Mob Rule In Durham

Mob Rule In Durham, by Rod Dreher.

Note the placard with “Smash White” in large letters then “Supremacy” in smaller letters (at 0:15).

Yesterday, a mob in Durham, NC, tore down a Confederate statue that had been in place since 1924. …

Police did nothing, arrested no one. What an appalling scene — even if you think that Confederate statues should come down. Why was it appalling? Because this is how the rule of law ends: in the violent frenzy of mob action.

This is the ultimate end of identity politics of all kinds. You cannot reason with it. It grounds Truth in identity — in race, in ethnicity, in religion, in sex, and so forth. Its lethal alchemy turns people into arguments, or rather, assertions masquerading as arguments. You cannot argue with an identity politics zealot, because to deny their assertion is to deny their personhood. In turn, you aren’t simply wrong when you disagree with those zealots; you are a threat to their existence. Having depersonalized you, they owe you no respect. The higher cause of asserting and affirming their identity excuses everything.

Once politics go tribal, it is very difficult to turn back. Yet the new left is continuing to tribalize the West for perceived electoral gain.

Again: this is how the rule of law ends, and law is replaced by will to power. An angry mob, no matter what it stands for, is always the enemy of the truth.

That Durham mob (and what it represents) is a far, far greater threat to this country today than Confederate monuments, and what they represent. Where were the police yesterday? Why did they let this happen?

This is a very big deal. You want to see far-right white mobs descending upon civil rights monuments, desecrating them and even tearing them down? That mob in Durham has just laid the groundwork for it. And when the white nationalist mob comes in with clubs swinging, to what is this left-wing mob going to appeal for protection, having defied the same law that protects them and public monuments in their zeal to destroy what offends them? …

You can see in the comments here the toxic effect of identity politics. There are people saying that the racial evil the statue represents is so intolerable that people who tore it down are justified in so doing. What will these people say when a right-wing mob tears down a statue of Dr. King? What would these people say if a mob of pro-life zealots tore down an abortion clinic, in which pro-lifers believe something akin to murder takes place every day? The rule of law is a precious thing.

Commenter Steve S.:

When I was in east Baghdad, I saw firsthand a society where there was no rule of law. Shia militias ruled by force and intimidation. They were effectively the government, and they didn’t think twice about eliminating people, including other Shias, who they thought stood in the way of their political goals. I know because they murdered some of the local (Shia) Iraqis who translated for us, men whom I considered friends. Americans who have never been anywhere near this sort of thing lose all credibility with me when they celebrate, excuse, or wink at political violence. They have ZERO clue what they are promoting. … I have been feeling that self-righteous wrath building up inside me.

hat-tip Stephen Neil