Silence is Violence: The Quest for Totalitarian Democracy

When a movement says, “silence is violence,” it is no longer democratic, but a totalitarian movement that opposes the very essence of choice -- the right to be apolitical.

Mass movements with ostensible democratic goals start out toward benign change, but their successes only feed a hunger for greater political transformation.

Left to the streets, that hunger is attracted to the extremes as the extremists are attracted to it.

When  the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, who has passionately sided with the opponents of police brutality, is heckled out of a demonstration because he refuses to commit to the mob’s demand to defund the police, that is shoving someone into the theater of the absurd.

In the world of realpolitik, you build coalitions where you can find them. In street theater, you ignore political reality to shove an important ally away.

The demonstrations over the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer have descended into the absurd. Peaceful demonstrations, during the day, have been amplified by dysfunctional violence at night.

How is the quest for racial justice helped by looting a department store or burning out a black-owned restaurant already teetering on the verge of collapse, having been closed by the pandemic?

At some point, the rioters and looters will go home, leaving in their wake the burned-out rubble belonging to the lower black bourgeoise.

These black businesses will never reopen because the future insurance premiums will be too high. Already, there are complaints that the marauders on Chicago’s southside have created food deserts with vandalized groceries that no longer can operate.

Among the most important functions of breaking the barriers of de jure discrimination was the creation of a viable black middle class.

The proponents of civil rights legislation knew that social stability required the integration of the African-American community into America’s socioeconomic mainstream.

Now caught between the pandemic and the senseless violence and looting, some of that integration will be undone. The hard-fought victories of the 1960s that led to a growing black middle class are going up in flames.

Who benefits? Certainly not those who are peaceably assembling for equality under the law. Not the black communities! In this orgy of violence, the only possible beneficiaries are those who seek to destabilize society and bring down the social order around them.

The vulgar Marxists still see revolution as coming from a greater immiseration of people on the bottom.  

Create economic misery and hardship and people will revolt is their belief. Uproot the struggling black bourgeoise, and you have more alienated fodder for the streets.

The struggle is no longer about George Floyd but about the destruction of society. George Floyd is the vehicle to reach a different outcome than one of social justice -- nothing less than a societal transformation, a totalitarian utopia where silence is violence, and all are told what not to be silent about.

When silence is violence, there is no room for dissent.

William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell University, learned that. Jacobson’s blog, Legal Insurrection, is critical of Black Lives Matter, not the concept, but the organization.

Jacobson also dissects the false narrative about the shooting of Michael Brown that gave impetus to the goals of BLM.

Petitions have been circulated to get Jacobson fired because some people do not like the opinions he posts on his blog.

In a world where violence is silence, how do you say, I do not want to sign that petition? Few would manifest such courage.

So, Jacobson, like many who do not buy into the views of BLM, are being accused of having a different opinion, and their termination is being sought.

This is the mindset of totalitarian democracy, the imposition of values and opinions by those on a messianic quest that leaves no room for individual rights or individual deviation.

Silence is not violence. In a true democracy, with respect for individual rights, the minority is guaranteed the right to a different opinion and even no opinion.

In the emotional aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, it appears that some would sacrifice our tradition of liberty for a mindless conformity while destroying the black middle class.

This is a two-front war on economic integration and freedom of thought.

We let it continue at our own peril.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Hyam Salomon Center. His work on the urban riots of the 1960s won a Pi Sigma Alpha Award from the Western Political Science Association.