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Street riots

Condemning Lawless Violence — By the Police and the Rioters

In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last week, protests erupted nationwide. In this late-breaking episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer, Onkar Ghate and Gregory Salmieri discuss police misconduct, the riots that followed, and how to think about a path forward from the lawless injustice that is common to both.

During the discussion, both Salmieri and Ghate argue that the problem with police misconduct is essentially legal: laws empowering police interference with citizens’ private lives need to be repealed, and laws mandating transparency and objective protocol need to be implemented.

Because Ghate suggests that lasting change comes from legal reform, he is skeptical of the propriety of mass protests. The speakers all emphasize that violent protests need to be condemned because they severely undercut the cause of criminal justice reform and are as lawless as police brutality. Real reform takes intellectual effort; it is only undermined by tribalistic side-choosing between the police and oppressed minorities.

For leads on these issues, two essays from Ayn Rand’s Return of the Primitive are instructive: “Racism” and “The Cashing-In: The Student ‘Rebellion.’”

This podcast was recorded on June 1, 2020. Watch or listen to the discussion below.

To see future episodes of New Ideal Live, join the Zoom broadcast on Mondays or Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Pacific and take part in the Q&A. Go to https://zoom.us/join and use meeting ID: 812-506-718. Or catch the livestream or recording on YouTube and Facebook.

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Paul Taske

Paul Taske, J.D., is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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