September 2020: With a Presidential election a mere 2 months away, we have thought about the unrest in that country, an admixture of BLM protest, concerted (possibly organized) opposition to Donald Trump, and a spontaneous reaction against the prevailing authority, a left-wing version of the alt/general-right correction of 2016.
The disruption and disorder is a weird echo of 1968, where in a different and more difficult period, voters chose order over chaos. In the wake of Martin Luther King‘s assassination in that year, Robert Kennedy’s plea for calm seems apposite now (see below). We fear this November, or next January, might herald the interregnum of a Mirabeau or Kerensky, but will confine ourselves to paraphrase Edmund Burke, reflecting on another time and place of unrest (1790):
‘America has not sacrificed her virtue to her interest, but she has abandoned her interest, that she might prostitute her virtue…the medicine of the state has been corrupted into its poison…the rebels have shown more fury, outrage, and insult, than ever any people has been known to rise against the most illegal usurper, or the most sanguinary tyrant. Their resistance was made to concession; their revolt was from protection; their blow was aimed at a hand holding out graces, favours and immunities. They may find their punishment in their success: laws overturned; tribunals subverted; industry without vigour; commerce expiring; the revenue unpaid, yet the people impoverished; civil and military anarchy made the constitution of the nation; worship of the idol of public credit, with national bankruptcy the consequence…not one drop of their blood have they shed in the cause of the country they are ruining.’
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