Wednesday 20 January 2021

An end to violence from the Left and the Right


If Joe Biden had lost the election last November, it is unlikely that we would have arrived reached inauguration day without any violence. Trump’s victory would have been declared fraudulent and that claim would have received a great deal of positive attention from the news media. If the Democrats had been unable to find any evidence for Trump’s victory being fraudulent, they would have tried to impeach him. This after all is what they did last time.

If disappointed Democrats believing that the election of Biden had been stolen from them had entered the Capitol as part of a Black Lives Matter protest, it would not have been described by the BBC as an insurrection, a coup or an act of terrorism. We know this because last year over 14,000 people were arrested in the United States following the death of George Floyd. At least twenty-five people were killed and $1-2 billion of damage was cause. But there was hardly a word of condemnation. The violence when it was reported at all was described as mostly peaceful and whatever happened was justified by the noble cause that the rioters were fighting for.

I think Donald Trump was wrong not to accept defeat. He should have set up an impartial body to investigate the election. He should have tried to calm the passions of his supporters. He should not have allowed large demonstrations to gather in his name, but rather should have said he would accept the result of an official inquiry into electoral irregularity. He should have cooperated with Joe Biden and done all he could to achieve a smooth transition of power.

But those media organisations and politicians who looked the other way as Black Lives Matter violence and vandalism spread all the way round the world last summer are also in part culpable for their failure to properly condemn the way demonstrators crowded together spreading Covid and rioted because of events that took place thousands of miles away and which had nothing whatsoever to do with them.

It is racist to care only about the death of a Black Man in Minnesota killed by a policeman, while you don’t give a damn about an Uighur killed by a Chinese policeman.

The media failed to acknowledge the extremist nature of Black Lives Matter.  A Far-Left organisation that wants to abolish the police was treated as moderate, justified and its taking the knee gesture became close to obligatory. But compare and contrast the treatment of months of Far-Left demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world with a few hundred Far-Right demonstrators who got into the Capitol.

Hundreds of thousands of Black Lives Matter demonstrators who took over parts of American cities were mostly peaceful and justified, while a few hundred Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol are described as if they were storming the Bastille. The idea that such people were capable of seizing power or reversing the election result is preposterous.

There is a double standard about the way the Left and the Right are reported. It is socially acceptable to be Far-Left even though Marxist ideologies killed far more in the 20th century than fascism and Nazism combined. So too demonstrations for Left-wing goals are justified by the media even if they give rise to violence against property and people.

Politicians are allowed to show that they approve of Black Lives Matter without taking any responsibility for any violence that results from such approval. No one condemns a Left-wing politician because such a demonstration led to a shop being burned, someone being injured or someone dying. But when a Right-wing mob acts in a thuggish, violent or racist fashion then anyone who even spoke out against the vandalism of statues is somehow guilty by association.

In a democracy there is no need for demonstrations at all. The way to make black people less likely to be shot or unjustly arrested is political. It is up to voters to make America safer for everyone, not demonstrators. Political policies about policing and initiatives to decrease violent crime are hindered by people rioting and tearing down statues.

Last year some of the more extreme Trump supporters saw demonstrators on the Left getting away with violence and vandalism.   Every time there was a court case and Black Lives Matter didn’t like the result demonstrators took the law into their own hands and were praised by the media for doing so. But this cycle of Left-wing violence eventually led to a reaction. If the Left can vandalise and take the law into its own hands why can’t the Right?

The only way to end this cycle of violence is for everyone to commit to democratic change by means of elections. Elections must be scrutinised impartially so that both sides and all voters accept the result. Riots and violence must be condemned no matter the cause, because we have seen that last year’s violence from the Left led to this year’s violence from the Right.