Today I have two things to get off my chest. The first is regarding a protest by farmers that took place in Norway today. Many farmers and their lobbying organisations were dissatisfied with payment negotiations with the government. To show their dissatisfaction with the proceedings they went on to enact a blockade of food distribution centres belonging to the major grocery store chains. They parked tractors across the access roads and stood in the streets with signs. My question is, how the hell is this legal?!
First of all, the distribution centres are private property. Preventing access to and exit from a private building should be a crime. Employees were unable to carry out their duties, food and other essential supplies went undelivered. This inconveniences hundreds of thousands if not millions of innocent Norwegians. Holding innocent civilians’ hostage is not a legitimate form of protest in my eyes. This not only affects citizens, truckdrivers, distribution centre workers, store employees, product suppliers and others. This has a dire impact on the entirety of society. I’m not often overly emotional in daily life, but this action by the farmers really pushed all my buttons. I was “triggered” as the popular parlance goes.
I believe that there is something seriously askew with our societal norms when the people in charge of enforcing the law eats pastries with the blockaders instead of hauling them of to jail. If we take this to its logical conclusion it is apparent that Norwegian law is perfectly fine with blocking the private property of someone completely unrelated to someone you wish to protest. I propose that law abiding Norwegians immediately blockade the private residences of farmers (doesn’t matter if the farmer in question participated in today’s action or not, look at the precedent set), politicians and the party headquarters of Norwegian political parties. Because apparently that is perfectly fine and within the law.
Luckily today’s action ended today. I overheard discussions today comparing it to similar actions in the past where similar blockades lasted significantly longer. A result of those blockades was that stores went without supplies for restocking. They thus were forced to suspend employees indefinitely until the situation resolved itself. Innocent people were thus deprived of expected income. Children were deprived of going on vacation with their parents, home purchases were delayed, bills went unpaid and many people had to suffer through the psychological anxiety of having economic uncertainty injected into their lives unexpectedly. I wonder how the blockaders sleep at night. How can otherwise decent, moral people inflict harm on others in this manner without feeling the slightest bit remorseful?
Going further, impacting the food supply affects a critical core societal function. It is something I expect from wartime conditions. It baffles me that it is legal to do so simply on a whim. I must admit that I found myself to be harbouring some very unpleasant thoughts today as I heard about the protest. I thought about the proposed law (in North Carolina I think?) about allowing people to drive through protesters (slowly, and carefully mind you) blocking roads. I felt very hostile towards the people standing in the streets blocking trucks and workers. Violent imagery entered my mind. Now obviously, I didn’t intend to carry any of it out in real life, but it was nevertheless unpleasant to have such thoughts surface. I’m reminded of activist judges in the US. They fail to grasp the consequences of their self-righteous actions. They are undermining the general public’s respect for the law. And that is a very, very dangerous path to thread. I don’t believe that the tractor driving farmers have carefully considered what their actions of today might lead to tomorrow. Be careful.