Donald Trump Doesn't Understand Riots

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Riots

Image credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Do you understand how to prevent a riot? Do you recognize why social harmony is frayed, and property damage is suddenly rampant?   

Donald Trump demonstrates he doesn’t know the answer to those questions. More than once, in June, the president announced his intention to send federal troops to occupy U.S. cities. 

The president is not unique. Hardly any Americans know the actual source of domestic tranquility. 

Instead, most people are convinced that we need strong shows of force by armed authorities. Otherwise, we’ll have chaos and mass victimization at the hands of a rampaging mob.

Riots are not normal. Agitators cannot build the critical mass necessary. To get the numbers needed for a riot, they need to tap into an existing rage. Human Respect is already lost as soon as vandalism, looting, and arson begin.

Human Respect is a philosophy based on the recognition that using violence to “get things done” undermines happiness, reduces harmony, and damages prosperity. 

So here’s what the president and others don’t understand… 

Societal harmony is due to the fact that most people, most of the time, practice Human Respect. Your neighbors, even strangers on the street, don’t rely on violence to get things done. They choose tolerance, persuasion, and cooperation instead.

Happiness & Harmony Undermined

By now, we all know that George Floyd was killed, likely due to the actions of Minneapolis police officers. The cops involved, especially the one with his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, knew they were being filmed. They heard objections from people at the scene. 

These officers apparently believed they were just doing their jobs, simply containing a suspect. 

Right now, there are discussions about the merits of various types of police force such as chokeholds. These discussions miss a big point! Every law – EVERY single one – is backed by violence. 

The State’s primary tactic and actual purpose is force. That’s why laws require enFORCErs.

The subject of that force might object. That’s why the Enforcers are armed. Chairman Mao was right: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

But why does that subject object? He or she does so because their happiness has been reduced. It’s automatic, therefore, that harmony will decline, and in some cases, be replaced by outright conflict when the enforcers come calling. 

If, instead, our society prioritized and practiced Human Respect, then… 

  • We would reserve the use of force to self-defense and to arrests for antisocial actions we universally agree are crimes. For example, everyone agrees that murder is wrong but pot possesion is highly debatable. We should never initiate force simply to achieve a preferred social goal.
  • We would further agree that the amount of force used must be proportional. We must never permit excessive force.

But we, as a society, have REFUSED to agree on those things and to limit the use of law enforcement. 

Instead, voters have made virtually every activity the subject of some law or regulation. Republicans and Democrats have noble or pet causes. They’ve asked the cops to do the dirty work. (And the cops willingly went along because they got greater power, bigger budgets, and overtime pay.)       

Follow the steps…

  1. Law enforcement was tasked by the voters and their favorite politicians to use force.
  2. Police, doing their job, took actions that robbed human happiness. 
  3. When happiness is harmed, harmony disintegrates. 
  4. Eventually, the loss of prosperity shows up in the form of riots. 

Doubling Down

Once again, every time someone deploys initiated or excessive force they undermine happiness, reduce harmony, and damage prosperity. 

That’s a natural principleyou can count on it.   

Sending cops in riot gear, or worse, sending the military to American cities, adds more force. That might, temporarily, restore “order.” But suppressing the crowds can create pressures that burst forth in the future because nothing was done to address the root problem. Expanding the role of violence does nothing to address the loss of human happiness. The problem might get buried for now, but it isn’t solved. 

No Values, No Peace

Rioting mobs damage property, injure people, and sometimes kill people. We can trace the rioting mob back to a collapse of values. 

Practicing the values of Human Respect is the only way we can provide true and lasting harmony and prosperity. 

Strong shows of force do not make us safer. The superior approach is maximizing Human Respect. We do this by developing an appreciation for the fact that everyone is trying to pursue happiness, and that might look different from our version. 

That’s not just fortune cookie advice. Politicians generate large stacks of taxes, laws, fines, and regulations. Practicing Human Respect means we prevent and end these disruptions of personal happiness. 

This Human Respect approach would dramatically decrease the number of times cops would be called. The number of people shot or abused by police would plummet. And we could eliminate riots over cop conduct. Someone, please tell the president this solution to preventing riots. 


Jim Babka is the Editor-at-Large for Advocates for Self-Government and the co-creator of the Zero Aggression Project


Comment section

5 thoughts on “Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Riots

  1. this is a GREAT article and takes an approach that I have not seen elsewhere. However, in the article, a natural question emerges which is not answered in the article. The crime that George Floyd was being arrested for was counterfeiting. I believe that most people will see this as a morally justifiable law. As such, enforcement of justifiable laws make sense (unless one proposes total anarchy, in which case, the article does not go far enough and needs to explain how such a society could function without lapsing into a war lord run society). I have opinions on anti-counterfeiting laws, such as; A) the government counterfeits every day, and George Floyd is the LEAST offender, and the cops are in the wrong place to affect change on this front, and B) if our money were ‘real’, it couldn’t be counterfeited. But that topic would take too much space here. What this article needs is a follow-up article to take it to it’s logical conclusion of how enforcing ‘just’ laws such as the aforementioned murder should be enforced.

  2. I believe this demonstrates that you don’t understand Donald Trump. He says a lot of things in order to accomplish a certain goal, but what he SAYS is not necessarily the clue to HOW he plans to accomplish it.

    We no longer have human respect in many areas of life. Human respect is instilled by the Christian faith, which underlies the philosophy of this nation. When the number of Christians falls below a certain level, then lack of human respect takes hold.

    A person who has human respect for HIMSELF is not interested in pot.

    The plethora of laws got passed in RESPONSE to lack of human respect. Someone somewhere, more than once, has violated someone else’s rights, or he has violated a duty to that person. The law is passed to try to restore human respect, when all other methods have failed.

    So you are putting the cart before the horse. Human respect is not the natural state of a person. It requires a spiritual solution, and the rest follows.

  3. I don’t think this is quite right, either. The mere fact the government counterfeits money (if true) does not justify the individual doing so. Perhaps the best solution is to make sure it doesn’t work to pass counterfeited money. The problem is, we don’t know how to make “real” money. Money backed by gold may be “real” but if the bills are easily faked, it won’t matter. If we print bills that are too complex to counterfeit, and every seller has a way to test them, then it becomes impossible to pass a counterfeited bill. When it becomes impossible, people won’t do it. They’ll find another way to cheat the system. Arresting someone for trying to pass a counterfeited bill is like trying to close the barn door after the horse got out. Bills are barter certificates. They enable us to exchange goods and services in a simple way when the complex needs of one individual cannot be supplied directly by the complex abilities of another. The other thing to keep in mind is that if someone is trying to pass a counterfeited bill, there is probably a lot more going on that is also anti-social in nature. Police often will use a convenient law to justify taking someone into custody (or give a traffic ticket) when the real purpose is to stop some OTHER behavior. Case in point: using a speed limit to stop someone who is driving erratically. “Driving erratically” is not easily defined, and is a matter of personal judgment, which means it can be challenged successfully in court. But if the person is speeding, that is an objective evidence, and the person can be stopped, and the officer can then take the person who is driving erratically off the road. In like manner, if police know someone who is passing counterfeit bills is also involved in a much deeper crime, passing the bill may well provide a convenient way to deal with that person without first having to have ALL the information on his other activities.

  4. You want to know the real reason we have riots in this country? Always from only a certain group? Because we’re multiple nations within a single state nowadays. Look up the dictionary definitions. A nation is a group of people with a shared ethnicity, culture, language, customs, etc. A state is of course the political entity that encompasses a geographic area.

    White America FORCED all the different Europeans to tow the line and become Anglicized, and because the ethnic and religious differences were small enough, it worked after basically 1-2 generations. But no other group has ever assimilated. So we’re now multiple nations in the same country, fighting over control.

    Name a single nation in history that held together wildly different ethno-religious groups without having a gun (or sword in olden times!) to their head. You can’t. Every multi-ethnic nation in history used violence to hold their empire together. Even then there were almost always civil wars and revolts along ethnic or religious lines. As soon as an empire lost the ability to force the people together through violence the empire always splits up along ethno-religious lines. Why is that? It’s because it’s human nature.

    Switzerland is perhaps the best counter example, but they only managed to hold it together for a couple reasons. Radical decentralization, the fact that the cultures of the people there are actually very similar objectively speaking (IE smaller gaps than between Japanese and Hondurans or whatever), similar religions, similar ethnicity. Switzerland is barely a proper country compared to other places such is the level of decentralization. But the fact is the German Swiss and French Swiss STILL have massive problems with each other, and would probably both be happier if they were 2 separate states. If Switzerland had German Swiss and Somalis, or Japanese, or Puerto Ricans, etc there it likely never would have worked at all. It works for the same reason America worked after awhile, because the 2 groups are barely different when you get down to it.

    Look, I WISH the utopian dreams globalist shills have were true… But they just aren’t. Multicultural societies can never be happy, functional societies. The problem is that EVERY group ultimately wants to run things themselves, and they want things run the way they want things run. If they’re not in charge they get PISSED at whoever is JUST BECAUSE they’re not in charge. It doesn’t even matter if the people running things are doing a good job, they want to run things just because they want to run things. Even if you give them a fair and proportional say in things, it’s not enough.

    American is MOSTLY 4 “nations” now.

    We have Black America, which is a racial group that never fully assimilated into the white American population that was the vast majority since the founding of the country. They go out of their way to NOT assimilate, because they don’t want to. They want to do them. They will forever be a different nation from the other groups in the USA.

    We now have Hispanic America. Hispanic Americans have done a little better integrating into the mainstream culture, but only back in the day when they were a small part of the population that was forced to assimilate. This was also mainly because of very high intermarriage rates, and in all honesty your average Mexican IS 60-70% European genetically to begin with, and they have a janky, but still European based culture even in their home countries. Now that they’re a huge ethnic block in many areas assimilation is not happening. I have Hispanic ancestry, but they became Anglicized ASAP because they had to. If we ever cut off illegal immigration they MAY eventually assimilate via intermarriage, but it may be beyond the tipping point where they will have permanently established a similar, but not quite the same, American culture of their own like blacks.

    Then we have the 2 biggest groups. The 2 different and opposed white cultures. Essentially Heritage Americans who believe in the stuff the country was founded on, and the ones who have bought into the communist nonsense. No reason to go much deeper on this one.

    There’s also other smaller groups that are distinct, but they’re not that big. Asian Americans, Native Americans, etc. They’re rounding errors in the scheme of things.

    In short we’ve witnessed new nations being created from both natural ethno-racial causes, and cultural stuff (and leftist propaganda!) over the last few decades. The USA is too big to hold itself together and people have self sorted into essentially forming new nations in geographic areas which accentuates this, IE California vs Idaho.

    Radical decentralization and mass migration from one area to another COULD work… But people are too dumb to do it. We’re going to end up having to split the country completely into at least 2, but preferably more, nation-states. Again people are too dumb to do it peacefully, hence why we’re going to have a civil war in the not too distant future.

    Again, you don’t have to LIKE the fact that multiculturalism is a failed experiment… But it is. We thought we could do the same thing as other empires of the past, but somehow make it work this time without violence… But it ended up not working again. Human nature is too all in on in-group preference and out-group screw you! The only way we can hold the USA together today is by killing people and violently forcing them to remain in a state they do not want to be a part of. As a libertarian, I don’t like that idea. Peaceful separation is far more preferable.

    The quicker people TRULY understand this, the quicker we can redraw borders and return to having a functional society, and returning the good parts of America back to freedom and liberty. The parts ruled by commies and others… Well that’s their problem!

  5. Firstly, let’s establish that political disturbances are created by a very small percentage of the general population. The theory that protests are the result of some feeling of unhappiness and the resulting lack of harmony is not without its merit but on the same token we have to point out the fact that riots and the resulting political violence and legitimate protest are two very different things.
    While I do recognize that the author of this piece seems to be coming from a good place, I am going to respectfully disagree with at least some of the points made in this article. Furthermore, I venture to say that the author himself does not understand the language of riots or its purposes very much.
    Having had the misfortune of growing up in a communist dictatorship and having witnessed a number of Marxist takeovers I am going to enlighten the readers on my experience.
    Protest are meant to show our discontent with a particular form of injustice. This is the reason why the US Constitution provides protection for peaceful assembly and to petition the government for redressing of grievances. On the other hand, riots are a political tool, participants are often loosely-but-well organized in the sense that everyone has the same objective; political violence!
    Riots are one of the favorite tools in the Marxist revolutionary toolbox because political violence is an integral part of Marxist philosophy. Riots are deeply embedded in the Marxist ideology and in Marxist history.
    As with every other situation where violence is invoked, once you turn on the political violence switch it is almost impossible to turn it off. This is the mean reason why socialist and communist societies are intrinsically restrictive and repressive. A system born out of violence will inevitably have a violent character.
    But I don’t want to get ahead of myself; before you even can even talk about a socialist or communist regime/society, we have to examine the struggle of the Marxist once their efforts are met with the forceful reaction of opposition groups (often called reactionary groups) these clashes are often bloody and barbaric. Fortunately, we are not at that stage and hopefully we never reach it.
    Reactionary opposition to Marxists often originates from other citizens with conservative ideas but sometimes the opposition comes from people with very similar ideologies, for example, the German Communist party met violent reactionary opposition from the National Socialist Party thus the clashes between the Sturmabteilung and Antifaschistische Aktion were said to be bloody and often deadly. Yet the Nazi party and the communist party had similar goals: social programs, government ownership of the means of production, world domination and a centralized economy. Regardless of Wikipedia propaganda the Nazis were in fact left wing socialists who happened to be extremely racist, which was also a very common trait of those times. Marx himself was reportedly a bitter racist and for that matter so was Frederic Engels. But I digress, the point I am trying to make is that once the violence switch is turned on, it is very difficult to turn it off, this is the reason why for example: after the south lost the civil war in America, the defeated confederates having been publicly humiliated and consumed by the north’s anti-slavery war narrative placed the blame on the newly freed slaves which led to the enacting so called Jim crow laws, followed by the creation of the Ku Klux Klan, and a series of tragic lynching and extra judicial killings (murder) of black people. The civil war violence switch was never turned off and black people suffered tremendously as a consequence.
    Yet the confederates placed the blame on the wrong people, contrary to the claims made by revisionist history of today, the US civil war was not even fought over slavery. Southern slave owners didn’t even consider blacks human beings, in Jefferson Davis’ own words “the south would have never gone to war over some n****s”. (I do realize this sounds horrible but it is a direct quote designed to prove a point) The north and south went to war over secession; although the Paris accord did give the south the right to secession, the newly formed United States would not have survived if the south broke away from the union. Abraham Lincoln understood this so well that he made it the core issue of this campaign. It is well documented that hostilities between the south and north were brewing since the early 1830’s, several compromises were made in congress and passivizing laws and acts were passed in congress which avoided confrontation only to see tariffs and unfair economical practices on both sides bring both north and south very close to war several times before the first shots were ever fired at Fort Sumter. The north being more industrialized and less dependent on slavery but knowing that the south was completely dependent on slave labor devised an ingenious abolitionist campaign to justify an invasion of the south which never actually took place since it was the south that fired the first shots.
    The “slavery” narrative was a ploy to justify an economic war that was unpopular. This ploy still persists today! Some of the tenets of the BLM movement are based on wartime propagandized disinformation originating from the north which are known historically to be false, but those lies are knowingly still cited as fact by academics who have used slavery and racial fracture in the US to instigate students to destroy American culture, Heritage, history with the goal of ultimately seizing control of the country.
    In another example Stalin murdered more than 30 million people at Holodomor Ukraine, He starved millions to death not because he couldn’t feed them but because he feared they would revolt and overthrow the soviets, again the switch of Bolshevik violence in that case could only be turned off via genocide.
    Even in cases not related to politics, the famous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy nearly wiped both families off the face of the earth. Once the violence started it was very difficult to end.
    There are dozens of cases throughout human history where violence, once invoked, could not be stopped. However, I think there is still time and if you want to stop the violence and do so without the use of force, you MUST first take a real deep look at America and in a moment of self criticism, right the wrongs that have been done to some people. Then you MUST SWIFTLY stop the source of the poison that feeds violence. Stop the instigators who hide behind their critical “theories” professorship and the humanity studies Marxists who seek to overthrow the American republic and replace it with a totalitarian regime, the likes of which have never been seen. Imagine that with all our might and technology, a tyrannical regime in America would make the Soviet Union look like a dream vacation. We better act quickly, a big storm is coming and since there is no possible way, I could word it better, I am just going to quote my favorite president “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” -Ronald Reagan-
    I think I have made my point so summarizing, a riot is a political tool, rioters are not interested in redressing grievances, their only objective is to destroy the established system of laws and policies and replace it with one that fits their own version of the world. A world where the individual does not matter. There is no amount of respect you can give a rioter that will prevent more riots. A rioter cannot be appeased, there is no apology that will suffice their thirst. A rioter will never be appeased until they see their objectives met, their objective is nothing short of the destruction of who you are.
    I am not even going to talk about the looter phenomena since they are just common opportunistic thieves looking for big screen TVs.

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