The Corner

Law & the Courts

Riot Fallacy No. 3: Well, You Didn’t Like Kaepernick’s Protest, Ergo . . .

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins began her column this way. “Two knees. One protesting in the grass, one pressing on the back of a man’s neck. Choose. You have to choose which knee you will defend. There are no half choices; there is no room for indifference. There is only the knee of protest or the knee on the neck.”

Others state it, “You didn’t like Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, what did you expect was coming next?”

Well, it doesn’t actually work this way. Some conservatives have tried to make this argument. “You could have had nice Romney, now you get nasty Trump. What did you expect would happen?” It’s an obnoxious form of moral blackmail, and no other activists enjoy it for a good reason. Pro-lifers don’t get to say, “We’ve marched peacefully in DC for 50 years,  now it’s time to start looting.” Vegans can’t say, “You didn’t like my pamphlets, try some Molotov Cocktails.” Agree with me, or else.

I don’t care about the NFL and can’t remember ever developing a feeling about Kaepernick’s protest. But disapproval of Kaepernick’s form of protest doesn’t even imply indifference to police brutality. And it certainly doesn’t justify violence done to others — cops, store owners, random strangers-whose opinions on Kaepernick are not being solicited anyway.

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