Sunday, May 31, 2020

Frazer on Riots and Resistance

Gregg Frazer sends along the following note on rioting and resistance. His comments are below.

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I’m curious: what is the reaction of you guys (esp. Mark) who believe in a “right of resistance” to the riots in Minneapolis and other cities?  Americans generally celebrate the exercise of rights – so are you cheering the exercise of their “right of resistance” by people who claim to be tyrannized?  I know that you are required to approve of it, I just wonder if you’re enthusiastically supporting it.

Mark is writing a book claiming that the American Revolution was just. The current rebels have probably destroyed as much private property (in terms of value) as those who did the Boston Tea Party (but without the charming Indian outfits).  Should it be revered in future textbooks?  Face masks aren’t nearly as picturesque as feathers and moccasins. But they claim to be resisting tyranny, so are you celebrating their efforts?

We know that people who don’t like duly-passed government policies have a right to use force and violence to impose their will against that of the legal authorities because they have a “right” to do so.  We know that efforts by the legal authorities to enforce the law are themselves tyrannical and that governments do not have a right to maintain order if a particularly noisy portion of the population objects.

Has the bottle- and rock-throwing of these freedom fighters been enough to venerate – even though they couldn’t goad the authorities into a Boston Massacre-type end result?  Is their attempt to do so enough to warrant a Freedom Trail in Minneapolis or outside the White House, or does someone have to die?

Have they looted enough private property (big-screen TVs, etc.) and assaulted enough law enforcement personnel to be celebrated with the hallowed ranks of the mobs who attacked Loyalists, stamp agents, and government officers in the 1770s?

They have fallen somewhat short of the sterling example set by the 1776 “patriots” because they haven’t confiscated the property of those who simply hold a different political view and they haven’t yet imprisoned their political opponents without due process of law.  They’re not even requiring their fellow citizens to sign oaths of allegiance to their cause or threatening the freedom and livelihood of those who refuse – but give them time. They haven’t denied freedom of religion by closing churches, denied freedom of the press by destroying the presses of their opponents and burning their publications, or denied freedom of speech by sending mobs to the homes of those who express a different opinion.  But they’ve made a good start, haven’t they? You can at least hope that some tarring and feathering is in the works.

Apparently, carrying on the honored tradition of the Committees of Correspondence, many of these rioters are organized and shipped in from outside the community. The rabble-rousers of the 1770s (e.g. Sam Adams and John Hancock) would be proud.

Perhaps they’ll achieve the level of rebellion and social disruption of your heroes: the “Patriots” in 1776 and the Southerners in 1861.  After all, the U.S. government today taxes millions of Americans without representation – in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and the nation’s capital: Washington, D.C.  The time to “resist” is long overdue – right?  These “patriots” focused on “systemic injustice” are perhaps the vanguard of a larger movement.  Perhaps they’ll get the support of 1/3 of Americans; we know that level has been established as sufficient to justify war and to cast off the authority of a government.

13 comments:

Our Founding Truth said...

So true; every word. I was so blind to it all, but these commie losers are doing the same thing as those ignorant founding fathers. And if anyone gets the platform to say it, it's me because I bought what they were selling, hook, line and sinker.

And it wasn't any book I read or Romans 13 either. It was just the thinking in my mind that changed and it was fairly instantaneous. I remember thinking, where's Christ in the DOI? Where is He in the bill of rights that those commie rioters hate so much? Where is He in the constitution? Heck, the Lord isn't in the first constitution! Now I realize it was theology through the H.S. that led me.

I'm almost embarrassed that I tried so hard to prove it, but nevercould.

Thank you Dr. Frazer for what you do.



Mark David Hall said...

To say that an excellent case can be made to support the proposition that the War for American independence is biblical and just does not require me to defend every action taken in support of the patriot cause. No war is perfectly just, which is why Daryl Charles and I speak of "justified wars" in the introduction to "America and the Just War tradition."

Gregg's question is similar to one my pacifist friends sometimes ask. It goes something like this: "Mark, you say some wars are justified. How can you defend the justice of Hitler's invasion of France?" The answer is, obviously, that I don't. Some wars are justified, others are not.

I can't even begin to imagine a case that the current rioting is biblical or just.

I'm writing a chapter on this question for a book, and I said that I can have the manuscript ready by December. I'm going to focus on writing the book this week, not debating Gregg's inevitable 2,000 word response to this post on AC.

Gregg Frazer said...

I was talking about the "right of resistance" that apparently anyone can invoke when they feel that they are being tyrannized. That isn't war, but predates and leads to war. Almost all of the 1700s examples I referred to took place before there was a war.

How is rioting EVER biblical? Do you know of any biblical examples?

Whether or not you agree with the specific cause, it seems you have to approve of the exercise of the right. I distinguished between approving of the exercise of the right and agreeing with the "grievance" such that you would "enthusiastically support" this particular exercise. That was why I asked whether you supported and celebrated it or simply approved of it.

2,000 word responses are often necessary to deal with complex issues accurately and with evidence, rather than simply making claims. That is especially true when the platform for the discussion is heavily biased against one side.

Your anecdote does not match. Your "just" war claims are necessarily limited (in theory, at least) by "rules" or "criteria" or "standards" that can be shown to be violated by Hitler.

But the "right of resistance" is completely nebulous and self-determined. When a group of people have -- from their perspective (nothing objective) -- "suffered" a "long train of abuses," then they can engage in violence, destruction of property, vandalism, and war.

That's exactly what's going on right now in American cities.

Mark David Hall said...

Gregg, if you spent more time reading the many Calvinists who wrote on active resistance between Calvin and the Glorious Revolution, I don't think you would find the doctrine to be so nebulous.

If you haven't read it yet, I suggest you start with Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos. Sarah Morgan Smith and I cite a dozen more great texts in our article.

My chapter on the War for Independence is currently about 5,500 words long. I'm not against using thousands of words when necessary, but I'm going to spend my time writing them for publication, not debating you on AC.

jimmiraybob said...

First of all, you have got to separate those legitimately and peacefully protesting in the cause of fair and equitable justice and those that show up to create violence and mayhem. There is more than enough convince photographic, video and testimonial evidence available via Google that confirms the veracity of my claim.

THEY. ARE. NOT. ONE. AND. THE. SAME.

Please proceed.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Anonymous jimmiraybob said...
First of all, you have got to separate those legitimately and peacefully protesting in the cause of fair and equitable justice and those that show up to create violence and mayhem. There is more than enough convince photographic, video and testimonial evidence available via Google that confirms the veracity of my claim.

THEY. ARE. NOT. ONE. AND. THE. SAME.



The case is being advanced by some on the left that the extracurriular [that is, anything more than peaceful protest] is ALSO justified because of...reasons.


The Constitution guarantees the right of PEACEFUL assembly. But if even a part of it turns extracurricular, an assembly then becomes unlawful--even if the majority are not breaking the law.

Anonymous Gregg Frazer said...
I was talking about the "right of resistance" that apparently anyone can invoke when they feel that they are being tyrannized. That isn't war, but predates and leads to war. Almost all of the 1700s examples I referred to took place before there was a war.



Gregg Frazer has some sort of relevant point here, vis a vis stuff like the Boston Tea Party which an fairly be called a sort of riot. However, I would submit that Lexington and Concord is more probative, starting with the question of whether the just-convened Massachusetts Provisional Assembly was a legitimate governmental authority for the patriots to fight under.

Whether or not John Calvin himself approved of resistance by "lesser magistrates," the fact remains that every step of the revolution under the aegis of such authority including of course the Continental Congress.

I would also ask whether the right of self-defense is somehow unBiblical. The status of the colonists is not the same as the Jews under Roman occupation. These were free men.


jimmiraybob said...

"The Constitution guarantees the right of PEACEFUL assembly. But if even a part of it turns extracurricular, an assembly then becomes unlawful--even if the majority are not breaking the law."

Then are you advocating and/or defending the non-constitutional right to silence a petition for fair and equitable justice if those opposed to fair and equitable justice can sabotage the petitioning process? How far would that extend? If 1,000 people are peacefully marching and one person or three breaks a window or throws a firecracker does that make it a riot? What if it is someone deliberately infiltrating in order to sabotage? Are all the people culpable for the actions of one or even a few? What about the unalienable and constitutional rights of the majority. Even in war discretion is the better part of valor. No?

Tom Van Dyke said...

How far would that extend? If 1,000 people are peacefully marching and one person or three breaks a window or throws a firecracker does that make it a riot?

This is a prudential question, not one of principle. You are also conflating individual rights with that of the assembly itself.

"or the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

Let's be clear: The Founders explicitly exclude unpeaceable assemblies here. Whether an unpeaceable assembly can be tamed is a prudential assessment on the ground, and one that cannot be made with any certainty. As a judge I would give law enforcement wide latitude unless a pattern of bad faith could be established [as was provably the case in Bull Connor's Birmingham].


Are all the people culpable for the actions of one or even a few?

The assembly is [prudentially] responsible for policing its own peaceable conduct if it wishes to continue. The assembly is not constitutionally protected unless it is peaceable. This is explicit in the text.


https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/public-safety/police-have-wide-discretion-over-when-to-deem-a-protest-unlawful/

Takeuchi said San Diego police only made the declarations after objects like “rocks, bottles were thrown at us. … Whenever that action started, we immediately announced an unlawful assembly.”

It wasn’t long after that police used force to disperse the crowd.

jimmiraybob said...

"You are also conflating individual rights with that of the assembly itself."

1) But what is the assembly but the collective rights of the individuals? E pluribus unum?
2) If the purpose of government is to protect the rights, civil or natural, of the people doesn't that pertain to the individual as well as the peaceable portion of the collective assembly? Isn't it the business of our government to sort out the peaceable assembly from the unpeaceable minority, thus affording the peaceable the due protection of the law?.

Again, going to the question of what constitutes "riot" with the implication of a whole that needs to be put down. Again, to what extent? The immediate crowd? The neighbors up the street holding supporting signage?

jimmiraybob said...

And what's to be made of the peaceful protesters that protect police from the unpeaceful instigators and the protesters that disarm, apprehend and turn over the unpeaceful provocators to law enforcement? And there are plenty of receipts to back this up.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Anonymous jimmiraybob said...
And what's to be made of the peaceful protesters that protect police from the unpeaceful instigators and the protesters that disarm, apprehend and turn over the unpeaceful provocators to law enforcement?


I saw exactly one incident like this on Twitter although it was posited that it was really an undercover police "action team" that bundled up the miscreant. Regardless, what you describe was the exception, not the rule.

But what is the assembly but the collective rights of the individuals?

Rights are not collective. A given protest mob is not synonymous with "the people." Law enforcement has wide latitude to decide whether a given assembly is peaceable.

Isn't it the business of our government to sort out the peaceable assembly from the unpeaceable minority

IMO, law enforcement has zero legal obligation to do so, especially if their personal safety is threatened.

Takeuchi said San Diego police only made the declarations after objects like “rocks, bottles were thrown at us. … Whenever that action started, we immediately announced an unlawful assembly.”

It wasn’t long after that police used force to disperse the crowd.

jimmiraybob said...

So, what you're arguing is that if 1 out of 100 of an assembly posses a real or perceived threat then it would give the law enforcement the unchecked right to act aggressively against the whole, thereby nullifying the rights of the 99 to peaceably assemble? And that the peaceable assemblers forfeit their contracted right of protection by law enforcement?

In effect, this model nullifies the rights of the 99 if just 1 saboteur can get into the mix. That you have only seen one incident of this on twitter shows that you are completely uninformed. Outside agitators to the recent protestors are well documented even by law enforcement.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Anonymous jimmiraybob said...
So, what you're arguing is that if 1 out of 100 of an assembly posses a real or perceived threat then it would give the law enforcement the unchecked right to act aggressively against the whole, thereby nullifying the rights of the 99 to peaceably assemble?



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