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Mitchell

Jessica Doty Whitaker.
Summit News- BLM Supporters Celebrate Death of Mother Shot Dead For Saying “All Lives Matter”
This is the truth of the “peaceful BLM movement”.

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
3 years ago
Reply to  Kelly Mitchell

Not to mention BLM is predicted on lies about the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Brilliant, if I could give you 2 upticks I would do so.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

I second that. Great stuff!

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

And I third it.
A comment worthy of published article status.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Just a few years ago we were exhorted as a society to be colour-blind, to accept people simply as people, whatever their background, their lifestyle, their “differences”.
What happened to that idea?

That idea fell out of favor because it put the onus on the individual. It was up to you to take advantage of whatever opportunities existed, not to use skin color or genitals as the rationalization for any incident that didn’t turn out well. More broadly, the nature of activism cannot allow a “people as people” scenario. Activism requires perpetual grievance and in the absence of the real thing, it must be manufactured. So here we are, with people pretending the 2020 America is no different than it was in the 30s, 40s, or 60s. It’s not just lunacy, it is a gross insult to those who lived in those times.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The Dems WANT us to believe that, because their money and power comes from all the people that they have bought off with government subsidy programs. They are trying to KEEP the allegiance of those people by promoting the idea that they are “oppressed by the system”… and thereby use their votes to usher in a group of marxist radicals who will more fully change that system They even put down people like Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson (deny reality of a good system that respects and rewards personal effort) in order to sell their false alarmism. Everyone else who doesn’t agree with them gets doxed (gulag’d, guillotined) and visited by BLM/Antifa thugs. Egalite’ formidable, n’est-ce pas?

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Just like COVID govt deceptions, they won the game then shifted the goal posts. They achieved an acceptance of immorality, and shifted to dissassembling a government structure (US of A) that was founded upon principles of morality. This is information operations (shaping info and opinions) to achieve a political objective… and the US people and government have been resistant to the marxist takeover. Will our current universities and media be proponents of truth, or will they continue to serve the enemies of freedom and morality?

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Why do All Lives Matter? There is risk associated with everything we do, and we cannot eliminate that risk entirely even if there is unlimited funding. I have no dependents and my years are limited, so why does my life matter and who will benefit if my life is saved? It is easier to make an argument saying my life does not matter because there will be saving in pensions and health and social care if I die now. If I had dependents my life will matter to them but why should anybody else have to contribute to saving my life if there is no financial benefit.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Forgive me, but that seems a false equivalence.

In society we should not privilege the life of a white person over a black person, a rich person over a poor person. Nor should we privilege the black over the white, the poor over the rich, the old over the young, or any other way you might try and compartmentalise the community. ALL lives should be of equal merit in the eyes of broader society.

Of course the lives of my family matter to me, personally, over anybody else’s life. It would be madness to suggest otherwise. But we are not talking about the merits of familial bonds, or even of individuals here, but across whole societies.

A Govt has a duty of care to protect its own citizens, so one might argue that the Govt ought to privilege a British life over that of another nationality. But, again, that is not the point of issue here.

The point of contention is what lies behind the BLM movement. Their professed end-goal of equality is one that few could disagree with. Such is the dark genius of the marketing of their ideas.

Who could morally disagree that ‘Black Lives Matter’? Of course they do – though no more, or less, than the life of any other person, of whatever colour, should matter.

But scratch the surface and their mission statement that ‘Black Lives Matter’ – hides a deeper and more sinister mission; that of defunding the police, the break-up of traditional family structures and a cultural Marxist agenda.

But the marketing of their movement – couched in the terms that they have defined – means you would be hard-pressed to disavow their proposed end goals without identifying yourself as a bigot.

David Lewis
David Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I thought ‘privilege’ was a noun?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lewis

Actually it’s been used as a verb for a very long time.

It’s used in verb form in the US Constitution for example.

“Senators and Representatives…shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses …. “

(Art 1, Section 6 of the US Constitution)

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

The OED has John Bunyan (1628-88) “To privilege the worst of sinners with the first offer of mercy.” The left should count their blessings and seek salvation.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

The Right don’t need to ?

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

We all need to. Perhaps a tiny amount of humility, shown by all sides, coupled with some understanding and mercy. Sadly such romance has rarely been practiced.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

But the marketing of their movement – couched in the terms that they have defined – means you would be hard-pressed to disavow their proposed end goals without identifying yourself as a bigot.
Clever marketing cannot disguise a poor product. The goals espoused by BLM are practically cliche; the only difference is the melanin of the people who repeating them. I humbly submit that the bigot is the one who holds this group to a lower standard simply because of the word ‘black.’

That phenomenon has gained far too much currency. We are awash in various true believers who spout diversity, inclusion, and all the rest who reflexively try to use identity as a cover when held to the same standard as random white guys.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

2000+ years of papal marketing? It might be slipping somewhat now (or just for a while) but if you gain cultural authority you sell any old nonsense, even a hostile takeover of Christ.

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

What BLM does mean is this ‘Black Lives Matter – MORE THAN OTHER LIVES’.
As in ‘All animals are equal but…..’.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  michael harris

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ “ – George Orwell ‘1984’

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

But here I disagree with you profoundly. All lives do not matter equally from any perspective. From society’s perspective, the young and able will do more to keep society prosperous than an 80 year old who is seeing out his/her days in a bed. When society makes choices (as it has to over the allocation of resources) it would be self destructive not to give preference to those that constitute its future. it’s not unfair. The old person was young once and would have benefitted from society’s sensible ordering of priorities.

AIUI, the NHS DOES have similar priorities. At the beginning of the Covid outbreak amid the panic, people of my age were told we would not be a priority. Fair enough. At least we were told so we could organise our lives knowing the only person we could depend on was ourselves (and our partners, if any)

From the individual perspective, we place our family & friends above people unknown to us. Looking after the family (or tribe) first has been the foundation of our society. When I hear of the death of an unknown individual – or even of a thousand in a tsunami – I might be shocked and express pity, but a moment later I am back to my own life as if nothing has happened. These unknown lives mean very little to me. Sounds callous, but it’s honest.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

“What’s the use of a newborn baby”

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Spot on…. I think the present upheavals link into past ones, back to the French Revolution and beyond by having a permanent number of people, tiny compared to the entire population, who become fixated with their own importance and big thoughts.

They get nowhere unless and until some big event triggers upheaval.

In this respect I do agree the Marxist idea of never letting a good social disaster go to waste is the central one.

In France it was failed harvests and famines, in Russia catastrophic defeats in war and right now it’s the digitisation of information, which enabled social media to exist at all, which in turn enabled very small numbers of people to spread their messages with the identical weight and seeming authority of anyone else’s messages.

So the ranty blogger gets more follows than the sober columnist, and then the previously snooty TV News and current affairs broadcasters (and comedy, drama and eventually even sport professionals) realise they have to swim in the same sea as the click baiters and start click baiting themselves.

Our era’s upheaval triggers of *failed harvests* or *unremitting catastrophic defeats in war* that has released the thud blunderingly polemical from their estrangement from ordinary people leading common sense lives, has been that digitisation of contenet and information.

The hunt for clicks in a hyper-accelerated, constantly hyperbolised news cycle that often reduces to a matter of hours a number of times each day, must sensationalise, create conflict, become over-adversarial and eventually *rightously* partial….ie propagandising; at which point the sensible debate with it’s necessary component of a promise of changing minds and views becomes impossible and we get left with the metamorphosis complete of our chattering classes into the shrieking classes.

[Present company excepted 🙂 , of course]

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I don’t think I have ever read an Unherd article with so many “Likes”. Well done, and thank you for expressing so eloquently what so many of us think.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

What a kind, and unexpected, thing to read. Thank you for brightening my evening

Andrew Butler
Andrew Butler
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“Wokeness” grows in the soil of insecurity and is watered by lack of purpose.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Simply refuse to play their game..

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I’m not paranoid enough (yet) to believe that the majority of the “woke”
actually want to see society divided – but I cannot fathom how they
think the divisive, separatist attitudes of their movement can possibly
bring us together. It seems so self-evidently self-defeating.

They don’t intend to bring us together. From the Jacobins onward the revolutionary Left have taken to the idea that utopia really can be reached atop a mountain of corpses. I recently re-read George Watson’s little book about the shared intellectual antecedents of fascism and communism – “The Lost Literature of Socialism”. Watson points out that the one of the central innovations of the revolutionary Left is the idea of the extermination of whole population groups. Of course, there have always been politically-motivated massacres, but the Left adopted the idea that mass-murder, by eliminating the “recalcitrant” (even whole classes), will of itself provide the social unity the Left claims to be aiming for. Thus, we have no place in the paradise the Left thinks it can create. Which is why the wokesterists don’t intend to “bring us together”. Our role in their proposed revolution is to die.

Fiona E
Fiona E
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

You saved the best for last; “simply refuse to play their game” is the best advice while also explaining your reasoning, as you have done e.g. these postmodern so-called ‘progressive’ ideas are regressive and are undoing all the progress made since the 1960s. They’re sticking everyone back into pigeon holes instead of letting people be individuals free to live their lives as they see fit while extending that same courtesy to others. It’s an ugly, antagonistic, divisive world where everyone is either an oppressor or a victim trapped in an endless battle for power, utterly devoid of any mercy. Unless you’re a Neo-Marxist I don’t understand why this ‘woke’ ideology has any appeal although I’m not convinced everyone really understands what’s going on, James Lyndsay explains it very well here https://www.youtube.com/wat

Helen Hughes
Helen Hughes
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“What happened to that idea”? From my experience of the matter, Robin DiAngelo happened to it, or at least she brought to expression in her apparently very clear way the grievances of many people and touched a very taut nerve. My perception, at the same time, is that she developed her work without first integrating her own shadow and it therefore involves a great deal of projection. Something we all do…

Thanks for your comment here: I echo others below who see it as an essay in its own right. I felt a lot of resonance with what you write.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well said indeed!

Currently every UK Premier League football game starts with the players grovelling on one knee in an empty stadium.

The acid test will be when the fans return.

Will they tolerate this ridiculous virtue signalling? I very much doubt it.

Bruce Lewis
Bruce Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

“…Maybe those who are inclined to be activists feel they have to keep picking at the scab and reopening old wounds or there is no point to their existence…”
So tell me, what do you think of the bien-pensant cult of the Holocaust, which drums into the heads of Jews and liberals the refrain, “Never Again!” So-called “conservatives” in America tend to LIKE the “reopening” of THOSE “old wounds,” don’t they?
I think that THIS particular attitude, in its blithe ignorance of history and history’s effects can be just as revolutionary utopian as BLM:
“…we were exhorted as a society to be colour-blind, to accept people simply as people, whatever their background, their lifestyle, their “differences”.

David George
David George
3 years ago

“It was Solzhenitsyn who most crucially made the case that the terrible excesses of Communism could not be conveniently blamed on the corruption of the Soviet leadership, the “cult of personality” surrounding Stalin, or the failure to put the otherwise stellar and admirable utopian principles of Marxism into proper practice. It was Solzhenitsyn who demonstrated that the death of millions and the devastation of many more were, instead, a direct causal consequence of the philosophy (worse, perhaps: the theology) driving the Communist system. The hypothetically egalitarian, universalist doctrines of Karl Marx contained hidden within them sufficient hatred, resentment, envy and denial of individual culpability and responsibility to produce nothing but poison and death when manifested in the world…”

-excerpt from Dr. Peterson’s Foreword to the Gulag Archipelago

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Having read quite a lot of his work, and various biographies etc, I have long considered Solzhenitysn to be perhaps the greatest figure of the 20th century. That said, I think it was a great shame that he retreated to the woods of Vermont and played no public role in the US.

Of course, he’d done his bit. And nobody could expect him to take part in the mindless and demeaning spectacle that is US (and most Western) politics. But had he, for instance, assumed some kind of roving, oversight role within academia he might have prevented US education from being saturated with whining Wokeness and, even worse, outright Marxism.

Funnily enough I am currently reading ‘A Voice From The Chorus’ by the dissident Russian writer Abram Tertz. It’s a collection of his letters etc written while in a prison camp between 1966-71.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

He couldn’t; American conservatism as his time was full blown Reaganism.
AS was a Christian conservative that suffered for his faith/beliefs. Current Christianity is a joke from a woke Pope to morally bankrupt Baptist preachers in the Evangelical movement.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Judging Christianity based on people who claim the faith is like judging Americans based on Hillary Clinton; some people are just bad Americans.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Thompson

Surely Donald Trump the current president would make a better yardstick for the American people (especially the ones that voted for him)?

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It was a Scylla-Charybdis decision then… and it is another one this year. The American people deserve better leadership, but they don’t deserve (or want) socialism and larger, deficit-spending, special-interest, ineffective, meddling government. Despite his tactless rhetoric, Trump’s policy actions have been moral, logical, in US interests, and, despite false accusations, he is neither a racist nor conspiring with Russia… unlike other elitists who use their position to get their children high-paying jobs… and then go into hiding while the media buries their head in the sand.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Many of whom voted for him solely as a protest against the anaemic but spiteful liberalism of the Democrats.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

The hard left have attached themselves to the WOKE “liberal” movement simply as a vehicle in which to attain power; we should not conflate the two ideologies but concentrate on the social issues which are destroying the fabric of society. Communism has no truck with the sexual peccadillos of the individual…the only thing in its favour!

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

They (Hard left) basically lost the traditional working class…tbh the North London Communist Supper Club the Labour Party became couldn’t really recognise what the ordinary heartland voter was bothered about most of the time.

And when they did they found they didn’t like them.

The recent past has been their attempt to try and stick together enough minority intersts and sectional interest *causes* (LGBTQ, Trans sexual, Critical Race Theory, Muslim cultural rights etc etc) to replace the one big fat one they lost…that being understanding the things that ordinary people thought mattered in their ordinary lives.

As Marxists say, and as John McDonnell famously said, the hard left romanticise *Direct Action* because their excuse for ever lasting defeat is that the system is rigged and they can never win via democratic means.

Wokery gives them cause, and the help of the constantly repopulating cohort of useful idiots, amongst whom they can hide, and attempt to steer….it’s been that way since Marx popped his clogs and probably has another half century or more in it yet.

Hilary Arundale
Hilary Arundale
3 years ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

I remember in the 1980s the Anglo ‘new left’ were talking about the ‘articulation theory’ of Ernesto Laclau, which came from the thoughts of Gramsci. I think that could be the basis of ‘woke’.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago

WOKE is not a revolution, rather an insidious disease which has been germinating for decades. It saps the will, encourages the ideology of victimhood and must be refuted at every opportunity.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Many people in our society ARE victims.

In claiming that, Woke is entirely correct.

But its (understandable) despair of being able to reform our corrupt society, has caused it to stoop to tolerating, even encouraging, disorder and violence.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago

White middle class people who like to lecture everybody about how bad slavery, colonialism and the patriarchy is. They have an inferiority complex about Western culture, live in regenerated areas of big cities, and call themselves Socialist, yet have, or expect to have, lucrative careers usually in the media, judiciary, civil service or the BBC.

They profess egalitarianism and freedom of expression,but if you disagree with them you’re automatically a racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, fascist.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

You forgot *Thick* and *Bigot*…the one they’ve liked most over the last four years has probably been *Thick*?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

White middle class people who like to lecture everybody about how social and economic injustice, racism and misogyny are minor inconveniences, if they even exist. They have a superiority complex about their version of Western culture, live in protected enclaves isolated from outside influences, call themselves true egalitarian democrats and get terribly upset if anyone challenges their perception of themselves.

The above sounds like a nasty set of generalisations to me. But it is exactly what you have just done.

Al Tinonint
Al Tinonint
3 years ago

Judging by the those who have taken most black lives, black lives don’t appear to matter to black lives.
.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Tinonint

An accurate name for the organisation would be Some Black Deaths in Some Countries Matter.

davehidson
davehidson
3 years ago

No assessment of the French Revolution and the Woke Terror is complete without adding “The Psychology of Revolution” by Gustave Le Bon. The mind of the crowd has no intellect, only emotion fueled by the most base passions. Also “The Reality of Communism” by Soviet dissident A. Zinoviev analyzes the Bolshevik Terror in similar fashion.

Both these writers note the motivating factor of envy in driving revolutionary crowds: the “tolerance” and “compassion” of socialism are a mere facade for the destructive forces of envy, which, as the ancient world knew, was the worst of the vices.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  davehidson

Apart from Pride (and contempt for social inferiors), the characteristic vices of the Right.

Ralph Hulbert
Ralph Hulbert
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

How do you decide who is a social inferior, Tony?

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Hulbert

Very easily – they have less money and status.

Nothing is more obvious than a pecking order.

pawter2
pawter2
3 years ago
Reply to  davehidson

David, I found both your reference quite easily on the interweb (for free). If/when I get round to having a deeper look at them which one first?

George Rose
George Rose
3 years ago

Regarding comments here on the peaceful nature of this year’s protests, It is a little bit ironic that the mostly peaceful protests were in total the costliest civil disorder in the nation’s history, resulting in between one and two billion dollars worth of damage, killing at least 20 people and many more injuries to both protesters, police and other citizens, across 140 cities in 20 states. Experiences in cities like Newark, New Jersey from past riots show it can take decades for these neighborhoods to recover. The chicken was mostly alive while he crossed the road, but he was run over too. So implying that conservatives are melodramatic, nothing to see here, seem a little hasty.

Mark St Giles
Mark St Giles
3 years ago

I used to be completely colour blind accepting that people I saw every day in offices, shops, on television or just in the street, who were incidentally black, were just ordinary citizens like everyone else. But since BLM I am looking at them differently noticing first that they are black. Thanks BLM for that unwelcome conversion.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark St Giles

No-one can deny that ‘racism’ exists, but I find what you say profoundly depressing and, at the same time, I really admire your candour.

Movements like BLM must not be allowed to successfully contrive division in the way that they do. That is their raison d’être.

I have found myself regularly shocked by some of the craven individuals, institutions, and businesses that have unquestioningly caved in to their agenda.

It is, in the current climate, seemingly the path of least resistance, particularly for those most in the public gaze.

Constant media scrutiny helps to ‘sharpen’ their sensibilities I guess?

Douglas Murray likened what is happening like a train finally and slowly coming close to arriving at its destination, not quite there but almost, where the all the ‘isms’ and ‘ias’ were all but rightly banished by the majority of ‘acceptable’ society only for some lunatic to seize the controls and career off down the platform creating the current resulting mayhem in its midst.

As ever, there is really no such thing of any real, definable use as a black race, an Asian race or a white race, just good and bad people with doubtless lots in between regardless, but unfortunately there are those out there who, whatever their skin colour, forever seek to foment division based on this simplistic ignorance for their own gain.

Only as long as there are enough naive gaping gulls or self serving idiots out there willing to swallow it and wittingly or unwittingly perpetuate it mind.

Imagine if your sum total as a ‘useful’ human being was defined solely by your skin colour, your gender or who you choose to sleep with at any given time.

Please don’t give in and let these idiots win.

Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell
3 years ago

We need someone like Solzhenitsyn now, but I fear we have a long way to go before the full flowering of this particularly poisonous ideology engulfs the Western world.
Salam is right in calling it “intra-white status jockeying” – that’s certainly a large part of it.
We will only realize what has been lost when it is gone forever, and future generations won’t thank us for it. Technology keeps us amused and distracted – but given the way we live in Europe and North America, one can only ask: “Is it worth saving?”

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Russell

It’s probably too late Andrew, when I talk to young people they look at me as if I am from another planet. The fact that they have no counter argument to advance is meaningless to them, they seem to think that everything should be worked out for them by teachers or social workers…….the bad leading the blind.

pawter2
pawter2
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Russell

Andrew, I read and was amused by a pop-philosophy book called “Status Anxiety” by Alain de Botton about 15 years ago. For me it also added another facet to the envy that has quite nakedly underpinned so much revolutionary activity over the centuries.

I think it is quite apposite for understanding the need, indeed the relish with which the young (and the ‘young in spirit’) engage in performing their wokeness. And the soul crushing fear that drives their need to out-emote their neighbors and compadres.

Solzhenitsyn: a man for all seasons. IMHO

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  pawter2

“Status Anxiety” was an illuminating denunciation of the purse-proud arrogance that Capitalism has inflicted upon us.

And as the Rich and the Right go out of their way to flaunt their wealth in order to BE envied, they aren’t in the best possible position to denounce the sin of envy.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

Revolutions that come out of universities suffer from a vulnerability that’s generally fatal: the pedestrian professors grow old and irrelevant, and, the students grow up and get saddled with some unforeseen responsibilities – like earning a living and feeding the baby.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  vince porter

The cult of intellectualism has a fatal flaw: it promotes man’s intellect above that of God, an amorphism of fallible opinion which denies natural law. When this permeates culture, we enter a death-spiral of secular authority based on whatever intellectualism predominates- materialism, elitism, racism, communism (?) The intellectualism feeds upon itself rather than truth. Hence, by making ourselves greater, we become lesser. By becoming lesser, we become greater… which maybe explains why parents who sacrificially provide for their children overcome the bogus intellectualism they learned in most of our CURRENT US universities.

Alan Hall
Alan Hall
3 years ago

Interesting article (and I recommend his book “Why we drive”). There is little that has come from French intellectuals and politics that has brought any benefits to the world. The present woke mess arises from the mainly French obscurantist “philosophers” of the mid 20th century so beloved of our Universities. What we call woke is a reaction by the wealthy middle classes to the failure of Marxism. Now everything is relative and the left having turned against the poor and working class to preach a mishmash ideology of cultural diversity, segregation, eco-revolution etc as a new way to attack the hated capitalism that the communists failed to defeat.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hall

It may be very intellectually satisfying to invest the woke movement with political overtones but, the real driver is sexual grievance, by females who have been exhorted to hate men for their generations of sexual subservience and from the mishmash of psychologically disturbed people who believe that gender change or homosexuality should be treated by the mass of society as normal or even positive behaviour. A position which cannot under any circumstances be supported by the facts. It is driven by social not political issues.

Alan Hall
Alan Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

But social issues are political. This is shown by the feminists vs trans battle and no doubt soon a black vs Asian battle as BAME is a myth. These are all part of the politics of today that we face. If we had some politicians/civil servants/journalists with spines this could have been nipped in the bud but the genie is well out of the bottle.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hall

Alan, my point is that the issue is being presented as a Marxist Communist coup whereas the extreme left in the UK and the US are a tiny political minority who use the WOKE “liberals as useful idiots and separating the two factions will not put an end to wokery. The only way is to clear out the professions especially politics, education, social services and the entertainment/news media. We must begin by presenting the facts pertaining to gender and male homosexuality. The facts are all there in CDC and PHE statistics, but they have been deliberately concealed.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Hall

The current Woke disorder stems from the failure of Capitalism in 2008, when it could only be saved by bale-out money provided by the general public.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

That was a failure from government interference, not capitalism. Capitalism would have let a few underperforming car companies and banks that dealt in questionnable derivative funds (stupid decisions) to go under … rather than the destructive alternative of unfairly strapping the taxpayers with the “bailout” bill.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Thompson

If it hadn’t been for government “interference”, the whole global capitalist system – not just a few car companies and banks – would have gone under.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago

Good article. I recall reading Schama’s French Revolutionary effort years ago and being impressed. He even allowed the aristocratic opposition its full voice. Of course, latterly, his work has been subtly denounced as a “right wing” version of the story and as for the man himself – well, has he not miserably capitulated to far too much of the hard left agenda in recent years? His offering on “Romanticism” for the now quite loathsome BBC is a case in point.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago

Furet is very relevant. I might argue that both communism and the current leftist bent in America both learned from the French Revolution and its “paranoid style of revolutionary politics, and its tendency to exercise power through contrived moral emergencies”. Global warming. COVID. False accusations of racism without justification. Contrived emergencies to offer moral justification for control and terror. That seems consistent with both regimes. The Revolution, indeed, lives on. Good article.

melfordhall5
melfordhall5
3 years ago

The only real prejudice in America and the UK is economic prejudice. You might go to Oxford but if you come from a state school you will not have the right upper middle class accent, or the connections, that are needed to get a good job.

All the so called ‘good’ jobs in media, (television, banking, art, journalism etc) will go to those who have connections from school, or have relatives, or friends, already in the industry.

Little Jack and Pippa already have a careers lined up for them before they are even born!

Keith Callaghan
Keith Callaghan
3 years ago
Reply to  melfordhall5

Meritocracy breeds privilege in the next generations.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  melfordhall5

As someone who grew up on a council estate and worked their way up to the highest echelons of society I find this comment to be particularly true. I found the only thing that separates working class people from the upper middle class is their refusal to go along with corporate BS. I’m particularly bad at it, and over the years have realized my derision of corporate speak has hampered my career prospects. I wish I was better at dissembling, but I just don’t have the patience for it. I think the upper middle class are better at hiding their opinions, and only ever feel safe to speak out when it is fashionable to do so. They are very conformist in my honest opinion.

Otto Christensen
Otto Christensen
3 years ago

Illuminating analysis and comments. “one cannot help but think of today’s emotivism, in which feeling replaces intellectual coherence as the index of truth.” Activism feeds on itself. Suggestions on how to awaken an age of reason?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

To ‘awaken an age of reason’ you would first have to wrest education from the control of the state, the left-wing teaching unions and the ‘blob’. The applies particularly to the US and the UK. That means ‘school choice’, to which Trump is committed.

Another step is to, somehow, change the media narrative. Hopefully Andrew Neil’s new channel will play a big part in the UK. In the US, Fox massively outperforms CNN MSDNC (sic). And all the biggest podcasters etc seem to be conservative – including many black conservatives. But the social media giants do all they can to suppress them.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Such an interesting article, thank you,

Re, weeping; during the Middle Ages and very much a part of Chivalry, weeping was seen as a mark of status, kings, princes and elite warriors would frequently break into floods of tears in public, at bereavement, but also, significantly, if there was an assault on their honour of any kind. Tears were something to aspire to.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

We are the same people Claire, but our sense of empathy, our emotions have been blunted, the touch no longer a dagger in the heart, but a bludgeon to the brain….if you can still feel the pain think yourself fortunate. Today tears are deemed a necessity, not a reaction.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Um . . not quite sure what you mean.

My comment was a digression, but it was linked to the description in the article about the political use of weeping during the French Revolution.
Almost all human beings weep in sorrow, pain, anger and despair, my point was that Yes, at certain times in history, weeping has had political significance and I was simply offering another example.

And I don’t agree with your “our emotions have been blunted”, you speak for yourself – nobody else.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I was not speaking for you Claire, but about society in general where we are expected to weep cheer or bang our dustbin lids on demand, no matter how trivial or idiotic the subject….this is of course the ethos or a symptom of WOKE. No disrespect intended

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Sorry, I was a bit shirty.

Su Mac
Su Mac
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

This lovely word and little demo of civilised resolution is making me smile!

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

This is interesting. I maintain the belief that individuals capable of gross over-sentimentality are also capable of excessive cruelty.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
3 years ago

Mathew, thank you very much for posting this.
Your deep perspective into history–old and new– is very helpful in helping me and others gain some timely and much-needed background to understand what’s going on out there.
Keep up the good work!

Fiona E
Fiona E
3 years ago

I have thought for years that the current woke ideologues are just the latest embodiment of a long line of self-righteous, misguided, fanatical busybodies who cannot bear to let people just live their lives as they see fit, from people like Oliver Cromwell and John Knox to the 1930’s American Progressives. The vast majority of tolerant people who treat people as they would like to be treated, will eventually get fed up with these lunatics, hopefully before they do too much damage to our societies.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Fiona E

Hence the reason many Americans are voting Trump. No one believes in him, but right now he’s the only weapon we have against these insipid busybodies,

D.C.S Turner
D.C.S Turner
3 years ago

1. None of the authors you cite here would have made this silly comparison.
2. Margarete Buber-Neumann, Under Two Dictators, published in 1948, and Gustav Herling, A World Apart, 1951, said more devastating things about the Soviet Union than The Gulag Archipeligo

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

I’m surprised you missed out on what I consider to be two of the finest books on the French Revolution.

R.R. Palmer, Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution (1941).

Palmer’s genius is in capturing the mood of that time “Anarchy within, invasion without, A country cracking from outside pressure, disintegrating from internal strain. Revolution at its height. War. Inflation. Hunger. Fear. Hate. Sabotage. Fantastic Hopes. Boundless idealism. And the horrible knowledge for the men in power, that if they failed they would die as criminals, murderers of the king”

I honestly don’t see anything on that scale in the current BLM demonstrations. There have been violence but they were largely peaceful. The US is not in any danger of any foreign invasions. There are no insurrections in the US on a scale similar to that which took place in Puy-de Dome, Alsace, Lyon, and Brittany.

The second book is Isser Woloch, The New Regime (1994). Here he shows the incredible number of changes that take place in this period, in every single domain of political/social life. Institutional changes which means things will never turn back again. Woloch shows that the new republic’s ambitious programs for universal elementary education & public assistance for the poor/elderly became part of France’s civic agenda. So did trial by jury and empowering popularly mandated village oligarchies.

I don’t see such a sweeping agenda from the BLM movement. There were calls for defunding the police, which has petered out and also vague calls for criminal justice reform. Major police reforms look highly unlikely. But nothing on the same scale as what was enacted on the ruins of the French monarchy.

In fact I’m baffled as to why you did not see the most obvious analogy. To me the the BLM demonstrations resemble the Vietnam anti-war protests of 1969. Vastly more popular and widespread than 1968. Politically heterogeneous, mostly middle class, largely white but cross racial.

Su Mac
Su Mac
3 years ago

Maybe focusing on BLM specifically in your comments is a bit limiting. The article does start with a comparison to “the current state of the Left in American” of which the worst BLM protests are just the most recent, extreme manifestation. The parallel of BLM with Vietnam demos doesn’t ring as true to me in any case. Demands to pull out of Vietnam grew and became more mainstream whereas it seems the BLM movement (as separate from a hatred of racially motivated police killing) is losing its broad initial appeal – witness how it is driving the Blexit movement. Secondly, I don’t see that BLM (again, not to be confused with the above) is politically hetregenous. Why would a conservative or Republican align with an openly stated Marxist agenda?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Su Mac

What really drove the Vietnam protests was the casualty rate of US troops. The protesting youth knew they could be drafted into the Armed forces and sent over there to be maimed or killed. Fighting for your country in a remote foreign land came to be seen as a mug’s game ““ the nation’s youth used as cannon fodder by the old and established.

BLM brings out angry youth, white and black, onto the streets but it is quite different in essence to the Vietnam protests. At its heart is a cult of black suffering which white people are expected to atone for. For the black activist, integrating into (and competing for status in) the white man’s world is a mug’s game. Far better to assert your own moral authority by discrediting that world and demanding that it change in deference to you.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Surely the atonement, which was necessary, should not be confined to “white” colonial nations Slavery was widespread in Africa and the East long before colonial times and the trafficking of slaves was enabled by black African leaders who sold millions more of their people To Arab Muslims than to Western European colonists….BLM is a sham.

S Trodare
S Trodare
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Correct, however this is an inconvenient truth and since ignorance of history is so wide spread you will not get any thanks for speaking truth to those who do not wish to hear.

By the time they do wake up to the fact they have been manipulated by those who have their own private agenda, using: Climate Change, Wokeness, Corvid-19, BLM, Slavery etc as a reason for the need for a New World Order (revolution) such as ‘The Great Reset’ courtesy of the World Economic Forum. It could be too late to stop the romance of revolution ending in terror and enslavement under a digital dictatorship such as in China, rather than the guillotine of the French Revolution or the Marxism of the USSR.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

The justification is a sham. BLM calls a tree (excessive use of force) the forest (police using legitimate authority to protect people from criminals), and then wants us to burn down the forest in response. This is insanity to the people who live in the forest! The true purpose of BLM is clear: to burn down American government and institutions so that they are unable to resist domination by world (marxist) governments. World monetary powers are funding BLM to cause chaos, and decrease people’s faith in their governments (at all levels- fed, state, local) to control the situation.

Say what you will about the moral authority and emotionalism (yes, real men do cry) of the French Revolution, it is clear they stumbled on to a successful overthrow recipe that has been repeated by others historically, to include marxists, communists, and BLM. As John wrote above , “A country cracking from outside pressure, disintegrating from internal strain.” Does America not now have both? Will it break? Only if we allow it.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Thompson

Honest to God Ian, I believe that somewhere in the future humanity is bound to self destruct. Before that happens we will go through a phase where a command economy is the norm.;I dont wish that to happen but the evolution of human life and the planet itself will determine. In the mean time we must do what we can to re-set our social system, to bring back a little sanity, to live more fulfilled lives, which means the return to the recently much maligned “family values” Perhaps we can even affect the future positively…..for once!

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Every generation makes its choice(s). I think we have had a nice cup of “wakeup” in the past year.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Thompson

If it is liable to break, break it will, whether anyone “allows” it or not.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

So if we can’t fix it or control it, what is the purpose of either legality or morality? We actually CAN fix it… and people continuously do that. At this time, it seems the dike is breaking (or being broken) faster than we can repair it.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Correct, wasting time and lives on peripheral conflicts is a pointless exercise.

Full throttle response is what is required. Eg: Nuke China now, ‘we’ can do it, and it will be far cheaper in the long run, and ‘we’ owe it to the younger generation.
Who can possibly deny this?

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Competing for status is a mug’s game, whoever does it.

And immoral; as St Paul wrote, “In humility, value others above yourselves” (Phil 2:3).

A faux-Christian country like the USA is doomed, justly.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Much has been done falsely in the name of Christianity. That aside, there are many good Christians in the USA. And the nation is only viable as “One nation under God.”

IF the USA wants to be great again, THEN they must return to God and live according to higher authority, not secular depravity.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Su Mac

I think that is a fair point.

I just felt that the analogy between BLM (both the actual organisation and the BLM movement) and the Left in America with an event as seismic as the French Revolution was overwrought. The French Revolution along with the Industrial Revolution shaped the modern world. It changed almost every aspect of society. I don’t see either the Left or BLM (movement or organisation) having the same impact now or in the future.

Marcus Millgate
Marcus Millgate
3 years ago

Interesting the Washington Post report left out the ethnicity of the policemen responsible for most of the killings of blacks.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

“There is limited scientific evidence on whether officers of certain races/ethnicities are disproportionately likely to engage in OIS with civilians of a particular race/ethnicity due to the relative rarity of such events”

Katelyn K. Jetelina, Stephen A. Bishopp, Jared G. Wiegand, Jennifer M. Reingle Gonzalez, ‘Race/ethnicity composition of police officers in officer-involved shootings’, Policing: An International Journal of Policing (2020)

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

Some of us are wondering what BLM is doing with the vast amounts of money they have raised as a direct consequence of their protests. Do they have good works planned or will they just use the dosh to keep the BLM machine running?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Much of it was funnelled to the Democrat campaign machine. Some of it was spent on houses and cars etc for themselves. The whole thing is totally corrupt.

David Stuckey
David Stuckey
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

So do you have any evidence for these bald assertions? Does help in rational debate.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stuckey

The process by which much of the money was funnelled to the Dems has been outlined on numerous US podcasts etc. I think I even heard someone talk about it on the radio here. (Not the BBC, obviously)).

One guy (In Atlanta, I think) has been charged with buying properties and cars etc with the money. I have no doubt that many others have done the same. Scratch a Marxist/Socialist and you’ll always find someone with two or three properties. The Marxist mayor of New York, for instance, rents out three properties in the city. And the Socialist Bernie Sanders owns three properties.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Since I’m not a member of BLM, why don’t you contact them directly?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘There have been violence but they were largely peaceful.’

Tell that to the 30 (mostly black) people that died – some of them children – during the BLM/Antifa rioting. Or to the countless – often black – business owners who had their business looted and/or burned to the ground. These people are vile, moronic thugs, the products of a demented and destructive educational system.

And the police ARE being defunded in Seattle and Minneapolis etc. Not surprisingly, serious crime and homicides are though the roof in these places.

The key point is that the BLM/Antifa mobs have no justification. The US is one of the least racist and least suppressive societies in all of human history. The number of ‘unarmed’ black men killed by police was 11 last year, down from 38 in 2015. In almost all instances, they were resisting or attacking the police (or someone else) in various ways, and almost without exception they were nasty, career crimials.

In contrast, the French monarchy was worth fighting against. So was, for instance, the Vietnam war, not to mention apartheid in SA. The Occupy Wall St campaign was certainly justified – but Obama soon cracked down on that on behalf of the Fnance industry that controlled him.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Louis XVI conceded to the Revolutionaries everything they asked for. They still went ahead and executed him, And inflicted the Terror on the French population – it was all over France, not just in Paris – because they were morally superior to everyone else, and demonstrated it by denouncing their friends and relatives. Rather like the current wokes – someone has already made the analogy, either here or on Spiked.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Good points. George Floyd was a serial criminal, an armed robber who served 4 years in the pen, a drug user and pusher, a thug who pointed a revolver at the stomach of a young pregnant woman – indeed one of your nasty career criminals, a large photo of whom hangs up somewhere prominent in Manchester as a hero of the blacks! The manner of his death needs scrutiny certainly, but I assume (I do not know for sure) that he was resisting arrest and may have been under the influence of drugs.

A question I would like to put to the fanatics of the discriminatory, divisive, racist and profoundly insulting ‘BLM movement’ – do all black lives matter equally? Does Floyd’s life rate equally with that of, say, the sainted Stormzy, the black guy who has given, if my information is correct, 10 million dollars to BLM? How would the latter answer, what would he, what could he say? Would he invoke the ‘sanctity of life’ response? If so, then he faces the many contradictions to that answer with the crimes blacks perpetrate against other blacks, among them of course murder.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
3 years ago
Reply to  John Nutkins

George Floyd was murdered, by a policeman.

That is the central fact you choose to ignore.

Ian Thompson
Ian Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

The more important fact that you choose to ignore is the subsequent deaths of innocent people. JN didn’t excuse the police brutality (and no one ever has). Most bad acts result from a series of bad decisions. Floyd had a huge rap sheet, bad history with the cop, resisted arrest, and he was also WAY high on drugs at the time. “The fentanyl itself was four times the level known to cause fatalities.” Actions matter, and Floyd’s actions led to the bad situation with a rogue cop. Subsequent BLM/Antifa rioting killed 30+ people… and that action, too, must be held accountable.
americanthinker article “Just Like That, Gun Control Support and COVID-19 Died This Week”, Clarice Feldman (June 7, 2020).

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-Tell that to the 30 (mostly black) people that died – some of them children – during the BLM/Antifa rioting”

I didn’t say there was NO violence. I said “there HAVE been violence but they were LARGELY peaceful”.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 7,750 BLM demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death between May 26 and August 22. Their report states that more than 2,400 locations reported peaceful protests, while fewer than 220 reported “violent demonstrations.” 220 out of 7,750. Hence my statement “LARGELY PEACEFUL”.

The authors define violent demonstrations as including “acts targeting other individuals, property, businesses, other rioting groups or armed actors.” Their definition includes anything from “fighting back against police” to vandalism, property destruction, looting, road-blocking using barricades, burning tires or other materials. In cities where protests did turn violent”these demonstrations are “largely confined to specific blocks,” the report states [https://acleddata.com/2020/…]

– And the police ARE being defunded in Seattle and Minneapolis etc. Not surprisingly, serious crime and homicides are though the roof in these places.

It is correct that violent crime has risen. But calls to defund the police are not the main reason. The rise is related to Covid and social unrest over police violence. Out of 18,000 law enforcement agencies barely a dozen have cut their budgets by mid-August. More cuts are sure to come but this is more likely due to revenue shortfalls caused by Covid than from the demands of BLM protestors. And while violent crime has increased during Covid, property crime rates have DECREASED, which indicates that DIFFERENT factors are responsible for these contrasting crime rates.

A recent study of crime rates in over 20 cities this year found that residential burglary and larceny rates fell sharply from the beginning of March to the end of June, even though property crimes tend to increase as the weather warms during the spring and summer. Those declines are almost certainly related to quarantines and business closings caused by the pandemic: Burglars tend to avoid occupied households, and there is no shoplifting when the shops are closed [https://cdn.ymaws.com/counc…]

Furthermore, Covid has contributed to the violence by reducing police presence and contact with the public. A study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police & George Mason University found large declines in proactive traffic/pedestrian stops and community policing [https://www.theiacp.org/sit…]. During periods of widespread social unrest, especially over police brutality, violent crimes tend to increase. We saw this during the urban unrest of the 1960s and again five years ago amid the protests against police violence in Ferguson, Mo., Chicago, New York and elsewhere. When tensions flare between the police and the communities they serve especially disadvantaged communities of color “police legitimacy” suffers, and violent crimes increase.

-The key point is that the BLM/Antifa mobs have no justification. The US is one of the least racist and least suppressive societies in all of human history.

I disagree. Slavery existed in the US from its founding in 1776 until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain’s colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the US. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865.

Jim Crow laws started around the 1870’s which enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. These laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Southern Democrat-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people during Reconstruction. Jim Crow laws were enforced from the 1870’s until 1965, meaning they were denied the vote for 95 years.

According to the Census Bureau, African-Americans earn barely three-fifths as much as non-Hispanic whites. In 2018 average black household income was $41,400, compared with $70,600 for whites. That gap is wide. In Britain, blacks earn 90% as much as whites. There is evidence both of judicial inequality and of a link between that and economic status. A study by researchers at the Universities of Michigan and British Columbia found that blacks and Hispanics get longer sentences for the same crimes. Another study argued that this is because judges do not think blacks can pay a fine instead of going to jail and fear that, if they were released, they could not get a job and would revert to criminality.

In other words, poverty and joblessness make sentencing practices harsher for blacks, and those practices make it harder for blacks to get a job. It is hardly surprising that so many protesters believe African-Americans are not equal before the law, not equal in terms of income and jobs, and not equal in terms of health [https://www.economist.com/u…]

-The number of ‘unarmed’ black men killed by police was 11 last year, down from 38 in 2015. In almost all instances, they were resisting or attacking the police (or someone else) in various ways, and almost without exception they were nasty, career crimials.

I also disagree. According to the Washington Post Database on police shootings [https://www.washingtonpost….] police killed thirteen unarmed Black men in 2019. But the Post’s database, includes only people shot by police, not killed through other means like beating or tasering. This data does not include “deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.” George Floyd died in police custody which would not have been included.

You also neglect to mention that Black Americans make up only 13% of the population “but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans,” as the Post reported (32 per million vs 13 per million). Furthermore, this is likely to be an underreport. According to criminologists published in the National Library of Medicine, the NVSS underestimates police homicides because it “misclassifies cases as homicides, rather than justifiable homicides committed by police officers, because certifiers fail to mention police involvement” [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go…]

The researchers found the FBI’s system, which does not gather data from all law enforcement agencies, similarly “misses cases because some jurisdictions fail to file reports or omit justifiable homicides committed by police officers.” PBS reported in August that the lack of sound information surrounding police shootings is so widespread that “a decade ago, the Department of Justice stopped collecting data on deaths tied to police violence because the numbers were unreliable … Reporting these cases was voluntary, and there were virtually no incentives for police departments to submit this information to the federal government”[https://www.pbs.org/newshou…]

It seems clear that fatalities of Black people at the hands of police is underreported and the actual number is likely higher.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-Tell that to the 30 (mostly black) people that died – some of them children – during the BLM/Antifa rioting”

I didn’t say there was NO violence. I said “there HAVE been violence but they were LARGELY peaceful”.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 7,750 BLM demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death between May 26 and August 22. Their report states that more than 2,400 locations reported peaceful protests, while fewer than 220 reported “violent demonstrations.” 220 out of 7,750. Hence my statement “LARGELY PEACEFUL”.

The authors define violent demonstrations as including “acts targeting other individuals, property, businesses, other rioting groups or armed actors.” Their definition includes anything from “fighting back against police” to vandalism, property destruction, looting, road-blocking using barricades, burning tires or other materials. In cities where protests did turn violent”these demonstrations are “largely confined to specific blocks,” the report states [https://acleddata.com/2020/…]

-And the police ARE being defunded in Seattle and Minneapolis etc. Not surprisingly, serious crime and homicides are though the roof in these places.

It is correct that violent crime has risen. But calls to defund the police are not the main reason. The rise is related to Covid and social unrest over police violence. Out of 18,000 law enforcement agencies barely a dozen have cut their budgets by mid-August. More cuts are sure to come but this is more likely due to revenue shortfalls caused by Covid than from the demands of BLM protestors. And while violent crime has increased during Covid, property crime rates have DECREASED, which indicates that DIFFERENT factors are responsible for these contrasting crime rates.

A recent study of crime rates in over 20 cities this year found that residential burglary and larceny rates fell sharply from the beginning of March to the end of June, even though property crimes tend to increase as the weather warms during the spring and summer. Those declines are almost certainly related to quarantines and business closings caused by the pandemic: Burglars tend to avoid occupied households, and there is no shoplifting when the shops are closed [https://cdn.ymaws.com/counc…]

Furthermore, Covid has contributed to the violence by reducing police presence and contact with the public. A study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police & George Mason University found large declines in proactive traffic/pedestrian stops and community policing [https://www.theiacp.org/sit…].

During periods of widespread social unrest, especially over police brutality, violent crimes tend to increase. We saw this during the urban unrest of the 1960s and again five years ago amid the protests against police violence in Ferguson, Mo., Chicago, New York and elsewhere. When tensions flare between the police and the communities they serve especially disadvantaged communities of color “police legitimacy” suffers, and violent crimes increase.

-The key point is that the BLM/Antifa mobs have no justification. The US is one of the least racist and least suppressive societies in all of human history.

I disagree. Slavery existed in the US from its founding in 1776 until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain’s colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the US. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865.

Jim Crow laws started around the 1870’s which enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. These laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Southern Democrat-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people during Reconstruction. Jim Crow laws were enforced from the 1870’s until 1965, meaning they were denied the vote for 95 years.

According to the Census Bureau, African-Americans earn barely three-fifths as much as non-Hispanic whites. In 2018 average black household income was $41,400, compared with $70,600 for whites. That gap is wide. In Britain, blacks earn 90% as much as whites. There is evidence both of judicial inequality and of a link between that and economic status. A study by researchers at the Universities of Michigan and British Columbia found that blacks and Hispanics get longer sentences for the same crimes. Another study argued that this is because judges do not think blacks can pay a fine instead of going to jail and fear that, if they were released, they could not get a job and would revert to criminality.

In other words, poverty and joblessness make sentencing practices harsher for blacks, and those practices make it harder for blacks to get a job. It is hardly surprising that so many protesters believe African-Americans are not equal before the law, not equal in terms of income and jobs, and not equal in terms of health [https://www.economist.com/u…]

-The number of ‘unarmed’ black men killed by police was 11 last year, down from 38 in 2015. In almost all instances, they were resisting or attacking the police (or someone else) in various ways, and almost without exception they were nasty, career crimials.

I also disagree. According to the Washington Post Database on police shootings [https://www.washingtonpost….] police killed thirteen unarmed Black men in 2019. But the Post’s database, includes only people shot by police, not killed through other means like beating or tasering. This data does not include “deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.” George Floyd died in police custody which would not have been included.

You also neglect to mention that Black Americans make up only 13% of the population “but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans,” as the Post reported (32 per million vs 13 per million). Furthermore, this is likely to be an underreport. According to criminologists published in the National Library of Medicine, the NVSS underestimates police homicides because it “misclassifies cases as homicides, rather than justifiable homicides committed by police officers, because certifiers fail to mention police involvement” [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go…]

The researchers found the FBI’s system, which does not gather data from all law enforcement agencies, similarly “misses cases because some jurisdictions fail to file reports or omit justifiable homicides committed by police officers.” PBS reported in August that the lack of sound information surrounding police shootings is so widespread that “a decade ago, the Department of Justice stopped collecting data on deaths tied to police violence because the numbers were unreliable … Reporting these cases was voluntary, and there were virtually no incentives for police departments to submit this information to the federal government”[https://www.pbs.org/newshou…]

It seems clear that fatalities of Black people at the hands of police is underreported and the actual number is likely higher.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-Tell that to the 30 (mostly black) people that died – some of them children – during the BLM/Antifa rioting”

I didn’t say there was NO violence. I said “there HAVE been violence but they were LARGELY peaceful”.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 7,750 BLM demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death between May 26 and August 22. Their report states that more than 2,400 locations reported peaceful protests, while fewer than 220 reported “violent demonstrations.” 220 out of 7,750. Hence my statement “LARGELY PEACEFUL”.

The authors define violent demonstrations as including “acts targeting other individuals, property, businesses, other rioting groups or armed actors.” Their definition includes anything from “fighting back against police” to vandalism, property destruction, looting, road-blocking using barricades, burning tires or other materials. In cities where protests did turn violent”these demonstrations are “largely confined to specific blocks,” the report states [https://acleddata.com/2020/

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

– And the police ARE being defunded in Seattle and Minneapolis etc. Not surprisingly, serious crime and homicides are though the roof in these places.

It is correct that violent crime has risen. But calls to defund the police are not the main reason. The rise is related to Covid and social unrest over police violence. Out of 18,000 law enforcement agencies barely a dozen have cut their budgets by mid-August. More cuts are sure to come but this is more likely due to revenue shortfalls caused by Covid than from the demands of BLM protestors. And while violent crime has increased during Covid, property crime rates have DECREASED, which indicates that DIFFERENT factors are responsible for these contrasting crime rates.

A recent study of crime rates in over 20 cities this year found that residential burglary and larceny rates fell sharply from the beginning of March to the end of June, even though property crimes tend to increase as the weather warms during the spring and summer. Those declines are almost certainly related to quarantines and business closings caused by the pandemic: Burglars tend to avoid occupied households, and there is no shoplifting when the shops are closed [https://cdn.ymaws.com/counc…]

Furthermore, Covid has contributed to the violence by reducing police presence and contact with the public. A study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police & George Mason University found large declines in proactive traffic/pedestrian stops and community policing [https://www.theiacp.org/sit…]. During periods of widespread social unrest, especially over police brutality, violent crimes tend to increase. We saw this during the urban unrest of the 1960s and again five years ago amid the protests against police violence in Ferguson, Mo., Chicago, New York and elsewhere. When tensions flare between the police and the communities they serve especially disadvantaged communities of color “police legitimacy” suffers, and violent crimes increase.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-The key point is that the BLM/Antifa mobs have no justification. The US is one of the least racist and least suppressive societies in all of human history.

I disagree. Slavery existed in the US from its founding in 1776 until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain’s colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the US. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865.

Jim Crow laws started around the 1870’s which enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. These laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Southern Democrat-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people during Reconstruction. Jim Crow laws were enforced from the 1870’s until 1965, meaning they were denied the vote for 95 years.

According to the Census Bureau, African-Americans earn barely three-fifths as much as non-Hispanic whites. In 2018 average black household income was $41,400, compared with $70,600 for whites. That gap is wide. In Britain, blacks earn 90% as much as whites. There is evidence both of judicial inequality and of a link between that and economic status. A study by researchers at the Universities of Michigan and British Columbia found that blacks and Hispanics get longer sentences for the same crimes. Another study argued that this is because judges do not think blacks can pay a fine instead of going to jail and fear that, if they were released, they could not get a job and would revert to criminality.

In other words, poverty and joblessness make sentencing practices harsher for blacks, and those practices make it harder for blacks to get a job. It is hardly surprising that so many protesters believe African-Americans are not equal before the law, not equal in terms of income and jobs, and not equal in terms of health [https://www.economist.com/u

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-The number of ‘unarmed’ black men killed by police was 11 last year, down from 38 in 2015. In almost all instances, they were resisting or attacking the police (or someone else) in various ways, and almost without exception they were nasty, career crimials.

I also disagree. According to the Washington Post Database on police shootings [https://www.washingtonpost….] police killed thirteen unarmed Black men in 2019. But the Post’s database, includes only people shot by police, not killed through other means like beating or tasering. This data does not include “deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.” George Floyd died in police custody which would not have been included.

You also neglect to mention that Black Americans make up only 13% of the population “but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans,” as the Post reported (32 per million vs 13 per million). Furthermore, this is likely to be an underreport. According to criminologists published in the National Library of Medicine, the NVSS underestimates police homicides because it “misclassifies cases as homicides, rather than justifiable homicides committed by police officers, because certifiers fail to mention police involvement” [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go…]

The researchers found the FBI’s system, which does not gather data from all law enforcement agencies, similarly “misses cases because some jurisdictions fail to file reports or omit justifiable homicides committed by police officers.” PBS reported in August that the lack of sound information surrounding police shootings is so widespread that “a decade ago, the Department of Justice stopped collecting data on deaths tied to police violence because the numbers were unreliable … Reporting these cases was voluntary, and there were virtually no incentives for police departments to submit this information to the federal government”[https://www.pbs.org/newshou…]

It seems clear that fatalities of Black people at the hands of police is underreported and the actual number is likely higher.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-Tell that to the 30 (mostly black) people that died – some of them children – during the BLM/Antifa rioting”

I didn’t say there was NO violence. I said “there HAVE been violence but they were LARGELY peaceful”.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 7,750 BLM demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death between May 26 and August 22. Their report states that more than 2,400 locations reported peaceful protests, while fewer than 220 reported “violent demonstrations.” 220 out of 7,750. Hence my statement “LARGELY PEACEFUL”.

The authors define violent demonstrations as including “acts targeting other individuals, property, businesses, other rioting groups or armed actors.” Their definition includes anything from “fighting back against police” to vandalism, property destruction, looting, road-blocking using barricades, burning tires or other materials. In cities where protests did turn violent”these demonstrations are “largely confined to specific blocks,” the report states [https://acleddata.com/2020/

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

– And the police ARE being defunded in Seattle and Minneapolis etc. Not surprisingly, serious crime and homicides are though the roof in these places.

It is correct that violent crime has risen. But calls to defund the police are not the main reason. The rise is related to Covid and social unrest over police violence. Out of 18,000 law enforcement agencies barely a dozen have cut their budgets by mid-August. More cuts are sure to come but this is more likely due to revenue shortfalls caused by Covid than from the demands of BLM protestors. And while violent crime has increased during Covid, property crime rates have DECREASED, which indicates that DIFFERENT factors are responsible for these contrasting crime rates.

A recent study of crime rates in over 20 cities this year found that residential burglary and larceny rates fell sharply from the beginning of March to the end of June, even though property crimes tend to increase as the weather warms during the spring and summer. Those declines are almost certainly related to quarantines and business closings caused by the pandemic: Burglars tend to avoid occupied households, and there is no shoplifting when the shops are closed [https://cdn.ymaws.com/counc…]

Furthermore, Covid has contributed to the violence by reducing police presence and contact with the public. A study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police & George Mason University found large declines in proactive traffic/pedestrian stops and community policing [https://www.theiacp.org/sit…]. During periods of widespread social unrest, especially over police brutality, violent crimes tend to increase. We saw this during the urban unrest of the 1960s and again five years ago amid the protests against police violence in Ferguson, Mo., Chicago, New York and elsewhere. When tensions flare between the police and the communities they serve especially disadvantaged communities of color “police legitimacy” suffers, and violent crimes increase.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-The key point is that the BLM/Antifa mobs have no justification. The US is one of the least racist and least suppressive societies in all of human history.

I disagree. Slavery existed in the US from its founding in 1776 until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain’s colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the US. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865.

Jim Crow laws started around the 1870’s which enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. These laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Southern Democrat-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people during Reconstruction. Jim Crow laws were enforced from the 1870’s until 1965, meaning they were denied the vote for 95 years.

According to the Census Bureau, African-Americans earn barely three-fifths as much as non-Hispanic whites. In 2018 average black household income was $41,400, compared with $70,600 for whites. That gap is wide. In Britain, blacks earn 90% as much as whites. There is evidence both of judicial inequality and of a link between that and economic status. A study by researchers at the Universities of Michigan and British Columbia found that blacks and Hispanics get longer sentences for the same crimes. Another study argued that this is because judges do not think blacks can pay a fine instead of going to jail and fear that, if they were released, they could not get a job and would revert to criminality.

In other words, poverty and joblessness make sentencing practices harsher for blacks, and those practices make it harder for blacks to get a job. It is hardly surprising that so many protesters believe African-Americans are not equal before the law, not equal in terms of income and jobs, and not equal in terms of health [https://www.economist.com/u

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-The number of ‘unarmed’ black men killed by police was 11 last year, down from 38 in 2015. In almost all instances, they were resisting or attacking the police (or someone else) in various ways, and almost without exception they were nasty, career crimials.

I also disagree. According to the Washington Post Database on police shootings [https://www.washingtonpost….] police killed thirteen unarmed Black men in 2019. But the Post’s database, includes only people shot by police, not killed through other means like beating or tasering. This data does not include “deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.” George Floyd died in police custody which would not have been included.

You also neglect to mention that Black Americans make up only 13% of the population “but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans,” as the Post reported (32 per million vs 13 per million). Furthermore, this is likely to be an underreport. According to criminologists published in the National Library of Medicine, the NVSS underestimates police homicides because it “misclassifies cases as homicides, rather than justifiable homicides committed by police officers, because certifiers fail to mention police involvement” [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go…]

The researchers found the FBI’s system, which does not gather data from all law enforcement agencies, similarly “misses cases because some jurisdictions fail to file reports or omit justifiable homicides committed by police officers.” PBS reported in August that the lack of sound information surrounding police shootings is so widespread that “a decade ago, the Department of Justice stopped collecting data on deaths tied to police violence because the numbers were unreliable … Reporting these cases was voluntary, and there were virtually no incentives for police departments to submit this information to the federal government”[https://www.pbs.org/newshou…]

It seems clear that fatalities of Black people at the hands of police is underreported and the actual number is likely higher.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

-Tell that to the 30 (mostly black) people that died – some of them children – during the BLM/Antifa rioting”

I didn’t say there was NO violence. I said “there HAVE been violence but they were LARGELY peaceful”.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) analyzed more than 7,750 BLM demonstrations in all 50 states and Washington D.C. that took place in the wake of George Floyd’s death between May 26 and August 22. Their report states that more than 2,400 locations reported peaceful protests, while fewer than 220 reported “violent demonstrations.” 220 out of 7,750. Hence my statement “LARGELY PEACEFUL”

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

– And the police ARE being defunded in Seattle and Minneapolis etc. Not surprisingly, serious crime and homicides are though the roof in these places.

It is correct that violent crime has risen. But calls to defund the police are not the main reason. The rise is related to Covid and social unrest over police violence. Out of 18,000 law enforcement agencies barely a dozen have cut their budgets by mid-August. More cuts are sure to come but this is more likely due to revenue shortfalls caused by Covid than from the demands of BLM protestors. And while violent crime has increased during Covid, property crime rates have DECREASED, which indicates that DIFFERENT factors are responsible for these contrasting crime rates.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

A recent study of crime rates in over 20 cities this year found that residential burglary and larceny rates fell sharply from the beginning of March to the end of June, even though property crimes tend to increase as the weather warms during the spring and summer. Those declines are almost certainly related to quarantines and business closings caused by the pandemic: Burglars tend to avoid occupied households, and there is no shoplifting when the shops are closed [https://cdn.ymaws.com/counc…]

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

A recent study of crime rates in over 20 cities this year found that residential burglary and larceny rates fell sharply from the beginning of March to the end of June, even though property crimes tend to increase as the weather warms during the spring and summer. Those declines are almost certainly related to quarantines and business closings caused by the pandemic: Burglars tend to avoid occupied households, and there is no shoplifting when the shops are closed [https://cdn.ymaws.com/counc…]

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

A recent study of crime rates in over 20 cities this year found that residential burglary and larceny rates fell sharply from the beginning of March to the end of June, even though property crimes tend to increase as the weather warms during the spring and summer. Those declines are almost certainly related to quarantines and business closings caused by the pandemic: Burglars tend to avoid occupied households, and there is no shoplifting when the shops are closed

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

Furthermore, Covid has contributed to the violence by reducing police presence and contact with the public. A study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police & George Mason University found large declines in proactive traffic/pedestrian stops and community policing.

During periods of widespread social unrest, especially over police brutality, violent crimes tend to increase. We saw this during the urban unrest of the 1960s and again five years ago amid the protests against police violence in Ferguson, Mo., Chicago, New York and elsewhere. When tensions flare between the police and the communities they serve especially disadvantaged communities of color “police legitimacy” suffers, and violent crimes increase.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

-The key point is that the BLM/Antifa mobs have no justification. The US is one of the least racist and least suppressive societies in all of human history.

I disagree. Slavery existed in the US from its founding in 1776 until passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Slavery was established throughout European colonization in the Americas. From early colonial days, it was practiced in Britain’s colonies, including the Thirteen Colonies which formed the US. Under the law, an enslaved person was treated as property and could be bought, sold, or given away. Slavery lasted in about half of U.S. states until 1865.

Jim Crow laws started around the 1870’s which enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. These laws were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white Southern Democrat-dominated state legislatures to disenfranchise and remove political and economic gains made by black people during Reconstruction. Jim Crow laws were enforced from the 1870’s until 1965, meaning they were denied the vote for 95 years.

According to the Census Bureau, African-Americans earn barely three-fifths as much as non-Hispanic whites. In 2018 average black household income was $41,400, compared with $70,600 for whites. That gap is wide. In Britain, blacks earn 90% as much as whites. There is evidence both of judicial inequality and of a link between that and economic status. A study by researchers at the Universities of Michigan and British Columbia found that blacks and Hispanics get longer sentences for the same crimes. Another study argued that this is because judges do not think blacks can pay a fine instead of going to jail and fear that, if they were released, they could not get a job and would revert to criminality.

In other words, poverty and joblessness make sentencing practices harsher for blacks, and those practices make it harder for blacks to get a job. It is hardly surprising that so many protesters believe African-Americans are not equal before the law, not equal in terms of income and jobs, and not equal in terms of he

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

health.

-The number of ‘unarmed’ black men killed by police was 11 last year, down from 38 in 2015. In almost all instances, they were resisting or attacking the police (or someone else) in various ways, and almost without exception they were nasty, career crimials.

I also disagree. According to the Washington Post Database on police shootings police killed thirteen unarmed Black men in 2019. But the Post’s database, includes only people shot by police, not killed through other means like beating or tasering. This data does not include “deaths of people in police custody, fatal shootings by off-duty officers or non-shooting deaths.” George Floyd died in police custody which would not have been included.

You also neglect to mention that Black Americans make up only 13% of the population “but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans,” as the Post reported (32 per million vs 13 per million). Furthermore, this is likely to be an underreport. According to criminologists published in the National Library of Medicine, the NVSS underestimates police homicides because it “misclassifies cases as homicides, rather than justifiable homicides committed by police officers, because certifiers fail to mention police involvement”

The researchers found the FBI’s system, which does not gather data from all law enforcement agencies, similarly “misses cases because some jurisdictions fail to file reports or omit justifiable homicides committed by police officers.”

PBS reported in August that the lack of sound information surrounding police shootings is so widespread that “a decade ago, the Department of Justice stopped collecting data on deaths tied to police violence because the numbers were unreliable … Reporting these cases was voluntary, and there were virtually no incentives for police departments to submit this information to the federal government”

It seems clear that fatalities of Black people at the hands of police is underreported and the actual number is likely higher

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

The authors define violent demonstrations as including “acts targeting other individuals, property, businesses, other rioting groups or armed actors.” Their definition includes anything from “fighting back against police” to vandalism, property destruction, looting, road-blocking using barricades, burning tires or other materials. In cities where protests did turn violent”these demonstrations are “largely confined to specific blocks,” the report states [https://acleddata.com/2020/…]

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The authors define violent demonstrations as including “acts targeting other individuals, property, businesses, other rioting groups or armed actors.” Their definition includes anything from “fighting back against police” to vandalism, property destruction, looting, road-blocking using barricades, burning tires or other materials. In cities where protests did turn violent”these demonstrations are “largely confined to specific blocks,” the report states [https://acleddata.com/2020/…]

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

To me the the BLM demonstrations resemble the Vietnam anti-war protests of 1969.
The protests of the 60s were directed toward something tangible. What are the BLM demonstrations about? The numbers reject the principle claim that law enforcement targets black citizens purely out of race. So, the movement is based on a fraud. The war, by contrast, was quite real.

The “largely peaceful” talking point is just mind-boggling. More than 99% of airplanes that took off on 9/11 landed safely, yet no remembers the day as having been largely peaceful. Is there a certain amount of murder and mayhem that we should consider acceptable? We have mobs of angry white people who have less reason to be angry than any generation in American history.

They only need look to Hong Kong to see how totalitarian govts actually work. Instead, they piously and fatuously lecture the rest of us about fascism while engaging in the same tactics as the brown shirts. Or the Jacobins in keeping with this article’s theme.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It depends on where the BLM demonstrations were held. In the US what began as a protest against police violence against African-Americans has led to an examination of racism in all its forms. In Mexico and South Africa the target is mainly police violence. In Brazil, where three-quarters of the 6,220 people killed by police in 2018 were black, race is a factor too. Australians are talking about the treatment of aboriginals. Some Europeans, used to condemning America over race, are realising that they have a problem closer to home. Angela Merkel has asked Germans to take the chance to “sweep outside their own front doors”.

I’m certainly not arguing that LE is targeting all black citizens on the basis of race alone. Or that all LE are racists. But to say that racism isn’t a factor in some cases is naive.

A study of police-shooting databases published by the National Academy of Sciences found that African American men were about 2 1/2 times more likely than white men to be killed by police. “Men of color face a non-trivial lifetime risk of being killed by police,” the authors wrote. For African American men, the lifetime risk of dying at the hands of police was 1 in 1,000 [https://www.prisonpolicy.or…]

The Washington Post’s own examination of police shootings showed that black Americans account for just 13 percent of the population but one-fourth of shooting victims. Among unarmed victims, the disparity was even greater: More than one-third of those fatally shot were black [https://www.washingtonpost….]

A 2018 study exposed “profound racial disparity in the misdemeanor arrest rate for most ” but not all ” offense types.” The black arrest rate was at least twice as high as that for whites for disorderly conduct, drug possession, simple assault, theft, vagrancy and vandalism [https://papers.ssrn.com/sol…]

A 2020 study of marijuana possession arrests by the American Civil Liberties Union concluded that even in an era of legalization and decriminalization, there were “stark racial disparities” in possession arrests, with a black person more than 3 1/2 times more likely to be arrested for possession than a white person, even though rates of usage are similar. The disparities exist “across the country, in every state, in counties large and small, urban and rural, wealthy and poor, and with large and small black populations.” [https://www.aclu.org/report…].

2977 people died on 9/11, 19 hijackers, and more than 6000 others were injured. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in world history, causing the death of over 500 more people than Pearl Harbour.

There were 7750 BLM demonstrations in all 50 states in the US. Fewer than 220 reported violent demonstrations. Did 3000 people die that day? They were protests too in Parliament Square, London. Were thousands bombed? There were protests too in France to remember Adama Traoré, how many died in that one? In Brazil they were marches against Bolsonaro, were 6000 people injured?

I said “LARGELY PEACEFUL”, I didn’t claim NO VIOLENCE AT ALL. 15292 people died of gun violence in the US in 2019, I have no problems with people saying the US is a “largely peaceful” country. Your comparison of BLM to 9/11 is insane.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It depends on where the BLM demonstrations were held. In the US what began as a protest against police violence against African-Americans has led to an examination of racism in all its forms. In Mexico and South Africa the target is mainly police violence. In Brazil, where three-quarters of the 6,220 people killed by police in 2018 were black, race is a factor too. Australians are talking about the treatment of aboriginals. Some Europeans, used to condemning America over race, are realising that they have a problem closer to home. Angela Merkel has asked Germans to take the chance to “sweep outside their own front doors”.

I’m certainly not arguing that LE is targeting all black citizens on the basis of race alone. Or that all LE are racists. But to say that racism isn’t a factor in some cases is naive.

I’m certainly not arguing that LE is targeting all black citizens on the basis of race alone. Or that all LE are racists. But to say that racism isn’t a factor in some cases is naive.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

A study of police-shooting databases published by the National Academy of Sciences found that African American men were about 2 1/2 times more likely than white men to be killed by police. “Men of color face a non-trivial lifetime risk of being killed by police,” the authors wrote. For African American men, the lifetime risk of dying at the hands of police was 1 in 1,000 [https://www.prisonpolicy.or…]

The Washington Post’s own examination of police shootings showed that black Americans account for just 13 percent of the population but one-fourth of shooting victims. Among unarmed victims, the disparity was even greater: More than one-third of those fatally shot were black [https://www.washingtonpost….

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

A study of police-shooting databases published by the National Academy of Sciences found that African American men were about 2 1/2 times more likely than white men to be killed by police. “Men of color face a non-trivial lifetime risk of being killed by police,” the authors wrote. For African American men, the lifetime risk of dying at the hands of police was 1 in 1,000 [https://www.prisonpolicy.or…]

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

A study of police-shooting databases published by the National Academy of Sciences found that African American men were about 2 1/2 times more likely than white men to be killed by police. “Men of color face a non-trivial lifetime risk of being killed by police,” the authors wrote. For African American men, the lifetime risk of dying at the hands of police was 1 in 1,000.

The Washington Post’s own examination of police shootings showed that black Americans account for just 13 percent of the population but one-fourth of shooting victims. Among unarmed victims, the disparity was even greater: More than one-third of those fatally shot were black.

A 2018 study exposed “profound racial disparity in the misdemeanor arrest rate for most ” but not all ” offense types.” The black arrest rate was at least twice as high as that for whites for disorderly conduct, drug possession, simple assault, theft, vagrancy and vandalism.

A 2020 study of marijuana possession arrests by the American Civil Liberties Union concluded that even in an era of legalization and decriminalization, there were “stark racial disparities” in possession arrests, with a black person more than 3 1/2 times more likely to be arrested for possession than a white person, even though rates of usage are similar. The disparities exist “across the country, in every state, in counties large and small, urban and rural, wealthy and poor, and with large and small black populations.”

2977 people died on 9/11, 19 hijackers, and more than 6000 others were injured. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in world history, causing the death of over 500 more people than Pearl Harbour. The economic damage was approximately $40 billion in insurance losses.

There were 7750 BLM demonstrations in all 50 states in the US. 15-26 million people in the US participated, as well as 60 countries internationally. Fewer than 220 reported violent demonstrations in the US. 19 lives were lost and $200 million in non insured damage.

Your comparison of BLM to 9/11 is makes no sense.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

Q Anon anyone?