Protest in America is worth thinking about. Notwithstanding many new and growing secession movements — Godspeed them all — we have to live together and get along in some basic ways. Modern American trends in protest don’t bode well for peace and prosperity if the recent women’s revolution marches are any indicator.
Real change at any level comes through a combination of awareness and investment – a shared knowledge of how things might be “better” and skin in the game. The internet has promoted the knowledge side of the equation, facilitating widespread understanding and awareness of how things might be better. Art and literature, history, images, a flattening of communication about and between humanity, all of this is unleashed, on demand and on fire.
The protests in Washington and all over the country last weekend reflected this culture, blending it with raw emotionalism and a festival atmosphere. There was a general idea among protesters that something could be better, but it was not articulated, beyond Trump not being President. Presumably, the chanting crowds also wanted Vice President Pence gone as well, and from there, it gets a bit murky as to how much they really would like to see rolled back. All Trump appointees gone? A reverse of November’s GOP sweep in the House and Senate? Was it to retain a fantastical third Obama term, or to go back in time to prevent Clinton’s people from eliminating Bernie’s people during the DNC Convention? The protesters identified as progressives, but the solutions they promoted were remarkably conservative, even reactionary.
Progressives as reactionary conservatives. That’s far more alarming than half a million pussyhats, outsized vagina jackets, the F-word, XX chromosomism, threats to blow up the White House, and crotch grabbing for conversational emphasis.
To give the movement credit, the pussyhats were almost entirely hand knit and crocheted – a testament to the value of tradition and Pinterest. The disturbingly popular vagina costumes, again, apparently all made by hand. I have nothing against threats to blow up any government building; we the people should be able to decide what to do with our property, and some institutions are way past their usefulness. Sadly, I don’t think Madonna actually meant what she said. The F-word, to be fair, is in such common usage that it has probably jumped the shark. I have nothing good to say about crotch grabbing, except the protesters didn’t seem to want others to do it. Perhaps it is a libertarian display of self-ownership.
XX chromosomism permeated the protests, with all other biological combinations subordinate, subordinated, and held in contempt. This wasn’t planned, of course, that would be exclusive and intolerant. But it is an innate aspect of the movement. Like white supremacy and other racist movements, XX chromosomists first exclude on genetic and morphological grounds, and then further differentiate those who meet the biological criteria but refuse to accept the ideology. Pro-life women were not welcome, Trump-supporting women not welcome, women who question government goodness in general, again, not welcome.
Beyond the ugliness of XX chromosomism, the reactionary nature of the marches, the lack of focus on what was being protested, and the lack of an articulated vision, there are several fundamental problems that ultimately reflect the rest of America pretty accurately. These are problems worth doing something about.
1) Too many well-meaning people don’t understand where their natural rights originate, and misunderstand the fundamental role of government.
2) Many Americans have plenty to eat and nothing to do. The increase in numbers of non-working adults in the American economy (labor participation rate) means not so much that there are no jobs, but that many more adults have everything thing need, often at the expense of others, directly and indirectly, and yet are still unhappy.
3) Protests are not the same as actual resistance, which costs a lot more and is not nearly as much fun. But the child of “knowledge of a better way” and “skin in the game” is resistance, not protest. A popular meme explained it this way: “Protesting is not an act of freedom, it is an appeal to authority. You aren’t fighting for your rights, you are slaves begging for longer chains.”
4) A lot of people in this country believe they understand how things work, and are justifiably cynical about political power. But their understanding is shallow, untethered to an actual philosophy or principle, and utterly dependent upon the nodding agreement (or thumbs ups and social media shares) of others in order to move forward.
It might have been very different. But this time, they went to war with the army they had, and not the one they might have liked. A massive march of women who value equality – or just anti-Trumpism – materialized as a living, breathing, the crotch-grabbing 18th-century stereotype of the fairer sex – confused, anti-intellectual, craving strong leadership and without it, animated entirely by their sexual organs and desire.
The reactionary conservative “progressivism” evident over the inaugural weekend is frightening. That the protest failed to gain intellectual ground on natural rights and the role of government is disappointing. That it succeeded in supporting and fueling ancient anti-woman stereotypes is simply outrageous.
I despise government and I like knitted hats. Hopefully, more than a few networking and entrepreneurial activities will be spawned as a result of people meeting people, complaining and learning. Otherwise, it is a wake-up call to those of us who truly care about liberty to help a sister out by sharing what we know, in a way that grows a more effective resistance to authoritarianism and statism.