A friend writes:
“Months of riots and violence are just fine but the threat of a few thousand Proud Boys coming to Portland warrants declaring a state of emergency?
“More seriously: what did the geniuses calling for defunding/abolishing police thought would happen? Granting there ARE some white supremacists—who did the geniuses thought would protect black people from their attacks? Why is suddenly local law enforcement called upon to uphold peace when the whole point of the BLM protests was: local law enforcement is racist and can’t be trusted???”
Indeed, “a state and local law enforcement task force is authorized to use “proportional force,” including tear gas, to keep the peace”—because, unlike Antifa and BLM rioters throwing Molotov cocktails, setting fires, and shooting people, the Proud Boys are “a challenge to Portland’s inclusive and democratic values.”
The only violence that’s in danger of erupting, however, is going to come from leftists trying to attack the Proud Boys. The police are planning to keep the groups apart—see? the police are useful after all!—and the assumption is that keeping them apart will keep the peace because the Proud Boys, by themselves, don’t pose any threat of violence. Anita/BLM, in contrast, not only threaten but employ violence night after night, with or without any counter protesters to engage.
I’ve been puzzled by the “defund the police” business from the start. A lecturer in our department is a big advocate of that. It seems pointless to ask her questions such as those my friend poses. I’m sure the answer is something like, “That comes from a place of privilege. You can only ask because you’re in a social position where you have nothing to fear from the police.”
That’s absurd, but, the real point is, how are you going to answer that question if it comes from an African-American who is far more likely to become a victim of crime than I am? Who could favor abolition of the police, except a criminal?
I’ve heard people on MSNBC and CNN say that such a person would be more likely to be a victim of the police than of crime. That’s so out of sync with the facts that it’s barely worth refuting—something like someone claiming that you’re more likely to be hit by lightning than to be in a minor car accident, and give that as a reason for abolishing auto insurance and traffic laws.
I think the answer is (a) a true anarchist, (b) a Rousseauian who thinks that, in the absence of the police, everyone would just get along and crime would disappear, (c) someone who intends to fill the function of the police once they’re gone, bullying people into paying them protection money—in short, someone who sees that there’s a lot of money to be made providing private protection services in the world that would result— and (d) a fascist who intends to become the police.
I suspect that the lecturer falls into category (b), but that BLM falls into (c). I don’t know about antifa; they talk like (a) but are (d) in the end, I suspect.
The real question is: Which category do the Democrats who support the Defund the Police movement and who fund the riot-supporting organizations such as The Bail Project fall into? The latter group includes top staffers for Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, so it’s a question with significance far beyond Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, New York, and Austin. Some of the city council members and mayors in those cities are probably idealists in category (b). But the Biden-Harris staffers and the Wall Street types who fund this stuff aren’t anarchists or starry-eyed idealists. And I don’t think they plan to enter the security services business. That leaves (d).
Does anyone see another option?
And what does that mean if the Democrats win in November—or December, or January, or whenever they manage to forge enough votes to claim victory and have courts believe them?