The “Peaceful Protestors” Are More Destructive Than the Looters and Rioters

Whenever conservatives castigate the blatant lawlessness, vandalism, threats, and violence that have regularly been present in the nationwide George Floyd protests, liberals accuse us of failing to distinguish “peaceful protestors” from looters and rioters.

Superficially, this distinction makes sense. Looters and rioters are an imminent threat to public welfare. Peaceful protestors, by definition, are not. And to the extent that their protests are truly peaceful, they are unquestionably protected by the First Amendment.

But the non-violent protestors actually are far more damaging to the long-term fabric of our civil society than the rioters. Though many of the protestors have entirely sincere intentions, they are dangerous because their protestsoften using ritual humiliation of their adversaries—are based fundamentally on lies and slander about white people, about police, and about America.

Just as important, the protestors have bullied a who’s who of American companies into supporting their movement: for example, there is a McDonald’s ad celebrating, among others, the thug Michael Brown—who even the Obama justice department determined was killed through an entirely lawful use of force after committing a strong arm robbery. We also saw financial predator Jamie Dimon, CEO of Chase, kneeling for Black Lives Matter in a painfully cringeworthy scene. As Saagar Enjeti put it brilliantly, “If your populist uprising is sponsored by Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Nike and Citibank, then it’s not a populist uprising. It’s just professional managerial class white liberalism.”

In contrast to non-violent protests, looting and violence are very unpopular with every group in America. If there is any encouraging news from the last week, it is that Americans of all ethnic backgrounds decisively reject this as a form of legitimate protest. According to a recent Emerson poll, 20 percent of African-Americans see riots and looting as a legitimate form of protest in response to the death of George Floyd, but a whopping 69 percent disapprove—numbers only slightly less than overall disapproval numbers (17 percent approving 72 percent disapproving). While it is sobering to think that almost a fifth of Americans think violence and looting is acceptable, it is very encouraging that there is little racial split on the issue.

So while looting and rioting may be a “successful” short-term strategy, long-term it obviously hurts our enemies more than it helps them. On the other hand the repetition by “peaceful protestors” of cri de couer about George Floyd is directly slanderous and damaging to our social fabric. The protestors in the streets pretending that there is an epidemic of disproportionate police violence against African-Americans are a problem when the data says it is either modest or nonexistent. More damningly, protestors claim that African-Americans are at physical threat from whites when statistically speaking the exact opposite is true. There have been millions of interracial felonies over the last decade, but by a six-to-one ratio, whites have been the victims of these crimes, not the perpetrators.

Further, the vast majority of these cases—in Chicago, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Ferguson all occurred in places where Democrats have run every branch of government for decades. If racist violence against African-American Democrats occurs at epidemic levels in liberal, multicultural cities, the failures these protestors should protest are those of the Democratic Party, not of America.

The George Floyd story is a tragedy for Floyd and his family, and seemingly a significant case of police malfeasance—but the Floyd case is not a legitimate national story. It’s a Reichstag fire. It’s a local case of police misconduct by a multiracial group (two white, one Asian-American and one African-American) of police officers—period—and any attempt to import a white supremacy narrative is a simple case both of racial slander and slander against the police. Rush Limbaugh was dead on target when he observed that “if what happened to George Floyd had happened to a white man, we probably wouldn’t even have heard about it.”

To use an analogy for today’s “peaceful protestors”—if people took to the streets in a non-violent protest, and accused Jews of systematically and intentionally poisoning wells to cause the deaths of Christians, those protestors would be committing a great evil—because Jews don’t go around systematically and intentionally poisoning wells. The “peaceful” mode of protest is largely irrelevant because the narrative itself is false, malicious, and libelous.  This would be true even if it turned out that a single disturbed, evil Jewish person somewhere did poison a well, and was caught on video doing so. And if it turned out that a number of the accusers’ friends actually did poison wells rather habitually and intentionally, it would make the libel even worse.  That’s what’s going on here. There cannot be a dialogue about any sort of racial reconciliation until the lying and slander against white people, our police, and the United States stops.

The protestors are free to speak. But as they are free to speak, we are free to criticize their speech as bigoted, hateful, un-American, and utterly in opposition to the facts. We are also free to point out the numerous instances of violence and intimidation that have accompanied their allegedly “peaceful” protests. We can point out that in slandering both white people and our multiracial police force, they are polarizing the country in a dangerous way. And we can point out what our institutions and most damningly our “conservatives” are largely too cowardly to talk about—that the interracial violence epidemic goes in the opposite direction than that claimed by BLM.

We can rebuild the businesses and organizations destroyed by rioters and anarchists. Who will rebuild the trust in our civil society, our leading businesses, or our cultural institutions that have participated in the mass production of lies, and have attempted to silence anyone who thinks otherwise? Who will rebuild our police forces, cops of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds who do the dangerous and demanding work of enforcing the law and keeping civil order? Who will convince middle America that the government works for their interests?

The “peaceful protestors” have created this disaster, and we will be dealing with its consequences for many years to come.

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About Jeremy Carl

Jeremy Carl is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute. He served as deputy assistant secretary of the interior under President Trump and lives with his family in Montana. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeremycarl4.

Photo: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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