Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Magical Standard

A while back, I made a comment about what I called the "magical standard". It's a mode of argumentation, most often deployed in the law or law enforcement, by which some some action is deemed objectionable for violating standard or principle X. X by itself may indeed seem rational, but X in fact was arbitrarily, and for tendentious reasons, plucked from a drawer of standards, many of which could be used to arrive at the opposite conclusion regarding behavior being objected to.

The magical standard came to mind as I watched this:

H.T.: Mangan.

To preempt accusations that I myself am deploying magical standards, I want to say up front that the, um, gentleman launching his one-man counter-protest behaved boorishly. I would further summarize my views on demonstrations that they be managed in a way that minimize disruption to non-participants and that they go unmolested. So whether you're a group of ugly women making speeches in Spanish or a Gainesville, FL, pastor holding a bonfire on private property, the position of the law and law enforcement should be: nobody gets to bother you unnecessarily.

This, I think, is a uniform way to balance two potentially competing priorities: (1) the freedom of speech and assembly; and (2) public order and safety.

Funny, though, that it never plays out like this. Whenever a right-leaning organization holds a demonstration, and the left-leaning counter-demonstrations show up to harass them, not just verbally but physically as well, the police do nothing to defend the right, not even keeping the two groups separated.  This was the experience of the little old ladies set upon by SEIU thugs during last summer’s Tea Party protests:  all the police did was say, hey, they’ve got the same right to protest as you do.  But if a (evidently) right-leaning protestor starts hurling insults at a left-leaning demonstration, the opposite standard is deployed:  public order demands that the right be removed to safe distance.

The most charitable explanation for this is cowardice on the part of law enforcement.  Leftists counter-demonstrations typically have greater mass and are more violence-prone than our solitary agitator; keeping them controlled is more difficult and thus more seldom done.  But I doubt that really explains it.  The best explanation is to look at the political loyalties involved.

1 comment:

Glowing Face Man said...

Yes, the police force is sooooooo leftwing and biased against the right. (/sarcasm)