Chronicles of the Crazy Times (4)

So now the left in Britain wants to take down statues of . . .  (checks notes) . . . Gandhi?!? Apparently he was “a fascist, racist and sexual predator.” Anyone who read Richard Grenier’s classic book The Gandhi Nobody Knows knew this a long time ago, but I thought his anti-colonial bona fides kept him in good standing with the Intersectionale.

I don’t think conservatives should expend much energy opposing the removal of Confederate statues, since nearly all of them were Democrats who wanted to destroy the United States. Sort of like Democrats today. In fact, for consistency’s sake we can suggest that the statues of disloyal Democrats of the 1860s be replaced with statues of disloyal Democrats today. Just so long as Gov. Ralph Northam’s statue has him in blackface.

Graybeards may recall one of James Watt’s more controversial (which means correct) remarks from his time as Interior Secretary back under Ronaldus Magnus, which went something like: “If you want to see socialism in action in this country, go visit an Indian reservation.”

Now you can visit CHAZ in Seattle instead. Which is why I think we should encourage “autonomous zones” in just about every major (Democrat) city: just think of them as “hippie reservations.”

Defund the police? I wonder if any of the idiots proposing this have any clue that New York’s use of the hated “stop and frisk” practice came about because Mayor Bloomberg . . . defunded the police. Not deliberately, or with the clear intent of the current anti-police crusaders. Rather, when New York’s city budget got badly squeezed in the years after 9/11, New York City cut back on paying overtime for neighborhood patrols, which was one of the means New York used to cut down crime so effectively under Mayor Giuliani. You can’t prevent crime without enough officers on the street, but overtime is expensive. So “stop and frisk” became the low-budget substitute for crime prevention. There are certain to be a lot of perverse effects of serious police defunding if it comes about.

• By the way, while we’re on the subject of the New York police, might as well share this data:

Believe it or not, the United States is arguably underpoliced. At least compared to European nations. On a per capita basis, the United States has one-third fewer police officers than the European average. You can read Alex Tabarrock’s very interesting roundup of this point here.

Could some people on the left be getting nervous flashbacks worrying about whether the current protests and riots may lead to a backlash? There’s a handwringing piece in The Nation from Eric Alterman right now that gives voice to this concern. The piece is actually a review of a new book by Bryan Burrough named Days of Rage, which is a history of the Weather Underground and other precursors to today’s Antifa back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Days of Rage is simultaneously disturbing and annoying. It’s disturbing because of the remarkable combination of stupidity, ignorance, and arrogance shown by these extremists. Absolutely nothing they did helped bring about a more equitable or compassionate country (leftist terrorism was even more destructive in Italy and Germany). Yes, they inspired a lawless reaction from the Nixon administration and the FBI, which resorted to criminal behavior of its own to stamp them out. And yes, they captured the occasional headline—most spectacularly when three members of the Weather Underground blew themselves up in a Greenwich Village townhouse. But every time they called for solidarity from those they considered natural allies—the poor, the oppressed, the discriminated-against—they were met with apathy, and often contempt. . .

[T]he largely forgotten story in Days of Rage should lead us to ask—lest history repeat itself as violent farce—why the most extreme, however nutty, are so frequently able to hijack movements purporting to fight for social justice.

I’ll offer an answer: because weak-minded liberals can’t stand up to the extremists in their midst.

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