War of All Against All 

Having listened to speeches about escalating violence in American cities from Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, I think a new approach may be necessary to understand their message.

The conservative press has been telling us about how Biden and Garland should focus on the suffering of vulnerable blacks who are being shot and physically assaulted in inner cities. The call by Democrats to remove guns and punish gun sellers, it has been explained, is ill-adapted to the problem. The preferred weapons in shootings and holdups are handguns, not the assault weapons that anti-gun activists and politicians have been railing against. 

Implausibly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has gone after rural Hoosiers, whom she has charged with bringing weapons (presumably “assault weapons”) into her city. Since the gun owners under attack are overwhelmingly white Republicans, Lightfoot is shifting blame for gun crimes onto the other party. Anyone with half a brain should see this.

Other conservatives stress the ideological blindness of the Democrats for soaring crime rates, namely, their eagerness to defund the police or deny them the means for dealing with violent criminals, the abolition of bail for felons, and the ascription of black-on-black violence to white racism.

According to Victor Davis Hanson, the Biden Administration and the Democrats who run urban hotspots of crime cannot deal with the exploding violence rationally because they are too encumbered with ideological baggage. Their political outlook forces them to look for alternative explanations for a breakdown that can only properly be analyzed by those who are not wearing blinders.

Such commentators recognize the magnitude of our crime problem. But they also perhaps unjustifiably assume that the Democrats are headed for disaster by not addressing it. For me, however, it is not clear that Democratic politicians are being irrational when they trot out specious solutions. Let me start from an opposite premise, namely that everything the present administration is allowing to happen, and which creates chaos and aggravates violence, is aimed at increasing its control. Democratic policies follow Thomas Hobbes’ definition of power, as an ability to do those things necessary “to obtain some future apparent Good.” That obvious “Good” in this case is to establish the Democratic Party as the one national party, which can go on ruling indefinitely and make the electorate an accomplice in its drive for total power. 

From that perspective, Biden, or whoever pulls his strings, and other Democratic luminaries are doing what is necessary to further their power grab. The “disorder” or “crisis” at the border, which the Democrats have done nothing to stop, is clearly meant to increase the size of the Democratic electorate, starting with turning Texas blue. Getting rid of the filibuster, packing the Supreme Court, and nationalizing elections with the passage of HR 1 are all efforts to achieve the same end: empowering the Democrats and reducing their often-minimal opposition to total impotence.

The steps taken to increase urban crime and then to ban weapons that have little or nothing to do with the crimes in question belong to the same design. The Democrats have been actively promoting civil unrest since last summer, when they defended Black Lives Matter, raised millions to bail out the apprehended vandals, and, in the cases of Kamala Harris and Maxine Waters, incited further criminal activities.

It’s not as if the Democrats are clueless about what’s going on or are blinded by ideological passions. They have used violence to propel themselves into power by blaming Donald Trump for what they themselves abetted. With media assistance, they attached the label “right-wing extremism” to Trump’s supporters after the Capitol break-in on January 6. From recent revelations, Democratic-friendly FBI participants were involved in that disturbance, the response to which has been to fill D.C. jails with suspected conservative (but certainly not FBI) intruders or BLM rioters from last summer.

I’m skeptical about New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin’s prediction that if pro-police black Democrat Eric Adams fails to deal with crime in the Big Apple as mayor, “it could usher in the end of the Dems’ dominance in urban America.” The Democrats’ apparent evasion of responsibility in dealing with soaring urban crime is not at all what it seems.

Democrats don’t mind seeing crime erupt in cities because that may increase their power. So what if they hobble law enforcement while dragging out an irrelevant gun issue? Such policies need not turn off black voters while heightening the party’s popularity among anti-gun activists. The demonstrable surge in violent crime, in which blacks have been both the perpetrators and the victims, can be blamed on the usual whipping boy, “systemic white racism.” Criminals supposedly have been driven to violent acts because of systemic white supremacy; and so the solution to this violence must begin with racial reparations, more active support for BLM and a better-financed war against “white privilege.”

Admittedly the black urban masses may turn their backs on such narratives and follow wiser counsels. But it’s entirely possible they won’t. Inner-city blacks may continue to support politicians who blame “whitey,” that is, poor whites as opposed to those rich leftist elites who happily incite crime with their antiwhite propaganda.

About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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