Violence on Charlotte’s Streets Began with Chaos in Hearts, Homes — and, Yes, Bathrooms
North Carolina is a battleground today as it hasn’t been since 1864. It’s a crucial swing state in the upcoming presidential election, whose outcome in judicial appointments might determine the very meaning of the U.S. Constitution — including its First Amendment protections for political speech and religious freedom, and Second Amendment guarantee of the right to self-defense. The state’s brave, pro-family governor is fighting for reelection, targeted by multimillion-dollar gay activist foundations. The state itself is under boycott by massive corporations including the NBA, NCAA and Paypal over its resistance to transgender pressure.
And the streets of Charlotte offer scenes that look like they were filmed in Libya or Syria — places where the state has lost control over public violence, and factional warfare has erupted in the streets. Agitators from all over the country have been shipped in to stir the outrage after a possibly unjust police shooting of a black citizen. Instead of peaceful protests, however, what erupted was large-scale violence, including this chilling footage of rioters seemingly trying to burn a reporter alive:
— WCCB, Charlotte’s CW (@WCCBCharlotte) September 22, 2016
The last time I heard of Charlotte in the news was when that city passed a transgender access law that would have denied any legal recognition to biological sex, granting men full access to women’s bathrooms and locker rooms, provided they whispered the secret password: “transgender.” The state’s legislature and governor swung into action, passing a state law overturning the local measure, and calling down on it the wrath of Bruce Springsteen, Barack Obama, and the rest of our country’s financial, political and cultural elite. And now Charlotte is ground zero for radical activists who want to start a race war.
Is that a coincidence? Some grim piece of irony? More than that, it’s a vital clue to the fragile chain of order in civilized society, and a warning that when we weaken its basic links, the whole thing can come crashing down in the most literal sense — in the form of burning cars, shattered storefronts, and policemen under siege by mobs of fanatics.
In his classic The Roots of American Order, Russell Kirk observes that harmony, order and freedom in society are not something imposed from outside by police or the national guard. Armed guards are the backstops, the last resort, which we call in for emergencies, when chaos is breaking out.
Those great good things make up the social peace that St. Paul, and all Christians since him, have prayed for in their time. They emerge from a much more intimate source than government agents with guns. They flow from the human heart and well-ordered minds, then play out in everyday life, especially in the home. That same order radiates organically through society, as honest people interact with each other, compete fairly, cooperate for mutual benefit, and when need be sacrifice their personal interests for the sake of the greater good. Fallen though we are, people can live together fruitfully when they agree on basic, truthful premises about good and evil, man and woman, justice and freedom — even if they differ on points of philosophy or theology.
What happens when that consensus breaks down? When the rules are constantly changing, perpetually under self-righteous attack, and as a result large swathes of the population learn that they don’t have to play by them? Picture trying to hold something as simple as a football game, if the referees had markedly different rule books and were subject to bribery; if each team felt free to doctor the ball; and players were stashing brass knuckles or knives inside their uniforms. Go further, and imagine that each team’s fans were so fanatical that they would cheer, not jeer, each time their own team cheated.
Charlotte: Ground Zero of the Bathroom War and Maybe a Race War
Welcome to Charlotte, North Carolina, a place where the many fault-lines of postmodern life apparently intersected, and the ground simply gave way under citizens’ feet. Below I will list the basic ground rules that used to govern American life, which virtually everyone held in common until 1968 or so.
- Men and women are equally important, but crucially different. Their biology both dictates and reflects these profound differences.
- Sex is meant for marriage, and marriage is meant for children, who deserve a full set of parents.
- Citizens must support themselves and their children, and not rely on the government except for short periods during emergencies.
- Men must support the children whom they father, and women should withhold sex from men who haven’t proven their ability and willingness to do that.
- Men must help to rear and discipline their sons, and protect their daughters.
Clearly these aren’t truths peculiar to America, or the West. They are not even distinctively Christian, though the church has embraced them as part of the “natural law” written on the human heart by God, which even pagans can usually discern, in the dim light of fallen reason. These are simply the rules of human life by which virtually every society we know of has lived — with certain short-lived, decadent exceptions.
They are also truths that are now literally unspeakable — by which I mean that security guards will come and stop you from speaking them — on our country’s college campuses.
That’s because each of those rules has been attacked by our own elites in the past 40 or 50 years, as a barrier to self-expression, pleasure or absolute autonomy — the kinds of goals that spoiled members of leisure classes start to insist on, when they take too much for granted that there will always be food in the restaurants, clean water flowing through the tap and order in the streets.
In fact, well-protected property rights, a functioning economy, abundant food, potable water and civil peace are not the natural state of mankind, as the fragile snowflakes who preen and fret on our college campuses have been taught by their fools of professors to believe. (I wonder how many Ivy Leaguers by now believe that Mt. Rushmore is a natural formation.) These crucial goods are carefully crafted artifacts, the result of hundreds of years of political struggle, hard work, technical competence, careful reflection and compromise. They demand our cooperation, our consent and sometimes our willingness to sacrifice the next whim that flickers through our libido, for the sake of some greater good — such as the life of an unborn child, a woman’s self-respect or the property rights of a neighbor.
In the 1960s a New Left desperate to wreck the social order in free market countries — which were clearly out-competing the socialist hellholes that had taken Marx at his word — latched onto the destructive power of short-sighted selfishness. That movement offered elite approval to sexual hedonism and drug abuse as “revolutionary acts,” and set about undermining support in our laws and in our mores for those fundamental truths listed above. And now we are seeing this program of cultural terrorism achieve its desired outcome:
Young men born out of wedlock, raised by their mothers on government largesse, whose communities are as a result hotbeds of violent crime where police are afraid to patrol and sometimes overreact (with tragic outcomes) are destroying the businesses and homes in their own neighborhoods. Meanwhile national elites bully the hard-pressed local government with threats of crippling economic sanctions if it will not destroy the privacy of women and deny biology, allegedly in service to a tiny group of mentally ill people, who are backed by a wealthy splinter group, the homosexual lobby, that speaks for some two percent of Americans.
No, what’s happening in Charlotte isn’t an accident. It’s a postcard from the future. If Hillary Clinton is elected, that future will come sooner, and with mathematical certainty.
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John Zmirak is author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism.