The specter of white supremacy haunts America. Let us empower the government to crush it.
Just yesterday, “the deplorables” were to be deplored because they were “racist, sexist, homophobic,” clingers to “God and guns,” and Russian dupes to boot. Today, the agility and unanimity with which our politicians and media—heck, the ruling class—have shifted to indicting roughly 72 percent of the population as white supremacists, likely violent, would fill with envy their homologues in China, Cuba, North Korea, and other tyrannical places. By comparison, Joseph Goebbels had sloppy message discipline. Not even the Soviets in their salad days were so “on message!”
One may suppose that our ruling class merely intends to energize its constituencies and cower the opposition in the 2020 elections. But this is no game. Their proposals would impose pre-punishment for pre-crimes on persons accused or “suspected” of being a “white supremacist.” By whom? On the basis of what?
In practice, a “white supremacist” is anyone whom anyone in power dislikes enough to so label him. Who would accept being outlawed at will? Our ruling class plays with matches in a house drenched in gasoline.
Here is the latest. The Wall Street Journal on Saturday featured an essay by one Clint Watts, formerly of the FBI and West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center. Watts makes those proposals using the word “white” 16 times in 18 paragraphs. The sociopolitical ideas rife among white people are the main matrix of terrorism in America, Watts contends. Racial profiling, anyone?
Bemoaning the fact that U.S. law now restricts surveillance of, never mind restrictions on, U.S. persons to those who have committed or may be about to commit crimes, Watts proposes legislation that would permit designating persons associated with what the government may identify as “white supremacist ideology” as subject to surveillance to “preemptively assess whether these white supremacists are taking a radical turn toward violence.”
Watts also proposes “red flag” laws, that would allow the government to take away weapons from someone so designated. Loss of weapons would be the least of burdens imposed on anyone so “red-flagged.” Career, reputation, possibly family, would be gone because someone in the notoriously impartial FBI so decided, perhaps with the agreement of the highly scrupulous FISA court, subsequent to ex parte, secret proceedings.
This has become ruling-class conventional wisdom. Desire to wage war on ordinary Americans—to disadvantage them and even to kill them—had long been bubbling in the ruling class’s basements. The countless, nearly identical pronouncements from on high in recent days can be taken as an announcement that the ruling class has raised them into its forceful mainstream.
In January 2012, the Department of Homeland Security, in cooperation with the University of Maryland, published a study titled “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1979-2008.” It classified persons who it judged to be “suspicious of centralized federal authority” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right wing terrorists.” So-called studies published by Clint Watts’ West Point center use the same typology. Skeptical of the government? You’re a potential terrorist.
In July 2012, Colonel Kevin Benson of the U.S. Army’s University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Jennifer Weber of the University of Kansas, published an article in the Small Wars Journal titled “Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A ‘Vision’ of the Future.” Benson and Weber argued that the U.S. Army should prepare itself for contingencies such as “extremist militia motivated by the goals of the ‘tea party’ movement” seizing a small town. They contend, moreover, that Army’s “Operating Concept, 2016-2028” obliges “the military to execute without pause and as professionally as if it were acting overseas.”
None of this is law, or even official policy. It simply reflects the evolving identities and predilections of persons in power.
Today, our ruling class has come to define itself in terms of the will to humiliate “the deplorables,” as it subdues their disrespect. It is confident that the Republican Party won’t help the deplorables, and that President Trump will get out of the way quietly once he’s made some noise. And deplorables have this quaint habit of obeying laws—the fools!
All true. But the logic of the ruling class’s campaign against white supremacy cannot end in the deplorables’ peaceful submission because that campaign itself has no natural end. Some of the class’s components are sure to push for ever-stricter measures. More surely, an inherently abusive campaign of racial profiling itself guarantees deadly friction. One of these days, some misdirected SWAT team will shoot it out with innocent people, with casualties on both sides, or some person unjustly ruined will take his tormentors to the grave with him. One police force will fight another. The paths to civil war are many. A generation of domestic peace is increasingly difficult to imagine.
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