• Ari Patrinos

‘Mob Justice’ is no Justice: Censure Maxine Waters

We've got to stay in the street and demand justice.

US Representative Maxine Waters

What is justice?

That’s the main theme of Plato’s Republic, and we never get a final answer in this book. Partly, because everyone seems to have a different opinion. One of the definitions given in the dialogue is that justice is ‘the advantage of the stronger’. Which is to say, justice is what those who hold power say it is, and typically, they define it towards their benefit.

This appears to be the understanding of US Representative Maxine Waters. She has been exhorting protesters and political activists to ‘take to the streets’ and ‘demand justice’ for the killing of George Floyd. But is a criminal courtroom opinion influenced by an angry mob really justice? Because that’s kind of what Waters is saying, and her logic is identical to the logic of the leader of a lynch mob, looking to string up a criminal defendant, regardless of trial outcome. As a member of the House of Representatives, she should be censured for her behavior. She should not be sending a message to her followers that justice can exist outside the rule of law.

Imagine this situation a little differently. Instead of Derek Chauvin being a ‘white cop’ accused of murdering a black man, he was a black man accused of raping a white woman. Instead of the protesters being BLM activists and Maxine Waters, they were ‘Proud Boys’ and former Louisiana state representative, David Duke. Congresswoman Waters has taken the old Southern lynch mob and turned it on its head. Derek Chauvin fills the same role in black American politics today, that Willie Horton filled in the 1988 Presidential campaign. Derek Chauvin is the white Willie Horton.

Horton was a black convicted murderer in the state of Massachusetts, while Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic Presidential nominee, was Governor. During this time, Horton received a weekend furlough from prison, from which he never returned. Eventually, he was caught by police, but only after kidnapping a white couple, and holding them at knife point, while he repeatedly raped the woman. Horton was like a real-life version of Alex from A Clockwork Orange, using his new found freedom to go out for a night of ‘ultra-violence’.

The presidential campaign of George HW Bush, the Republican nominee and Dukakis’ opponent, used this story to great success in their television ads, in order to depict Dukakis with contempt. The black Democratic establishment has been racially demagoguing the image and story of Derek Chauvin in a similar way, to depict their political adversaries with contempt. At the same time, they appear to be wholly indifferent to skyrocketing rates of black on black crime, violence, and murder in majority black neighborhoods across the country since George Floyd’s death. This begs the questions: “Do Black Lives Matter to BLM only when the violence is perpetrated by a white police officer? Do Black lives Matter to Maxine Waters only when it is useful for political and racial demagoguery?”

This lays bare one of the biggest problems with the so-called ‘social justice’ movement. These political activists talk as if an angry mob of protestors is a sound instrument of justice, that does not require the ‘rule of law’. That it is in fact a superior instrument of justice to the rule of law. Rep. Maxine Waters called for protesters to “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted in the killing of George Floyd. That the protestors need to ‘demand justice’.

But mob justice is no justice at all. Maxie Waters must be censored, because her actions set a frightening precedent. Our criminal justice system is far from perfect, whose outcomes will never satisfy everyone as being completely fair to their concerns. Whatever they may be. But what are the consequences of members of the US Congress exhorting mobs to overturn judgements made in legitimate criminal courts of law? That’s how the leader of a lynch mob acts. We must condemn any political movement or leader in this country who claims to be a superior instrument of justice to the rule of law. Who claims that their ‘justice’ is ‘above the law’.

This is how a demagogue talks, and there can be no justice in a world where such a political philosophy reigns.

Aristarchus Patrinos; April 20, 2021; > 750 words

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