My feelings towards the current demonstrations are somewhat mixed. I do not agree with the students grievances, as I see no reason why students should not pay for their own education. It seems as if the issue is being used as a pretext to attack the government itself. I have no love of this government, nor did I of the last one, but the attack on the government is being launched by those who demand more government, not less.
It is a protest born of this interventionist era. Everyone has their own little protectionist enclave to defend, and the internal logic is to fight for that ill-gotten share, even though it is to the detriment of all. As Frederic Bastiat said: "The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else".
The violence of these demonstrations is wholly formulaic. There are those who go solely to cause violence. There are a larger number who are opportunistic - in other words 'up for it'. And then there's the police, who have a duty to defend the state, and are prey to the same adrenaline-fueled gang mentality as the crowds. The tactics they employ, notably 'kettling', is enough to guarantee trouble. It is this last thing which causes my mixed feelings, because I know how I react to being treated in this way, i.e. not at all positively.
Which brings me to John Lennon, and his half-heard comments on the Grosvenor Square demo, that "the only result was a lot of smashed heads."