Over the last several days, “protesters” have pulled down statues in many cities across the country. A monument to Columbus was torn from its base, set on fire, and tossed in a lake. Another statue of Columbus in Minneapolis was destroyed, despite having been sculpted by an immigrant and given as a gift to the Italian-American community in the city. Several other Columbus statues have been, as the media so innocuously puts it, removed. Confederate monuments have been toppled as well. And now the mob has set its eyes on the Washington and Jefferson monuments. The mob may want to be careful felling those enormous statues, though. One mob member was critically injured on Wednesday night when a Confederate statue landed on his head.
Yet something rather conspicuous is missing in all of these videos of crazed mobs tearing down statues and monuments: law enforcement.
It’s a silly question to ask at this point, but, still, where are the police while these vandals destroy public property and tear down priceless works of art that have stood, in some cases, for a century or more? You almost have to remind yourself that the people tearing down the property actually do not have the legal right to do what they’re doing. You’d be excused for thinking otherwise – does the term “public property” mean that the public can do whatever it wants with it? – however, destruction of property worth more than $500 is a felony in most states. These statues are worth many thousands of dollars, making these mob-led “removals” felony crimes. They are also dangerous crimes, as the man who had his skull cracked open in Virginia convincingly discovered.
But this has been the theme in recent weeks. The police standby while leftist radicals do, quite literally, whatever they want.
In Seattle, a group of radicals have seized control of several city blocks and declared it a sovereign state. They have set up checkpoints and barricades, and uniformed police are barred entry. The police, in fact, were nice enough to abandon their precinct at the rioters’ behest. This is a repeat of what we witnessed in Minneapolis, except in that case the precinct was then ransacked and torched. Somehow, in a civilized country once ruled by law, this has all become a familiar sight. Mobs rampage through our cities, set buildings on fire, destroy police cars, destroy public property, destroy private property, throw bricks, invade government buildings, loot, assault, and murder. And very little effort is made to stop any of these crimes from occurring, or to punish those who commit them.
There is much discussion about “privilege” in our culture. Indeed, the concept of privilege is one of the things fueling these mobs. They would say that privilege is bestowed based on race and gender, and that I, as a white man, have the most privilege of all. Yet I’m fairly sure that if I drove into town right now and threw a brick in a window, or set a retail outlet on fire, or looted a convenience store, or invaded a police precinct, or tried to set up my own “autonomous zone,” or yanked down any statues or monuments I found personally displeasing, I would be arrested on the spot, with little fanfare. And if I resisted arrest and was beaten or killed by police in the process – even if my death was unjust and the result of excessive force – there would be no CNN headlines about it, no riots in my honor, no elaborate displays of performative grief from our elected officials in Washington. Whatever my white privilege gets me, it doesn’t get me that. And it doesn’t provide me a pass that allows me to tear through the city, stealing, destroying, looting, and burning, either.
It seems to me that the greatest privilege on offer in our culture today is the privilege to be utterly immune from the law. This is the privilege exercised by many of the “protesters.” And though some of them are white males, many are not. It is, then, a privilege that is not dispensed based on race, but on ideology. We might call it Leftist Privilege. A person with the “correct” worldview, especially if he is gathered with a group of other correct-thinking people, can do almost anything he wants. The Powers That Be will bend over backwards to accommodate him and meet his demands.
This includes permitting crime, but also much else besides. Consider all of the corporations and brands that have been tripping over each other to express their support for the radical left-wing Black Lives Matter organization. And it doesn’t always take a mob to get this kind of capitulation from our culture’s most powerful forces. HBO’s streaming service pulled “Gone With The Wind” from its platform this week after one correct-thinking individual wrote an op-ed instructing them to do so. This on the same day that Webster’s dictionary edited its definition of “racism” because a young black woman emailed and said they should. These are just the most recent examples of Leftist Privilege. We haven’t even discussed the many extravagant concessions made for the LGBT lobby, including allowing men access to women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams, while shaming and silencing any women who express discomfort over this invasion of their privacy.
As a white man, I have not seen doors open for me, or exceptions made for me, or advantages given to me, just based on my race. In order to obtain those privileges, I must demonstrate my allegiance to the leftist tribe. I must have the “right” views, say the “right” things, hold the “right” opinions and beliefs. This is what the system truly demands, and this is how it grants privilege. Which is no surprise. Leftist long ago seized control of the system. Privilege is simply one of the spoils of victory.