The Millbank riot and some of the subsequent student protests have been widely condemned in the media as the actions of a 'violent minority'. NUS president Aaron Porter infamously described the riot as ‘despicable’. Property destruction, we were told, undermined the message of the NUS’ peaceful protest. This was the behaviour of ‘anarchists’, outsiders hijacking what would otherwise be respectable political protest in a liberal democracy. But liberals would do well to reflect on their own glass house before casting such rhetorical stones.
Liberalism: doctrine of the violent minority
Liberalism in fact is nothing but the ideology of minority violence par excellence. Margaret Thatcher’s favourite thinker, Adam Smith, was refreshingly frank about this back in the 18th century: