Raising the Mob


I don’t know whether Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax committed rape, as he has been accused of doing, and I’m certainly in no position to decide. Yet the idea of involving the country at large in such decisions is the premise behind virtually all the publicity given to the matter, and to many other matters of recent note.

Before this era of what is laughingly known as our national discourse, it would have been inconceivable for official statements to be issued about something like this by such ephemeral citizens as bit players in Hollywood and (alleged) nightclub comedians. I don’t recall that even Cary Grant or Rosalind Russell considered it their business to render judicial determinations on the sex affairs of Virginia politicians. But in the case of Mr. Fairfax, and innumerable others, judgments, pro or con, now fly into the public air space within moments of an accusation.

How did this happen? It isn’t just because ignorant people think they’re important (they’ve always done so), or have Twitter accounts.

State officials are the leaders of this mob, as they have been the leaders of so many mobs during the past few years.

Until now, I’ve generally pictured mobs as composed of private individuals who have at least momentarily lost their minds. Individuals’ penchant for forming mobs is a matter of human psychology that libertarians need to think about much more than we ordinarily do (which is not at all). But now the libertarian view of the state as the ultimate foe is getting some renewed support — because who has been leading most of the recent mobs? Who was it that immediately, right off the bat, without taking a second to weigh the evidence, with no investigation or possibility of investigation, started yelling for the conviction of Mr. Fairfax (and countless others) in the court of public opinion?

It was state officials, legislators of this republic. They are the leaders of this mob, as they have been the leaders of so many mobs during the past few years.

The state has other powers besides legislation and the enforcement of legislation. It has the power to destroy the sense of fairness and self-restraint on which any decent society is based. It’s not enough for the modern state — bloated, ignorant, and indiscriminately cruel — to pass ridiculous and indecent laws. Now it is raising mobs to destroy the very idea of decency.

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Scott Robinson

Dear Stephen,

Very good article pointing out how combining politics with justice is basically lynch mobs. This is why, just like our government authority is split into the law writing branch (legislature), law enforcing branch (executive), and law judging branch (judicial), we must split our justice separate from the writing and enforcement of the laws (politics). If you want to take legal action against one who you deem is a wrong doer, you must take the proper steps to press charges of law violation against them in court. You then get to present your evidence that they violated law and then present their evidence that they didn't violate law or that your evidence doesn't support their claim of proof that you violated the law.

I know that the MSM coverage of news is essentially political propaganda pushing of their respective agendas, but CNN, in its coverage of court cases, has one thing right. What is right about their coverage is when they show the actual trial as it proceeds. Even though they invariably comment on the case with their mob raising propaganda, as a viewer of the actual trail, you can ignore their prognostications and just pay attention to what evidence has been presented in the trial to make your own judgement. An example I remember is their coverage of the Casey Anthony case. Based on comments by the overpaid blowhards had me thinking that Casey Anthony definitely killed her daughter, Caylee, because a living baby constantly presented her with responsibilities which she felt were dragging her down. When I saw the coverage of the trial, I waited for evidence to be presented which supported my conclusions, but the evidence was never shown and therefore, I would have done like the jury and found her not guilty because there was not enough evidence presented to lead me to conclude her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that you should only reach conclusions about a person's guilt based on the evidence presented, and you should ask about evidence that you think should be reasonably available that hasn't been presented. If they don't present that reasonable evidence, then you have a reasonable doubt about their proclamations.

Are You Saying that Emotion Leads to Sin?

Best Wishes,

Robert K Stock

Scott Robinson

I agree with you about the MSM.

I also watched the Casey Anthony trial and based on the evidence presented I am convinced that she is guilty. We both saw the same evidence and we both came to different conclusions.

When presented with the same facts reasonable people may disagree.

Scott Robinson

Dear Robert Stock,

It is interesting that we reached different conclusions based on the same evidence. This is why trial by jury is a great way to get justice, because the plaintiff or defense must present evidence, in court, that convinces all twelve jurors of the same conclusion. You are not convicted by a majority vote. This means that the evidence must be very convincing proof of one of the arguments or just one juror not convinced gives you a hung jury.


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