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WHY AMERICANS STOPPED RIOTING AND LEGALIZED MARIJUANA – The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream – Tyler Cowen

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Trigger warning: – non c’è più il terrorismo di una volta – poca voglia di protestare – manifestazione di massa – la campana di vetro – il bromuro della burocrazia – perché la rissa non va più di moda? – organizzare manifestazioni oggi… un lavoraccio – tutti sotto controllo – piazza selvaggia e video virali –

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In order to understand how peaceful America has become, we must consider what truly turbulent times looked like.

Note:LA TURBOLENZA DI IERI

With all of our fears of terrorism, the crime waves and riots of the 1960s and the early 1970s were much more destructive. During an eighteen-month period in 1971–1972, there were more than 2,500 domestic bombings reported, averaging out to more than five a day.

Note:IL TERRORISMO DI IERI MOLTO PIÙ DISTRUTTIVO

And don’t forget the riots. Starting with the 1965 Watts clashes in Los Angeles, the country faced a wave of intensely violent and often out-of-control social unrest.

Note:RIVOLTE

Or consider the Black Panthers. The Panthers were set loose to patrol cities, armed openly with guns in the places where that was legal, with the stated aim of defending black citizens from police aggression.

Note:BLACK PANTHER

The marches and rallies of the 1960s and 1970s were often massive affairs. The group Mobilization Against the War in Vietnam put on a November 1969 rally with 500,000 people and a May 1970 event with 100,000 people, and the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice drew about 500,000 for its April 1971 rally at the U.S.

Note:MARCE DI MASSA

Campuses today are very different places, and they are among the segments of American society where the complacent class exercises its strongest influences. …When there are demonstrations, the student demands are often for “safe spaces” rather than violent overthrow of the government

Note:CAMPUS OGGI: SAFE SPACE

To the extent people today write of academia being disrupted, they might be referring to massive open online courses (MOOCs), which enable students to remain at home or in their dorm rooms, or to “competency-based learning,”

Note:MOOC

Here is a brief excerpt from Amm Bausum’s study of Stonewall: “Our goal was to hurt those police,” explained John O’Brien, a gay man and activist who had joined the mob.

Note:L’IMPENSABILE VIOLENZA DELLA RIVOLTA GAY

As much as nonviolence was an essential feature of big parts of the civil rights movement, many blacks in the South, including many of the most prominent movement leaders, protected themselves with firearms, in recognition of what a violent and vindictive time they were operating in.

Note:DIRITTI CIVILI E VIOLENZA

It’s worth noting that robust middle-class income growth does not predict peace and quiet, and sometimes general prosperity comes right before trouble and social unrest break out.

Note:CRESCITA ECONOMICA E VOGLIA DI CONFLITTO

WHY DON’T WE RIOT ANYMORE?

Many of the seminal events of the civil rights movement could not happen today, most of all because society is more bureaucratized, more safety obsessed, and also less tolerant of any kind of disturbance or disruption at all.

Note:BUROCRAZIEA E OSSESSIONE

The NIMBY mentality limits high-density residential housing, wind power, and turbulent protests all the same. Which neighborhood these days wants trouble at its doorstep, especially when real estate values are at stake?

Note:NIMBY MENTALITY

The application of management science to policing has been another reason why riots and rebellion have gone out of favor; their impact is too readily countered and defused. …To be sure, the recent trouble in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, has represented cracks in this façade, a theme to which I return to later. In both cases, the initial police behavior was violent,

Note:POLIZIA PIÙ ORGANIZZATA

The legal authorities of the city of New York succeeded in defanging the Occupy Wall Street movement with a minimum of fuss. Rather than opting for outright confrontation, and perhaps some publicity victories for the protestors, a decision was made to wait for the winter to shut down the encampments and the protests.

Note:OCCUPY

As the “occupation” continued, city authorities threw new challenges at the protestors. But these were highly legalistic rather than a show of force.

Note:LEGALISMO

Or consider the 2004 Democratic National Convention. As you might expect, there were numerous would-be demonstrators. They ended up being confined to a “Demonstration Zone,” which one federal judge described as analogous to one of Piranesi’s etchings of a prison.

Note:ZONA DIMOSTRANTI

The police strategies up through the 1970s have been described as a style of “escalated force.” If the initial level of force didn’t work in subduing the demonstrators, the strategy was to apply more force.

Note:ESCALATION

Organizing and maintaining public opposition was tougher yet during the 2003 attempts to run New York City protests against the Iraq War. …In the end, a rally of 10,000 people was permitted in the Dag Hammerskjold Plaza, on 47th Street and First Avenue, about four blocks away from the UN.

Note:ORGANIZZARE UNA MANIFESTAZIONE OGGI… UN LAVORACCIO

And post 9/11, Washington, DC, protests face yet another problem: They are possible sanctuaries for terror attacks, or at least they are perceived as such.

Note:PERICOLO TERRORISMO

It is by no means impossible to receive permission, but you have to work through the bureaucracy.

Note:IL PERMESSO AGOGNATO

Another change that favors stability over rebellion has been the greater likelihood of police, FBI, and national security establishment spying on those who are organizing domestic marches,

Note:PIÙ FACILE SPIARE

The federal government also has done its share to shut down protest. Even small protests are no longer permitted at the Jefferson Memorial, which was erected to celebrate a man who suggested that liberty periodically must be refreshed with struggle and “the blood of tyrants.”

Note:OGGI PIU’ RIGORE – TOLLERANZA ZERO

If there was any legal pointer in this direction, it came in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the Supreme Court agreed that there could be rules limiting the geographic distribution of protest. The Court allowed for a categorization of places through what is now called the “public forum doctrine.”

Note:SVILUPPI LEGALI

Compare this to the portrait painted by Harry Kalven Jr. in his 1965 classic Negro and the First Amendment. About the state of the law at that time, Kalven wrote: “[T]he speaker has a paramount claim to the use of the public forum which the state can subject to minimal traffic controls and to breach of peace limitations.”

Note:LA BELLA PIAZZA SELVAGGIA DI UNA VOLTA

It’s not just the law that has changed; the incentives of the organizers are now fundamentally different. When a major …public event is orchestrated, such as the Million Man March of 1995, it tends to be backed by a lot of organization and capital investment. That in turn requires a lot of mainstream support.

Note:INTERESSI IN BALLO

More recently, a viral video may do more for a cause than a very large demonstration, and of course it can reach a larger number of people.

Note:MEZZI IDONEI

In the 1960s, the challenge was to capture the attention of America, given that the country was coming out of the staid 1950s, network television dominated the media landscape, and the core mindset was quite conservative. That system of centralized media favored relatively radical steps,

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