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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17312/lord-stanleys-riots/

Lord Stanley’s Riots

June 16, 2011 by

Frederick Stanley, aka Lord Stanley of Preston, was a fixture of Britain’s conservative government of the 1870s and 1880s, including a stint as civilian head of the army, before assuming office as governor-general of Canada in 1888. Stanley’s most lasting contribution to Canadian society was his donation of a silver punch bowl he purchased for about $50, to be awarded to the country’s top amateur hockey team. Over time, the Stanley Cup became bigger and morphed from an amateur award to the prize of the professional, binational National Hockey League. Although Canadian-born players dominate the NHL’s ranks, no Canada-based team has hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1992.

That didn’t change last night, when the Boston Bruins won a decisive game seven victory over the favored Vancouver Canucks. Disgruntled Vancouverites — perhaps in a misguided attempt to embrace left-libertarianism — took the loss as justification to riot and burn downtown.

Now, Canada is hardly some anarchist paradise. It has plenty of monopoly government to go around. Yet federal, provincial, and city authorities seemed to be completely absent until it was too late. (The Vancouver police said the riot actually started when folks overturned a police vehicle.) Worse yet, this was not an unexpected occurrence. Vancouverites rioted the last time the Canucks lost a decisive Stanley Cup final game, back in 1994. Of course, government officials thought they had things in hand this time around: “Police had emphasized repeatedly in the days leading up to Wednesday night’s hockey showdown that they had learned from 1994 and knew how to contain crowds,” reported the Toronto Globe and Mail this morning.

Unfortunately, in a country that tends to worship government power, the real key to preventing this sort of thing never occurred to the people who claimed to be “in charge.” Murray Rothbard explained how to deal with this situation in the aftermath of the 1992 Los Angeles riots:

There is only one way to fulfill the vital police function, the only way that works: the public announcement–backed by willingness to enforce it–made by the late Mayor Richard Daley in the Chicago riots of the 1960s–ordering the police to shoot to kill any looters, rioters, arsonists, or muggers they might find. That very announcement was enough to induce the rioters to pocket their “rage” and go back to their peaceful pursuits. …

…whether the motivation or the goal is rage, kicks, or loot, the rioters, with a devotion to present gratification as against future concerns, engaged in the joys of beating, robbing, and burning, and of massive theft, because they saw they could get away with it. Devotion to the sanctity of person and property is not part of their value-system. That’s why, in the short term, all we can do is shoot the looters and incarcerate the rioters.

On a more encouraging note, social media — which didn’t exist in Los Angeles in 1992 or Vancouver in 1994 — could provide a more long-term deterrent to these sorts of violent outbreaks. The CBC reports that a number of  groups on sites like Facebook and Tumblr  have already popped up to help identify rioters (who were no doubt counting on anonymity in the crowd) and organize efforts to clean up downtown. Yet again, the market helps clean up a mess that government failed to prevent.

{ 22 comments }

J Cortez June 16, 2011 at 8:47 am

“perhaps in a misguided attempt to embrace left-libertarianism “

Come on, you’re better than that. Roderick Long would never sign off on this. :)

Rothbard:”There is only one way to fulfill the vital police function, the only way that works: the public announcement–backed by willingness to enforce it–made by the late Mayor Richard Daley in the Chicago riots of the 1960s–ordering the police to shoot to kill any looters, rioters, arsonists, or muggers they might find.”

Maybe this is true, but this is the state we’re talking about. Rothbard’s language here is too direct and this is an important function we’re talking about. If these people were non-violent individuals that forgot to get a permit or possessed a non-state sanctioned item/substance, only then you could expect full force to go into effect.

Felix June 16, 2011 at 9:10 am

“If these people were non-violent individuals that forgot to get a permit or possessed a non-state sanctioned item/substance, only then you could expect full force to go into effect.”

So true. Seems like the only time the cops really break up protesters is when they’re nonviolent.

augusto June 17, 2011 at 7:17 am

“So true. Seems like the only time the cops really break up protesters is when they’re nonviolent.”

Officer safety comes first. ;-)

Inquisitor June 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

The ideal situation would be to just allow people to defend themselves and procure their own defence agents. The police are very inefficient when it comes to doing ANYTHING associated with what they’re supposedly tasked to do.

Shay June 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Exactly; it’s not about the government failing to prevent this, it’s about the government making it illegal for the property owners to stop it directly, themselves.

Martin OB June 16, 2011 at 9:30 am

Thanks, Mr Oliva, for bringing back some sanity and balance to the complex debate about violence and the state. I’m glad to learn Murray Rothbard uttered words for which he would be called a redneck fascist neocon or something like that by many, many Mises posters nowadays.

tfr June 16, 2011 at 11:16 am

> Seems like the only time the cops really break up protesters is when they’re nonviolent.

Of course. You wouldn’t want them (the cops) to get hurt, would you?

Pablo June 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

There are many so-called “left libertarians” who don’t riot. Let’s not generalize. But that’s better than the NPR blogger who used the Internet to (sort of) blame Internet comment threads. Of course her post has a thread going. But in fairness she did dismiss some of the simplistic answers, e.g. alcohol. The question I have is why do young men – and some young women – take to hooliganism in the first place? It’s rarely about the sport with hooligans.

As for Rothbard, how would that solution be possible without government?

Slim934 June 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

“As for Rothbard, how would that solution be possible without government?”

…..private citizens doing the shooting of course. That actually occurred in quite a few areas during the Watts riots when rioters tried overturning Korean owned shops. If memory serves, it did not work out very well for the rioters when they tried.

Pablo June 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm

But that didn’t stop the widespread rioting. It didn’t stop until the troops moved in. Those private civilians had more of a bunker mentality and they could’ve been run over by the mob at any time. So it would have to be a volunteer civilian militia I guess. But why would property owners leave their property undefended to go defend someone else?

J. Murray June 17, 2011 at 7:46 am

During the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, a Korean marketplace owner stationed his relatives on the roof of the market holding fake automatic weapons. The rioters thought they were real and while the rest of the neighborhood was smashed and looted, the store owner’s shop remained untouched.

Property rights and the removal of laws that make it a felony to protect your property are plenty enough to stop riots.

Nile June 18, 2011 at 6:19 am

I tend to disagree. I think it *is* about the sport with hooligans, as I know a few myself.

The primary difference between left-libertarians and “gun-toting” libertarians is that the latter (including Rothbard) recognize the existence of some types who can’t be expected to behave in a very libertarian way by their own free will, and the need to use force to keep them at bay. A lot of human beings don’t have a satisfactory measure of control over their less admirable animal side, I fear.

GSL June 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Our two-word solution to this problem: concealed carry.

bluegrit June 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Here in government loving Canada ( ? ..NOT) we don’t get to conceal and carry like freedom-loving (I guess that’d be your opposite stripe definition) Americans .

Dick Daley back then sure earned his chops as a fascist nitwit and hooligan, worthy of the highest regard by folks who also admired the orders to shoot students in Ohio. Proud moments to remember eh?
Keep slinging that shieola…it looks good on you face.

J. June 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Is anyone else disappointed Rothbard said that? My gut tells me to oppose both sides in that scenario.

Vanmind June 16, 2011 at 7:25 pm

I live downtown, and I purposely went to another part of the city to watch Game 7 because I feared a repeat of what happened in 94. I had no idea it would be even worse this time (though perhaps I should have guessed as much).

This backwater burg has such little class. It has something to do with what Mr. Oliva stated about the (generally) government-dependent population, and something to do with a misplaced belief that living in a beautiful location somehow makes one more beautiful as well — or even that it is the “inner beauty” of the typical Vancouverite that makes Vancouver beautiful in the first place. Vancouverites might be the most spoiled socialist brats in North America, convinced that others owe them stuff like Stanley Cups and whatever they dream up as their notion of “social justice” (although Montrealers are known to riot as well about hockey and redistribution schemes).

Also, I note an analogy with the brainwashing event that is Halloween. People, supposed adults, dressed up in the appropriate costumes for the event and went out into the neighbourhood expecting treats, and when disappointed they turned immediately to thoughts of making “them” pay by way of tricks. Tyranny of the proletariat — plenty of people here think that’s the surest path toward utopia.

One more thing. Hockey is “Canada’s game,” meaning that in all the decades the country has been next door to America Canadians have grasped for things that they can identify as Canadian-and-not-American. When Canadians see their local team come close to the big cup but not win, it’s a blow to the psyche, to the sense of identity the person thought they had down solid.

RTB June 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm

I concede that hockey is “Canada’s game”, but Detroit is “Hockey Town”, USA! And there were no riots when we either won or lost in the finals. Of course, that’s probably just because we were all busy packing our suit cases and leaving this Socialist Paradise.

Vanmind June 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Word. The Wings have always been my favourite team (I grew up near Windsor).

Vanmind June 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Next day, in the local news, it is becoming apparent (after reading between lines) that City Hall might have let the rioters run amok for the political mileage it would give to the encroaching police state. You know, “we” all need strong government to take care of “us.” The police chief blamed everything on “anarchists.”

augusto June 17, 2011 at 7:20 am

- “The police chief blamed everything on “anarchists.”

So did Mr. Oliva: “Disgruntled Vancouverites — perhaps in a misguided attempt to embrace left-libertarianism — took the loss as justification to riot and burn downtown.”

;-)

Shay June 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Isn’t he blaming these people who misunderstand left-libertarianism, not left-libertarianists? The presence of the word misguided seems critical here.

Mickey T. Hobart August 11, 2011 at 1:41 am

How does this square with what he said about the bubblegum thief in The Ethics of Liberty?

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