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Magna Fatuitas

22 May 2024 | OP ED Watch

In keeping with the leftist climate “omnicause” that despises the rights of others and common sense as well, two British climate activists attacked… Magna Carta. No, literally. They took hammers to one of four remaining “exemplars” of the 1215 original, one of two in the British Library. Ineffectively, fortunately. But of all the things to attack, it is a revealing choice because the Anglosphere tradition of liberty under law and a citizen veto on government is a rare and precious thing that really is an obstacle to the alarmist plan to hijack public affairs. And it is also revealing that the continued escalation of public provocations almost shows they expect not to face any serious consequences, unlike those members of the public who are beginning to fight back.

The two activists are from the loathsome chronic lawbreaking outfit Just Stop Oil, which posted video of their bungled stunt online, in which one of these nits, who is also a minister, is heard saying “As a Christian I am compelled to do all that I can to alleviate the appalling suffering that’s coming down the line and is here already ... we must Just Stop Oil”.

Evidently she’s reading from the Book of Karl. And one is tempted to ask what would Jesus vandalize. But far be it from Caesar to just stop vandalism nowadays.

Matt Ridley shared a clip showing a motorist in London, UK who got fed up with the chronic lawbreaking of Just Stop Oil blockading roads and manhandled one of the protesters, only to have police who’d been standing by ignoring the lawbreaking charge at him with considerable force and arrest him. In response one of us posted a pointed reminder of the fundamental principles of the founder of the London police, Sir Robert Peel, who must be churning in his grave at what has become of them. In their most frequently cited form, and everyone concerned with public affairs should know and cherish them, those principles include the following:

“To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws./ To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life./ To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

There is a strong if winding historical link between Magna Carta with its guarantees of due process, property rights and representative government and a nation in which the police are the public and vice versa instead of being, even in France, the gendarmes, that is, those “people with weapons” who guard the state against a helpless populace when not actively dragooning them, let alone the enemies of the people that they are in most of the world from Russia to Iran to China.

In this sense the attack on an actual Magna Carta is symbolically appropriate given the relationship today of the police to radicals and to the public. When officers sworn to uphold laws to which citizens have consented instead tolerate lawbreaking for causes the political establishment shares, and oddly wants odious radicals to force on them or seem to, they violate a number of Peel’s principles based on the historic notion that, in the English-speaking world and nowhere else, the police are not just on our side, they are an extension of us.

It is highly destructive of trust and public order when people witness such displays and ask, over and over again, whose side the cops are on because instead of “constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy” they openly cater to woke lawbreaking. Especially when instead of securing the cooperation of the public in “securing observance of laws” they actually obstruct the public in trying to enforce laws they themselves are not enforcing.

Such conduct demolishes any remnants, in appearance or fact, of the idea that “the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” It is not incumbent on any citizen to assist belligerent maniacs in closing roads, smashing art and uttering threats.

The public want public roads open to the public, and to emergency vehicles. They want their art and their key constitutional documents unvandalized. They want their campuses free of foul-mouthed, intimidating agitators who support Hamas. Hence the violation also of Peel’s “test of police efficiency” being “the absence of crime and disorder”. The roads are blocked and the police stand by or, in one infamous Canadian example, bring coffee to the protesters.

There is thus a certain relevant symbolism in this characteristically inept attempt to vandalize a crucial symbol of government being of the people, by the people and for the people.

3 comments on “Magna Fatuitas”

  1. I am British. Our Police belong to someone else nowadays. Few people I know respect or trust them, and the one thing we all agree upon here is the despairing impact of their stupidity upon civil society.

  2. The current activities of the British police demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt the wisdom of The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights. In the United States the police are forced to behave themselves because they are seriously out gunned!

  3. Even the police have been brainwashed by woke ideology.Even here,my neighbor just witnessed the police committing FIDO when strip mall security tried to wave them over for assistance to a semi-conscious man.They whizzed away in their cruisers,guess it's a private security matter.Disgusting.

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