Angry Mobs

This is an angry mob:

Photo by Andrew Shurflet/The Daily Progress

This is not:

Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

Anger certainly drives the Tiki-torch marchers.  They justify their anger with the rhetoric of the oppressed, but in fact simply hate and fear those they would themselves enslave.  They’re mad from hate and fear of women, people of color, homosexuals, Jews, and others they consider less than human.  They believe themselves simply superior genetically, and form mobs like this one to demonstrate and enforce that superiority.  Members of these mobs carry symbols of slavery and fascism to instill fear by memorializing social movements that enslaved and killed millions of people.  They also carry weapons, including firearms, which they use on opponents.  For this angry mob beating and shooting people they hate and fear is acceptable – even necessary – behavior.  Thiers is an existential anger – for them civilization itself depends on asserting their power.  But it lacks moral authority, discipline and control.  Every citizen who challenges their demand for unearned privilege should all fear this angry one.

A different kind of anger motivates these women.  They’re tired of men treating them as objects and robbing them of agency.  Corporate, religious, and political leaders make rules that restrict female bodily autonomy – and I’m not just talking about reproductive rights. These rules privilege males over women with superior qualifications and expertise.  They stigmatize women who have a desire to take on traditionally male social roles or otherwise violate male preferences with regard to female sexuality.  Men bond with each other through slut-shaming and fat-shaming without regard to how this affects women.  Women grow more and more angry with this, and justifiably so.

These women want real equality and full freedom to live as they please.  American society has to accept this claim as valid If we truly believe in the principles of liberty and freedom we pay lip service to.  Yet the Kavanaugh confirmation process demonstrated once again that men who control institutional power will ignore them when they speak and push them aside when they challenge America’s institutional preference for male social privilege – in particular, but not exclusively – white male social privilege.  We should therefore expect their anger – and expect them to act on it.  It’s a righteous anger, full of moral authority, discipline, and control rather than violence and intimidation.  Only politicians – and others who would deny their claims – should fear them.

Social change drives the anger on both sides.  The power of wealthy white males to control institutional power in America eroded as they lost control of the factors that drive changes in shared understandings and social norms.  The conservative movement has become more reactionary as norms shifted and institutional power began devolving to others.  Some try to protect what’s left, with support from angry mobs that intimidate and attack, by packing institutions like the Supreme Court with reactionaries. Americans who welcome social change that expands liberty and freedom to heretofore oppressed minorities will work to protect it, with support from disciplined and organized groups of women, by packing Congress with progressives.  I know what side I’m on.

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