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Today’s Lawless Radicals Don’t Understand Civil Disobedience

Today’s Lawless Radicals Don’t Understand Civil Disobedience

As Althouse reports and Instapundit distills, concerning a violent protest:

…people seem to have acquired the idea that the usual rules don’t apply if you’re propelled by righteous anger against a demonized a political opponent. You’re “well-motivated” so what would otherwise be crimes become mere breaches of “decorum.”

One thing I’ve noticed while spending a particularly large amount of time on university campuses is that activists of my generation often have no understanding of civil disobedience. To far too many young leftists, “civil disobedience” is a get-out-of-jail-free card that should allow people to break the law so long as they are really, really, self-righteous about it.  The idea of evoking sympathy through the moral power of passively enduring suffering for a just cause is foreign to many safe, middle-class, revolutionary wannabees who want a free lunch out of their rebellion as well as their government.

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Nintendo Revolutionaries

To far too many young leftists, “civil disobedience” is a get-out-of-jail-free card that should allow people to break the law so long as they are really, really, self-righteous about it.

This wouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem if judges, prosecutors, college administrators, and the police didn’t abet this attitude. In many places, it’s all but impossible to get arrested during a political protest, regardless of behavior.

[…] Legal Insurrection: One thing I’ve noticed while spending a particularly large amount of time on university campuses is that activists of my generation often have no understanding of civil disobedience. To far too many young leftists, “civil disobedience” is a get-out-of-jail-free card that should allow people to break the law so long as they are really, really, self-righteous about it. The idea of evoking sympathy through the moral power of passively enduring suffering for a just cause is foreign to many safe, middle-class, revolutionary wannabees who want a free lunch out of their rebellion as well as their government. […]

Subotai Bahadur | September 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

When you have a couple of generations raised to be totally shielded from the concept of actions and choices having consequences; of course they will not understand the moral power of civil disobedience. In fact they may not really understand the concept of “moral” at all. The spawn of the Political Class, and the wanna-be members of the Political Class are always gob-smacked when any hint of reality enters their lives.

As the country goes broke, and as the stream of money that supports their posturing dries up; they are due for another dose of reality. And if they continue with the escalating violence against those who disagree with them; they may find that the same law that has become useless to protect their chosen victims will become useless to protect them if people decide that they have had enough.

I believe Robert Bolt had a few well chosen words on that subject in “A Man For All Seasons”.

Subotai Bahadur

A key element of any act of civil disobedience is performing the act and then accepting the punishment. It is being punished for an act that is believed to be not wrong that differentiates civil disobedience from simple vandalism.

Congrats, Matthew, Althouse picked up your post.

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