Friday, October 18, 2019

Have We Tilted Or Is The Country Out Of Plumb?

     I’m going to do a naughty thing today, Gentle Reader; I’m going to consciously, deliberately, and with malice aforethought “bury the lede.” (And if that isn’t the splittest split infinitive you’ve ever encountered in your reading days, gimme a sec and I’ll concoct a worse one.) But I promise that you’ll never be in any doubt about what I’m saying.

     An hour or so later the bodies were gone, and Kragar was sitting in the living room with me while I gradually stopped trembling. "Right in my house, Kragar," I said for about the ninth time.
     "I know, boss," he said.
     "You don't do that."
     Aibynn was in his room, drumming, he said, to pull himself back together. Kragar said, "I know why they did, though."
     "What do you mean?"
     "Remember a few weeks ago? Didn't you go busting into someone's house to get information from him?"
     I took a very deep breath. "Yes," I said.
     "There you have it. You broke the rules, they broke the rules. That's how it works, Vlad."
     "I should have known."

     [Steven Brust, Phoenix]

     The game is its set of rules. Indeed, a system of any sort is identical to its rules: whatever laws (and the penalties specified for breaking them) regulate its participants. That applies with especially relevant force to a political system and the society that has grown along with it.

     If a group of participants is permitted to break the rules without suffering the prescribed penalties, that group has a killing edge over the others in the system. “The rule of law,” about which so much – some of it cogent, much of it nonsense – has been said and written in recent years, is nothing but an observation of that immutable fact.

     Once one side has declared itself above the rules, the game is over. There may be a new game coming, but the old one is over. The rules that had governed the proceedings up to then are no longer relevant. Indeed, for any group of participants in the old game to act as if its rules were still in force would doom them to disaster.

     This “should” be “obvious.” Yet there are many who refuse to see it. The consequences for the American political system have already been dire. Present trends continuing, we’re heading into either a dictatorship or a Second Civil War.

     The recent Trump rally in Minneapolis was followed by an eruption of AntiFa violence against persons and property. The local police did essentially nothing to prevent or quell it. Apparently the Minneapolis powers-that-be approved of the assaults and their consequences. That would be consistent with Mayor Jacob Frey’s attempts to keep the rally from being held at all.

     What are the probable consequences of this event? Isn’t AntiFa likely to conclude that its violence against peaceable Americans is politically profitable? Isn’t it likely to do more of it?

     If you can reach any other conclusion, Gentle Reader, you must tell me how you got there, in great and gruesome detail.

     There’s been at least one such event – a free-speech rally in Boston, if memory serves – at which the AntiFa thugs were counterattacked and put to flight. I recall seeing an AntiFa video on YouTube, in which one of their spokesmen, a bosomy gal who goes by “Quinn,” lamented that it had been allowed to occur! Imagine that!

     Now imagine what would become of AntiFa were its every attempt to terrorize peaceable Americans met in such a fashion.

     There are groups that claim to be dedicated to the defense of the Republic and the principles of the Founding. They go by various names – Oath Keepers and Proud Boys come to mind at once – and have often volunteered to provide security for upcoming pro-free-speech events. Yet they haven’t been in evidence at most such gatherings. I don’t know why.

     Whether AntiFa or its affiliates would even show up at a rally with ample security for its attendees is open to question. But for its members to face the prospect of having the shit beaten out of them for daring to assault a rallygoer seems to me to be a formidable deterrent to such activity. Were activity of that sort to occur anyway, at least there would be forces present to “level the playing field”...or better.

     Just now, a documentary about clinical psychologist and university professor Jordan Peterson, a rising star in contemporary sociopolitical commentary, is being suppressed through threats of violence. Whether the provision of security by Oath Keepers or the like could counter such threats is unclear. However, the aspect of the matter that stuns me is the reaction to that suggestion: those who have the most to lose in this contretemps have rejected it as unthinkable. They’d rather surrender preemptively.

     To surrender in the face of an amorphous threat from an anonymous source is cowardice of the purest kind. It’s a declaration of spinelessness: the way of the worm.

     A great part of the widespread unwillingness to face down AntiFa and similar violence-inclined groups arises from the notion that “it’s the police’s job.” The police? Really? Has no one noticed that the police credo in this Year of Our Lord 2019 is “all that matters is to go home safe at end of shift” -- ? Has no one noticed that municipal governments seem to be quite all right with that?

     The police, wherever this sort of confrontation has occurred, have been maneuvered out of the contest. For whatever reason, they have permitted the assaults: they’ve imposed neither constraints nor consequences on the AntiFa terrorists. AntiFa’s weapons of choice – balloons filled with acid, “milkshakes” filled with caustics, and the like – don’t look enough like weapons to compel a police reaction. Laws against concealing one’s face in public are freely flouted, permitting the black-clad terrorists to make positive identification difficult, thus averting retribution. As for the physical assaults, the police can’t intervene in those; they might get hurt!

     One side has declared itself above the rules we expected to protect us. The “forces of order” have absented themselves from the fray. The question has been called. We face a choice between the loss of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, or street warfare between AntiFa and whatever defenders of freedom yet remain.

     The game as Americans once understood it is over.

     And now comes the “lede:”

     I’ve been seeing things like “Kill them before they kill us.” And no, not just in comments on this blog.

     I’m as guilty as the next guy (and the next guy is Bob the Registered) of demanding heads on pikes, or of posting helicopters with “Go be a commie somewhere else.”

     And that’s okay. It’s probably horrifying for the left, but so is everything we say and do. So much triggering becomes silly. Boy who cried wolf and all that.

     But the thing is, we too are in our groups, and it’s easier to start tilting. And not notice. We’ve been under stress for a long time. All of us. And we’re looking at the left and seeing their flaunting of the laws and established procedure. And yes, yes, I do believe them when they say they want to kill us. I believe them even more when they say they wish we’d all die, because frankly most of their threats to kill us are like the crazy guy who followed me around downtown yelling he was going to kill me with his snake (yes, he had one. No, not poisonous or large enough to squeeze to death.) Until I got tired and told him I was going to do something anatomically improbable to him with my knife. And then he backed away from me so fast he almost fell.

     Most of the left has a lot of aggression and given complete safety to express it will in the manner of undisciplined toddlers (and a few psychopaths.) But yes, there are the few psychopaths who are legitimate threats (a lot of them in politics.) I’m not discounting that.

     Or that in certain times, in certain places, you might have to defend yourself/ves.

     At this point I will not attend anything that’s likely to attract antifa without being armed. And since firearms are a problem at most rallies, I’ll have to take knifes or maces. But frankly I can’t understand people who don’t. (Yes, metal detectors, but there are ways.)

     And yeah, I’m not going to tell anyone it’s evil if one of the antifa kiddies ends up looking for his kidneys on the floor because he messed with the wrong old guy or girl. Mostly because, though many of them are misguided or mentally ill, they did put themselves in arms way and you can’t give a sanity test to every attacker. (Nor should you.)

     Yes, there will need to be a lot of self-defense to stop them thinking they’re immune.

     Indeed. But it’s not quite enough.

     While Sarah cautions her readers against overreacting, there must be consequences for those who order the police to stand down in the face of AntiFa-type assaults: the authorities to whom those “forces of order” supposedly answer. Those consequences “should” be enforced by the justice system – but the justice system is a reactive organ; it requires stimulus from complainants. A city mayor who instructs the police not to intervene in public violence is guilty of malfeasance and must be compelled to face a jury...but that won’t happen unless someone signs a complaint and pressures the district attorney to act. Hopefully lots of someones.

     What if the courts refuse the complaint? What if the D.A.’s office refuses to impanel a grand jury and pursue justice?

     Then not only is the game over; the balloon has gone up. The American experiment has ended. But maybe we’re not quite there yet. Maybe.

     We won’t know until force is met with force and malfeasance is compelled to face justice.



When the Rule of Law is only applied to one side by the other, even as the other feels free to violate it, "Normals" start to grasp they can't win under the old system.

My Synagogue, as most (alas), leans Left (though in a private conversation with another MOT (member of the tribe) who also attends, and whose kids go to the Hebrew/religious school, he said he's had a number of conversations and been surprised how many on the Right there really are). Going to be interesting when I start wearing my Trump kippa as the election season heats up.

Despite the fact that I think some form of spicy is inevitable, I still hope and pray to Hashem that the Left will wake up. My fear, though, is that they're so committed, so into their Marxianic Zeal, that they won't.

Hashem help us all. Because sooner or later something very bad will happen. Instead of feces/urine bags, it'll be something far worse. Someone will get maimed, perhaps someone will die. And especially if nothing of consequence happens besides words, every Conservative will understand there's nothing to do but start shooting back. Or, more pre-emptively, shooting first.

Lurking Reader said...

Hmmm….Why do we rely only on Attorney General Barr to do all the heavy legal lifting? Why aren’t we suing/charging our local leaders in court for malfeasance and fighting back? Read the whole article and think about it. If you attended the rally in MN, don’t you think the mayor committed malfeasance? Don’t you think he should be held criminally liable and face a jury of his peers? They say politics is local. Well why not make it local when holding politicians accountable for their malfeasance?

Love the idea! Sharing your idea and article far and wide my friend!

Aesop said...

1) "Present trends continuing, we’re heading into either a dictatorship or a Second Civil War. "

Don't be such an optimist; nothing makes the two inherently mutually exclusive. Both may be on the menu, in their turn.

People should think about that as they plan their budget each payday.

2)"But maybe we’re not quite there yet. Maybe.

We won’t know until force is met with force and malfeasance is compelled to face justice.

Force has been met with force. Malfeasance shrugs, perverts justice, and carries on as before.
Or prosecutes the victim.

AFAIK, we've crossed the line in the sane some time ago.
We're in that awkward stage after the union has been dissolved, but before Fort Sumter has been fired upon.

And no one can say what that Fort Sumter moment will look like, this time, nor say with any authority how long the interregnum will be, nor give any hope nor glimpse of what follows.

It's the moment when every has felt the bass vibration in their bones, but the T. Rex hasn't come bursting out of the underbrush in full-throated bloodlust yet.