The Home Line

It can be a matter of law, whether there’s trespass, vandalism or worse, but that tends to deflect from the more fundamental question: Is going after politicians and public employees at home fair game?

It’s happened to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

It obviously has consequences for “innocent” bystanders, the neighbors, spouses and children. Assuming that no laws are broken, per se, and that the conduct is an exercise of constitutionally protected protest, the question remains whether it crosses a line, a norm, of going after a public official in his or her personal capacity, at home, involving the family, the children.

It was unsurprising that activists thought nothing of crossing the line from attacking a person acting in an official capacity to going after them personally. Protesters have made eating out a problem for a few years now, which was the subject of some criticism and debate at the time. But going to a person’s home, involving his children, raises the volume to 11.

To activists, the cause is righteous and anything done in furtherance of the cause is justified. Sure, the analogy is simplistic and obviously flawed, but the gravamen of the gripe against police is grounded in fact and backed up by far too many examples. Yet, the NYPD exists for a reason, possesses authority for a reason, and acts upon that authority for a reason. That doesn’t mean it’s not in desperate need of reform, but that it’s not comparable as a public entity created by and for the public to individual citizens. If this needs futher explanation here, you’re probably at the wrong place.

But it’s not just activists for whom the line between public and private, between the official person and his family, no longer matters. This isn’t a question of law, even though it could be given the circumstances, but rather a social norm, that home, families, are “off limits.”

Are they?

There are logical reasons for the existence of the line, that these are innocent parties forced into the mix, that this is a game that can, and will, be played both ways, whether it’s activists of the right or left going after the politicians who fail to do as they demand, and could ironically be the same politicians from time to time. Obviously, it can’t be “good” when it’s your tribe and bad when it’s the other tribe, if you’re both doing the same thing to exert the same influence, albeit for opposite political purposes.

And then there’s question of how this influences elected officials and government servants. Will people of good will want to run for office, to serve the public, if they know that their homes and families will come under attack if they fail to do what some group demands? You can’t please everyone, and oftentimes the smart answer, the best policy, is unlikely to appeal to the simplistic and delusional, even when they were (at least at one time) on your team.

A few of the new group of “progressive prosecutors,” Larry Krasner and Rachel Rollins, adored when they ran for office, are now the target of progressive outrage for some of their actions in office. They aren’t going far enough to please the ever-leftward edge of their supporters, and the minute they fall short of their team’s demands, they become heretics, pariahs to the cause. Would they have taken the risk to run had they known how swiftly they would go from heroes to scoundrels? Would anyone without the desperate need for ego-stroking ever run for office?

Yet, a surprising number of people who aren’t exactly activists or crazies no longer see why the line should necessarily matter.

I also have mixed feelings. I’d like to think that in a polite society, we leave families alone. But by the same token, it’s a lot easier to ignore your constituents from your top-floor office than it is when they call you out in front of your family and your neighbors.

Is this merely a matter of living in a “polite society”? Maybe, as this is a social norm. But if one can’t “reach” politicians through their office, are they immune from being embarrassed, if not harassed, by being within the “sacred” place of their home? After all, it can be a very effective means of making your point to someone who otherwise wouldn’t give you the time of day.

Counterpoint: Most people will work much harder to avoid being embarrassed in front of family/neighbors than strangers.

Then again, there is, and always has been, a mechanism for constituents to address elected officials who fail to perform the way they want. Vote. If you’re of the view they shouldn’t be re-elected, persuade your neighbors and friends to vote them out of office. Write letters to the editor, op-eds, blog posts, about why they shouldn’t be in office.

The problem is that their “constituents” might not agree. One aspect that seems to elude people is maybe they aren’t the average constituent and that the majority of constituents don’t share their view. Nobody likes being in the minority, especially when they are right, and so the failure of the mechanism by which elected officials’ failings are addressed is unavailing. What good is an election if it doesn’t produce the outcome you, clearly right in your own mind but still in the minority, desire?

But even if every constituent believes himself entitled to the time and attention of every elected official to consider his grievances, is attempting to “embarrass” him in front of his neighbors, wife and children a principled way to get him to change his position? In all likelihood, the official won’t be embarrassed at all, even if that’s what protesters imagine would happen since they have a tendency to see the world only from their own perspective. At best, it would be closer to intimidating. At worst, it would be annoy, which usually backfires badly.

What it would not do is argue the merits of one’s position and, through the use of facts and logic, persuade people in public service to see the worth of your perspective. Of course, this isn’t an option for everyone, and might not work. Does that mean it’s fair to fight for what one believes in using any means necessary? Does the other side’s failure to adhere to the social norms you want justify your failure to adhere to social norms as well? Has “polite society” outlived its usefulness?

62 thoughts on “The Home Line

  1. Chris Van Wagner

    It appears the answer is becoming yes, more and more. This tactic reached even these smaller venues. Recently, locally, it included loudspeakers in the street until 1:30 am, blaring music in between protracted profane chants (“Fuck [INSERT DA NAME]!”) The goal was not dialogue but the immediate release of two accused of looting after the George Floyd-spurred protests. The DA’s teen children expressed fear; the neighbors knew a call to 911 would be met with a shrugged “that’s First Amendment rights in action” reply. To his rare credit, the DA issued a press statement decrying the tactic and noting he would not back down (a stand whose firmament will soon be tested).

    My old friend and alleged classmate Plato once wrote that “If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” But who will choose to do so if one must suffer the same evil fools on this personal family level? Unclear. I find myself in a singular minority in any effort to argue that the tactic, once blessed, will soon become other aggrieved parties’ accursed means in even more disturbing ways, especially if employed by the unwoke. Elections have consequences, yes, but were these the ones foretold? It is becoming so.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      But they aren’t apathetic toward politics. They just reject the mechanisms that exist for addressing politics when it fails to suit their purpose.

      Not unlike rejecting the legal system to vindicate their grievances when they can accomplish more with no burden by airing accusations on social media.

      Reply
    2. LocoYokel

      Sorry for the IANAL question, but regardless of 1st Amendment concerns but wouldn’t disturbing the peace statutes come into play here?

      Reply
        1. LY

          Was in response to the call the cops and getting that’s your 1st in action. The cops could still come based on time and place restrictions and force them to move on at least until day.

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          1. Chris Van Wagner

            And if they do not move… Portlandia, circa Madison? The local PD tried moving protesting people in after George Floyd was killed, and that did not go so well. Oh, and it was dark and after a mandated curfew. But maybe you know how to get them to say, oh, sorry officer. We didn’t mean to disturb the police.

            Reply
            1. losingtrader

              I’ve solved both issues: I live in a guard -gated neighborhood and my Congressman lives 3 doors away. I’ve confused his staff by sending messages through his House email, asking that he get his son to stop parking his truck on the street in violation of HOA rules.

              That previous comment about the price of apathy didn’t work. The jerk still parks in the street.

              I’d make a contribution this week, but last week’s stock pick only worked for 2 days, enough to make money but not as much as I expected.

              I will note, as advice, Virgin Galactic (SPCE) is not the next Tesla as a CNBC commentator stated. The VG CEO claimed a market of 4 million people willing to pay $250,000 to vomit in low-Earth orbit. Yet, they have signed up 600 since I made my deposit in 2008. You can waste money on better stocks than this.

  2. Dan

    > What it would not do is argue the merits of one’s position and, through the use of facts and logic, persuade people in public service to see the worth of your perspective.

    But since facts and logic are racist, you’d hardly expect the woke to use them.

    Reply
  3. Bruce Coulson

    Sadly, this is another type of “But it would never happen to ME” problem. Involving non-participants in a dispute (children and SOs) is fine, as long as YOUR loved ones are left out of it. But of course, that won’t be the case for long. In this age, the camera points both ways. I’m quite sure the protestors would be shocked and horrified if someone posted their names and addresses (along with pictures of their children, wives, etc.). But it’s going to happen, and most likely it will be done by someone not directly involved in the matter.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      A pervasive foundation to rationalize why this isn’t a real problem is that progressives believe they are the majority, they are right, they will prevail and they will crush their opposition through their moral force. Consequently, they will never be the victims of their own tactics.

      Reply
      1. Chris Van Wagner

        This and your comment about rejected facts and logic, taken together, nail it. The question is not, will there be a reckoning but rather, from which quarter will it come? The woke tend to move ever further towards woke, and in the process consume their own. Chances are, it will not be some right wing nut job with an army of riflemen, but someone whose “facts” are further removed from reality than those who have gone to the homes of officials to protest. IMHO, anyway. We have seen time and again where some one once considered radically popular fades into the perceived enemy, as you noted in the discussion of once-popular candidates. The appetite for perceived moral superiority knows no limits, much like sugar.

        Reply
  4. Raccoon Strait

    The solution, vote to effect change, has the problem of the protesters, the ones most passionate about change (though getting a consensus on what that change should be when poling protesters might be difficult) assumes that the majority of voters agree with what the protesters demand, or even some of what they demand.

    It is easily presumed that it is most dissatisfying to do all the work of protesting and have voters not doing what is demanded. This may be a part of the change in tactics. Do something different, try for more leverage to influence officials. If the screaming of the vocal minority doesn’t work, scream louder. But the downside is that the majority of voters might see it as more of a temper tantrum rather than an effective way to express displeasure with an elected official. Voters don’t seem to even be on the radar screen of the protesters.

    What would be the effect of protesters protesting voters? Would voters listen, or ignore. Could the protesters actually come to agreement on some platform to present to voters that might make sense, to the voters? Professional politicians seem to do so all the time, yet they also tend to be the ones being protested.

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  5. Hunting Guy

    Let me make a prediction.

    Some group will exercise their First Amendment rights in a neighborhood. One of the residents, who is not the subject of the demonstration, will come out and ask the group to leave or tone it down.

    A demonstrator will get in the neighbors face and shortly thereafter the resident will be saying to the police, “My life was threatened when I shot him.”

    Reply
    1. PML

      In NNY area, that is exactly what will happen. People up here don’t take kindly to having there homes disturbed. Most have lots of guns also.

      Reply
  6. Mario Machado

    Yelling outside someone’s house is stupid for many reasons. I’m against stupidity.

    Don’t know how else to put it.

    Reply
  7. Chris

    “Counterpoint: Most people will work much harder to avoid being embarrassed in front of family/neighbors than strangers.”

    It’s amazing that they don’t even consider that these friends and neighbors, who might otherwise be sympathetic to their cause, may be turned off by these tactics and reflexively reject their tactics and side against them. Style wins over substance more often than not.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      The working assumption of the protesters is that since they are right and just, how could any other result than embarrassment be possible? It’s a tad bit narcissistic, but then, narcissism often fails to recognize itself.

      Reply
  8. LocoYokel

    When did mothers stop teaching their kids the golden rule? It seems a serious refresher course is needed across the entire nation.

    Reply
    1. PseudonymousKid

      Even the golden of all rules can be skewed to suit the needs of the oppressed. If your voice has been ignored over generations, then it is only proper to treat others in the same way by shouting them down and condemning them. The Man has oppressed and harassed and exploited the lower classes. It is only just that the lower classes respond in kind. Meaning if you treat people like shit you ought not be surprised when those same people act out and treat you poorly in return. Besides, what do the lowly among us have to lose but their chains? The mansions of the elected are monuments of the blood and sweat and tears of the lower classes. Continue to treat the poor like shit and they will cast the golden rule to the side in favor of immediate satisfaction.

      If HG is right, there will be a new martyr to catalyze the lower classes into further demonstrations. The farther they go, the more risk of violence from both sides. Welcome to the new world.

      Reply
  9. N.E. Brigand

    “What good is an election if it doesn’t produce the outcome you, clearly right in your own mind but still in the minority, desire?”

    Elections are no good at all, if in fact the minority is right.

    This isn’t to say that the kind of activisim you decry has any value either. But sometimes there may be no good solutions, at the ballot box or in the streets. To take a couple historical examples: sometimes you have to wait 87 years for a Civil War to end slavery, or 101 more years for society to be ready to support a Civil Rights Act that ends Jim Crow. Apparently you just have to suck it up and accept that no amount of activism will make any difference in the short term.

    Reply
        1. SHG Post author

          No. There’s only a majority of the voters. It’s hard for people suffering from the psychotic delusion that they’re right and nothing else matters to accept the notion of democracy. That’s how psychosis works.

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          1. Casual Lurker

            “That’s how psychosis works.”

            You may want to get your steering checked. You keep sliding across that solid double yellow line.

            Whether delusional in some manner or otherwise misguided, actual “psychosis” has very specific criteria and a clear point of demarcation.

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      1. Casual Lurker

        “Can a minority of voters be ‘right’ in a democratic election?”

        In a theoretically ideal system, of course not. However, in our presently very flawed system, sometimes, yes.

        Here in NYC, the shenanigans that go on at the Board of Elections and elsewhere within the system has the effect of putting one’s thumb on the scale.* (I could tell you stories that would leave you shaking your head in disbelief).

        In some cases the numbers are such that no thumb is large enough to effect the outcome. But in almost all cases it has the effect of raising the threshold for change, such that when change does come it will usually be in a subsequent election. (It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, but by virtue of that raised threshold, when a ‘change’ candidate finally manages to get into office, the necessary critical mass** of public opinion needed to effect/enact any significant change will usually have passed the window of opportunity).

        I’m inclined to believe the same or similar shenanigans is happening in a significant number of other jurisdictions.

        On Topic: I personally believe that it crosses a line (and have had some experience) when one or more uninvited people show up at your door for other than legitimate exigent circumstances. (If so, they most certainly will not be winning any ‘hearts and minds’). But then, I grew up at a time when the world was quite different from today.

        *As I’m sure you’re aware, Darth Cheeto’s Postmaster General is presently in the process of trying to do something similar on a national scale.

        **Much like nuclear weapons, the timing on reaching “critical mass” determines whether you get a multi-megaton yield or a sub-kiloton fizzle.

        Reply
  10. John Barleycorn

    And yet another great opportunity for a window/balcony speech missed.

    Heck NYPD would probably even spring for the PA system and just think how much fun that could be a cop karaoke parties…

    Reply
  11. Kalil

    I have two large reservations wrt your condemnation of home protests. First of all, it sounds all to similar to the condemnations of every civil rights protest of the modern era. A successful protest invariably breaks some norm in order to be create attention and dialogue. Nearly identical criticisms were levied at the sit-ins and marches of the civil rights era. As MLK wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”, and then, more bluntly, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action””.

    Second, you present the argument that if we, on the left, break these norms, we will find them weaponized against us by the right. First of all, as you allude to in your post, the police already are violating the community in their homes with full impunity. That the norms protect them but not their victims is a core objection of the movement. And second, the right has never waited on the left for ‘permission’ to break norms . For a very recent protest example, there’s a pretty strong norm against armed protesters hanging the governor in effigy outside the capitol building. And yet, a) it happened, and b) the cause which the protestors were campaigning for – a relaxation of coronavirus related restrictions – was largely victorious, which ties back to my first point: breaking norms is necessary in order to seize control of the conversation.

    I think one misunderstanding here is who the audience of these actions are. Yes, it puts pressure on public officials, but not directly so much as through forcing media and public attention on an issue. It is the norm breaking that makes the media and public take an interest in the action. Again, look back to the civil rights era: the marches caused very few local officials to gain sympathy for the protesters. It did, however, create enough national attention to segregation that legislation and reform were shoved down the throat of the South. For a more modern example, the highest profile ‘home protest’ of the current movement is the protest outside the White House. Do you believe that even a single person in Lafayette Square is naive enough to expect Trump could be swayed to our cause?

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      The is basic empty gloss, a lot of words saying nothing by trying to bootstrap off the 60s when this is nothing like the civil rights marches. The issue is about this particular norm, not generic bullshit.

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      1. Kalil

        “The issue is about this particular norm, not generic bullshit.” I can’t help but feel that this sentence, itself, is tremendously generic – the exact same argument has been employed against every protest tactic employed in the past century. I heard it frequently about Kaepernick’s amazingly anodyne protest, for example. But I did engage directly with this particular norm: “First of all, as you allude to in your post, the police already are violating the community in their homes with full impunity. That the norms protect them but not their victims is a core objection of the movement.” Further illustrating the incoherence of this argument, both the victims (Breonna Taylor) and the protestors themselves are targeted at home. For example: [Ed. Note: Link deleted per rules.]
        Is a norm that only protects the empowered a norm worth upholding? In response to that question, you make the argument I address in my second point: that if we violate this norm, the other side will weaponize it against us. I notice you and the commenter below complete ignore my response to that, perhaps because it’s largely grounded in modern events, so you are unable to rely on faux outrage over ‘bootstrapping off the 60s’.

        Reply
        1. SHG Post author

          You’re not getting it. The police do what they do not because they’re a group of guys who decided to randomly break into houses and kill people, but who exist because our society, our government created them, authorized them and empowered them to take action on behalf of society. You may not like it (I often don’t), but to attempt to draw an equivalence is childish and irrational. The law empowers the police to go to people’s homes to arrest them. It seems impossible for you not to grasp this fundamental and obvious distinction and still be capable of breathing.

          This isn’t exactly a debate between us, where I’m somehow obliged to address every point, no matter how obviously wrong. I’ve made my point in the post. You get a chance to make your argument, which is here for people to see for whatever it’s worth.

          Reply
          1. N.E. Brigand

            One more thought: your comment here reminds me of me 25+ years ago as a student taking an environmental philosophy class. Besides being an anarchist, the professor was an ardent vegetarian, and he showed video footage of himself and others being detained by police as they protested a pork convention. The protesters were trespassing but not violent, and the professor wished to impress upon us how the police were, shall we say, over the top in their enthusiasm. I specifically remember how one cop shouted at the professor as he moved to take him into custody: “I have pepper spray!” So our professor asked: if anyone else detained you for non-violent actions, you’d call that kidnapping–why not this?

            I was not moved and took roughly the position you take here, and mostly held that view until this summer, even during the past few years as I became acquainted with Ken White’s arguments that police are just not to be trusted (and it was White retweeting you on Twitter that led me to your blog yesterday). But after watching video after video after video of police brutally attacking non-violent protesters, hundreds of different videos just from the past two months, I’m finding it difficult to accept that we should even accept the very existence of police as normal.

            I certainly never “authorized them and empowered them to take” that sort of “action on behalf of society”, except of course I did by naively trusting that they were almost always doing the right thing. On the contrary, it seems that they regularly, perhaps usually, do the wrong thing.

            Reply
            1. SHG Post author

              It saddens me that you’re unable to distinguish the problem of excessive use of police force with the issue here. Ken can do it, but being a follow of Ken’s doesn’t mean you have that ability. Thinking is hard. Too hard for most.

            2. Miles

              I suspect you fancy yourself a reasonably intelligent person. Yet, you fail to realize that there are millions of interactions with police daily, and only one in millions result in the “highlight” videos you see on twitter, because nobody posts videos of ordinary interactions where nothing bad happens.

              But despite your “intelligence,” you fail to grasp that the reason the videos you see are on twitter is that they’re the outliers, the one in millions where something terrible happened, and you lack the depth to realize that you’re not seeing the ordinary interactions.

              Of course police misconduct needs to be addressed, and it’s places like SJ that have done so long before your head emerged from your ass, doing so. But conflating the extreme outliers with the norm is what idiots do. Maybe you over-estimate your intelligence and you’re a dangerous fool inclined to simplistic stupidity. Will you continue to argue and leave absolutely no doubt what a simplistic idiot you are?

            3. SHG Post author

              I seriously fear we’ve created a generation of well-educated idiot, not merely incapable of rational thought but completely oblivious to it.

        2. Miles

          Why do the cops get to do it and not us?!? This may be the stupidest argument possible.

          What scares me most about Kalil is that he writes well, he’s obviously well educated, and yet his argument is so utterly idiotic. How the hell could someone be educated and yet not grasp how stupid his argument is?

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          1. SHG Post author

            Critical thinking ain’t what it used to be. It’s getting increasingly difficult to engage gently with people incapable of grasping the irrationality of their arguments. And these are the smart kids.

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    2. Rider

      How dare you try to use the civil rights marches to justify this counterproductive and pointless nonsense? Nobody lived on the Pettus Bridge. Sit ins were done at places that discriminated for the specific reason of targeting that very discrimination. There were smart, strong and sound reasons for what we did, and there were lives of people far better than you lost for those reasons.

      And still, your lame attempt at arguing fails. Pathetic.

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      1. N.E. Brigand

        And back in the 1960s, as shown by the MLK letter that Kalil cites, a good number of people were saying to civil rights activists: how dare you block our streets with marches or crowd our restaurants with sit-ins? A lot of people at the time felt that those were important norms that shouldn’t be violated. And that often was the majority opinion at the time. Gallup in 1963 found 60% of Americans didn’t approve of MLK’s famous March on Washington.

        You and SG and plenty of others say: the majority then was wrong to draw the line there; instead the line should be drawn here. You may be right. Or maybe 50 years from now, the majority will be firmly on Kalil’s side.

        Reply
        1. SHG Post author

          I was there in the 60s, as was Rider. You were not and have no understanding of what you’re talking about.

          That said, it’s always true that things could be different in 50 years. Kalil’s view may be the majority one, or might be the worst idea ever. Nobody knows what the future may bring and anybody using it to back up an argument is a fool.

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          1. N.E. Brigand

            Well, this may be pointless (and if, with the aim of bringing this discussion to a close, you choose not to let this response post, I completely understand), but you’re only about 15 years older than me, so the two of you need not restrict your lamentations to the failings of just the youngest generations. And if you believe, as your comment implies, that only people who lived through the 1960s can express an opinion on events of that time, well, isn’t that a fallacy? I didn’t know this was so formal a discussion space until you started to suggest I was arguing from authority by describing my personal journey to my current feelings, including how, despite having read Ken White’s regular arguments over a period of years about how police are empowered to do evil things, I remained skeptical of that position until very recently. (Strictly speaking, I’m not a Ken follow, since I don’t have a Twitter account.) A friend still shakes his head about how I acted when crossing back into the U.S. from Canada five years ago. The U.S. border agent asked if we had anything we shouldn’t in a cooler. I moved quickly to reach into the back seat and open it to show him we did not. My friend later chewed me out about how making a sudden movement in front of a law enforcement officer: he said that it could have gotten us both killed. I thought then that he was exaggerating. Who was right?

            (As for the suggestion that these videos are outliers, and that the police are normally much more restrained, these are videos of police who know they’re being observed and probably filmed, so it’s just as likely they behave even worse when they think no one is watching. And as one commentator said, the protesters were saying to the police: we think the George Floyd murder shows that the only response you know is needless violence; prove us wrong. And the police failed that test.)

            I fear you are remembering the 60s with rose-colored glasses, if, as appears to be the case, you think that MLK was popular. He was just popular enough to make a difference, but often his approval was underwater. At least some polling, including the 1963 result I cited, suggests that Black Lives Matter is more popular now than MLK was then.

            The point I’ve been trying to make is just to urge some humility in the arguments. I said in my first reply that you very well may be correct about the morality of protesting outside government officials’ homes, and I continue to harbor those ambivalent feelings. But given the fact that majority opinion is often wrong — the majority was wrong about slavery, was wrong about segregation, was wrong about MLK’s tactics — suggests that (1) it’s possible that no amount of reasonable tactics can prevail in the short term, maybe even in a person’s lifetime. One position is to accept that is the way of the world and that we must restrict ourselves to reasonable tactics nonetheless. The other is to reject that glacial pace and adopt unreasonable tactics in the hope of forcing change that will help the current generation. I reluctantly incline toward the former, although perhaps more on tactical grounds as moral grounds (Nat Turner failed, but was he wrong?), but I wonder if I or you would feel that way had we experienced these injustices personally.

            And that leads to (2) if the “reasonable” people in the 1960s urging MLK to adopt less divisive tactics were morally wrong, and if the moral opinions of those who experience injustice are likelier to be correct than those who view that injustice from a safe vantage point, then maybe my reasonable, safe opinions are also morally wrong.

            It occurs to me that with these points, I may have undercut my own response to your argument about only people who lived through the 1960s being able to comment on it. I’ll have to live with the ambiguity. Anyway, it was kind of you to hear me out.

            Reply
            1. SHG Post author

              Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They just aren’t entitled to their own facts. Worse, aside from all the words you’ve murdered, is that you don’t have a grasp on logical connections. Even if your facts were somewhat accurate, you can’t just leap to whatever unrelated conclusion magically connects in your head.

              We all understood your “the things MLK was doing at the time were unpopular, so this unpopular thing which has nothing to do with anything MLK did is the same because it’s unpopular today” argument. It’s just a ridiculously bad and irrational argument. You could have tried to understand that unpopularity wasn’t the point (kicking babies is unpopular too; is that the same thing?), but instead you persisted in a dumb argument and were treated accordingly.

            2. Skink

              “Well, this may be pointless. . . . ”

              I read those words with the hope they came from self-realization. Those hopes were quickly dashed. I’m opening the Hotel bar, but only for the judges and lawyers. We really could use a completely sane conversation. First round is on me.

              But we’re out of Bowmore. Shit sometimes happens.

            3. Gun Owner

              I tell you what, come camp outside my house late at night with bullhorns and molotov cocktails and see what happens to your “it must be right because it’s unpopular” protest.

        2. Rider

          My lord, you children are so simplistic. If we knew fighting so hard to get you an education would leave you incapable of grasping any nuance at all, we could have saved ourselves a whole lot of trouble and spent our time doing something more useful.

          You have squandered your education. You should be ashamed of yourself for wasting your mind.

          Reply
    3. Rengit

      Yes, I too remember learning in school about the Dr. King taking the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Freedom Riders to Southern politicians’ and the evil white moderates’ houses at night and vandalizing them, chanting loudly, listing demands. Then when George Wallace won the 1968 election, they rose up and overthrew the segregationist federal government in revolution.

      Oh wait, none of that happened. The Klan was the one that did the former to civil rights activists, and George Wallace lost badly as both the Democrats and the Republicans ran on platforms of pro civil rights and desegregation, because the large majority of the general public didn’t support segregation.

      Reply
  12. Councilman Keith

    Might you be able to think of an appropriate time to show up at a specific pols home? Sure, it’s not like there’s never a reason for Karen to seek out the manager.

    Norms don’t require special reasons.

    If the norm has shifted to the point that anyone thinking knowing, a pol is wrong can show up at his house, the “appropriate” time to do so is “now”.

    there is, and always has been, a mechanism for constituents to address elected officials who fail to perform the way they want. Vote.
    (Full Disclosure: I’m a local elected councilman)

    Want to know who will run for office, when the people can (and will) show up randomly at your house?
    It sure as heck won’t be this guy with young kids (one of whom has got sensory issues related to loud noises).

    You’re going to get zealots. You’re going to get gladiators.

    We just had a local election in my town this past May (one of the first under COVID restrictions) and due to the Vote-By-Mail effort, our election had the largest turnout ever recorded (beating the record set in 1968).

    The new council-members swept all available seats and started their terms last month.

    You might think that the will of the people was pretty clear. Yet, some of the most woke of my neighbors are certain that the silent majority are being ignored.

    As Chris mentioned above, this issue is becoming more common on a local level as the norms are eroded. I found that out the hard way when a local gadfly with a Facebook group (which is sadly what passes as the town square these days) intimated the other week that people should show up outside my home during a council meeting.
    null
    I wrote the guy. He disagrees with me on policy issues from a to z, but he’s a neighbor. He knows us.
    He knows that I’m a big defender of the public’s right to protest in public spaces. He also knows I’m the parent of a child with sensory issues, especially related to loud sounds.

    I mentioned that a gaggle of people screaming outside my home at 8pm (or later) likely would scare my 4 year old and I offered several times to chat.

    The post is still up.

    It obviously has consequences for “innocent” bystanders, the neighbors, spouses and children.

    And then there’s the other people. I signed up for the slings and arrows. My wife didn’t sign up for any of this. And if someone scares her daughter while I’m in a meeting? Well, to quote Marco Randazza: “The First Amendment doesn’t protect you from a private ass kicking.”

    Govern yourselves accordingly.

    Thankfully, for the time being, no one has come to scream outside my kid’s window. But if it’s ok as a norm to come to bother my family, it will irreparably change the way people choose to run for public office (and how those that do, interact with constituents).

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      Your “zealots” or “gladiators” observation may be a bit idealistic. Alternative possibilities are fools, narcissists and pawns. Then again, none of these are mutually exclusive.

      Reply
  13. B. McLeod

    Also making the rounds on this topic is the video posted Sunday by the Hon. Esther Salas, noting that the lawyer who came to her home, shot her spouse, and fatally shot her son, had an entire dossier of information, also showing what church they attended. Judge Salas proposes (probably unworkable) protections that would keep judges’ residential addresses and other personal information secret. It is really the same set of concerns, particularly given the wafer-thin line that now seems to exist between “protest” and outright violence on the part of political extremists. Governors, mayors, prosecutors and police officials (sometimes, individual officers) have to try and live and function with these same potential threats. If this is the way things are going to be now, we can expect it to impact the range of candidates who will be willing to serve in roles where their decisions might upset anyone, because nobody wants a violent nutcase on their doorstep.

    Reply
  14. Richard Parker

    In the old Mafia Movies, the families were off limits. Strange that today’s kids need to learn proper behavior from the old Don’s

    Reply
  15. Casual Lurker

    “…and acts upon that authority for a reason.”

    Except the “reason” for acting upon that authority is all too often completely fabricated and/or totally unrelated to whatever crime was alleged upon arrest.

    Reply

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