Nowhere to Go.

I think it can be said with a reasonable amount of surety that there is nowhere to go.

Now, what the hell do I mean by this? Simple- we don't have the ability to leave Earth yet. As a result, we don't have the ability to just up and leave when things get bad. Should that be because of an errant meteor strike, or a world wide tyrannical state, we can't run away. This leads to a few problems- most of them philosophical in nature- that we need to address.

The most pressing of these in my mind is cultural interactions. The reason I say this is the most pressing is chiefly because we have to deal with one another, and cultural differences can be a very large barrier to our ability to work together. Whether this is peoples of differing religious ideologies, or groups who believe in different governmental structures, the fact remains that when one group starts pressing on another to adopt the traditions or ideologies of the former, things begin to get tense and there is no real way for the one being pressed to just up an leave.

This means that at some point something is going to happen, and the more pressure that is placed on one group from another, the more likely that "something" will be "something bad." That "something bad" could be war, oppression, subjugation, alienation- you name it. Whatever form that takes, it doesn't work toward uniting people, only in driving them apart.

And that's the problem I believe we face. We have, for lack of a better term, "moral busy bodies" forcing their ideologies onto people who don't agree with them against their will. This is a recipe for disaster on a good day, and I think we can all agree that we are in short supply of those as of late and this seemingly obvious fact only complicates things even further when we aren't willing to just let people be.

But in my mind, it gets worse.

The reason I say this is that an individuals right to resist the ideological predations of another is part and parcel of our way of life. No one would agree that I have any right to force a baker who is against the second amendment to bake a pro-2A cake. Yet, we seem more than willing to force a baker to bake a cake for a wedding he doesn't agree with. There is a little irony there that gets lost in the anger around the issue- that an individual has the moral authority to be who they are- but only so long as it's from this pre-approved list of things we're ok with you being.

The greater irony is that the ability to defend ones self from an ideological attack doesn't stop at words. We'd like for those struggles to remain at the level of talking to one another, but all too often we see in history one group with an ideological drive using violence to quell or crush others with different ideologies. We've seen it in our own nation over the last decade- most notably last year with the BLM riots. Riots, when used for political ends, are violence to force an ideological transition or political change. And when a choice made by the body political has the potential effect of "causing" a riot, the pressure to choose the option that will result in no riots can be strong, even if the riot-free choice is the morally wrong answer.

This isn't a tenable position, and we shouldn't allow for this situation to continue. Making morally questionable choices to avoid riots now won't solve the problems in the future. In fact, this will only exacerbate the problem over time, leading to greater pain and suffering later.

But what do I mean?

Let's look at the Chauvin trial as an example. Currently, I've heard two compelling and opposite views. One is that Chauvin killed Floyd, even if he didn't intend to, and is therefore guilty of at least negligent homicide through his own ineptitude. The other is that Chauvin didn't cause Floyds death, but that a fatal dose of narcotics was the primary cause of his death, and the situation exacerbated his already underlying health conditions which led to his death.

I can honestly see both sides of the argument, and having been in similar situations (meaning high stress situations where there weren't any really great calls that you could make) I can see how Chauvin and the other officers may have made their decisions at the time. This isn't to excuse poor performance where poor performance existed, but rather to acknowledge that the world isn't perfect, and people make mistakes- sometimes really bad mistakes.

All this to say that I think there is a good argument for reasonable doubt as to Chauvin's guilt. My gut says I don't know for sure what happened, and that not knowing would be enough for me, if I was on the jury, to hang it at the least. In fact, if there was no chance that my name would be associated with the decision, I'd likely vote to acquit and hold my ground on the idea that I'm not 100% sold that he's guilty or innocent. I'd presume innocence, not guilt.

But again, that's without the potential threat of violence against myself or my community. Add the potential for getting doxed to the public, or half the city dealing with weeks of riots and the calculus begins to shift. Is endangering my family worth Chauvin's freedom? Would I be able to accept the damage to people's livelihoods should the courts decision not go the way that the potential rioters want? These outside influences would doubtless have an impact on my state of mind as I made the decision- and that's a really bad thing.

When the threat is extended to you as a disinterested third party to make the "correct" decision, how are you supposed to act impartially and seek the truth of the situation? How can you be objective and open to having your mind changed when there are people with pitchforks and Molotov cocktails eyeing your house should things not go how they want them to? I'd argue you can't, and once that system breaks down- then what?

When the system of laws that govern our society are suddenly at the will of the mob- when the jury of your peers is likely to throw you under the bus should there be enough societal pressure even if you're innocent of the charges you face- what do you have to lose resisting to the last to never see the inside of a courtroom? What prevent pure anarchy and chaos from controlling our lives?

We follow the laws, and try to do the moral thing because we assume that we will be treated fairly. That we will have our own day in court should the situation arise. When we lose that, we lose everything. When our justice system is run by those who'd be willing to burn your house to the ground if you don't do it the way they want, when our own freedom hangs on the balance at the decisions of a select few who fear reprisals should they not throw you in a cell and flush the key, we don't have justice.

We have tyranny, and that stands in direct opposition to all that we, as Americans, hold dear. And we can't have that, because there is no running away from it- no going somewhere else. All that remains is the choice to submit or resist. Many will submit and bend the knee out of fear of the mob. Others won't. Either way, things will get very bad before they start getting better, unless we stop this mob justice mentality now. It's not too late. Yet.

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