King Mob

There’s quite definitely a technical problem with banning public street protest (i.e. mobs). Even a riotous mob is a vague concept, reliant upon discretionary police judgment on occasions. But is the criminalization of public protest also a problem of principal?

Strangely, most libertarians seem to think the right to free-association extends automatically to mob formation. This presupposes that a mob is not inherently an act of aggression, existing solely to intimidate, and in fact — strictly speaking — an instance of terrorism. It is obvious why the Left should like the mob. It self-identifies as the articulate representative of the mob. Far more obscure is why anyone from a liberal tradition, let alone further to the right, should concur in this appreciation.

Free expression hardly requires physical aggregation in public places, with near-inevitable expression of a potential for violence. It is not difficult to see that the basic historical role of the mob has been to advance demands, backed by implicit threat. Between a mob, a riotous mob, and a revolutionary mob, there are differences of degree rather than of kind. Even the strongest supporter of the principle of ‘voice’ should see zero additional value in its physical concentration. Resonance and group emotion undermine a statement, rather than reinforcing it, unless the ‘statement’ is collectively directed anger (which is to say once again, inherently Leftist).

Mobs are no doubt almost impossible to effectively criminalize. That does not at all mean one is compelled to like them, or acknowledge their legitimacy. Their existence is an intrinsic threat to both liberty and authority.

Perhaps laws against public indecency could be applied to politics in the street? In any case, it is past time for everyone to the right of the Left to lucidly despise it.

August 14, 2014admin 35 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations


35 Responses to this entry

  • Alrenous Says:

    The owner of the street gets to decide what constitutes an unlawful gathering. Owners that allow reasonable gatherings and not unreasonable ones will have more profitable streets. Ones that don’t even allow two people to stand near each other facing in different direction may still be profitable enough. Owners will be able to use discretion to adapt to local conditions.

    Formally I am part owner of any street I demonstrate on. This is why vagrancy laws are complicated; technically you’re evicting someone from their own land. Clearly is this informally false, as I can’t sell my ownership nor decide where streets go nor maintain it, etc…


    admin Reply:

    Yes — the neatest answer. Saw Bitstein on Twitter proposing the end of public highways as the solution to the problem.


    Alrenous Reply:

    If ‘public’ means ‘government owned’ you don’t even need to go that far. Formalize government ownership and then unite the decision maker with who is held responsible.


    Alrenous Reply:

    “Held reponsible” => if a riot breaks your storefront, you can sue that guy personally for damages.


    William Newman Reply:

    I’m not sure anything can make the issue really neat. In particular, most thinking libertarians will freely grant that issues related to right of way are tricky for any simple model of property. (Some of the knowledgeable ones will also pester you with examples that show that those issues are not as fiercely intractable as critics like to claim, but that doesn’t make the issues neat and simple.) That said, some relevant parts of the issue are neat: e.g., some libertarians think public right of way arrangements should not exist, but given that they exist, libertarians tend to agree strongly that the law should prevent people from blocking them (and should be consistently enforced).

    I think a fair amount of the libertarian hostility you see today is because they no longer grant good faith to the governments that are imposing limits. In particular, libertarians are not impressed by “hate speech” laws, or limits on religious garb, or limits on advertising tobacco or smoking in “public” spaces, pushing into things like restaurants. When a government is doing things like that, it makes it hard for a libertarian to credit any given claim that public behavior is being limited for compelling content-neutral reasons instead of aggressively partisan social-control reasons.

    It is also corrosive when for its political friends the government waives its interest in public-order cases which are obvious from first principles (like protestors intentionally blocking public right of way, e.g.) or which are obvious from arbitrary but reasonable lines written into long-standing law (like intimidating voters near polling places). Once a government is known for that, it is harder to cut it slack for borderline-reasonable actions against its political opponents.

    It is also corrosive when the police aggressively suppress video cameras and the government otherwise energetically suppress evidence: those are very effective ways to convince libertarians that a government is not about law and order. That conviction naturally poisons the interpretation of otherwise plausible policy decisions like driving a somewhat-scary group of people off the streets.


    admin Reply:

    I don’t entirely disagree, but I think a lot of this is actually rationalization for progressive pandering. Adopting Leftist positions produces an immediate dopamine hit under current social conditions. It’s hard to resist, and even harder to avoid slipping onto an addictive slope once you start.

    Alrenous Reply:

    Past coercion tends to necessitate future coercion. (As a stupid example, if you force someone to be hooked on heroin, it’s likely someone else is going to have to force them to stop to get them off again.)

    If you enclose the commons as they are right now, yeah you’re going to have issues with right of way. However, the problem is self correcting.

    One canon example is not being able to get to my job, because the roads between A and B have become private and they don’t like me enough to let me through. Thing is, if the roads had been private in the first place, I would have obtained a permanent transit permit before taking the job, or else decline the job as inaccessible.

    The river/farmland arrangement works the same. Acquire right of way instead of taking it for granted.

    those are very effective ways to convince libertarians that a government is not about law and order.

    Many civil disobedience campaigns are kinda sorta justifiable. Guerrilla slave freeing is just a statement that laws supporting slavery are inherently unjust; it’s not entirely clear those laws aren’t.

    The IRS destroying its records is utterly, totally, completely beyond the pale. They’re obviously horrendously guilty. As far as I’m concerned this is war crime level criminality.

    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 7:07 pm Reply | Quote
  • SINISTA Says:

    LAND U A RACIST ****

    U ****** POISON


    WATCH U BACK ****




    [Admin: I’m leaving this up for a little while because it’s amusing. Now edited for decency.]


    admin Reply:

    Hey, Sinista buddy, the last guy you sent over seems to have run into a little trouble.


    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    I’m guessing glorious China didn’t have a level-3 chimpout over that incident?


    admin Reply:


    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 7:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • Dale Rooster Says:

    Why are mobs inherently “leftist”. If contemporary modern “leftism” began with Martin Luther, who unintentionally sparked a revolutionary peasant movement (which he denounced), then “leftism” is just as much individualistic (solo fide) as it is egalitarian (priesthood of all believers). Thus, both mob/herd-mentality and those who stand or think above the Crowd as individuals are, um, “leftist” perspectives.


    admin Reply:

    This is a deep crevice to clamber down into. It looks to me like a way back to the interminable ‘How to make sense of the Left/Right spectrum?’ discussion, which is both inescapable and (probably) insoluble. I’m extremely happy with pushing mobs out of my right — they’re fundamentally demotic, and a ‘rightist’ mob is already fascist IMHO. (Still, I can see that from the perspective of Catholic reaction, it looks very different.)


    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    There’s no guarantee a given mob will be leftist in nature or function, but as ‘the medium is the message’, mobs are, in that sense, inherently revolutionary. The revolution/counter-revolution is the primary left/right axis, so I think the position is defensible as such.

    To say that some elites are manipulating the mob and that elites are non-mob and so there’s a contradiction is to ignore the fact that there are realistically no self-forming mobs; it’s not a matter of mob vs elite, but rather, of the system of elites wielding the mob towards revolution, and those who resist and counter this tactic.

    It seems unlikely any kind of mob would be successful as a counter-revolutionary tactic, but it’s not impossible. I mean, the Redskins COULD win the Superbowl. It’s inherently POSSIBLE, just structurally ‘problematic’.


    Hurlock Reply:

    Individualism is not leftism.

    ““leftism” is just as much individualistic (solo fide) as it is egalitarian (priesthood of all believers)”

    See, this here is the problem. You can’t have egalitarianism AND individualism. It is flat out impossible. Those are like oil and water. You think you can have both because that is what all of the contemporary leftists are saying. Well guess what, they are insane and retarded.
    Egalitarianism if strictly enforced always destroys individualism. And vice-versa.
    This is actually a Law of Gnon.
    If individualism, egalitarianism is impossible because people are different and some are just smarter and stronger than others, therefore with individualism people will tend to end up with differences in social status (massive, among some) simply because virtually no one is identical to the rest in terms of abilities, and grossly speaking some individuals are more capable. Ergo, no egalitarianism possible in this case.
    If egalitarianism, these differences in aptitude don’t just go away, but since the whole point is to have everyone at roughly the same level, some people will be artificially elevated by egalitarianism despite their inferior capabilities, while others will be suppressed from developing their superior capabilities just so that everyone can be kept “equal”.

    It is quite obvious then, that individualism and egalitarianism are by definition incompatible (in fact what I have been describing in this comment is basically a tautology which everyone should realize unless he is a progressive).
    And it is quite obvious which one is more insane.

    (Jim actually touches on this subject a little in his essay on Natural Law, listed in the resources here)


    Deogolwulf Reply:

    Perhaps the most valuable thing about neoreaction is that it stands as a striking example of what it itself acknowledges, albeit seemingly without self-awareness: that leftism has advanced so far and so quickly, and become so great a power in the naming of its advance, that yesterday’s leftism comes to be called today’s rightism. As leftism goes further, perhaps tomorrow there will be neo-neo-reactionaries claiming that old-fashioned egalitarianism is not leftism either.

    Leftism is incoherent in accident if not in essence. Individualism and egalitarianism are properties (proper accidents) of leftism, the essence of which is perpetual revolt, overthrow, and destruction — or perhaps rather: some material or animal recrudescence. That its properties are mutually incompatible, mutually destructive, is in keeping with its essence.

    Individualism is not the whole of leftism, but it has a claim to be itsmost vital property.


    Dale Rooster Reply:

    Hi, Hurlock.

    I entirely agree with your post. There are some in the alt-right/NRx universe who claim that individualism is indeed inherently “left”. I fundamentally disagree with that position. (It’s a little debate Brett Stevens and I have from time to time.)

    Deogolwulf writes: “Leftism is incoherent in accident if not in essence. Individualism and egalitarianism are properties (proper accidents) of leftism, the essence of which is perpetual revolt, overthrow, and destruction — or perhaps rather: some material or animal recrudescence. That its properties are mutually incompatible, mutually destructive, is in keeping with its essence.”

    This is similar to MM’s point (paraphrased as I don’t recall the exact quote) that the “left” isn’t a consistent or coherent system of ideas, but always a movement…towards totalitarianism and, thus, the destruction of civilization.

    Effectively, the left gets away with this bullshit cause a) realpolitik (they have had all the power), and b) Hegelian dialectic is actually their MO.

    A quote from Deogolwulf’s last link: “The pluralism which accompanies individualism is a social dysfunction built on subjectivistic-irrationalistic ethics. It denies that mankind has a nature and thereby a natural end to be fulfilled. Only by that denial does it make sense to say that everyone has a right to pursue any goals and practice any values which he pleases so long as he does not seek to foist them upon others. And how is that disorder to be managed? Why, by the totalitarian bureau-technocratic state of liberaldom!”

    Not necessarily. Does mankind have a nature? Yes, no. Maybe so. I say, ask Kierkegaard and Nietzsche that question. (But I still have little love for trannys.) You can be an individualist, have respect for individual autonomy, and be loyal to your family, heritage, tradition and thede. Individualism, in fact, allows space for hierarchy and natural order…some people are better than others (get over it) and those people will lead, rule, teach, guide, and train others for generations in countless different contexts. And pluralism, in my opinion, is the exact opposite of the Progressive wet-dream of one all-powerful monoculture that will control the entire goddamn earth (in Prog-speak…the “global community”).

    Herd morality and groupthink…these are the products of Egalitarianism, Puritanism, and TradCons favorite Progressive–Mr. Jesus H. Christ.

    Anyhow, thanks for replying. I enjoy the dialogue!


    Deogolwulf Reply:

    “Does mankind have a nature? Yes, no. Maybe so.”

    It is open-minded of you to entertain the idea that, in speaking of mankind, you are referring to nothing in heaven or earth. Bold too in that you entertain at a level where not even the blank-slatist dares to amuse us; for even he holds (at least implicitly) that mankind is the kind of thing upon which anything could be inscribed, thus attributing to mankind a nature as such. But you entertain something even more radical (and altogether incoherent): something without a nature at all. Besides, why pick on mankind? Why not igneous rock?

    “I say, ask Kierkegaard and Nietzsche that question.”

    From subjectivists and irrationalists, it is not always to be expected that objective and rational answers will be forthcoming.

    “Individualism, in fact, allows space for hierarchy and natural order.”

    By ideology, it allows space for anything; hence, in reality, it makes space for chaos. From which, we may note, the kind of order may arise that is anathema to the individualist. Which, we may note more happily, serves him right.

    “Herd morality and groupthink…these are the products of Egalitarianism, Puritanism, and TradCons favorite Progressive–Mr. Jesus H. Christ.”

    They are the products of that thing whose non-existence you entertain, namely, human nature, aka, rational animality, of which the animality is of the social (i.e., group-) kind. But, overlooking the problem of human nature, like all utopians, you espy the glib-optimistic pseudo-solution: just get rid of egalitarianism, puritanism, Christianity, etc, and the abstract creatures of liberal thought will be born unto the world Or, to put it another way: you entertain that mankind is without nature, whilst incoherently affirming that mankind is of such a nature that it can give rise to that most curious figment of mental abstraction, found nowhere in nature or possibility, namely, the individualist’s conception of the human individual.

    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 8:15 pm Reply | Quote
  • SINISTA Says:

    [Abuse + threats]


    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    >NIGGAS WAITIN 4 U ****

    Your daily dose of apocalyptic horror. The feel when you’ve been talking over radio with a fellow survivor in a zombie apocalypse, and you tune in on day 230, to hear only bloodthirsty groaning.


    tnabaliava Reply:

    Nyan Sandwich, what happened to your Tumblr and Twitter? I was enjoying your Tumblr posts…


    nyan_sandwich Reply:

    I nuked my tumblr for some reason. Twitter suicide is harder.

    I don’t know if it’s worth reviving my tumblr. Still contemplating how much writing I ought to be doing and on what topics.

    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 10:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • King Mob | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 10:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • SINISTA Says:


    nydwracu Reply:

    “Hazardous to the health of America”


    Wyrd Reply:

    Orcs gotta orc.


    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 10:21 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    “Ferguson Police @Ferguson_Police · 17m

    Thursday is clusterbomb day.”

    Mobs are what clusterbombs are for.


    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 11:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    I wanna see how the Highway Patrol handles this, I really do.


    Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 11:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • bbq beast Says:

    It might be true that most people of the mob are just peaceful and standing there or running away from the police. But their presence alone is an act of aggression, because by forming the mob they give shelter to the aggressive elements that are attracted to these gatherings.
    These elements will constantly test the boundaries of the police (which is always OUTNUMBERED) and try to get a rise out of them. Once the police starts responding the whole mob gets punished.
    This also helps to understand why the police acts in such seemingly brutal or aggressive manner. It’s because they are OUTNUMBERED. They have to show force, and let the mob know they don’t fuck around. If the mob goes unchecked all hell breaks loose.
    If you attend these gatherings which you know have been or are going to be violent most likely, you are just another vandal and thrill seeker. Don’t go blaring on about justice lol.


    Dark Psy-Ops Reply:

    ‘Don’t shoot the innocent mob just because some are weilding the guillotine’. (lol)

    There’s also the obvious resemblance to Palestine, where no matter how voilent a ‘marginal’ population becomes the instances of voilence must be ignored or even justified, and all emphasis placed upon victimized civilians or ‘peaceful protesters’. Indeed, some in Gaza have already spoken out in support of the rioters and remarked upon the supposed similarity of their situation. I could go on but there’s no point, #Ferguson was some of the most insane tweet-mobbing I had seen since the last time ‘solidarity’ went viral (#yesallwomen perhaps?), a most unpleasant phenomenon in any case. It is as Nietzsche said, after coming into contact with religious fanatics one feels he needs to wash his hands.

    Anyway, now that things have subsided into true ritualistics (with the appearance of heroic Captain Johnson), and the Washington Post has assured us the event has turned from ‘Rioting’ into ‘Hugs and Kisses’, it looks as though the Cathedral got out of this one by simply leading its sheep down the road in mock protest of itself.

    Will be interesting to see how long this globalizing dynamic of ‘total war without enemies’ can last without turning into… well… total war (but worse).


    Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 5:15 am Reply | Quote
  • William Newman Says:

    “Adopting Leftist positions produces an immediate dopamine hit under current social conditions. It’s hard to resist, and even harder to avoid slipping onto an addictive slope once you start.”

    I see your point, and I might even have made a similar point myself about some blinderedness around GMU. To pick on Bryan Caplan and immigration: economists are justifiably impatient about people who don’t appreciate free exchange and comparative advantage, but smart honest economists should also take seriously the possibility of losing more than is gained by accidentally-on-purpose making US politics more like Latin American politics, and should also be scathing about important details of immigration policy (many formal microeconomic perversities in H1B and the like, many public choice perversities in electing a new people, more public choice perversities in the way immigration is to be expanded not into a right governed by stable written law but a favor selectively doled out by the powerful to their current allies). A libertarian general support for freedom of religion is not a very good explanation for supporting James II selectively doling out extralegal tolerance to his allies while continuing to persecute other religions; by elimination, we must take more seriously other explanations like your dopamine rush explanation or the usual get-along-with-the-rulers considerations.

    However, note the “around GMU” I slipped in there. My impression is that (1) libertarians who moved to greater Washington DC are a large proportion of the libertarians who have readjusted their thinking to please the left, and (2) most libertarians don’t move to greater Washington DC. Even moving to a thoroughly left place like California (Friedman, Postrel…) doesn’t seem remotely comparable.


    Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 8:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bill Says:

    @SINISTA @admin Just let him read your Kant essay from Fanged Noumena and he’ll see you and he have more in common than he supposes. Just kidding of course.


    Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 10:51 pm Reply | Quote
  • Alice Teller Says:

    How distressing to learn I am a leftist. Sometimes I just sit, sharpening my pitchforks and daydreaming about taking a mob to Washington. How can anyone look at that crowd and not feel the temptation?


    Posted on August 16th, 2014 at 2:17 am Reply | Quote
  • Dan Says:

    If I were the police chief in Ferguson, I would emphasize that when the mob destroyed the property of innocent people and committed acts of violence they forfeited their right of street protest.


    Posted on August 16th, 2014 at 2:25 am Reply | Quote
  • Outside in - Involvements with reality » Blog Archive » Chaos Patch (#23) Says:

    […] King Mob […]

    Posted on August 17th, 2014 at 12:59 pm Reply | Quote

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