Accepting the Looter’s Veto Is Playing with Fire

“There will be riots. There will be fire, and there will be bloodshed.”

What? No dismemberment? No decapitation? No brutal coring of traitors’ abdomens, splaying their bloody entrails in the streets? Not even the grim assurance to intarsia the names of the perfidious before meting out cosmic justice?

What kind of bloodless threat is this?

What a shock—an absolute bolt from the wild blue!—the bald warning came from a caporegime of Black Lives Matter, a normally amicable advocacy org. One of the race-agitating group’s co-founders, Walter “Hawk” Newsome, promised unrest (again: highly uncharacteristic!) if the NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams, a former jake, revives “tough on crime” policing.

OK, OK, my sardonic switch is flipped “off.” Mr. Birdie Newsome’s pledge of urban carnage isn’t unique per his political persuasion. Last spring, cities braced for violent protests during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis policeman who killed George Floyd. Six months prior, the same metro authorities prepped for the same chaos had Trump won reelection. The National Guard has been called to stand sentinel in Kenosha, Wis., as the Kyle Rittenhouse trial draws to an acquittal. The same tinderbox tension pervades the ongoing prosecution of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers.

Now, with the Supreme Court considering Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging the abortion-permissive precedent set in Roe v. Wade, there is once again the uneasy assumption that, should the Court bin Roe, fuming leftists will yet again enflame your local CVS.

Let’s not equivocate or hedge or err on the side of our better nature. We know the Roe decision will be met with destructive demonstrations the media will unironically dub “fiery but mostly peaceful protests.” Just last month, protestations took place in all 50 states in response to the so-called “heartbeat bill” in Texas that outlaws post-six-week pregnancy termination. Should our legal supremes break with stare decisis and vote to snap the fragile constitutionality of Roe, we can expect worse. Much worse. Worse than a bunch of wrinkle-faced, middle-aged, baby boomers in pudenda hats descending on the National Mall.

National Review’s Dan McLaughlin predicts if the high court strikes Roe, “mass demonstrations in the streets and confrontations of judges and pol­iticians” won’t be far behind. Marches through Midtown, Manhattan, the Miracle Mile in Chicago, and Mission District, San Francisco, are a given. The usual black-clad bolshies of Portland, on their 1,685,570,565th straight day of peeved protest, will have their ranks bolstered by irate pro-choicers.

The Supreme Court itself will be swarmed by any and every sentient being Planned Parenthood can shuttle in.

Like the ragey Summer of Floyd, these mass gatherings will be used as cover for other violent antics.

Shoplifting continues to be its own epidemic in major urban centers. The confluence of worker shortages and vaccine employment requirements are creating a double whammy of unguarded merchandise without enough police deterrence. Take this already boiling over concoction and add a dash of the biggest culture-war blow in a generation, and a welter of degeneracy and mass looting appears inevitable.

Should that prospect, then, stay the Supreme Court’s gavel hand? Might the justices—that is, the Republican-appointed justices prone to overrule Roe—be reticent to unleash the full fury of a woman’s choice scorned? Conservatives value stability; annulling Roe is the judicial equivalent of throwing a flash-bang grenade into a paddock of jerky, underfed mares with cylindered nitroglycerine strapped to their bridles. There’s going to be a BANG!! Someone will get hurt.

Chief Justice John Roberts has spent his tenure being preoccupied with shoring up the Court’s reputation, which is, in an ideal republic, supposed to be a neutral arbiter of constitutionality. In practice, this has meant his siding with liberal justices on contentious issues like the legality of Obamacare, abjuring same-sex marriage bans, and extending the Civil Rights Act’s remit to encompass transgender people.

Roberts allying with the Court’s left flank is a foregone conclusion on Roe. But will one of the remaining five justices be cowered into pulling a Roberts and maintaining the abortion precedent for fear of sparking more days of rage?

They shouldn’t be. That Roe stands on the flimsiest of constitutional grounds is already well established, and even recognized by abortion-tolerant judicial scholars. Justice Harry Blackmun’s majority opinion relied heavily on junk history and biased sources. From a purely jurisprudence point of view, it would be nothing short of constitutional malversation to let Roe go unscathed—to say nothing of the gaping self-inflicted wound America has given itself in sanctioning the killing of millions of incipient babies.

But politics must recognize reality. Supreme Court justices aren’t isolated, opinion-dispensing robots. They know blowback is coming should Roe go the way of Dred Scott and Plessy Ferguson. And at least one decider—whose name rhymes with mackinaw—is familiar with the unhinged nature of leftist resistance.

None of that should get in the way of properly concluding that Roe is not just a legal travesty, but a moral one.

If any justice feels trepidation that revoking the nationwide abortion license will induce a violent upswell of dissent, they can take comfort in this political constant: lefties will always cry and break things when they don’t get their way. From the French Revolution to the Bolshevik uprising to Fidel Castro ousting Batista, the left has no compunction over its wrought destruction. Satyagrahis they are not—radical leftists love smashing more than the Hulk.

The liberal protest playbook is short and simple: the police kill an unarmed black man? Burn the precinct! The minimum wage is too low? Break a window! Biological males can’t use female restrooms? Flip a school bus! A union drive undermined by penny-pinching management? Deputize a picket line, accost the company’s patrons!

The right isn’t immune to employing violence in furtherance of its political ends (see: January 6th). But conservatives, at least those not too corrupted by idolatrous MAGA syndrome, still adhere to Edmund Burke’s embrace of careful evolution over impatient revolution. Caution isn’t always an excuse for inaction, however. Like the poor, the riotous left will always be with us, running amok in Walmarts and lobbing bottles of benzine at police.

The looter’s veto is intimidating, but not invincible. As much as it grates libertarian sensibility, the use of government force to tamp down on wanton property destruction is perfectly legitimate. It should be exercised, with unsparing assiduity until the last balaclava-wearing miscreant is either in flex cuffs or detained in the Black Mariah.

Granting social-justice-huffing louts “space” to frisk around like heedless pyro whirls isn’t an act of mercy—it’s a deliberate assault on the store and homeowners paying the insurance premium in the smoldering wake. And assault should be countered with a countervailing force.

Mob rule is no rule; mobocracy is autocracy in numbers. The “language of the unheard” is just a costly temper tantrum. If jurors can’t settle on a verdict for fear for reprisal, if police can’t make legitimate arrests because it may be construed as racist, if judges can’t dispense justice because they can’t trust they’ll make it home in one piece, then we’re right back to the cruel Hobbesian state of nature, where the brutes rule the weak.

Don’t spare the rod—punish the grubby children trying to tear down society one ransacked 7-Eleven at a time. That’s real political stewardship.

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Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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