“If you believe that you are literally saving the world, that billions will die if you do not get your way, that an apocalypse is imminent and that your targets and opponents are what stands in the way of your efforts to save everything alive, then surely anything is justified to secure your ends?”
Mark Wallace, Chief Executive of the website Conservative Home, 1st November.
There are three types of action. Undisruptive actions, actions which are disruptive without justification, and disruptive actions which have justification. Claiming that all disruption is unjustified is dishonest – bad faith. No one believes that, and people who claim to believe it are lying to us, or worse, lying to themselves.
People support protest as it is non-disruptive - it simply expresses an opinion. It does not aim to coerce through disruption. People – at least most people – support just wars. Violent disruption is justified as a response to violent aggression. It is self-defence. It is justified for people to be killed in support of that self-defence.
It is therefore undeniably inconsistent to say, without exception, that civil resistance is wrong. Civil resistance is a non-violent form of war: “war without violence” as Gandhi’s campaigns were called. In civil resistance – nonviolent disruption - people are not directly subjected to violence, but harm will come to bystanders as it does in violent just wars. Gandhi initiated the Quit India campaign in 1942 with the full knowledge it would lead to thousands of deaths. Martin Luther King led the campaigns in Birmingham and Selma with the full knowledge of the violence that would be provoked, indeed that is why these cities were chosen. This form of disruption is justified because it was responding to violent aggression – attacks on fundamental human rights.
Saying you support just wars but never civil resistance is incoherent – it makes no sense.
The question then is not whether civil resistance is good or bad. That is a silly question. The question is when is this type of disruption justified by its context? Mark Wallace, Director of the Tory website Conservative Home is intelligent and brave enough to make this clear. If we are indeed facing an apocalypse “then surely anything is justified to secure your ends.”
We are facing an apocalypse. And so civil resistance is justified.
What resisters and conservatives have in common, in opposition to the liberal ideology of everlasting progress, is their acceptance that humans are fully capable of extreme violent aggression – evil is not a taboo word. The difference presently between resistors and conservatives is that the latter are still lying to themselves about what is going on – about the evil that is happening. They are betraying their long-held self-understanding that they “see the world as it is'' rather than how people would like to see it. They have been infected with the liberal dreamworld notion that things will always be nice and fine. Things are not going to be nice and fine, and they need to be straight with us and themselves about this.
Conservatives believe in personal responsibility. None of this “I was constrained by factors outside my control” nonsense. You have free will. When you see evil, you have a responsibility to act against it. And if you don’t you will be prosecuted for your crime of inaction. Your complicity. Your treason.
In the years to come, it will be conservatives that will be taking climate criminals to court. They will say “You knew and you failed to act. You are guilty and you will be punished”.Sir David King, the former chief scientific advisor to the UK government, recently stated that if methane comes out of the melting permafrost due to continued carbon emissions, temperatures will rise by 4-8C in two decades. If this happens it will certainly lead to billions of deaths. It is self-evidently the greatest of all crimes to allow this to happen. This is the real world conservatives are supposed to like to talk about.
The great radical Saul Alinsky said – if you don’t like the means it’s because you don’t believe enough in the ends. The end is to stop climate breakdown – billions of deaths and that overwhelming justifies the means of civil resistance – nonviolent disruption and coercion, a war without violence - to stop making this greatest of all mass murder projects from becoming a reality.
Justifying civil resistance can be complicated. Justifying civil resistance at this stage in time is not. In fact, nothing could be less complicated.
The only question is how long it takes for Mark Wallace to stop lying to himself. Because this country and this civilisation need him and fellow conservatives to get a grip. Time is running out.