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Pandemics and Pandemonium

Minneapolis and urban centers across America are burning, most directly in response to the brutal killing of a black man by a white Minnesota police officer. But the rage ignited by the death of George Floyd is symptomatic of a profound sense of alienation that has been building for years among millions of poor, working class urbanites. The already diminished prospects facing such people have only been worsened by the unforeseen onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and the policies devised to combat it.

Like earlier pandemics, the virus has devastated poorer communities, where people live in the most crowded housing, are forced to travel on public transport, and work in the most exposed “essential” jobs, most of which are badly paid. Unlike the affluent of Gotham, some 30 percent of whom were able to leave town and work remotely, the working class remained, forced to endure crowded conditions as the disease raged through the city. No surprise then that inhabitants of the impoverished Bronx have suffered nearly twice as many deaths from COVID-19 as those in the more affluent, but denser borough of Manhattan.

This pattern can be observed globally. In Spain, the bulk of infections and reduced incomes are concentrated in poorer areas. Similar disparities can be found in countries as varied as China, Japan, France, and Italy. Even in egalitarian Singapore, infections have risen precipitously among the country’s migrant workers—an underclass who tend to live in crowded dormitories. Similarly, in Los Angeles the poor have died from COVID-19 at four times the rate of the city’s overall population. In both New Orleans and Detroit, the vast majority of fatalities have been among disproportionately impoverished African Americans.

As if this were not already quite bad enough, we are now starting to see the economic consequences of the lockdowns. In the US, roughly half of all job losses in April were in low-paying fields such as restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks; in contrast information and finance jobs were barely touched. Almost 40 percent of those Americans making under $40,000 a year have lost their jobs as the wage gains made during the first two years of the Trump administration largely evaporated.

These social divisions are now spreading to developing countries, where the decades-long reduction of poverty is grinding to a halt. The International Labour Organisation believes that 1.6 billion people could lose work as a result of the pandemic and the lockdowns. According to the World Bank, sub-Saharan Africa will account for about half of the roughly 50 million people about to be pushed down into extreme poverty.

Sleeping on a volcano

In the late 1840s, Alexis de Tocqueville warned Europe’s elites that they were “sleeping on a volcano” of furious working-class resentment. The threat to Europe’s long-established social order that Tocqueville identified followed a tradition of grassroots disturbances dating back to medieval times, particularly in the wake of grain shortages and pandemics which undermined economic and social stability.

These early “riots” were not confined to poor areas or impoverished villages. The 14th century Wat Tyler uprising hit London, where peasants and mechanics got to pillage the rich and intimidate their betters. In the end, the protestors were impaled on spikes, but they bequeathed a legacy of fear to their more affluent counterparts.1 Throughout that pestilence-filled century, which reduced the population by 40 – 50 percent,2 similar violence erupted in France,3 Flanders, Florence, Lübeck, Transylvania, Croatia, Estonia, Galicia, Sweden, and culminated in the great Peasants’ Rebellion of 1525 in Germany.

Asian countries such as Japan4 and China suffered similar traumas, the worst of which occurred during the Taiping Rebellion which began in 1850. The rebellion was finally put down more than a decade later, with massive loss of life. Some of the Taiping program would later be adopted by Sun Yat-sen, who would overthrow the imperial regime, and then by Mao Tse-tung and the Communists.5 If the pandemic continues to devastate their economies, we can expect to see similar disturbances in the great cities of the developing world—Mumbai, Delhi, Lagos, Sao Paulo, Mexico City—where inequality and poverty are already rife.

Yet even affluent cities are feeling the heat of Tocqueville’s volcano, with the rise in mass homelessness and disorder. In some cities, progressive governments have hastened the release of criminal elements in order to spare them the increased risks of COVID-19 infection in prison; some of these, at least in devastated New York, are using their freedom to commit new crimes. In San Francisco, meanwhile, non-violent crimes are already barely punished. Open air drug markets and panhandling are replicating the kind of  common urban malaise that characterized Dickens’ London.

Can the middle classes escape chaos and rebellion?

For the middle and upper classes, the first response to pestilence or chaos is flight. Like their Renaissance and medieval counterparts, the upper classes—including the roughly one-third who can work remotely on their laptops—have largely decamped to avoid the dangers posed by the pandemic.6 Demographer Wendell Cox estimates that over the last few months New York has lost as many residents as it gained over the past half-century.

This exodus has brought the divide between the poor and the comfortable urban haute bourgeoisie into sharp relief. Concentrated poverty grew even in “good times”—the number of these high-poverty areas has grown steadily over the past few decades and doubled in population size between 1980 and 2018. Over the past decade, the New York Times records that cities have gone from “engines of growth and opportunity” to places “with invisible but increasingly impermeable boundaries separating enclaves of wealth and privilege from the gap toothed blocks of aging buildings and vacant lots where jobs are scarce and where life is hard and, all too often, short.”

During previous upheavals, the urban upper classes were more insulated from inner city violence as generally distant neighborhoods like Chicago’s southside, London’s Brixton, or the banlieues of Paris burned. But the Floyd riots have not been contained to the ghettos. The protests quickly spread to affluent urban neighborhoods like hipster rich Uptown in Minneapolis, historic Washington, D.C., the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn, the Grove shopping center in Los Angeles and even Beverly Hills as well as such symbols of order as City Hall in Philadelphia.

The return to the “riot ideology”

Perhaps the most alarming development during these riots has been the urgent revival of what urban historian Fred Siegel calls “the riot ideology.” The roots of this thinking can be traced to the late 1960s when they were set down among progressive analysts who decided that violence and looting constituted a just response to abuses by law enforcement and other agents of oppression. This notion became painfully popular during the 1992 LA riots, which I covered as a journalist, when random looting and even killings were applauded by some radical activists as part of a glorious “rebellion” or uprising.

Today, two generations later, this ideology is staging a comeback. Vox scold anyone who refers to outbreaks of widespread mayhem and looting as “riots” preferring to describe them as righteous protests. In an essay for Mother Jones, Daniel King objects to widespread use in reporting of the terms “rioters” and “looters,” which he argues are “tropes historically used to single out and vilify communities of color protesting police brutality.” Writers at the New York Times have even proposed “de-funding” police forces in favor of spreading more money to other government programs. Slate, for its part, endorsed the burning of the Minneapolis police station as “a reasonable reaction” to George Floyd’s death, and suggested that such wanton destruction is a “quintessentially American response, and a predictable one” comparable to the Boston Tea Party and Stonewall.

 

National Democratic leaders, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, have been strangely reluctant to denounce the violence, while correctly criticizing President Trump for his needlessly inflammatory tweets. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has quoted Martin Luther King’s remark that “a riot is the language of the unheard” and stripped it of its original context to decorate the current violence with the romanticism of justice. Radical Minneapolis firebrand Rep. Ilhan Omar has suggested that her constituents are “terrorized” by the presence of the police and National Guard.

Deep blue mayors like Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a 38-year-old progressive focused heavily on racial injustice, cede the streets to the most violent elements, even abandoning a police station that was set alight—a response former St. Paul Mayor and Senator Norm Coleman called “stunning.” Rather than contain demonstrations, some cities initially conceded critical urban space to the rioters to the point of threatening prime central city real estate. In Chicago, city officials, much like their medieval counterparts, raised the bridges over the Chicago River to keep the protestors out of affluent parts of the central city.

Remarkably, these mayors seem to be largely indifferent to the rise of largely white, anarchist groups, like Antifa, who can be seen in videos committing acts of vandalism and violence, even over the objections of African American protestors:

Some progressives have even sought to shift the blame for the chaos onto the Russians or white supremacists. A more likely explanation is that legitimate outrage provoked by the senseless death of a man in custody has been hijacked by violent radical agitators whose antics have already been tolerated for far too long, and organized criminal gangs. On Monday, Bellevue’s Police Chief Steve Mylett told reporters some of the looting was the work of a crime ring. “There are groups paying these looters money to come in,” he said, “and they’re getting paid by the broken window.”

Gutting the inner-city middle class

The already beleaguered inner-city economy was further undermined by the pandemic, which has been particularly cruel to small grassroots businesses in places like the heavily immigrant suburbs of Paris where small shops have been closed and relatively few can work comfortably behind a computer screen. General unease about the lockdowns has sunk President Macron’s low approval ratings even further.

In the American inner-cities, meanwhile, COVID-19 was already devastating small local firms before the current riots. Local community developers and business owners in places like south and east Los Angeles have been devastated by prolonged lockdowns. The prospects are particularly gruesome for the small restaurants so prevalent in immigrant-rich inner cities. If the shut-downs last much longer, as many as three-quarters of independent restaurants simply won’t make it. Many of the losers from the lockdown and riots will be minorities who, according to the California Restaurant Association, own 60 percent of the state’s dining establishments.

Like small businesses across the country, many of these firms have not been able to access federal funds to withstand the downturn. Some economists concede that Washington’s bailout program has been tilted in favor of Wall Street and larger firms. Many inner-city businesses, note local advocates, lack the necessary bank relationships or savings to survive, and much of their business is cash-based. Still others are owned and operated by non-citizens, some of them undocumented.

“There is a lot of resentment out there now,” notes long-time east LA activist Rudy Espinoza. “People are struggling more than ever and many of them blame the government for letting them down.” Pending large cutbacks in social services from the fiscally stressed state is not likely to make them any more congenial.

Many small restaurants and businesses lack the expertise and technical resources needed to shift to pick-up and delivery as well-capitalized firms like Taco Bell, Panda Express, or Chick-fil-A have been able to do. Similarly, small landlords in places like Leimert Park, notes attorney Diane Robertson, have no recourse to stay in business when their tenants cannot pay the rent. Massive mortgage defaults may force these small proprietors to sell out to bottom-feeding speculators, whose funds are expanding as they prepare to turn a big profit from a future resurgence in gentrification. “The business owners are scared,” says Mirabel Garcia, who works on micro-loans for the east LA-based Inclusive Action for the City. “They are worried they will not be able to hold on against Wall Street and the big investors.”

The devastation of these local firms can have awful consequences. In a report for the Democratic Leadership Council’s Progressive Policy Institute that I wrote with David Friedman on the causes of the LA riots, we found that, besides the police-related protests, many of the community’s stalwarts—secretaries, machinists, managers—had just lost their jobs in the post-Cold War defense retrenchment. The 1992 disturbances may have been sparked, like the current events, by police abuse, but the underlying causes included the massive decline in high-paying stable jobs as a result of the end of the Cold War. Many middle-class African Americans worked in southern California’s aerospace factories, and when they lost their jobs, essential community linchpins were lost.7

Needed: law and order—and reform

The ambivalent responses to the current violence may encourage future outbreaks. The more political leaders and pundits push the “riot ideology,” the greater the incentive for protestors, including professional agitators of whatever political stripe, to attack the police, disrupt neighborhoods, and loot stores. At a time of diminished opportunities, you can get to be both a celebrated “protestor” and help yourself to an iPhone along the way.

We certainly can’t expect much from President Trump, whose tweets are only escalating the rhetoric of an already volatile situation. But Trump may yet be a beneficiary of this spiraling urban chaos, just as his rightwing predecessors Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Spiro Agnew were during the tempest of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. People may not like Trump’s awful manner and incoherent response to issues from the pandemic to international trade, but they value their safety and may be reluctant to hand the White House to anyone less than unequivocal in their condemnation of vandalism and street violence.

These riots and the experience of the lockdowns demonstrate the fragility of urban societies that work for the wealthy, but not for the vast majority. It’s clear that the current progressive approach is not working any more than the “luxury city” approach adopted by neoliberal mayors like New York’s Michael Bloomberg who watched impassively as inequality mushroomed to levels not seen in generations. The same patterns have been seen in other large urban areas as well.

A deeply bifurcated economy provides most urban residents with only a low wage job at best, and sometimes no job at all. A new urban paradigm is needed to supplant the current economic patterns and the suicidal embrace of the “riot ideology,” which will simply drive business and upwardly mobile families out of the city. The inner-cities need policies that will create opportunity more than they need expressions of sympathy and solidarity from the affluent.

A laser-like focus on economic opportunity is required to repair the social safety net broken by COVID-19. It will have to promote self-sufficiency and not dependency. My Chapman colleague Marshall Toplansky recommends bolstering medical coverage, improving skills-based education, building affordable housing in redundant office and retail developments, offering incentives to businesses to hire new talent, and expanding employee ownership of enterprises. The specifics of proposals like these will need to be carefully considered and debated, of course. But the fundamental problems cannot be left unaddressed.

Cities in which inequality has been allowed to deepen for a generation now need to find new strategies that provide hope and fairer policies to their poorer residents. The alternative is watching them burn when minority and working class resentment inevitably erupts.

 

Joel Kotkin is the presidential fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and executive director of the Urban Reform Institute. His new book, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism, is now out from Encounter. You can follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Feature photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

References:

1 “Tyler, Wat,” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed., ed. Paul Lagassé (Columbia University Press, 2000).
2 Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (New York: Knopf, 1978), p. 507.
3 Ibid., pp. 176 – 82.
4 Karl Van Wolferen, The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation (New York: Vintage, 1990), p. 261.
5 Kenneth Scott LaTourette, The Chinese: Their History and Culture (New York: MacMillan, 1967), pp. 284 – 86, 292 – 94.
6 Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century (New York: Knopf, 1978), p. 99
7 Joel Kotkin and David Friedman, “The Los Angeles Riots: Causes, Myths and Solutions”, Public Policy Institute, Feb. 1993.

Corrections: An earlier version of this article mis-stated the date of the Taiping Rebellion. Apologies for the error. The reference to an essay in Mother Jones has been amended to better reflect the argument of its author.

Comments

  1. Progressive outlets like Vox scold anyone who refers to outbreaks of widespread mayhem and looting as “riots” preferring to describe them as righteous protests; Mother Jones says that anyone using the word “riot” to describe violent looters is intrinsically racist. Writers at the New York Times have even proposed “de-funding” police forces in favor of spreading more money to other government programs. Slate , for its part, endorsed the burning of the Minneapolis police station as “a reasonable reaction” to George Floyd’s death, and suggested that such wanton destruction is a “quintessentially American response, and a predictable one” comparable to the Boston Tea Party and Stonewall.

    There is very little reasoning with people who think the way so many prominent Leftists do. Those who casually employ this level of sophistry can evade any rational argument (they certainly cannot defeat a rational argument).

    The early portions of the article explain the problem. Social trust is gone. Without social trust, people are not part of a society. They might as well be on opposing sides in a war. Leftists choose this state of affairs; they create division in hopes of exploiting it. Unfortunately, they have won.

    A laser-like focus on economic opportunity is required to repair the social safety net broken by COVID-19. It will have to promote self-sufficiency and not dependency. My Chapman colleague Marshall Toplansky recommends bolstering medical coverage, improving skills-based education, building affordable housing in redundant office and retail developments, offering incentives to businesses to hire new talent, and expanding employee ownership of enterprises. The specifics of proposals like these will need to be carefully considered and debated, of course. But the fundamental problems cannot be left unaddressed.

    After beginning with some good points, the article veers off towards absurdity at its ending. This “conclusion” is completely divorced from the rest of the article, rendering the completed work a disjoint mess. It’s like the author lost track of time and pasted in a prewritten conclusion, copied from a file labeled “progressive agenda”. Social welfare is least toxic in areas of high social trust. How could any of these ideas could function in the environment we have now?

  2. As if this were not already quite bad enough, we are now starting to see the economic consequences of the lockdowns.

    We were assured by our political leaders, of all parties, that if only one human life could be saved, economic devastation would be a small enough price to pay.

    Are we changing our minds, now?

  3. Exactomundo. Everyone who said the lockdown was a lunatic move was shouted down as a lunatic. And Quillette contributors were unanimous in their support of it. Also, we all knew the primary victims of Covid were and are the elderly, now apparently it’s African-Americans.

    Also, we get this “solution”:
    “… bolstering medical coverage, improving skills-based education, building affordable housing in redundant office and retail developments, offering incentives to businesses to hire new talent, and expanding employee ownership of enterprises.”

    Ah, the money that grows on trees. None of that can happen for a long time. Here’s what is actually going to happen: very few business are going to open, and far, far fewer are going to open in areas where large communities of African-Americans live.

  4. Sadly this is true. I live near Detroit and have been cheering it’s comeback over the last decade. The city had become safe, businesses were returning, the skyline was seeing new buildings, people talked optimistically but not anymore I fear. I fear most our cities are going to experience the fate Detroit experienced after the 68 riots and as we know it can take decades to recover.

    Everyone now associates the cities with disease and violence. we’re about to see a flight to the country and suburbs not seen since the 60-70s.

  5. It’s funny how Trump gets blasted for his “inflammatory” comments. Everyone thought America was over race when Obama got elected, but boy did he make race agenda numero uno. Ideally, everyone would just take issue with a person dying under police custody and have a legal system that reached an appropriate verdict. Instead we get “Racist white cop! Unarmed black victim! No justice but fire!” Also, while people might of been “outraged” by Floyd’s death, very few were actually sad. They were self-righteous, they were violently angry, but I doubt many except actual friends of family, felt empathy. What they saw was one-part tragedy, five parts opportunity. A perfect excuse to loot, burn and destroy. Nothings says “social justice” like a free TV. And nothing will change until the rotten culture social media spawned is excised.

  6. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the Klan and the white liberals. Both deeply believe Blacks are just naturally stupid (hence the need for “affirmative action”) and violent (hence the “root cause” of black neighborhoods burning is in anything and everything except the behavior of the arsonists and looters themselves.)

    As the “Babylon Bee” put it:

  7. Freud spoke of those who believe in the “magic power of the word”, that if you call something by a different name, it becomes different. The word “abracadabra” literally means something like “my saying will create it” in Hebrew.

    This belief is common among little children, savage tribes, and others on the same level of mental maturity, such as journalists, bureaucrats, and social studies professors.

  8. The feckless and incompetent governor of NY Andrew Cuomo said “if the lockdown saves only 1 life, all the pain will be worth it” Words cannot express how wrong that is My home NYC is now a dead city due to democrat incompetence Thousands can “protest” and loot and riot With impunity with many without masks, but a small business like a barber shop is prohibited from opening and fined and harassed I grieve for my city

  9. Kotkin reiterates ideas we know and understand. The poor are adversely affected and the divide between those poor and everyone else keeps growing. “Law and order and reform” seem like a reasonable place to start but in reality the only thing that lifts people out of poverty is not reforms per se but jobs. And the only way to make meaningful jobs is to have a vibrant economy. And the only way to have a vibrant economy is to have measured regulations but allow people to be the ones to help the economy thrive - not the government. Government is a slow behemoth that can never be as agile or adaptive as individuals. Government cannot regulate or anticipate markets; when they do, they pick winners and losers and doom the entirety of their oversight. Middle class prosperity and the ability to move between classes is the only real hope for a sane and prosperous and economically healthy world. Allowing the middle class to thrive, however, would take trust on the part of “experts” and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  10. Correct. Blacks learned this from foreigners. The historic black ethnos is Christian. The Marxism is new.

    I don’t watch cartel media, but evidently they have succeeded in selling the impression, “most of the rioters appear to be young, white men and women.” Antifa is working their playbook, no doubt, specially in places like Portland, OR where the black population is small. The overwhelming majority of black youths wilding out have nothing in common with Antifa.

    These youths do not read books, and have an average vocabulary of 250 words. They are interested in looting, smashing things and hurting white people who get in their way. All three are great fun to them. There is exhilaration on display.

  11. I must say, I saw these riots coming. Lock down the young activists-in-training, remove their income, and relegate them to online “discourse” and you get a plot to “tear down the patriarchy” two months in the making. George Floyd is as incidental as the windmills they’re chasing: that the US is a “racist country” and that the killing of blacks by police is an epidemic of such proportions they’d risk spreading and succumbing to an actual epidemic in order to stand cheek-to-jowl in the streets throwing molotov cocktails at police vehicles.

    White people apologizing for being white makes me literally sick to my stomach. I have my own personal trauma to bolster why this sentiment is so upsetting. But what good does it do? How will this change anything, if black Americans keep looking to “the system” to fix things for them, rather than fixing things themselves? Worse, white mealy-mouthed politicians excusing reprehensible behavior because “they’re angry” is akin to allowing your kid to scream bloody murder at a fancy dinner party, rather than removing him.

    I’m no expert on the riots of the late 60’s, but even if it did (and I doubt it) lead to passing the Civil Rights act, what followed was the 70’s, perhaps the most burned-out, impoverished era for black Americans outside of slavery. I saw, with my own impressionable kid eyes, war-zone housing projects of indolent characters. Roll up the windows and lock the doors was justified. Crazed-looking people would charge the vehicle as it passed through those horrifying parts of the city. Back in the late 70’s the family of a friend of mine had to pull over in this sort of neighborhood due to heavy rain. They received a visit from the locals, who murdered her mother before her very eyes. Interestingly enough, this woman has adopted the most zealous aspects of the anti-racism religion.

    What else was going on in the 70’s? Widespread welfare. Getting paid to have babies at 15. But heaven forbid one should mention this to the anti-racist religious zealot who NEEDS to flagellate himself for somehow being responsible, by sheer dint of growing up in a clean, respectable suburb where hard work and civility reigned. Indeed, this fetishization of blacks is a form of racism that many blacks are quite aware of and will use to their advantage. I am sorry to say but I do not trust it, will not vote for it, and feel enormous pain watching what this pathological thinking is doing to our institutions of higher ed. Rather than accept one another in tolerant ways, it has become an edict to tiptoe around the black martyr. All this has done to me is encourage maintaining a respectful distance. It seems blacks cannot be trusted to give a white person the benefit of the doubt. And, if that’s the case, why bother with them. All subjects have been infected with this ‘save black people’ ideology. All attention focused on them and their so-called “suffering.” But it you live among them, as I do, they are in the park playing basketball and barbecuing even though there are signs everywhere stating that barbecuing in the park is prohibited. (Like an unleashed dog in the Rambles, but I digress…)

    What they want is a special pass: to attain positions of power without working for it, to be absolved of crimes, to hate whites with impunity, while seeing to it that anything perceived as ‘racist’ is grounds for ruining someone’s life.

    What this – and the riots and looting – achieves is justification for racism. As mentioned earlier, deeply embedded in my own consciousness is trauma at the hands of blacks steeped in anti-white racism. I am fortunate to be among the living because yes, they threatened my life while I was minding my own business.

    Watch the video of the group of innocent, downtrodden black males beating up a middle-aged woman in front of her shop. First, she tries to negotiate with them. They move on, but then return to pummel her with two-by-fours. The only justification for this behavior is what we all fear – these people are utterly lacking in the very compassion we are being tyrannized into extending to them – at our own expense.

  12. Unfortunately, every productive Democrat who is moving from a blue state to a red state is bringing his old voting habits with him; the red states are gradually becoming more blue, with more taxes, more homeless and more anti-business regulation.

    Every productive American now has to craft his life in such a way that he can pick up and move his home and his business from one state to another as each one becomes more Democrat and then becomes a hollowed-out shell like Illinois and New York. One day, even Texas will be ruined by the Democrat refugees.

    Democrats have a virus. They just can’t stop themselves.

  13. I remember the first inauguration of Obama. I was with my black family, and the most senior member had tears in her eyes. The children were on heightened alert, not to what was on the screen, rather to this unusual vibration in the adults. Almost never did the whole family gather to watch the same thing on TV with such an air of a sacred event. I too had tears in my eyes at one point. The symbolism of the moment was ineluctable. Senayit’s mother, always tough as nails, did not cry, but she did emit the sort of “mmm, mmm, mmmhhh” black women often do.

    There was fairly animated chatter for a while after. Karen, the senior, was the only one who had living memory of segregation, although she had grown up in the north (Detroit), in an impeccably well kept, middle class, black neighborhood, and had been educated in the Ivy leagues. She was in a mood I have never seen in her before nor since----she was profoundly moved, solemn and exhilarated at once. It had been something of a transcendental experience for her.

    Not for a second was I fooled by the messianic messaging, however. I saw through Obama right away. (He is not black American.) Obama is nothing more than a very skillful politician, in the MLK 2.0 mode. Sonorous oratory----he cultivated that style assiduously----in a suit stuffed by Saul Alinsky.

  14. The author decries the fact that action has not been taken to restore order and end the violence. Sure, some people might be upset that the police in these cities have been ordered to stand down and allow the riots to run amok, but keep in mind that the police are stretched very thin. Rather than arresting vandals, looters, and arsonists, they have to focus on the true threats to society.

    Like this paddleboarder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnNlZ1ik8E0

    Or these beach goers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13wz0L7SPoU

    Or the most dangerous menace of all - this guy who was playing catch at a public park with his young daughter: https://www.officer.com/on-the-street/video/21133259/former-colorado-trooper-arrested-while-playing-catch-with-daughter

    My heart quakes in alarm at the thought of these lawless paddleboarders, beach goers and ball tossing criminals on the loose. I just wanted to say thank you to law enforcement and local governments for protecting me from the true threats.

  15. I live in the city of Portland and one of my former best friends joined antifa as a like… early midlife crisis in addition to a short stint as a trans person. (I can’t make this shit up). Literally the laziest manchild I know, has torched his once intelligent brain with years of drugs and drinking, and has the decision making skills of a rock. I never heard a single word about social justice in our whole friendship previously…

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