Friday, January 08, 2021

Academia's Reaction Two Two (Sets Of) Riots

Universities are now sending out hand-wringy responses to the Capitol riot, reaffirming commitment to peace and democracy. Which is good. The Capitol riot was reprehensible in the extreme. I don't think it portends any greater crisis--but it was more than bad enough in itself. 
   However, this riot is being treated very differently than the interminable, much more practically devastating, BLM/Antifa riots of the Spring and Summer. In that case, my university and most of the departments in the humanities and social sciences issued hyperventilating, garment-rending open letters affirming their anguish--and their alleged guilt. Those riots were not objects of condemnation; rather, they were taken to be righteous expressions of outrage--and universities responded by throwing themselves prostrate and professing their unforgivable complicity in "systemic" racism. 
   This despite the facts that:
(a) Both riots were thinly-rational responses to falsehoods propagated by authorities
(b) The BLM/Antifa riots were far, far more destructive--leading much more directly to something like 30 deaths, the alleged establishment of alien states and governments within the USA, and $2 billion worth of damage.
   The Capitol riot was much worse symbolically--and symbols matter. It was more of an affront to the nation generally and those of us at a distance. But I'll bet whatever you want that the BLM/Antifa riots were more traumatic and costly to the individuals involved. The Capitol riot was not what we might call a tangible threat. It didn't include the kinds of vicious assaults that the BLM/Antifa riots included, no one tried to burn down the Capitol building, at lease some of the rioters were permitted entrance by the USCP...and the majority of the violence was constituted by (questionably-justified) killing of a protestor--whereas BLM/Antifa were largely treated with kid gloves. 
   Whereas tearful adulation for the spirit of the BLM/Antifa riots was virtually de rigueur, I can guarantee you that anyone so rash as to defend the Capitol riot in any way will be taking his career in his hands. The former are unquestionably noble and good; the latter unquestionably ignoble and bad.


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