House Sit-in: Dems Jump the Shark

In a way, I feel sorry for our Democratic friends. As Rush Limbaugh has been saying for 20 years, they are playing out of a 30-year-old playbook, just running the same old plays because that’s what Ted Kennedy did.

But conducting a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives on gun control while protected by the guns of the Capitol Hill police goes beyond doing one more for the Gipper. It shows that the modern Democratic Party and its liberal movement have completely forgotten the point of representative government. It removes the need for sit-ins and street politics.

The sit-in, the peaceful protest, the march are all part of the left’s culture of revolution that started in 1848 in the depths of the first great capitalist depression featuring barricades and insurrection all over Europe. For the left, ever since, it is always 1848 and time to hit the streets.

Earth to liberals. There is a big difference between 1848 and today. Back then the working class didn’t have the vote. As it surged into the cities to work indoors, the only way that the working class could alert the political system to its grievances was by street action. There was nobody representing their interests in the councils of power.

The bourgeoisie and the landed ruling class put down the 1848 revolutions, but they realized they had a problem, so within a decade or two, they gave the working class the vote, and that stopped the rioting in the streets.

Fast forward to India and the Indian National Movement. Living in colonial India, but educated in Britain, Mohandas Gandhi developed the idea of nonviolent protest into a potent weapon against the Brits.

Of course, the idea of nonviolent protest has always been an oxymoron. A public demonstration or peaceful protest is always a show of force; it is telling the ruling class that here is a problem that won’t go away.

In India, the Brits took the hint and gave India its independence.

Fast forward to the Sixties and the U.S. civil rights movement. Civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, having learned the lessons of the Indian National Movement, brilliantly copied Gandhi’s nonviolent tactics, so that every violent reaction of the authorities became a scandal. The nonviolent protests were appropriate because blacks in the South were disenfranchised; they didn’t have a voice in the councils of power.

But sit-ins by representatives in the House of Representatives? Give me a break. The whole point of a legislature is to stop playing like Prince Hal and Harry Hotspur and resolve problems peacefully. If you don’t like the result, then you should redouble your efforts to win the next election. If you resort to street action under universal suffrage you are saying you believe in democracy only when your side wins.

Since 1848 the left has done an amazing job of legitimizing street action by their side as the desperate struggle of the dispossessed, and anyone else as a racist sexist fascist. But at least since the Sixties most “peaceful protesters” have been the agents of the ruling class, funded by lefty billionaires and sponsored by liberal foundations.

In her Bourgeois Equality Deirdre McCloskey asks why the intelligentsia turned, in 1848, against freedom and capitalism. I think the answer is pretty simple. The Educated Youth of 1848 were shocked and appalled by the misery of the 1846-47 depression (caused by the end of the railway boom in England) and determined to do something about it. Being young and foolish, they opted for riot and revolution.

For these young men the heady experience of 1848 was transcendental. Ever since, the left has longed for a return to 1848 when young men manned the barricades and rose up against their fathers -- and had a grand old time. Ever since, they have always lusted for an occasion where street protest was required. For them, it is always 1848.

Only it isn’t 1848. The disenfranchised workers of 1848 earned, say, $5 per day. Now the enfranchised workers earn $100 per day, and they are protected from the age-old vicissitudes of life by the welfare state. There is no warrant for taking to the streets, unless you are an illegal immigrant.

The left forgets that two can play at street violence. There are those outside the system, the dispossessed outside the castle gates. Then there are the bully boys of the ruling class. In an age when every well-born Educated Youth is forced to pass a boot camp in lefty activism to get that college degree, I’d say that liberals better think deeply about their bully-boy activism culture, before it is too late.

When the ruling class stages a sit-in in the House of Representatives it is an insult to the American people. Call off your bully boys, you regime thugs.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

In a way, I feel sorry for our Democratic friends. As Rush Limbaugh has been saying for 20 years, they are playing out of a 30-year-old playbook, just running the same old plays because that’s what Ted Kennedy did.

But conducting a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives on gun control while protected by the guns of the Capitol Hill police goes beyond doing one more for the Gipper. It shows that the modern Democratic Party and its liberal movement have completely forgotten the point of representative government. It removes the need for sit-ins and street politics.

The sit-in, the peaceful protest, the march are all part of the left’s culture of revolution that started in 1848 in the depths of the first great capitalist depression featuring barricades and insurrection all over Europe. For the left, ever since, it is always 1848 and time to hit the streets.

Earth to liberals. There is a big difference between 1848 and today. Back then the working class didn’t have the vote. As it surged into the cities to work indoors, the only way that the working class could alert the political system to its grievances was by street action. There was nobody representing their interests in the councils of power.

The bourgeoisie and the landed ruling class put down the 1848 revolutions, but they realized they had a problem, so within a decade or two, they gave the working class the vote, and that stopped the rioting in the streets.

Fast forward to India and the Indian National Movement. Living in colonial India, but educated in Britain, Mohandas Gandhi developed the idea of nonviolent protest into a potent weapon against the Brits.

Of course, the idea of nonviolent protest has always been an oxymoron. A public demonstration or peaceful protest is always a show of force; it is telling the ruling class that here is a problem that won’t go away.

In India, the Brits took the hint and gave India its independence.

Fast forward to the Sixties and the U.S. civil rights movement. Civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, having learned the lessons of the Indian National Movement, brilliantly copied Gandhi’s nonviolent tactics, so that every violent reaction of the authorities became a scandal. The nonviolent protests were appropriate because blacks in the South were disenfranchised; they didn’t have a voice in the councils of power.

But sit-ins by representatives in the House of Representatives? Give me a break. The whole point of a legislature is to stop playing like Prince Hal and Harry Hotspur and resolve problems peacefully. If you don’t like the result, then you should redouble your efforts to win the next election. If you resort to street action under universal suffrage you are saying you believe in democracy only when your side wins.

Since 1848 the left has done an amazing job of legitimizing street action by their side as the desperate struggle of the dispossessed, and anyone else as a racist sexist fascist. But at least since the Sixties most “peaceful protesters” have been the agents of the ruling class, funded by lefty billionaires and sponsored by liberal foundations.

In her Bourgeois Equality Deirdre McCloskey asks why the intelligentsia turned, in 1848, against freedom and capitalism. I think the answer is pretty simple. The Educated Youth of 1848 were shocked and appalled by the misery of the 1846-47 depression (caused by the end of the railway boom in England) and determined to do something about it. Being young and foolish, they opted for riot and revolution.

For these young men the heady experience of 1848 was transcendental. Ever since, the left has longed for a return to 1848 when young men manned the barricades and rose up against their fathers -- and had a grand old time. Ever since, they have always lusted for an occasion where street protest was required. For them, it is always 1848.

Only it isn’t 1848. The disenfranchised workers of 1848 earned, say, $5 per day. Now the enfranchised workers earn $100 per day, and they are protected from the age-old vicissitudes of life by the welfare state. There is no warrant for taking to the streets, unless you are an illegal immigrant.

The left forgets that two can play at street violence. There are those outside the system, the dispossessed outside the castle gates. Then there are the bully boys of the ruling class. In an age when every well-born Educated Youth is forced to pass a boot camp in lefty activism to get that college degree, I’d say that liberals better think deeply about their bully-boy activism culture, before it is too late.

When the ruling class stages a sit-in in the House of Representatives it is an insult to the American people. Call off your bully boys, you regime thugs.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.