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May he defend our laws

Have you sung it yet? Here’s the second least worst known verse:

Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her him be pleased to pour,
Long may she he reign!
May she he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen! King!

After Charles was proclaimed king at St James’s Palace, the same ceremony has been repeated up and down the country. They also told the royal bees.

However the Scotsman reports that a spot of bother broke out while the new king was being proclaimed in Edinburgh:

Moments before the ceremony on Sunday afternoon (September 11), a demonstrator appeared in the crowd opposite the Mercat Cross. She held a sign saying “f*** imperialism, abolish monarchy”.

Officers appeared behind her and took her away, prompting the crowd to applaud.

One man shouted: “Let her go, it’s free speech,” while others yelled: “Have some respect.”

A police spokesman said a 22-year-old woman was arrested “in connection with a breach of the peace”.

I would like to think there are still some people left who would say both “Let her go, it’s free speech” and “Have some respect.”

To be sure, such suppression of “Progressive” speech, routine a few decades ago, is now rare. These days the boot is more often on the Progressive foot. Courtesy of the Bad Law Project:

Listen to the @swpolice [South Wales Police] tell a citizen journalist to take down a post because he uses the term ‘illegal alien’. Being offensive is not an offence. Yet again, the police are grossly misrepresenting the law in order to intimidate the public.

As I have often said, once the principle of free speech is gone, what speech is censored is merely a matter of who happens to be momentarily on top at that time and place. Notice how far removed both the recent examples are from the true rule of law. In Scotland the woman was arrested under the vague catch-all charge of “breach of the peace”. In Wales the threats against the man by an officer of the law had no legal basis at all. (England is just as bad. Trust me.)

Many people have said that King Charles III will find it hard to win anything close to the level of public affection given to his late mother. But there is no denying that freedom of speech declined markedly in the final years of her reign. If the new king wants to do something useful, he could do worse than make real the role of the monarch as defender of our laws, like the song says. What better start than to direct one of his famous “black spider memos” to one of our actual rulers saying that the right to free speech of all his subjects is to be respected, including – oh, most certainly including – those who do not wish to be his subjects at all.

42 comments to May he defend our laws

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Agreed.

  • Steven R

    With the first story about the woman holding the sign, it may have come down to the cops being less concerned about right to free speech as much as her safety. When people are emotionally charged, it doesn’t take a lot to go from “I disagree with what she said” to “wade into a riot and drag that poor girl out of there!”” And if the police were sensing a change in the crowd’s mood, they might very well have stepped in to get her away from there before it got to that point. It happens on this side of the Pond and the police let the person go, or the state’s attorney declines to charge, or the judges just dismiss the case. I’m not saying it is right from a civil liberties standpoint, because it isn’t, but I do understand if the police step in before it gets to “now it’s a real problem” stage.

  • Patrick Crozier

    I’d like to sing God Save the Queen one more time. After that I will be happy to observe the constitutional proprieties.

  • Paul Marks

    “may he defend our laws” is important – if understood as the traditional law.

    The Hobbesian idea that the ruler or rulers (King or Parliament – or both) can just make anything they like “law”, robs “may he defend our laws” of any real moral content, which is what Mr Hobbes tended to do. Mr Hobbes got words such as “law”, or “justice”, or “right” and redefined them to strip out all their traditional meaning – Rousseau did the same thing a century later. It is like a weasel sucking out the yoke of an egg – but leaving the shell.

    As for Freedom of Speech – it is the traditional right of a freeman, whether in Classical Civilisation (Classical Greece or Republican Rome) or Germanic (tribal) society – but like the right to keep and bear arms, this traditional right has been under attack for a very long time now.

    Should someone have the right to make a total arse of themselves by saying something as crass and offensive as the person in Scotland is supposed to have said? Yes, they should – just as I should have the right to say that they are an arse for saying it.

    As for taking a risk by shouting out something – I can think of a woman who took a much bigger risk.

    When the Kangaroo Court declared sentence of death upon King Charles the First, they said they were acting in the name of “the people of England”.

    “Not half, not a quarter of the people of England” a woman in the crowd shouted out (and it was hard to tell who she was, as the crowd closed around her, but some say it was Lady Fairfax herself, the wife of General Fairfax of the Parliamentary Army).

    Calling out what that 17th century lady did, was a much bigger risk.

  • Paul Marks

    A Roman Emperor could make anything they felt like “law” – that is why Imperial Rome was a tyranny, and it would still have been a tyranny if it has been a body with a few hundred people in it who could make anything they liked (say “anyone with blue eyes is to be killed”) “law”.

    Charles the Bald in 877 (and other monarchs at other times) formally accepted that natural law, natural justice, limited what they could and could declare law.

    That is the classic distinction that Aristotle made (more than a thousand years before) between a King an and a tyrant – the former is limited by the law (fundamental principles that they cannot change), the latter is not.

    The same distinction is true for the difference between an aristocracy and an oligarchy, or between a mob-rule “democracy” and a polity where most people have the vote but what they can do (to individuals and minorities) is limited.

    In the United States the principles are codified – by the Bill of Rights.

    Sadly the 1st Amendment (Freedom of Speech and of Religion), the 2nd Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms), the 4th and 5th Amendments (the right to be secure in one’s persons and possessions and the right to a fair trial), and the 9th and 10th Amendments (that government must be limited, not unlimited, and that rights are not from government and exist prior to government) are all hated by the establishment regime – who have been “educated” to hate these principles.

  • William H. Stoddard

    In the interest of accuracy, I should like to know if the woman’s sign actually said “F*** imperialism, abolish monarchy” or if it said “Fuck imperialism, abolish monarchy.” The latter seems probable, but the use of quotation marks could be taken as saying that the former were her literal words, rather than the reporter’s euphemism. I don’t myself see a need to cover the word “fuck” up, especially in a way so transparent that virtually everyone knows what’s behind the fig leaf of asterisks; putting it in quotation marks shows that it is being mentioned rather than used. And the cultural situation would be different if the woman described had herself chosen to write “f***” than if she actually wrote “fuck.”

    (It’s a minor point, but if the word must be covered up, and the coverup is not original to the source but introduced in the quotation, I would prefer to see “F[***] imperialism” or, in an older style, “F[—] imperialism.” The square brackets make it explicit that a change is being made from the original text.)

    It all becomes more complex if the Scotsman imposed the ***s, of course. Accurate quotation would call for reprinting their ***s. (In that case I suppose the quotation might have been given as “‘F*** [sic] imperialism, abolish monarchy.”)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I am a paid-up member of the Free Speech Union, headed and created by Toby Young, and I am glad to see it is taking up the case of this person.

    Freedom, if it means anything, means freedom to be offensive. It is a shame that that point is not appreciated more widely. And I would, like NS, hope that King Charles would appreciate the point. I mean, in his youth he was a fan of the Goon Show.

  • Deep Lurker

    The one big limit I recognize on freedom of speech is that it does not create a duty to listen. “Freedom of speech” includes a right of a (willing) listener to hear what is being said, but if compelled speech is a free-speech violation (and it is), then so is compelled listening.

    On this side of the pond, at least, old left-wing line when right-wingers complained about the obnoxiousness of some display was “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to look or listen.” Which is reasonable to exactly the extent that not looking or listening is a reasonable option.

    So speech in public spaces is always going to be an imperfect balancing-act compromise, made worse by people on all sides trying to game the system, either to force their own speech on unwilling listeners or to block their opponents from speaking to a willing audience. This incident looks to me to be one of those imperfect compromises. Part of the audience wanted to let the woman have her say, while another part not only disagreed with her, but also did not want to hear it – not at that place or time, at least.

    Now when it comes to lectures and publications that the audience has to seek out, anything goes, and anyone attempting a heckler’s veto or pearl-clutcher’s veto deserve no respect at all.

  • Welcome to the reign of Chuckles Buggerlugs III

    Never mind “God save the king”, more like “Lord help us all”.

    Still, as with others, I’m prepared to give the new king the benefit of the doubt. It may well be that the settling of the crown upon his fevered brow will have a calming influence.

    Let’s see where he is in a year or two.

  • Steven R

    If the UK cops are anything like ours, arresting her was likely the last thing they wanted to do, not out of respect for her rights or safety or whatnot, but because that means they have more paperwork to do. I’m sure you get your fair share of Billy Badass types that would lock up a citizen or break out the hickory shampoo just because of the power trip, but putting hands on a citizen over something as trivial as a sign is just a headache.

  • Stuart Noyes

    Our monarchy defend nothing. Our late queen gave royal assent to the treaty of accession to the European economic community. This at a stroke signed into UK law the acquis already created since the treaty of Rome and of course gave the eec the right to legislate in the uk. None of the law originating from the European project can be classed as our law.

    Ross mcwhirter held the belief the Queen had breached her coronation oath to govern us by our own law. Ross was killed.

  • Fraser Orr

    I think Charles is about as likely to “defend our laws” as he is to send Marshal Wade “Rebellious Scots to crush”. Nonetheless, Charles III doesn’t seem likely to be too passionate about free speech anyway. Most people on the left are in favor of free speech only insofar as they agree with the speech, anything else being violence, and, therefore, unacceptable.

    You can determine how much a person believes in free speech by asking them what to do about a statement they find utterly vile. By that measure the number of people in favor of free speech is really quite small. And FWIW, I agree with a leftie article I read recently which criticized Trump’s claim of being a defender of free speech by pointing out that he desired to liberalize the liable laws to make it easier for public figures to sue for liable.

    Free speech isn’t complicated. It is a bargain — you can say whatever vile things you want to say as long as you return me the courtesy.

  • This raises a number of issues I’ll address over several comments.

    1) As regards the no-hecker’s-veto-issue case of the Carnegie Mellon prof who tweeted a hope the Queen die a painful death, I strongly agree with Melissa in the Spectator: Twitter should not have banned her tweet; they should have left it up so her vileness was on display to all. (It has already brought upon her the just response of several student evaluations of her being put into the public domain. They were – unflattering.)

    2) I witnessed an event today (on the voice-over-free ‘royal channel’) during the formal silence of the march up the Royal Mile of the queen’s coffin. In that very particular case, I thought Deep Lurker’s points applied (September 12, 2022 at 3:48 pm). It was a variant of heckler’s veto (in this case attempting to veto an arranged silence that was scheduled to last but a short time). My impression FWIW was that it was some adjacent part of the packed crowd, not police, that, with great swiftness, pulled the shouter back – it was all over in seconds. (The huge crowd could have heckler’s-vetoed the shouter very easily, but they did not want to do that; they wanted a few minutes silence.)

  • Paul Marks

    Johnathan Pearce – I am also a paid-up member of the Free Speech Union (greetings Brother).

    And it would not be worthy of the name if it did not take up the case of someone whose words I despise.

    If we do not defend the liberty of those we despise, we do not respect liberty at all.

  • 3) The equal oppression of the laws approach regards capricious, partial enforcement of the hate speech laws as not just an additional injustice but an essential part of maintaining it. The hateful system could not survive truly even-handed imposition of hate speech law on the very hate-filled lefties who exploit it. While tyranny is still pretending to be law, arbitrariness in enforcement is key.

    It would be inline with that old post that hateful statements fashionable with the woke be punished like hateful (or allegedly so) statements unfashionable with the woke – for example, that hating remarks directed at people born into a particular family be punished like hating remarks against those born into a given race.

    However anyone who desires the Queen’s popularity be inherited by her line as far as possible would not want to inflict upon them the burden of being that particular two-edged sword against the hate speech laws – and since the woke speak of ‘toxic whiteness’ generally at the drop of a hat, it would hardly be needful.

  • 4) When a friend of mine (and Natalie’s) acquired US citizenship a few years ago, she had to swear to fight in defence of her new country if called upon to do so. She swore and then remarked

    If they needed to call on me, things would be pretty desperate.

    thus much amusing the oath administrator (apparently, people are usually unrelievedly solemn).

    In the same way, people who become UK citizens swear to things and one of them is loyalty to the monarch and, more fundamentally, to the monarchy.

    This raises the possibility that the legal issue of the particular case mentioned in the OP, and its being made not in a general context but at the formal proclamation of Charles, is not free speech in general but relates to legal citizenship (assuming the OP protestor was a UK citizen).

    Given the farce that has been our handling of invading aliens in boats, this is in one way rather technical. However I remark that, in another way from the heckler’s veto issue, the OP incident has the capacity to be about something other than mere free speech. So I return to my point (1) – which is a simple free speech issue.

  • bobby b

    “With the first story about the woman holding the sign, it may have come down to the cops being less concerned about right to free speech as much as her safety”

    This. I’ve seen people removed from the Vikings (football team) stadium who were wearing Green Bay Packers jerseys amongst the drunken crowd. Not because you can’t root for the other team, but because you might die doing so.

  • Bruce

    Defend the laws?

    ALL of them or just the good and just ones?

    Victor Hugo’s fictional Les Miz character of Javaert was a stickler for upholding / defending / enforcing the “LAW”, because it was the “LAW”.

    Yes, it is “fiction”, but Hugo was no dummy. He understood EXACTLY what happens when there is NO fundamental precept of “justice”, let alone individual libery, as the foundation for ALL laws.

    I seem to recall thet the “English’ Bill of Rights was a precondition for the ascento of William and Mary of oOrange to teh English throne.

    In turn, that document was “muscled-up” in the US Founders Bill of Rights.

    BOTH charters have been under assault for centuries and the attacks go on to this day.

  • Ferox

    Question: with all this talk about whether King Charles III will defend the laws or not – can he actually do that? Or is he limited to Twitter sniping and issuing sniffy (but toothless) statements to the press?

    Being an ill-mannered provincial, I am not too clear on the actual powers possessed by the British monarch “on the ground”.

  • Gingerdave

    This. I’ve seen people removed from the Vikings (football team) stadium who were wearing Green Bay Packers jerseys amongst the drunken crowd. Not because you can’t root for the other team, but because you might die doing so.

    Some years ago I saw footage of a fellow in a wheelchair in the path of an oncoming (lefty) protest. One policeman grabbed him and carried him out of the way, another moved the wheelchair.

    it later turned out that he was a member of the protesters, and had put himself there so the police would have to move him – he was then able to have some carefully edited footage used to make a claim for police brutality, etc.

    Welcome to the reign of Chuckles Buggerlugs III

    Never mind “God save the king”, more like “Lord help us all”.

    Still, as with others, I’m prepared to give the new king the benefit of the doubt. It may well be that the settling of the crown upon his fevered brow will have a calming influence.

    Let’s see where he is in a year or two.

    I vaguely know a fellow who claims to have been a Royal Marine in the 70’s and 80’s. During that time he was on the same ship as Charles, and was his bodyguard for a bit.
    He speaks very highly of Charles.

    Apparently he was determined to be seen as an officer based on his own achievements, not that his mum owned the firm.
    Marvellous self-deprecating sense of humour.
    Very aware of the differences between him and the average seaman/marine.
    Would provide opportunities to people, but wanted them to take said opportunity and then do as much as they can with it.
    Quite guarded among people he didn’t know, even more so with the media.
    Duty meant a lot to him.

    Now, I have no way of verifying these claims (which are 40 years out of date, a man can change) but they might be relevant.

  • On a lighter note, I learn from the BBC that surgeon Luke McIlwain, now queueing to pass by the Queen’s coffin in St Giles Cathedral, first learnt of her death when a nurse bust into a hospital theatre where he was in the middle of an operation to announce the news. Approving as I am of the news being treated as important, I can see reasons why that nurse’s free speech could have been heckler’s-veto banned till a later time.

  • Peter MacFarlane

    “..second least worst known verse..”

    Is the worst known one the one about rebellious Scots?

    It may become better known before too long…

  • bobby b (September 12, 2022 at 9:51 pm) echoing earlier commenters, notes in effect that the phrase “protective custody” can sometimes honestly mean just what it says, in effect an imperfect but sincere preserving of free speech by police protecting someone who indulged it from severe consequences when the police are thinking of what is practical to do at that moment.

    However I used the phrase “protective custody” deliberately, to remind everyone of how abused that idea has been and can be. There seems to me a very legitimate place for restricting heckler’s veto and suchlike exceptions. In this imperfect world, there may also be a legitimate place for “protective custody” when it stands alone and is not a side-effect of dealing with heckler’s veto. But I like it a lot less when it stands alone. I see the danger of abuse coming more swiftly.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    “Freedom of Speech” has only meant that the Government, or state, does not have to look at a speech before you speak it. It has never meant that there are no consequences to what you say. So she should have the right to speak freely, and then suffer any consequences, whether from authorities, or offended individuals.

  • Steven R

    Civil libertarians and political philosophers and authoritarians and attorneys and tyrants and judges and tv’s talking heads can all debate the merits of free speech in the streets versus consequence, but they do so in a safe and controlled environment, whether in a courtroom or a website or books or a moderated news panel. The police officer in the streets does not have that same luxury and sometimes has to make a snap decision and on occasion feels the need to err on the side of caution.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    The police officer in the streets does not have that same luxury and sometimes has to make a snap decision and on occasion feels the need to err on the side of caution.

    Indeed. The experience of raucous and occasionally violent behaviour in the UK and other developed nations in recent years, as seen by the BLM episodes, toppling of statues, Extinction Rebellion activities, etc, suggests that officers are indeed making snap decisions in some cases that are informed by a general mood of the time. In the BLM case, many “right-thinking” people were sort of on the side of the protestors, as were the police, so if anyone had held a placard saying “all lives matter”, or “fuck BLM” that person could be targeted for arrest (possibly also to save that person from being attacked by others).

    There is the old line about conduct likely to cause a “breach of the peace”. This goes back centuries, and is capable of being interpreted in light of new circumstances. Maybe the officer in question assumed that this was the point at issue. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breach_of_the_peace

  • @ Jonathan Pearce – if you follow the discussion over at the FSU on this matter, you will see plenty of so-called free speech advocates who have fallen at this particular hurdle. So not really free speech advocates at all, then.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Bruce – it is not any “law” as in command of the state (that would be the position of Thomas Hobbes) it is the laws in the sense of the effort to apply the principle of natural justice (to each their own).

    Without a natural justice (natural law) understanding the term “defend the laws” has no moral content (indeed it is just silly – it would be “I promise to defend any command I make” if laws are just “commands” based on will, not the effort to apply the principle of justice), just as justice has no moral content (indeed morality does not exist) if humans are not beings (people) – who can choose to do other than we do (hence Determinism and “Compatibilism” are not compatible with the principles of law).

    Longrider – yes indeed, if we do not defend the right of people to say things we (rightly) despise, then we are not defenders of Freedom of Speech.

    That does NOT mean we have to listen or read what they say – for example I often “block” people on Twitter who say horrible things. But they have a right to say them – just as I have a right to “walk away”.

  • Steven R

    “No true Scotsman…”

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    This. I’ve seen people removed from the Vikings (football team) stadium who were wearing Green Bay Packers jerseys amongst the drunken crowd. Not because you can’t root for the other team, but because you might die doing so.

    I grew up in Glasgow, where there are two major football teams: Rangers and Celtic. There is great animosity between the two fan groups, which is rooted to some degree in a protestant-verses catholic hatred, though I think that is really the roots of the problem rather than the current reason. A match between them is one of the most important and heavily attended matches in Scottish football. The stadium where they play each other the fans are separated by huge fences, the fans are directed to travel by different routes and go through different doors. Having them together is certain to provoke massive violence. It really is a pathetic indictment of the human spirit. I used to live about half a mile from Rangers stadium, Ibrox, so I saw this first hand.

    However, when I came to the US I went to Soldier field to watch a game between the Bears and the Packers who have an equally intense rivalry. The fans from different teams were all mixed up sitting next to each other. I was really shocked by this, but everyone was very pleasant and having a good time, even after a lot of alcohol.

    Having said that, I find the idea of the police arresting someone “for their own good” quite disturbing. Especially so when it is to prevent someone from saying something that might offend others. Regarding people speaking out of turn and rudely at the funeral, I was reminded of this story of a woman going to jail for a similar act of lese majesty. So I guess the guy got off easy.

  • Steven R

    I think there’s a difference between “arrested for her own good” and “arrested to keep a bad situation from getting worse.”

    None of us really know what the deal is. We weren’t there, the press is notoriously bad at getting facts right and even when to do they have a narrative to tell. It may have been to get her out of there before the whole thing went pear-shaped. It may have been a situation where she was being obnoxious and the cops asked her to quit and she ended up talking herself into jail. It may even have been both she and the cop were assholes meeting each other, or some other variation on the theme. We simply don’t know why she ended up in cuffs and the sign may not have actually been the reason so much as behavior.

    But the point remains, sometimes, just sometimes, the guy in the street has to make a split-second judgement call that the navel gazers will complain about in their nice, neat, and controlled meeting rooms after the fact.

  • bobby b

    “Having said that, I find the idea of the police arresting someone “for their own good” quite disturbing.”

    Back in 1978, when the American Nazi Party decided to hold its march through predominantly Jewish Skokie, Illinois, there was a huge fight over whether to allow this (as a valid exercise of unpopular but free speech) or not (as an immediate threat, not to Jewish sensibilities, but to the public peace.)

    Essentially, the strongest argument to shut down the march became the preservation of the peace – through protection of the Nazi marchers’ lives from the outrage they would cause.

    It’s a very slippery slope, no doubt. I’m glad that speech won out over security back then. But I can also understand pulling the lone nutty placard-holder out of danger, or dragging out the brave soul wearing the wrong jersey amongst the mean drunks.

    It comes down to personal judgment of enforcers so many times. We’re left hoping that the people to whom we grant the discretion to judge the situation share our own values. And, thus, we have representative government, tempered by anti-majoritarian principles. We hope.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I’ve seen people removed from the Vikings (football team) stadium who were wearing Green Bay Packers jerseys amongst the drunken crowd. Not because you can’t root for the other team, but because you might die doing so.

    Packers should be wary of a horde of drunken Vikings.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Back in 1978, when the American Nazi Party decided to hold its march through predominantly Jewish Skokie, Illinois

    If I remember correctly, the ACLU defended the marchers in this case. I miss that old ACLU who stood up for the principle of free speech irrespective of how vile the speech was. Now they are just a wing of the democrat party.

    It comes down to personal judgment of enforcers so many times. We’re left hoping that the people to whom we grant the discretion to judge the situation share our own values. And, thus, we have representative government, tempered by anti-majoritarian principles. We hope.

    Which I think would be a bit more acceptable were they ever held accountable for their decision. But they are not. So it is a power, unbridled in nature, that depends on the good will of the guys with guns. Which is a shaky thing indeed.

    (BTW, I find myself often in a very odd position. I have spent years pointing out the faults and dangers of police. But often now I find myself in the opposite position of having to defend the police because certain groups in our society have taken a few legitimate claims about police faults and thrown the baby out with the bathwater. I is very odd for me, a libertarian, to be standing up for the police, but these are weird times we live in.)

  • Steven R

    David Simon wrote a book titled Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. He spent a year shadowing the Homicide detectives in Baltimore. He then used parts of the book as the basis for the TV shows Homicide and The Wire but that isn’t the point of this post.

    Early in the book someone gets dead, the detectives show up and the detectives ask about any witnesses. The beat cop says he just grabbed anyone and sent them downtown for questioning.

    As civil libertarians, I suppose we should be incensed that an agent of the state deprived citizens of their liberties not because they had committed a crime, but in the off chance that they might could maybe perhaps possibly provide evidence. The detectives thought the beat cop had good instincts and realized that using heavyhanded tactics were necessary to get any information as blacks didn’t want to be seen as helping police at all.

    The real world has a very bad habit of not going along with what we think it should or should not do. Taking down murderers is one of the few thing I think we can agree is something the police should be doing (leaving the argument of whether or not the police should even exist for another time). My copy of the Bill of Rights doesn’t read, “…unless it makes things difficult for the state, then nevermind.” At the same time government has an appointed responsibility to do things like track down murderers and prevent riots, so there is some balancing to be done.

  • bobby b

    “Which I think would be a bit more acceptable were they ever held accountable for their decision. But they are not.”

    But they are. Accountable, I mean. If we-the-people have strong feelings about what they’ve done, we dis-elect them (or their supervisor bosses) at the next election.

    We don’t do this, of course. It might be because we (the democratic “we”, the majority) don’t have strong negative feelings about what they’ve done, or maybe because we’re simply too pusillanimous and self-absorbed to care – but we do have the power to improve things should we ever become virtuous enough to care.

    So I can’t lay the blame for this anywhere besides on us citizens. We get what we on-average deserve.

  • bobby b

    “Packers should be wary of a horde of drunken Vikings.”

    The Green Bay (Wisconsin) Packers are our Minnesota Vikings’ main local rivals, being so close to us. The Vikings fans wear, of course, the expected Vikings horned hats. The Wisconsin team fans – Wisconsin has historically been a dairy state – wear strange hats that look just like a giant wedge of wheeled cheese. Intentionally.

    To see conflict between such goofy mobs is a lot like watching the end battle scene of Monty Python’s Holy Grail.

  • Steven R

    I don’t know how it works in the UK but in the US departments that are sued don’t pay out of their budgets; their insurance carriers write the check. Police officers are generally protected by something the courts made up called “qualified immunity.” Basically if the officer is acting more or less in the scope of their duties and screws up “in good faith”, the officer(s) are untouchable. That’s why you see the occasional story of SWAT guys going to the wrong house, lobbing in a flash-bang grenade that ends up roasting a toddler, and the cops go home at night. A fat check is written to grieving parents, and nothing more is said or done. In the end, the bureaucracy survives untouched. No harm, no foul.

    You don’t even need to do much to the laws except change that to departments pay settlements out of their budgets and individual officers can be sued if they do something really stupid. That would stop those kinds of behaviors ASAP.

  • Fraser Orr

    bobby b
    But they are. Accountable, I mean. If we-the-people have strong feelings about what they’ve done, we dis-elect them (or their supervisor bosses) at the next election.

    They are accountable as a mass, not individually. And therein lies the problem. It is fundamentally the problem of the capture of the system by the elites. We did, recently try to recapture it from the elites with the election of Trump (who was very far from perfect) and look what happened. Right now the FBI is tracking down anyone who dared to support him publicly, including the violation of some of our most basic tenets such as the right to redress our government for grievances, the secrecy of lawyer client confidentiality, even the writ of habeas corpus. So the system is largely immune to change.

    In fact I think democracy is rather a mockery. If I say “do you want a punch in the face or a kick in the nuts” and you chose the latter are your bruised testicles comforted by the fact that you chose it?

  • Paul Marks

    Violence among protestors and counter protestors.

    I remember once meeting a man who told me that his father had been on a British Union of Fascists march through the East End of London – the so called “Battle of Cable Street”.

    He told me that his father was physically picked up by a man of ordinary hight but almost supernatural strength (a “Jewish Sampson” – well Sampson was Jewish, but I did not interrupt) and flung over the heads of the line of protecting policeman, flung into the crowd – where he was badly beaten.

    I could guess which man had done that – as I knew my father, Harry Marks, had flung men over the heads of policemen (so the policemen could not protect them).

    Do I defend what he did? No. But they were violent times and the people beaten had made it rather clear that they wanted to get rid of the Jews – this was interpreted to mean physically get rid of (kill). And in Europe that interpretation did come to pass.

  • Paul Marks

    Fraser Orr.

    It is vital for the police and security agencies to be politically neutral – and you are correct Sir, in the United States the Federal forces are NOT.

    The FBI and the “Justice” Department ignore the very real crimes of the Bidens and other establishment types – and, instead, persecute people such as General Flynn for made up “crimes”.

    It is nothing to do with “January 6th” because the FBI and the “Justice” Department have been systematically biased for years. Biased and twisted (corrupted) to a sickening degree – one could see it developing under the Clinton Administration and it is an institutional level of corruption.

    They must go – the FBI and the “Justice” Department (the Federal “conviction machine” which has long undermined the principles of the Common Law – with its “process crimes”, and utterly perverted Federal court system).

    Both at the Federal level and in some States (especially the big cities) conservatives cannot expect the equal application of the laws – their enemies will not be prosecuted for the “crimes” (real or made up) that they will be prosecuted for, and nor can conservatives expect a fair trial. On the contrary – American conservatives can expect that the legal process will be rigged against them.

    This is an incredibly grave situation.

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