Jason D. Hill, Last week in Chicago saw the most major of American cities in the Midwest descend into chaos and mayhem as looters and rioters took to the city’s downtown streets and unleashed a reign of destruction and nihilistic terror.
Acting under the pretenses of social justice, and outrage at police brutality against blacks, anarchists and Black Lives Matter supporters reveal a desire not to peacefully protest whatever reasonable grievances they think they might have, but rather to destroy principles of civility, property rights and the First Amendment. And, of course, they also clearly wish to unload their absolute unfiltered hatred of law enforcement.
More than 100 people were arrested between Sunday night and Monday morning after an overnight spate of violence that seems to have begun with a 20-year-old man who, unprovoked, opened fire at police officers. Thirteen officers were injured in displays of violence around the city. Police Superintendent David Brown on Monday described the incident not as peaceful protests, but as incidents of pure criminality.
On Monday evening, the looters, rioters and anarchists again struck the wealthy section of downtown Chicago’s Gold Coast region, looting and destroying designer stores including Ralph Lauren, Jimmy Choo, and Geneva Seal. U-Haul trucks were seen waiting on the sides of roads to deposit the burglarized property from the city’s prime real estate area.
A Black Lives Matter Chicago organizer said Monday that the mobs who vandalized and looted downtown businesses the night before did nothing wrong, calling it “reparations” for Black suffering.
Defenders of Black Lives Matters could be seen holding banners proclaiming: “Our Futures Have Been Looted From Us… Loot Back.”
Two years ago, I wrote an article requesting that President Trump send federal troops to Chicago to quell gang violence and the crime rate which, at that time, was 35% above the national rate.
I had also made a similar plea to former President Obama.
At the time, many decried the call as drastic, despite the fact that then, as now, hundreds of innocent persons were being gratuitously murdered, including innocent young children caught in the cross fires of feral gang warfare.
Chicago is fast returning to a Hobbesian state of nature. As such, it will have no right to state sovereignty as the latter is subject to constraints of justice and a set of criteria that give sovereignty its legitimacy. The city is under siege. It is bleeding to death by thousands of tiny scratches. It is becoming a place where individuals can no longer see the best within themselves reflected in their noblest aspirational identities predicated on the American Dream.
A thriving and beautiful city filled with industrious and hardworking Americans is now in danger of being overrun not just by gang-bangers and routine criminals but, more disgustingly, those who seem to have the moral support—or at best sympathy—of a number of Americans: the anarchist and nihilistic Black Lives Matter movements and its defenders. Their words speak volumes for their actions; they admit to looting as a valid form of retributive justice.
What we are witnessing is not just the wholesale destruction of private property, but a vicious and evil attack on the material application of human values and the conjoinment of reason and labor—which means, an attack on the human mind — which is the source of all human wealth, productivity and entrepreneurial enterprises. We are witnessing more than nihilism and anarchy. We are privy to the wholesale spectacle of human beings whose sense of entitlement, moral laziness, envy, and hatred of applied creative agency are being unleashed while many Americans excuse such behavior out of a misguided sense of racial guilt, cognitive confusion and most of all, an intransigent unwillingness to attain the kind of lucidity of thought that would allow them to admit to exactly what they are seeing: unadorned evil.
The rioters and looters, in their attacks on the one faculty that is an indispensable requirement for human survival — reason — have declared themselves misanthropes. They not only hate humanity; their entrenched pessimism and nihilism are foreclosures to any semblance of amelioration and justice for any true victim such as might exist in an imperfect world. These anarchists, looters and rioters and members of BLM do not have a heightened sense of justice. They believe that justice itself is a neo-imperial and western construct meant to serve the interests of a dominant master class; and so, when they loot and declare that such action is proper because their “futures have been looted,” what they are advocating is a dog-eat-dog world of brute revenge. If nihilism is their ruling philosophy, then revenge and vengeance are their ruling motivating impulses, and unbridled indiscriminate rage and fear are their ruling emotions.
They are enraged by the idea that the American Dream is not based on a handout. It never was. If that is not the case, then they will destroy the possibility of others achieving their piece of the American Dream by attacking their values, their property, and therefore their means of survival. This is an infliction of a slow death, a type of homicide as many of those businesses destroyed over the last few months have left their owners bankrupt and, in some cases, homeless. The more they attack the reality of those who have achieved the American Dream, the greater leverage they will come to believe that they have over their narrative: America is evil. The Dream is dead. It was always constructed indelibly on the backs of oppressed people. If you achieved the Dream you were complicit in oppression and, therefore, deserving of being brutalized, murdered, robbed, looted and vandalized.
This is an apocalyptic moment that we are living through, not just in Chicago, but throughout the United States. One cannot reason with people who have declared reason, grammar, logic, history and rational argumentation as racist. One must deal with them with implacable force, and moral intransigence. Many of them have evicted themselves from the realm of rights by devolving to the state of snarling, grunting farm animals who are clearly existing outside the historical process. Nevertheless, if our republic today can allow trees and animals to have their days in court, then such individuals must be dealt with according to the rights to which they are constitutionally entitled.
But ferality and thuggery cannot be the ruling behavioral characteristics in any civilized state or city. It is to this extent that I would implore the President of the United States to suspend the dated Posse Comitatus Act, which unfairly limits his ability to use domestic militarization to respond to crises, and to send in the necessary resources to stem the violence overrunning Chicago. Since Posse Comitatus makes no mention of the use of the militia, the National Guard, the Navy or the Marines, the President could suspend this law and disperse forces to restore law and order and peace to our streets, our at-risk neighborhoods, and our previously very safe neighborhoods that had little violence inflicted on them, but are now being overrun by a phalanx of gang-members, BLM members, looters, rioters, vandals, and sundry stragglers waiting like vultures to pick up the remnants left behind from the carnage strewn by these domestic terrorists.
Americans must ask—among other things—two fundamental questions: “Do I want to live in a great republic where fear is my ruling emotion as I navigate life?” If the answer is no, then the second question is: “How do I identify those who make me afraid, and what are the rational and irrevocably procedural ways to keep them contained; keep them from becoming further national security threats and sites of terror?”
They have become terror cells that engulf not just a handful of cities, but the entire geographic landscape of the United States of America.
If we think hard enough, we can come up with workable answers reasonable people can agree on.
Jason D. Hill is professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago, and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His areas of specialization include ethics, social and political philosophy, American foreign policy and American politics. He is the author of several books, including “We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People” (Bombardier Books/Post Hill Press).