Extinction rebellion is coercive and anti-democratic to the core, by Henry Ergas.
“Extinction rebellion” is not a protest against governments — it is a protest against the voters who elected them. And its message to those voters is as simple as it is manifestly undemocratic: adopt our policies or we will make your life impossible.
It is true the protesters have not resorted to violence, at least so far, but their methods are inherently coercive, punishing fellow citizens by depriving them of the right to peacefully go about their business. …
They cloak themselves behind the mantle of civil disobedience against unjust laws, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. But that’s a different situation. Those protests were against manifestly unjust laws. Climate activists just lose elections.
But a law was never unjust merely because one disagreed with it. Rather, the defining feature of an unjust law was that it was “inflicted upon a minority” that lacked “the unhampered right to vote” and that therefore “had no part in enacting or creating it”. It was then and only then that one could disobey the law in good conscience.
Writing in the wake of the civil rights movement John Rawls, perhaps the pre-eminent political philosopher of the latter part of the 20th century, underscored King’s point. “If we break laws whenever we deem them unsatisfactory,” he argued, “the mutual trust and confidence on which our institutions depend will dissipate.” …
All that, of course, cuts no ice with the protesters. Scornful of the rule-governed activity that allows a pluralistic society to exist and to persist over time, they see only absolutes, not trade-offs, and believe that those who don’t share their convictions are ignorant, duplicitous or corrupt.
Nowhere is the fanaticism more apparent than in Greta Thunberg’s calls for fundamental moral reconstruction.
Her demand is not simply for a change of policies, it is for “a whole new way of thinking” in which competition “must come to an end” and be replaced by an age of frictionless co-operation.
It’s more “our way or unpleasantness follows” from the indoctrinated left. (Say, maybe we should abandon the
indoctrination education system, and try again?)