Are you a lover of high-end breakfast cereal? Perhaps you’re a budding Instagram star looking for a hipster location for an iPhone shoot. Maybe you are just a dabbler in high-end cold breakfast. If any of these statements apply to you, then London’s The Cereal Killer Cafe might be a good place to start off your day.
“We sell over 120 different types of cereal from around the world, if we can source it, we will sell it,” reads their website. “To create the perfect bowl of cereal you can choose from 30 different varieties of milk and 20 different toppings.”
Now admittedly, a £5 bowl of cereal may not appeal to everyone. In fact, I happen not to enjoy cold cereal and hipster cafes, so I’d spend my money elsewhere. To someone who wants nothing more than an imported bowl of Reese’s Puffs with their choice of 30 varieties of milk, finally there’s a venue for them. That’s capitalism, and it’s beautiful.
A tenet of a free capitalistic society is that the market can democratically decide what businesses succeed or fail. In order for a business to survive (absent using force or fraud), it must create value for customers. The fact of Cereal Killer’s existence and success shows that it creates value for someone. If it does not create value worth its while, it will eventually cease to exist. To those (such as myself) who would not glean any benefit from spending my money there, its existence is still in no way infringing on my rights. Some, such as the “Class War Fuck Parade” movement, do not share this capitalistically tolerant sentiment.
Via The Guardian
Hundreds of protesters attacked a cereal cafe in east London on Saturday night, daubing the word “scum” on the shop window and setting fire to an effigy of a police officer. Riot police were called in to defend the Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch after it was targeted by a large crowd of anti-gentrification activists carrying pigs’ heads and torches.The owners of the cafe, which has been seen by some as a symbol of inequality in east London, said on Sunday that the attack left customers including children “terrified for their lives”
The protesters feel that the store represents gentrification and that the existence of this store is offensive to the struggling and impoverished people in the local community. “Many parents in the area suffer the indignity of relying on food banks to feed their children,” one “Fuck Parade” participant explained. “[Meanwhile] the new Shoreditch residents can make a successful business selling children’s cereal for £5 a bowl.”
The issue of gentrification is a complicated one, and I have no qualms against those who try to create awareness for it or even combat it. Peacefully.
Let me say that again: peacefully.
Had there been a peaceful protest, I would be willing to discuss the principles espoused by the activists. Maybe they have some good points and reasonable concerns. If they do, then violent tactics surely are unnecessary to express them. The simple fact is that when facing a non-violent adversary in any situation, your values requiring violence is a sure sign that your ideas are not valid, or perhaps that you are not the proper advocate of those values.
In a world where people so prevalently turn to violence (particularly mass shootings, as we’ve seen in America even this week), upstanding members of society must universally condemn the escalation of any conflict into force, even when we agree with the motivations of who started the violence. While nobody died in the Cereal Killer Cafe attack, the lack of leftists saying “this method isn’t what we stand for” speaks to a general acceptability to violence today. As soon as you throw the first brick, fire the first shot, or begin to steal or deface the property of others, what you’ve really defaced is any reason to respect your cause.
Ayn Rand believed that we live in an “age of envy,” and would characterize the actions of these rioters as driven by hatred. She writes:
This hatred is not resentment against some prescribed view of the good with which one does not agree. . . . Hatred of the good for being the good means hatred of that which one regards as good by one’s own (conscious or subconscious) judgment. It means hatred of a person for possessing a value or virtue one regards as desirable.
Is it possible that these protesters, using violence and writing “scum” on the glass actually envied the peaceful and successful store owners?
It may be hard to say, but the fact remains that envy can drive people for better or for worse. Capitalistically, envy may be greatly beneficial if a person chooses to manifest it peacefully. If I were envious of a cereal store, perhaps I’d strive to be employed at one or create a business that is equally meaningful to me. Rather than the capitalistic spirit that drives one to make themselves better and match their inspiration, the protesters chose the opposite route. In typical communist fashion, they chose to destroy that which offends them, rather than challenging it peacefully or attempting to create something for themselves.
Reasonable people can agree to disagree, but this never justifies the escalation into violence. Whether you’re a racist in South Carolina or a member of some radical leftist group, your ideas are proven pointless when you use violence to advocate them. If you don’t like a local cereal cafe or what it represents, don’t shop there. If you really don’t like that store, hold a peaceful protest or a boycott, or open a competing business.
If the only way to express your concern about a hipster breakfast cafe is to use violence, then get your commie hands away from my cereal.