Chaos in Ferguson

Section 8

Blog 6 –  Overachieving Blogger #2 Power-up

Over the course of the past couple months, the city of Ferguson, Missouri has been swept up in a flurry of opinions and activity following officer Darren Wilson’s shooting of Mike Brown. On Monday things came to a head when a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson for his actions. This has lead to all manner of protests and riots only in Ferguson, but throughout the United States. Scenes of mass chaos have arisen from the decision, displaying an ugly side of humanity. It calls into question both the role that the government should play in everyday life, as well as how man would really behave in the state of nature.

Earlier in this course we touched on the differing viewpoints of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Recent events seem to suggest that it is Rousseau who most accurately described man in a state of nature as a dark and dangerous being, eve fearing that the “human race would perish if it did not alter its mode of existence”. When laws are thrown aside due to various passions, a slippery slope is formed which can ultimately lead to disaster. It should be noted that in addition to the rioting against perceived injustice, many individuals have used the event to further their own self-interests, and widespread looting and similar activity has been reported.

The entire ordeal has dominated news coverage constantly, and the talking heads from Fox News or CNN (depending on what slant you want your coverage from) have endlessly debated the facts of the case, as well as the racial undertones running through the situation. It is almost as though it is has been largely forgotten that by living in the United States, we consent to a sort of social contract that compels us to abide by the rulings of the courts, regardless of our own personal beliefs. As Rousseau stated, citizens of a country are  automatically “participants in the sovereign authority” of that country, and have elected a government whose decisions must be abided. Failing to do so can lead to anarchy, and this is exactly what can be seen currently in the streets of Ferguson.

This goes beyond whether or not the grand jury made an accurate ruling, or whether Darren Wilson should have been indicted. The real scope of the situation lies in analyzing our reaction to these events. Do we have more self-control than that of an animal? Or will we continue to argue over tiny details and make ignorant, racist comments that only add fuel to the fire? Only time will tell, as these events slowly play themselves out.