Teen Vogue thinks police don’t belong at violent protests

May 8, 2024

By Tim Worstall

Teen Vogue seems to think that police should not be at campus protests, which misses the purpose of having police.

Sure, we do not need the police to arrive every time a student or group of students decides they’d like to say something. But we do need the police when it is necessary to keep order.

So, the distinction is not police or no police, the correct question is, when police? Teen Vogue takes a clear stance in an article headlined:

Campus Protests: Police Clashes at Columbia University and UCLA Prove They Don’t Belong There

It’s possible to read that entirely differently. The clashes are proof that the police are being resisted in their job of preserving and enforcing order.

After all, a college or university is going to have thousands to tens of thousands of students. We can all get behind the idea that a couple of hundred of them should be allowed to make their views known – freedom is a real thing. But freedoms also clash.

The standard analysis – from J.S. Mill, now largely unfashionable – is that your freedom to swing a fist ends where my nose begins. It is indeed possible that certain demonstrations, certain actions by demonstrators, impinge on those equal freedoms – noses – of other students at the same college, and therefore must be curbed.

Rights often do conflict and the curbing of them is when they overpower those other rights of others. There are students who want to protest – OK. There are also many more who would like to get on with the education they’re paying so much for – OK. When one activity overpowers the rights of those others then we’ve one of those conflicts – conflicts need to be policed.

Why shouldn’t the majority of students be able to get on with the education they’re paying so much for? And who is to enforce their right to do so if not the police?


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