Be so

There is a time for protest. And a place.

But not both.

Take grouse shooting.

Some people consider it a hobby. Some even a way of life. Thousands of jobs depend on it, and it’s an industry that brings in tens of millions a year.

But if I go out with a bunch of like-minded souls and peacefully protest against grouse shooting, that’s fine.

If I can convince enough of my fellow citizens that grouse shooting is repugnant and has no part to play in civilised society, the number of people turning up each weekend to take part will dwindle and the sport will die a peaceful death. Unlike the grouse.

And if a month later, a different group go out and peacefully espouse the pleasures of grouse shooting, that’s fine too – if they can convince enough of their fellow countrymen that grouse shooting is an excellent way to spend an afternoon, grouse shooting will thrive.

Like the grouse.

And in a free and civilised country, this is how we do things – people are free to pursue activities that they enjoy, as long as they infringe on none of the legally-protected rights of anyone that might object to their activities (note here that “being upset” is not a legally-protected right, or all those crazy Klansmen would have a hell of a case against the black community!)

But here’s the problem.

If a group decides to protest against grouse shooting at a place where grouse shooting happens, while it’s happening? That’s not a protest.

That is intimidation.

Protest does not take place in the same location, at the same time, without having some rather hazy goals.

I would suggest that anyone wishing to protest against grouse shooting choosing to do so by going to a place where grouse shooters will gather, at the exact same time, is not really looking to make a peaceful point.

They are looking to generate conflict and maybe even violence, that they can perhaps blame on their opponents.

They have a political agenda – to demonise grouse shooters and cause trouble. Maybe (like the Berkeley protestors last year) to prevent the event from taking place?

So how about this – if you want to peacefully protest against a particular activity, you can……….

a) Protest WHERE it happens, but not at the same time
b) Protest WHEN it happens, but not in the same place.

So if you want to protest against grouse-shooting on the moor, you have to do it when no-one is shooting there.

And if you want to protest while the shoot is actually happening, you have to be, ooooh let’s say at least ten miles away.

No, I know it won’t work – but next time you see a protest somewhere ask yourself why it had to happen THEN.

And next time you see one at a particular moment, ask yourself why it had to happen THERE.

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  1. Well, no.
    It’s obvious, if one’s minded to prevent grouse shooting the obvious time & place are when & where there’s grouse shooting. Much as they might like to, grouse shooters are not going to be able down a couple brace of protesters in self defence. However, if one’s in favour of grouse shooting it would seem a good time & place to protest your sympathy. Taking pick handles.
    I’m quite in favour of violent protest. There are people out there determined to take away our rights & freedoms. They are content to use intimidation to further their aims. It’s about time those threatened with loss of rights & freedoms stopped depending on the rest of us to protect them. Your adversaries say they will “fight” to stop you doing what they don’t like you doing. Take the inverted commas off the word & see how committed they are.
    Freedom is not a natural state. Ultimately it must be defended. In blood if that’s what it takes. Make it someone else’s.

  2. What is politics but the efforts of one group to impose their will upon another? What is Democracy but a structure allows both the attempt AND the resistance and hopes to keep both relatively peaceful.

    • The whole point of democracy is to prevent any individual or group from attempting or succeeding in imposing their will.

      But we do not have democracy, we have ‘_______ democracy’, that is democracy qualified with adjectives like, social or liberal or Christian, representative or parliamentary, which really is just cover for tyranny.

      We do have voting aka Buggins’s Turn, which is the means by which tyrants can get their turn without having to risk their lives in combat.

      The old way was better because once slaughtered… or they could be throttled, stabbed or poisoned… they couldn’t keep coming back.

      • No, that’s not true. People advocate for their positions and if they can persuade enough to support them they might succeed. Often it is a very slim majority that gets its way. But the wills of a slim majority are regularly imposed upon the wills of a slim minority.

  3. I have a suggestion. Could someone not build a large arena in which people could go and protest: climate change, poverty, grouse shooting, inequality, gender pay gap, racial, sexual, whatever discrimination, capitalism, beng rich, plastic, fossil fuels, fracking, et cetera?

    Charge for entry, responsibly produced hot dogs from sustainable, organic, local, seasonal veg, sugar free drinks in low carbon footprint, reusable containers, composting lavatories, ethnically divers staff.

    Then the rest of us could then get on with the rest of our lives.

  4. They want the TV coverage. Since the Vietnam War protests when the radicals brought ball bearings to deliberately injury the police horses, the protests have tried to get media support by providing violence. If it bleeds it leads. Hence the Bloody Sunday protests in Northern Ireland back in the day.

    If a group decides to protest against grouse shooting at a place where grouse shooting happens, while it’s happening? That’s not a protest.

    It is intimidation if long haired freaks turn up to shout at the people with the shotguns? Only if the people with the shotguns are far too civilised. Which arguably they are.

  5. “Then the rest of us could then get on with the rest of our lives.”
    They’ve no intention of letting you get on with your lives. It’s a mild form of fascism. When it isn’t mild. You’ll be corralled into conducting your lives subject to their approval. Has nothing whatsoever to do with democracy or a civil society. They succeed because you let them get away with it. Won’t stand up for yourselves.
    Governments give in to them because it’s the least line of resistance. There’s no mileage in resisting them. The only way to preserve freedom is to give government more problems than they do. A government should fear its people. Only way to keep the b@st@rds under control & doing what they’re told.

    • Yup; whether a prowler in the night or the lawless legislators, the point of widespread gun ownership is not that there be a lot of gunplay (nor is there) but that society’s bad people be as afraid as we can make them.

  6. Or you can have a constitutional republic with a constitution that says, “The right of the people to shoot grouse shall not be infringed.”

    That’ll keep ’em at bay for a while, but eventually the state will decide that shooting grouse with guns that hold more than one round and are black cannot be allowed.

    • And even that absurdity is clearer than the pack of absurd traits under which a weapon is classified an “assault weapon,” a pack that neither the protesters in Washington nor the adults who set them up can state nor explain, any more than they can define a “semi-automatic.”

      No matter, the land’s best lawyers are past this, and working on infringing the people’s ability to buy bullets instead, confident that that gets around it, even better than simply denying you are doing what you’re doing.

  7. Sorry, freedom works both ways, people are free to protest. They are still subject to laws about violence and disturbance, which laws should be applicable generally, not written specifically to stop this or that activity.

    Further, modern politicians’ usual method of stopping bad people doing bad things is to bring a law to stop everybody doing anything that might upset anybody.

  8. As soon as you hear people saying “ought” and “should” you know you’ve crossed the dividing line from libertarianism into authoritarianism. Both left and right are guilty here. Pretty soon the “shoulds” become “musts.” That used to be fringe politics, now it’s mainstream.

    The essence of libertarianism is that while everyone is screaming what everyone else must do, the libertarian says “I’ll just wait quietly over here while you get on with whatever you want.”

  9. So the question is: Are there inalienable rights? If so, it doesn’t matter what a majority or supermajority say, those rights cannot be abridged. So what happens in the case of abortion? Are the rights of the mother to liberty paramount over the child’s right to life?