Time was that mobs would shout, "crucify him!" and "we want Barrabas!" Now they shout "f**k white people!" and "we want new trainers!" Parts of America have descended into chaos in the last few days, and all the time new images and videos are coming through – the cities of Minneapolis, St Paul and Atlanta in flames, mobs breaking into Louis Vuitton and Nike shops, a shopkeeper being kicked to death by a group of thugs in Dallas. These are images we're more used to seeing from Homs than Houston.
This is, of course, not to say that there wasn't some provocation. The actions of the Minneapolis policemen who arrested George Floyd was despicable, it appears they killed him, and I have seen no one attempt to defend them nor even equivocate on the matter. But they are being investigated, one has already been charged, and it seems that the County Attorney will be pulling no punches with them. If people feel that the incident is part of a wider trend of racially-driven police brutality, they are well within their rights to protest. But as conservatives we can never look at a mob burn down their own city and "stand with them". It is disgraceful to suggest otherwise. The mob that burnt down the Minneapolis Target and Autozone, among 170 other businesses, were not "protesting". They were stealing stuff. They were stealing televisions, they were stealing trainers, they were, and indeed many still are, stealing whatever they can get their hands on. As conservatives, we stand against mass robbery. We stand against the baying mob ransacking family businesses, destroying the livelihoods of the owners and their employees alike (although don't expect the employees to be seeing much of the insurance pay-outs). And we most certainly stand in disgust at the mob burning down a police station.
The world has gone mad. There are now people who will not only insist that stealing stuff from random shops is a legitimate form of protest, but that even questioning it is a form of "white supremacy", a term which used to be reserved for the likes of the KKK but now seemingly applies to anyone, regardless of their skin colour, who is, you know, against all the shops in a city being burnt down, people who aren't so keen in the places they live or the businesses they work in being looted and destroyed, you know, real David Duke types. Or there are some people who will try to push some obvious false narrative, like all the buildings are being burnt by spooky "undercover cops", or "white nationalists" trying to make black people look bad or something (while in the same breath trying to justify the buildings being burnt down), and even the President himself is blaming it all on "out-of-state agitators" and "Antifa". In truth, the vast majority of those arrested for being thieving scum in the Twin Cities were residents of Minnesota. These are not political demonstrations, these are not covert political psy-ops, either by the US government, or the KKK or the far-left, these are mass lootings orchestrated by locals who have been in lockdown too long, realised their TVs are too small and have jumped on an excuse to attack law and order, burn down their city and take anything not nailed down.
There is no justification for this. A black man being killed by the police does not give you a licence to destroy the property of innocent people, many of them black, it does not give you a licence to ruin the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people who live and work there, and it does not give you a licence to grab whatever you want. "Oh, the police killed someone, guess the only way to solve this is to steal!" It's all so transparent.
As conservatives, we understand the need for societal order. Without it, you can't have a civilisation. And this isn't some racist, white supremacist ideal, but something which every culture throughout history has understood, but apparently we have now forgotten. For example, around the time of the Persian Wars, the great philosopher Confucius had this to say, that "[t]o subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him." Likewise, Saint Paul wrote in Romans 13, "[f]or rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same." Yes, it has sometimes proved necessary to overthrow tyranny, but where order is maintained and peaceful change is perfectly possible, such as in a republic like the United States of America, it is our duty not to throw it away on the off-chance that something we prefer might take its place. As the events of the last few days have shown, it probably won't.