Why Didn't They Tell You?

Dr. FRANK MARTINS COMMENTARY ON HISTORICAL, SOCIAL & ECONOMIC ISSUES OF OUR TIME

that recent protests have been anything but peaceful?

that recent protests have been anything but peaceful?

As I have listened to the reporting on the protests in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, invariably the protests were, and still are, described by reporters as mostly peaceful; however, the scenes shown of the protests more often than not showed protesters setting fires, breaking windows in buildings, fighting with or taunting police officers, painting graffiti on buildings or sidewalks, or pulling down statues. All of these actions constitute violent behavior.

Mischaracterization of Protests by Media

There often has been a disconnect between the descriptions of the protests and the scenes actually shown or described. An example of this disconnect is the reporting on a protest in Sacramento by the Sacramento Bee as, “A peaceful protest turned briefly into a tense standoff with police on a highway overpass. Demonstrators threw water bottles, trash, and other objects at officers, who then fired pepper bullets and flash-bang grenades to disperse the crowd …” Was that a peaceful protest? Of twenty-two (22) protests, in as many cities, in late May/early June, listed and described by the news website nj.com, only two (Memphis and Boston) were peaceful. When I think of peaceful protests, I think of the non-violent marches and sit-ins of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and the 1960’s. The protesters in that peaceful, non-violent movement never engaged in any of the above mentioned violent behaviors. They were trained to accept abuse and even beatings without retaliating. These current protesters are aggressively confronting and physically attacking police officers and committing other acts of violence. The current funeralizing of Congressman John R. Lewis should be a reminder of what truly peaceful protests look like.

Cities in Turmoil

The protests have continued in cities like Seattle and Portland, Oregon. In actuality, what’s going on in Portland and some other cities is rioting, not protesting. Innocent bystanders, police officers, and protesters have been killed or injured. The turmoil has continued unabated in Portland for the past two months (61 days). During all of this, too often the police have been told to stand down by the mayors of these cities where this rioting is occurring. As a result crime is soaring, including homicides with the killing of innocent children in New York, Chicago, and other cities. Some of these places are in turmoil, and local officials and governors are not doing very much, if anything, to stop it. Many citizens are living in fear in certain areas.

Reaction to Federal Government Intervention

What is most disconcerting is that many public officials, from city mayors up to the Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives seem to take the side of the lawbreakers while denigrating law enforcement officials and efforts of the President to protect Federal property. The Seattle City Council tied the hands of the police in dealing with violent demonstrations, to the dismay of the Police Chief. In Portland, demonstrators launched an assault on the Federal Courthouse and other Federal installations in that city. Therefore, the President ordered additional federal officials to be dispatched there to protect the buildings. Federal law enforcement officials right away arrested some of the perpetrators. A fence was constructed around the building. Demonstrators immediately began to try to tear down the fence. The following statement issued by the Portland Police Bureau and reported in the New York Post describes what happened Saturday night/Sunday morning (July 25-26),

“Throughout the night some people in this crowd spent their time shaking the fence around the building, throwing rocks, bottles, and assorted debris over the fence, shining lasers through the fence, firing explosive fireworks into the area blocked by the fence, and using power tools to try to cut through the fence,” the bureau said in a statement.

“People wore gas masks, carried shields, hockey sticks, leaf blowers, flags, and umbrellas specifically to thwart police in crowd dispersal or attempt to conceal criminal acts. People against the fence sprayed unknown liquids through it toward the courthouse. People tied rope to the fence and attempted to pull it down,” the bureau said.

“At about 1:03 a.m. people in the crowd attached a chain to the fence and with many people pulling managed to pull a section of it down,” the bureau said, with protesters also lighting fires in the street.

“People climbed over the fence to get close to the federal courthouse. People continued to launch mortar style fireworks at ground level that were exploding near others.”

Lasers aimed at Federal officers resulted in the possible permanent blindness of three individuals. The Portland Police Bureau declared a riot in the early hours of July 27 which marked the 60th straight day of violent demonstrations in Portland.

There was a time when such actions would have brought forth unanimous condemnation from elected officials but not in this case. Last week, the mayor of Portland went to the protest site and told the rioters that he was on their side. Their response was to demand that he quit his job. Mayors of other cities have made it clear that they do not want help from the President and have asked him not to send in additional federal officials. In a statement condemning President Trump’s acting to protect Federal buildings, Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, called the federal officers “storm troopers”.  Meanwhile Federal buildings in Portland are being destroyed. Evidently the aim is to burn down the Federal Courthouse.

Antifa and BLM

Who are the leaders of these riotous protests? Who are the drivers? Some of the demonstrators in these crowds are legitimate protesters who are concerned about police misconduct. However, the protests have been hijacked by radical groups. Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) seem to be the primary instigators. Most of the rioters appear to be white. Literally Antifa means anti-fascist. It is a somewhat elusive organization of groups who coalesce for disruptive and usually violent protests. They oppose fascism and white supremacy but do not stop there. They are anti-capitalist, anti-American, anti-conservative, anti-Christian, and anti-Trump; ditto for BLM. Both Antifa and BLM are hard-core revolutionaries bent on tearing down the United States of America and remaking it according to their Marxist/Socialist image of what they think is the good society. At a gathering of BLM near a Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles in support of the rioting taking place in Portland, the spokesperson urged, “…  unity against President Trump, as well as fascism and capitalism.”1 (Italics added)

They are not interested in reform. Hence they do not want to reform the police but abolish the police. After they have taken down statues of every Confederate, they will concoct reasons to take down the statues of each and every historical figure they target. They also are working on undermining the Church and the Family. In the final analysis, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence must go. The Declaration of Independence must go because it declares that our rights come from God. They want a clean slate.

The Consequences of Antifa and BLM Having Their Way

The Radical Left’s getting in control would spell the end of freedom as we know it. One of the tenets of those who adhere to Marxist/Socialist doctrine is equality of outcomes, not equality of opportunity. It seems that the primary reason for the Left’s assertion of the existence of systemic racism is the inequality of outcomes. Thus the fact that the median family income of African-American families is less than that of whites is prima facie evidence of discrimination and racism, even if the differences can be explained by differences in productivity factors. Some people earn more than others because they have more education or more marketable skills. Egalitarian socialism has always failed. A few examples will suffice to illustrate the point.

The Pilgrim Experiment

Initially the Pilgrims tried to implement a system of egalitarian socialism. All that was produced by the community was put into one pot and redistributed to everyone based on the principle, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” What was the result? Eminent starvation. There were the freeloaders who worked very little or none at all. Some young men resented widows with children receiving more than they who had worked to produce the goods. William Bradford, their leader, saw that this was not working. Therefore, he instituted changes by assigning land to individuals who were allowed to keep the fruit of their labor. In short order, they had plenty. The system of socialism destroyed incentives to work, thereby impoverishing the whole community.

The Chinese Reset

When Mao Zedong and his supporters took over China in 1949, they set up a Marxist/Leninist system of socialism. Almost 20 years later, the wife of Chairman Mao unleashed the young Red Guards on the population in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s, creating much chaos. The Chinese had tried to implement a system of egalitarian socialism that did not allow anyone to become rich; there were no millionaires. During the Cultural Revolution, highly trained scientist had been pulled out of their labs and put in the rice fields. The result was disastrous. Eventually Madame Mao’s youngsters were reigned in. Though still communist, the Chinese government allowed some free enterprise to emerge. Market forces were allowed to operate. Individuals were allowed to get rich. The unleashing of the creative energies of the Chinese people led to the Chinese miracle we know about. Chinese communism had to be modified to allow individuals to benefit from the fruit of their labor. Imposing equal outcomes did not work.  

Which Way America?

I hope that my readers see that there is more at issue here than race. Indeed, all of the turmoil right now is not primarily about race or racism. Racism is a ruse. Playing the race card is the means to another end. Socialist revolution is the end objective. This is an especially critical time because the American public attitude toward socialism has softened. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 42% of Americans had a positive view of socialism. The subtitle of this section is the title of a publication by my classmate from Tulane University, W. Michael Cox, Which Way America, 2011 Annual Report, O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, SMU Cox School of Business. The way of socialism is: big government, equality [of outcomes], redistribution, taxes, dependence, decline, and poverty while the way of capitalism is: economic freedom, opportunity, production, incentives, responsibility, progress, and wealth. Venezuela is a good example of the decline that may ensue when a previously prosperous country opts for socialism.  

Which way America?

Sources

  1. Black Lives Matter Protesters Gather at LA Federal Building In Solidarity With Portland. https://laist.com/2020/07/26/protesters_gather_at_la_federal_building_in_solidarity_with_portland.php
  2. Featured image of flag being burned at Federal Courthouse in Portland, OR accessed at https://www.google.com/search?q=riots+in+portland&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjnsZ3EgfHqAhURXlMKHSDWBwMQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=riots+in&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQARgAMggIABCxAxCDATICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADoECAAQQzoFCAAQsQM6BwgAELEDEENQvIIGWKicBmCAsAZoAHAAeACAAX-IAdEFkgEDNi4ymAEAoAEBqgELZ3dzLXdpei1pbWfAAQE&sclient=img&ei=2qggX-fcO5G8zQKgrJ8Y&bih=871&biw=1920&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS894US894

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