Archive for August 14th, 2014

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

Quote note (#102)

Distracted by the Twitter TL-clogging Ferguson craziness, without finding anything much to say about it (there are a few comments over here). So how about a Scott Alexander joke, of at least arguable relevance?

It goes:

I’ve been using IQ as an example recently, and I feel bad about it because it’s so controversial and politicized. So let’s switch about something else instead.

How about race?

(As usual with SA, I’m a terrible reader, because my prejudices make it almost impossible to understand the necessity of needing persuasion. There’s always a ‘duh!’ resounding in my head. Still, on the basis of a bad reading, I think he ends up on the dark side — i.e. stark common sense — but he does so with such politeness that it’s hard to be entirely sure.)

ADDED: This made me smile too —

August 14, 2014admin 5 Comments »