“I walk alone, I walk alone, I walk alone, EXCEPT FOR THESE TWO GUYS RIGHT NEXT TO ME”
OK, great opportunity for me to explain why I never do any of this “social media solidarity” stuff regardless of whether I agree with the cause.
What if anti-immigrant riots open up in France and more people-refugees this time- die? What if the French expel all their refugees? What if Marine le Pen’s neo-Nazis win big and start passing exclusionary legislation?
My heart bleeds for the French in the aftermath of the recent act of pure evil committed against them by the vile Islamic State, and may al-Bagdhadi burn in Hell. But human beings are human beings, with a thirst for vengeance and with an amoral complexity to their politics. Put yourself fully on the side of an emotional populist movement, and you become affiliated with it in all its behavior and stances, good and bad.
That’s why I didn’t and don’t stand by the UMissouri protestors in solidarity, even though I agree with them that their administration should have stepped up against lingering anti-black racism long ago. What happens when those protestors start shutting down journalists? What if they overreach and try to bring down their administration? Hell, social justice protests have gotten violent before. What if these ones do too, god forbid, and they get violent and destroy property- or worse- lives? (Not expecting they will- much much much more likely that’ll happen in France.)
So how else would I recommend action be taken against grave injustice and evil? Frankly, I don’t have an answer right now for that, aside from that those already in power should adopt reformist social agendas- not radical ones or reactionary ones- to address these sorts of issues before they explode. When they do explode, it makes perfect sense that movements rise up in response- I can’t blame those who join them for it, especially if they are personally affected.
But there is a cost to all political action, especially when it radicalizes. I suspect elements of French society will begin to radicalize soon, just as elements of the Black community have partially radicalized now and as college activists have definitely done for years. And in my observation, radicalization tends to divide people, cause more injustices to be committed on BOTH sides rather than the original oppressors, and morally complicate formerly morally simple situations. And it makes a just arrangement and reconciliation that much harder to get, because the opposing forces now hate each other more.
Also, the French people-ISIS situation carries MUCH more moral weight, I think, than the Missouri racists- Missouri protestors situation does.
Anyway, some might call me a coward. I would rather consider myself a complex moral thinker (and bear in mind, I am an unashamed, unabashed American nationalist in my political loyalties, and few entities have as much blood on their hands these days as the American state.) But long story short- I don’t go solidarity, because I would rather not be associated with the swirling passions of the masses of the people. You don’t typically serve anybody well by agreeing with their emotional mindset (which is why so many social justice causes would be much better fought for by non-social justice warriors.)
May principled moderation prevail, may the injustices at home and abroad be corrected, may we one day see the world where no one holds a gun and no one drags a chain (hint: that’s Heaven.) In the meantime, we need coolheaded leaders to get us through the complex evil of the world we inhabit without perpetrating greater evils.
That’s why statecraft is the hardest thing ever, and especially so in democratic polities like the good ol’ USA.
For the French to lose their cool and retaliate against refugees or even French Muslims is exactly what ISIS wants. The point of terrorist attacks generally is to goad one’s enemies into over-retaliation.