Mark is writing a book claiming that the American Revolution was just. The current rebels have probably destroyed as much private property (in terms of value) as those who did the Boston Tea Party (but without the charming Indian outfits). Should it be revered in future textbooks? Face masks aren’t nearly as picturesque as feathers and moccasins. But they claim to be resisting tyranny, so are you celebrating their efforts?
We know that people who don’t like duly-passed government policies have a right to use force and violence to impose their will against that of the legal authorities because they have a “right” to do so. We know that efforts by the legal authorities to enforce the law are themselves tyrannical and that governments do not have a right to maintain order if a particularly noisy portion of the population objects.
Has the bottle- and rock-throwing of these freedom fighters been enough to venerate – even though they couldn’t goad the authorities into a Boston Massacre-type end result? Is their attempt to do so enough to warrant a Freedom Trail in Minneapolis or outside the White House, or does someone have to die?
Have they looted enough private property (big-screen TVs, etc.) and assaulted enough law enforcement personnel to be celebrated with the hallowed ranks of the mobs who attacked Loyalists, stamp agents, and government officers in the 1770s?
They have fallen somewhat short of the sterling example set by the 1776 “patriots” because they haven’t confiscated the property of those who simply hold a different political view and they haven’t yet imprisoned their political opponents without due process of law. They’re not even requiring their fellow citizens to sign oaths of allegiance to their cause or threatening the freedom and livelihood of those who refuse – but give them time. They haven’t denied freedom of religion by closing churches, denied freedom of the press by destroying the presses of their opponents and burning their publications, or denied freedom of speech by sending mobs to the homes of those who express a different opinion. But they’ve made a good start, haven’t they? You can at least hope that some tarring and feathering is in the works.
Apparently, carrying on the honored tradition of the Committees of Correspondence, many of these rioters are organized and shipped in from outside the community. The rabble-rousers of the 1770s (e.g. Sam Adams and John Hancock) would be proud.
Perhaps they’ll achieve the level of rebellion and social disruption of your heroes: the “Patriots” in 1776 and the Southerners in 1861. After all, the U.S. government today taxes millions of Americans without representation – in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and the nation’s capital: Washington, D.C. The time to “resist” is long overdue – right? These “patriots” focused on “systemic injustice” are perhaps the vanguard of a larger movement. Perhaps they’ll get the support of 1/3 of Americans; we know that level has been established as sufficient to justify war and to cast off the authority of a government.