If regular democracy isn’t doing so well, maybe it’s time to fall back on “Irish Democracy.”
That’s what Yale political scientist James Scott calls the passive resistance of a society that doesn’t like what its rulers are doing to it. In his book “Two Cheers for Anarchy,” he writes, “One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.”
Irish Democracy is when the populace simply doesn’t cooperate with the agenda. Sometimes there is active sabotage, sometimes surreptitious monkey-wrenching, sometimes foot-dragging and sometimes outright noncompliance. Sometimes it’s all of those at once.
Right now, we are seeing some of that in response to vaccine mandates, mask rules and various other forms of population control that have been adopted since the pandemic struck. Go almost anywhere with a mask mandate, and you will see some people not wearing masks at all, daring anyone to do anything about it (often, they don’t).
You will also see a lot more with the mask pulled down below their noses, providing the vague suggestion of compliance without actually going along. These people will usually pull the mask up if asked, but then pull it right back down again as soon as the asker leaves the vicinity. (Hey, why take it seriously when our elites have made clear that the mask rules don’t apply to them and their gatherings?)
Likewise, social distancing is often honored in the breach. And why not? If football stadiums and rock arenas can be filled with profitable crowds, how seriously can people be expected to follow other rules?
When I was in New York City recently, restaurants and bars were “checking” people’s vaccination status by taking a cursory glance at a largely illegible photo on an app. Going through the motions is a form of passive resistance, and lots of people seemed to be doing that.
Others are exiting the workforce rather than comply with vax mandates. Biden administration officials seem mystified as to why people don’t want to work for employers who seem to be operating as extensions of government regulators. And many people who are employed are refusing the shot and daring their employers to fire them in a tight labor market.
The establishment isn’t happy with all of this, of course, but it’s also not nearly as strong as it pretends. If most people, or even a significant minority of people, started to ignore the federal government, the feds would soon be rendered impotent.
We can see this already with marijuana. As I am often forced to remind people, marijuana isn’t legal. It remains banned by federal law, even in states that have removed their own penalties.
Yet about a decade ago, people basically just decided that pot was legal. And for all practical purposes now, it is. After Colorado legalized weed, the Obama administration made a few abortive efforts to enforce the federal law on a large scale, then gave up.
Now even in states like mine, Tennessee, where marijuana remains against state law, it’s effectively legalized. You have to try awfully hard to get arrested for it.
Some on the left are calling those who resist the regime names like “domestic terrorists,” but that doesn’t carry much weight anymore. With the left having spent a decade calling everyone Hitler, “domestic terrorist” barely registers. (And given the Biden administration’s craven surrender to the real terrorists in Afghanistan, some Americans might be forgiven for thinking that if they get called terrorist enough, they will be in line for the basket of goodies Biden is giving the Taliban.)
I got the shot, but the bullying has become insufferable and counterproductive. The masks are by now downright moronic. Ditto the arbitrary six-foot rule, based on flu droplets rather than COVID’s aerosols. Resisting government bullying, too, is a kind of public duty. And more and more people seem to be doing just that.