Progressives and others on the “left” generally do not understand the difference between a legitimate and an illegitimate protest. On the one hand they think that somebody who hands out a tract about the evil of murdering the unborn to a woman headed to an abortion clinic or who stands on the sidewalk across from it holding a placard with a pro-life message is doing something horrible that should be against the law. On the other hand they think that when a gang of environmentalist activists who claim to speak for aboriginal people blockades a railroad, preventing it from conducting its daily business of shuttling people and transporting goods across the country, and costing Canadian businesses multiple millions of dollars a day, that they are within their rights and may even consider it a noble and laudable act.
Since lefties have such difficulties with grasping this simple concept, I will explain it to them plainly.
Let us imagine that you are mad about some public issue and want to make your opinion known. You make up a sign expressing your point of view, go to the people who you want to hear it, and march up and down on the sidewalk in front of their building holding the sign up for everyone to read. Or, if a sign just won’t cut it, you write a pamphlet, have several copies printed, and start handing them out.
Note what you have not done. You have not gotten in anyone’s way. You have not used force to prevent other people from going somewhere or doing something.
Your protest, therefore, is a legitimate one. It does not matter whether your opinion is one that the vast majority of people would heartily agree with or one that the vast majority of people would find repugnant. You have made your position known without forcibly interfering with other people’s rights to go about their daily business.
Suppose, however, that you were to take a different approach. Let us say, for example, that the local university is hosting a speaker whose political views you disagree with. When the university refuses to listen to your demands that the lecture be cancelled you form a posse of like-minded individuals and go to the auditorium where the event is scheduled to occur and block all the entrances preventing speaker and audience alike from getting in.
In this instance you have not just made your opinion known, but you have forcibly interfered with the freedom of others to share and hear views different from yours. Your protest, in this case, is not a legitimate one. This has nothing to do with the content of your views, or the matter of whether they are right or wrong. It is because you are interfering with the rights and freedoms of other people.
Having made the basic difference between a legitimate and an illegitimate protest clear, let us consider one more scenario.
In the previous example of an illegitimate protest, you had interfered with the rights and freedoms of others but at least those others were people holding to the views you were protesting against. Suppose that you were upset that Project X was taking place somewhere in the country and in order to protest this you went somewhere else and erected an illegal barricade that interfered with the movement and daily business of millions of people regardless of whether or not they had anything to do with Project X.
Is it not obvious that by doing so you have exited the sphere of mere illegitimate protest and entered that of unlawful aggression against the civil order itself?
The duty of Her Majesty’s government in such an instance is clear. Unfortunately, since the First Minister of that government is still Captain Airhead, the Canadian electorate having proven itself foolish enough last fall to give him a totally undeserved second term, we are not likely to see that duty done any time soon. As the events of this past week have demonstrated, even beneath his fancy new beard, Captain Airhead is still Captain Airhead.
Should, however, Captain Airhead experience a miraculous epiphany, enduing him with a newfound sense of obligation towards the constitution, laws, and common good of our country, here is what he would do.
He would call a press conference immediately. He would address the “protesters” who have blocked the railroad, informing them that their action is one of unlawful aggression against the Dominion of Canada, its constitution, government, laws, civil order in general, economy and people. He would give them twenty four hours to cease and desist this aggression, remove their blockades from the railroad, and to surrender themselves to the police. He would then inform them that the police have been instructed that immediately at the end of that twenty four hour grace period they are to move in and remove any remaining barrier from the railroad and that the Canadian Armed Forces have been put on notice and are standing by to back up the police using whatever force is necessary to accomplish this end.
Yeah, I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen either.
The above arguments are, as stated, independent of any question of whether or not the protesters are right or wrong. Nevertheless, it is a fairly obvious observation that the illegitimate forms of protest are more likely to prove tempting to those whose cause rests upon a weak foundation. In the case of those currently blocking the railroad, you have environmentalist activists opposed to the pipeline project in British Columbia. They purport to be speaking on behalf of the Wet’suwet’en aboriginal tribe, but that tribe’s leaders have, in fact, approved the pipeline project, as have the other tribes in the area in question. This tribe has both elected and hereditary chiefs and the protesters claim that the latter are the legitimate chiefs for whom they speak, but even then only a minority of the hereditary chiefs have opposed the pipeline and it would appear that some shenanigans went down with regards to the hereditary titles apart from which this minority would have been even smaller. At any rate, contrary to the impression one would get from the CBC, the protesters are not all aboriginals, many appear to be of white European descent, and some have only recently come to Canada. As is often the case with environmentalist “protest” movements that speak entirely in neo-Marxist jargon, it is likely that the only people these protesters truly speak for are the American petroleum companies who benefit from environmentalist protests against Canadian pipelines because these pipelines, if constructed, would allow our major oil-producing provinces, both landlocked, to access world markets and no longer be dependent upon the American market.
Even if none of that were case and this was a sincere protest movement, however, its actions are intolerable and the government’s duty remains clear. It is the duty of all lawfully constituted civil authority to use lawful force to combat those who use unlawful force to wage anarchical war against order and civilization. Again, the government’s duty is clear. If only the Prime Minister cared.
My Last Post
2 years ago