Witness liberals’ uproar over the NATO summit held in Chicago earlier this week, at which protester turnout was augmented by Occupy Chicago sympathizers seeking to recapture the rancid magic of last fall’s anti-Wall Street movement.
What’s puzzling about the Left’s agitation over the summit is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is not exactly the John Birch Society. The topics on the agenda this year included: removing international troops from Afghanistan by 2013, not intervening militarily in Syria and rolling back austerity measures in France—all stances you’d think the protesters would be in love with. Yet Leftists marched and rioted and looted all weekend as though Mitt Romney had established Mormonism as the state religion of Illinois.
What is it about Leftists and protesting?
Conservatives certainly protest a thing or two, now and then; witness the vigorous and effective tea party movement of the past three years. But note the differences in how conservatives and Leftists make their views known.
Raised voices and signs warning of abridged liberties and financial ruin are about as extreme as conservatives get. In contrast, leftists fancy cop-bashing, firebombing, destroying property, blowing up bridges, threatening public safety and generally hastening the decline of civilization.
Conservatives target government officials who rack up trillions of dollars in debt. Leftists target Starbucks patrons, Walgreens shoppers and elderly diners at family restaurants.
Conservatives hope to send career politicians home to their districts for an early retirement. Leftists end up sending innocent people to the hospital.
Conservatives obtain protest permits, provide sanitation facilities, buy liability insurance, hire security personnel and bring portable defibrillators. Leftists occupy space that isn’t theirs, pee in the streets, defecate on police cars, offer safe haven for junkies and spread new diseases.
Conservatives protest in their everyday garb, notwithstanding an occasional Ben Franklin impersonator or tricorner hat. Leftists sport masks, scarves, bandanas and hoods, dress as zombies and clowns, and splash red paint on their bodies to fake police-induced injuries.
Conservatives label themselves constitutionalists, neoclassical liberals and libertarians. Leftists call themselves anarchists.
Conservatives’ weapons include words, arguments and quotes from the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers. Leftists’ weapons include cyber attacks, hammers, batons, Molotov cocktails, and assault rifles.
The mainstream media cover for Leftist protestors by minimizing the severity of their crimes, blowing out of proportion minor indignities they bear during their uncooperative arrests and implying moral equivalency between ruffians and cops. According to the media, Leftist protests don’t wreak havoc; police don’t try to restore order. Protesters and police “clash,” as if they were the Crips and the Bloods.
The domestic terrorists whose work was on display over the weekend are the ideological descendants of Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and the Weather Underground. These thugs view the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention as their movement’s crowning historical achievement.
And their techniques are becoming more extreme. One anarchist group called the Black Bloc recently held training sessions on how to use “improvised explosives, swords, hunting bows, throwing stars and brass knuckles.” Palestinian brutes in the West Bank throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers are more civilized than these barbarians, except that Palestinian militants don’t generally attack their own side for not being militant enough.
The hacking group Anonymous recently tried to shut down the website for the city of Chicago—arguably the most generous, profligate, Left-wing dispenser of taxpayer-funded largess in the U.S. outside of the federal government—because it has a police department that won’t let them rampage with abandon. Three NATO protesters were charged over the weekend with plotting to attack former Obama and Clinton Administrations official and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and the Obama 2012 reelection headquarters.
What does it says about the Left that they are more likely to violently protest insufficiently liberal institutions than conservatives are to do the same for far-Left causes? It says either that Leftists are so intolerant of dissenting views that they can’t stand the existence of entities who slightly disagree with them, or that they hold society in such contempt that they get their kicks trying to tear it down.
Neither possibility is particularly flattering to their movement.