Fifty Years of Radical Violence

On the Right, we tend to point to the 1960s as the decade when everything went wrong—the rise of the counterculture, the anti-war movement, the radicalization of campuses.  Or we’ll look back to the Progressive Era of the first two decades of the twentieth century, or the Frankfurt School that introduced “Cultural Marxism” to our universities.  Deep students of ideological infiltration will point to the American infatuation with German Idealists and the German model for higher education.

But in focusing so intensely on the 1960s, we overlook the following decade—the sleazy, variety show-filled 1970s.  Of course, what we think of as the cultural and social upheaval of the 1960s really occurred mostly in early 1970s.  Indeed, I suspect that so much of the romanticizing (on the Left) of the 1960s is because of the Civil Rights Movement, which now holds a place of uncritical holiness in our national mythology.  It probably also has to do with the dominance of early Baby Boomers in media and the culture for so long—they built the counterculture, and they still idealized their youthful misadventures as tenured radicals.

Regardless, good old Milo posted a link on his Telegram feed urging followers to “Read this.”  “This” was a book review, of sorts, of Days of Rage: America’s Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence by Bryan Burrough.  In his review of the book, author Brian Z. Hines writes that

Days of Rage is important, because this stuff is forgotten and it shouldn’t be. The 1970s underground wasn’t small. It was hundreds of people becoming urban guerrillas.  Bombing buildings: the Pentagon, the Capitol, courthouses, restaurants, corporations. Robbing banks. Assassinating police. People really thought that revolution was imminent, and thought violence would bring it about.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Labor Day Weekend 2019 – The Beauty of Social Peace

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It’s Labor Day Weekend, which means a glorious three days of rusticating for yours portly.  The school year is back in full swing, but I’ve been slowly recovering from an extended cold that began as a sore throat, morphed into days of nose-blowing, and metastasized into a hacking cough.  The cough should—God willing—be the final phase, and it seems to be getting better with a combination of Mucinex, expired cough medicine, and rest.

The plan this weekend is—aside from some light grading—a lot of rest.  I’m also excited to watch the South Carolina Gamecocks play their season opener (kick-off is tantalizingly close as I write this post).  My girlfriend has come up to my little adopted hometown, and is feeding me all sorts of delicious things.  It’s a fairly idyllic weekend, minus the cough.

It’s these sorts of things—resting after a week of hard work, enjoying a good meal, reading interesting books, and watching college football (all with good company, of course)—that make social peace such a coveted prize, and so worth preserving.  There is so much hatred and insanity in the public square now, and I fear that the socket wrench of revolution is ratcheting up with ever-greater intensity.

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Ratcheting up Towards Civil War

I’ve been catching up on photog’s excellent blog Orion’s Cold Fire, and boy did I miss a doozy.  Good ol’ photog regularly presents his pick for American Greatness “Post of the Day,” and on August 7, he wrote about a sobering Angelo Codevilla piece, “Igniting Civil War.”

Meanwhile, Southern history think-tank The Abbeville Institute posted an essay Monday asking “Is Political Separation in Our Future?”  These pieces suggest that something cataclysmic is looming for the United States.  Are they right to be concerned?

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TBT: Progressivism and Political Violence II: Candace Owens Attack and the Deficiency of Decorum

About a year ago I wrote about the Leftist attack on Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk while they were attempting to enjoy breakfast.  Last summer, all the rage was for Leftist activists to harass conservatives and Trump administration officials while they were trying to dine.

Fast forward one year and we have conservative journalists getting smashed over their heads with concrete-filled milkshakes and guys in MAGA hats assaulted in the streets.  Nevertheless, the ranks of Conservatism, Inc., stubbornly insist on taking the high road, ruthlessly policing any threats to their Right, while shrugging helplessly—perhaps accompanied by a schoolmarmish finger wagging—as the Left ratchets up its wanton, unabashed violence.

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Unspeakable Fear

Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day for August 2 demonstrates the fear and distrust that grip our public discourse.  According to Rasmussen’s polling, 22% of voters are afraid to share their political views most of the time, with another 25% fearing to do so some of that time.  That means that 47% of voters are afraid to discuss politics with their co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc.

Of those voters polled, 39% who strongly approve of President Trump believe they are discriminated against because of their political views.

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TBT: Progressivism and Political Violence

It’s another late post today, as my post-New Jersey schedule is still a bit wonky.  I just got done with a twelve-hour stint of uncling, so there was barely time to eat lunch, much less write a blog post—even a quick TBT feature.

Given the recent attacks on conservative journalist Andy Ngo, it seems apropos to dedicate this week’s #TBT to one of my classics of the modern, TPP 3.0 era:  “Progressivism and Political Violence.”  I wrote this essay back in June 2018, and I’ve probably linked to it more than any other post I’ve ever written, because it touches upon so much of the Left’s pathos.

I wrote at the time that, if the Left lost all the arms of the government, they would use extreme violence to accomplish their ends.  That was before I fully appreciated how extensive and pervasive the Deep State truly is—the Left is so entrenched, it can never really be out of power in the current state of play.

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New Criterion on Principles in Politics

Principles are, at bottom, what our politics are founded upon.  But that doesn’t mean that principles are inviolate, or that they should come at the cost of common sense or self-preservation.

That seems to be the crux of the debate occurring on the Right at the moment.  A dwindling faction of Never Trumpers argue that “decorum” and principles must be preserved at all costs, even if it means perpetual political defeat, if it means we’re on a higher road than our enemies to the Left.

The Trumpist and Dissident Rights, on the other hand, argue that we should jettison the Marques of Queensbury rules and noodle-wristed, David Frenchian hand-wringing over decorum and process to fight our opponents like backstreet scrappers.  Since the other side doesn’t follow any rules, the argument goes, the Right can at least loosen up a bit, and not stress out so much about policing its own side, when the Left steadfastly refuses to do the same.

This difference in approach suggests, of course, the different philosophies underpinning the Left and the Right.  The Left is motivated by nihilism and lust for power.  The Right is largely motivated by maintaining strong families, strong faith, and a strong nation.  In the West, the Right is, philosophically if not always theologically, Christian, so it’s natural that it treats its ideological opponents with tolerance, respect, restraint.

The progressive Left—ironically descended, in part, from the Puritan impulse to eliminate, rather than hem in, evil—prefers total destruction of its enemies, and constantly redefines what constitutes heresy to achieve ever greater degrees of “social justice” and “purity.”

The New Criterion had a piece I’ve been sitting on for awhile, waiting for a slow news week.  While it’s been eventful, nothing today really caught my eye.  I’m in the middle of my glorious, late-in-coming Spring Break this week, and there’s something about being out of the normal routine that has my mind working more sluggishly than usual.

‘Principle’ Parts” by James Bowman is about the Brexit process, and Theresa May’s disastrous performance thereof.  Rather than just ripping off the Band-Aid—what America did when we declared independence from a frosty, overbearing, overseas power—the Prime Minister has equivocated, betraying the will of the British people, trying to work out a deal rather than a—gasp!—“no deal” Brexit.

As Mark Steyn presciently points out in another piece, “Exit Brexit,” taking a “no deal” Brexit off the table undermines all of Britain’s leverage in negotiations.  Theresa May, like so many other polite “conservatives,” invested more in being the good schoolgirl going through the process than fighting for the interests of her country.  The end result:  selling out to a supranational tyranny that lacks the military ability to enforce its odious bureaucratic despotism.

Principles are important, but they mean nothing if we’re not allowed to defend them out loud in the pubic square.  The state of the battlefield at present requires tooth-and-nail battles.  The Right should spend less effort policing itself—and thereby limiting its effectiveness to a token “loyal opposition”—and should instead doggedly go after Leftists and their nihilistic, lethal ideology.

The State of the Right

A major topic of discussion among conservative and/or non-Left thinkers, bloggers, and political theorists is what exactly makes one a “conservative” (or, perhaps more accurately, what combination of values and axiomatic beliefs constitute “conservatism”).  For the philosophically-minded, it’s an intriguing and edifying activity that forces one to examine one’s convictions, and the sources thereof.

I’ve written extensively about the Left and what motivates it.  To summarize broadly:  the modern progressive Left is motivated, at bottom, by a lust for power (the more cynical of Leftists) and a zealous nihilism.  These motivations take on a Puritan cultural totalitarianism that cannot tolerate even the mildest of dissent.  Witness the many examples of how Leftists across time and nations have devoured their own.

That said, I haven’t written too much lately about what it means to be a conservative.  One reason, I’m sure, is that it’s always more difficult to engage in the oft-painful exercise of self-reflection.  Another is that the lines of conservative thought have been shifting dramatically ever since Trump’s ascendancy in 2015-2016, and the cementing of his control over the Republican Party—the ostensible vehicle for conservative ideology—since then.

As such, in the kind of serendipitous moment that is quite common in blogging, today’s post shares two pieces on the lay of the conservative landscape, and the various factions within the broader conservative movement (and, politically, the Republican Party).

One is, by the standards of the Internet, an old essay by Gavin McInnes, “An Idiot’s Guide to the Right.”  Written in 2014, one month before Republicans would win control of the US Senate, McInnes’s breakdown of the Right is still fairly prescient, although it’s always interesting reading discussions of the conservative movement pre-Trump (McInnes, like many conservatives, hoped and believed that Ted Cruz was the last, best hope of the movement; that was certainly my view well into 2016).

The other is a post from Tax Day, “What’s Right,” by an upcoming blogger, my e-friend photog of Orion’s Cold Fire.  He gives a detailed breakdown of the shifting coalition of the Right at present, and his own “red-pilling” is very similar to my own (indeed, photog and I both fall somewhat on the fringes of the “civic nationlist” camp, with toes cautiously dipped into the parts of the “Dissident Right,” a term itself coined by VDARE.com‘s John Derbyshire).

Traditionally (since the end of the Second World War, that is), the old Republican coalition was a three-legged stool, bringing together economic/fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and national security conservatives.  In the wake of the Cold War, the first two legs ceded more ground to the national security conservatives, some whom consisted of the much maligned “neoconservatives,” themselves reformed progressives who had been “mugged by reality.”

The neocons would enjoy their ascendancy during the George W. Bush administration, and they tend to be the major proponents of the dying Never Trump movement.  Their vehement hatred of Trump (see also: Bill Kristol, Senator Mitt Romney, and George Will) has largely discredited them, and they’ve shown that their true loyalty is to frosty globalism, not the United States.  They also pine for a mythical form of “decorum” in politics that never truly existed outside of the immediate postwar decades.

photog characterizes this group as essentially less strident Leftists, a group that “doesn’t shrink or grow.”  They were the “we need decorum” crowd that went big for the Never Trumpers, but who have largely made an unsteady cease-fire with the president—for now.  Bill Kristol and Max Boot, the extreme of this group, have essentially become full-fledged Leftists (making Kristol’s latest project, The Bulwark—to protect “conservatism,” ostensibly—all the more laughable).

These are the people that don’t want to vote for Trump, but might anyway, because he’s “morally reprehensible,” which is just their way of saying they think he’s icky and boorish.  These are the upper-middle class white women of the Republican Party, the ones I constantly implore to get over their neo-Victorian sensibilities and stop destroying the Republic from their fainting couches.

The biggest group, per photog, are the Conservative Civic Nationalists.  These are the people that love God and country, and like Trump because he represents the best hope to defend those very things.  McInnes, less perceptively, just calls this groups “Republicans,” although his “Libertarians” might fall into this group, too.  To quote photog at length:

The next big class of people are the Conservative Civic Nationalists.  This is the bulk of the Non-Left.  These are the normal people who have always believed in God and Country and that America was the land of freedom, opportunity and fairness.  They believed that all Americans were lucky to be living in the greatest country on God’s green earth.  They believed that the rule of law under the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights is what made this the closest thing to heaven on earth and anyone living here should be supremely grateful to the Founding Fathers for inventing it and his own ancestors for coming here.  This is the group that has had the biggest change occur in the last couple of years.  But to define the change let’s break this group into two sub-divisions.  Let’s call them Sleepwalkers and the Red-Pilled.  Back in the early 2000s all the Civic Nationalists (including myself) were Sleepwalkers.

The “Red-Pilled” and “Sleepwalkers” dichotomy is one of the most interesting interpretations I’ve read about the Right lately, and it’s certainly true.  Trump awoke a large group of these Civic Nationalists, people that were disgruntled with the government overreach of the Obama era, but weren’t certain about the way forward.

Like myself, photog is cautiously optimistic that these folks will continue to wake up, bringing along non-political Centrists—the squishy, non-ideological middle—to bolster Trump’s reelection in 2020.  The Left’s relentless push for socialism and transgender bathrooms have done much to red-pill these folks, who find themselves struggling to articulate values that they just implicitly know are good, but which the Left insists on destroying.

There’s still much to be said about the current state of the Right, and I will be delving into it in more depth as the weeks progress.  For now, read these two essays—particularly photog’s—and begin digesting their ideas.  American politics are undergoing a major realignment, and we need people of good faith and values to stand for our nation.  Understanding the state of play is an important part of arming ourselves for the struggle.

The Deep State is Real, Part II: US Ambassadors and DOJ Conspired Against Trump

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) dropped a bombshell earlier this week:  Obama-era US ambassadors conspired with the Department of Justice against President Trump.  Every site I find points back to the original Washington Examiner piece linked above, although the blog Independent Sentinel has a bit more commentary, tying it back to the fake Christopher Steele dossier.

You’ll recall the Steele dossier is a document the Clinton campaign commissioned through back-channels (a law firm), which was then used to obtain a FISA warrant to wiretap then-candidate Trump’s communications.  That mendacious original sin spawned the odious “Russian collusion” narrative that lingers around the Trump Administration like a bad fart.  Andrew McCarthy in National Review calls the dossier a “Clinton-campaign product.”

Regardless, if Meadows is correct, it serves as further proof that the Washington “Deep State”—the “Swamp”—is very, terrifyingly real.  It will stop at nothing to disrupt President Trump’s America First agenda, and subvert a free and fair election.

What’s most chilling about all this chicanery is not that it targets President Trump particularly (although that certainly creates its own problems—few good, conscientious Americans will choose to run for public office, especially as conservatives, unless they have the cash and the guts to risk everything).  Rather, it suggests that our experiment in self-government is dangerously threatened by a group of unelected elites cloistered in the Washington foreign policy and law enforcement establishment.

America stands at a crossroads.  We’ve arrogated ever-more power to an unaccountable federal bureaucracy.  Many conservatives—myself included—hoped that the extended government shutdown would aid in the draining of the Swamp.  So far, though, it seems that the president is still surrounded by enemies.

We have a choice:  we continue down the current road, ceding more power to the government, and hoping against hope for some kind of “enlightened, constitutionalist despot” to restore as much of our constitutional framework as possible.  President Trump’s difficulties weeding out seditious bureaucrats suggest that path is incredibly difficult, and it will make presidential contests—as well as Supreme Court nominations—increasingly vicious.  The progressive Left has an edge in the culture, the institutions, government, and on the streets.

The other option is weed out the federal bureaucracy, strike down the administrative state, and restore power to Congress.  Restoring power to the States would also reduce the emphasis on national politics über alles.

But conservative politicians have been peddling those nostrums for years, without much headway.  Thus, we find ourselves struggling along with a feeble Congress, a dictatorial federal court system, an arrogant administrative regime, and a presidency that is both excessively powerful and, paradoxically, unable to control its own bureaucracy.

Something has to give.  President Trump has fought back ably overall, but one man alone cannot restore our constitutional order.  Indeed, that’s the whole point of our system—to diffuse power broadly.  He’s done what he could through the constitutional powers at his disposal.

I don’t know what the future holds, but if we want to continue the grand experiment in self-government, we have to hobble the Deep State—indeed, it must be destroyed.