The conservative writer and philosopher Russell Kirk routinely stressed the importance of ordered liberty in his writings. Kirk offers up this great line in an essay on the difference between libertarians and conservatives: “In any society, order is the first need of all. Liberty and justice may be established only after order is tolerably secure.”
America’s revolution, while a bloody conflict, is a great example of ordered liberty, in that it led to a new Republic under a clear Constitutional compact. The purpose was to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity” as a portion of the preamble declares. Under the rule of law, we collectively try to work out those freedoms under an ordered system of government. The state plays an important role in society, one of those main components being the safeguarding and protection of natural rights.
We don’t talk much about ordered liberty anymore but we should, particularly when we see the ridiculousness of mobs tearing down statues, setting up autonomous zones in some urban American environments, and just the general violence and destruction of property. The inability to restore order is a monumental failure by elected officials and is particularly unjust to those citizens who pay their taxes and follow the laws of our society. There is no tyranny worse than anarchy.
Obviously, this is not to say there aren’t many legitimate protestors in the Black Lives Matter movement, just as there were legitimate protestors who stood up against Gov. Roy Cooper’s lockdowns, whether if one agrees with them or not. The rights of the protestors to redress their government must always be protected by law enforcement and our elected leaders. Yet, when they kneel down to or let the mobs reign in city streets, they are derelict in their oath to our Constitution.
But, as our readers know, mobs are no friends of liberty or conservatism. The French Revolution did more than enough to prove that. And any student of history knows it’s certainly not merely one “privileged” group who are the victims of the mob, as so many racially motivated lynchings occurred as a result of the mob. Of course in North Carolina, a prime example of mob destruction is the Wilmington insurrection of 1898. In the present day, one can simply look upon all the minority-owned businesses destroyed during all this civil disorder.
The lawless destruction of statues, with no caveats, should be thoroughly denounced as well. This is where much of the ire of the mob is focused on right now.
We’ve seen the lack of any ideological logic of the mobs as they defaced the 54th Massachusetts monument or statues of abolitionist figures in Northern cities. Winston Churchill was branded a racist over in London by the mob, despite his courage to stand up to the Nazi regime long before most politicians in the free world. That’s the thing with mobs, they will label you however they like and then destroy anything in its path. Truth rings hollow for the illogical.
Ordered liberty is why we have the progress we have today. The American Civil Rights Movement made its appeals by being steeped in Christian truths, reason, and our Founding principles. Ultimately, it worked because it was appealing for a more justly ordered system and rule of law.
The mob only consumes the rights of others and never lets up until it’s squashed.
Conservatives should vigorously denounce mobs.