The Story of the FBI’s ‘Family’ Tweet 

On Monday, the FBI released its now-infamous tweet: “Family members and peers are often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence. Help prevent homegrown violent extremism . . .”

This was an unfortunate bit of wording and an unfortunate bit of timing. In fairness to the FBI, the pamphlet the bureau links to in the tweet, ponderously titled “Homegrown Violent Extremist Mobilization Indicators,” is not directed towards Joe Biden’s version of “domestic terrorists.” Its subject is Americans who are attempting to aid a foreign terrorist organization. The “foreign” part is made explicit, and there are references to ISIS and al-Qaeda. The FBI asks us to watch out for someone preparing a martyrdom video, seeking help from family or friends to join overseas terrorist groups, or leaving bizarre post-death instructions.

And, frankly, if one of your kids leaves a note saying, “Bye-bye, decadent American pigs, I’m off to join ISIS!” it behooves you to call the feds before he gets to the border. In such a pat scenario, however, it seems a little wishful of the FBI to expect your performance as a citizen to be any better than your parenting.

So, were we getting upset about nothing? Hardly. 

While it is gratifying the FBI remembers that Islamic terrorism is a geniune threat (of the sort that actually kills people), this comes hard on the heels of the attorney general’s press statement saying the Justice Department has reached “several benchmarks” in their January 6 investigation, including 500 total arrests and 100 arrests on charges of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer. (Arrest quotas are an idea that Merrick Garland got from Lenin.) This right after the White House’s June 15 “fact sheet” on domestic terrorism, which warns us to be on the lookout for anyone advocating the “superiority of the white race” or anyone who is “anti-government or anti-authority . . . such as militia violent extremists [sic].” 

The White House also says it will work to counter “disinformation, misinformation, and dangerous conspiracy theories online.” Which, I suppose, means us.

The FBI has been playing a crucial part in this campaign, with despicable pre-dawn flashbang raids, charging in with weapons drawn to ransack the homes of senior citizens who, the FBI knows perfectly well, pose no physical threat whatsoever. Our own Julie Kelly recently detailed these malfeasances.

So it’s hardly surprising that many people assumed the FBI’s tweet referred to the ongoing campaign against freedom waged by a government that knows itself to be illegitimate and feels itself to be insecure.

Still, if I were the FBI right now I’d probably be wondering, “Why is everybody ganging up on us over this tweet? This time, we weren’t even doing anything wrong!”

Well, here’s the thing, FBI: Asking family or neighbors to snitch for the government has a bad record. The Nazis loved it, the French under the Germans were experts at it, and the Soviets pioneered it. Every fascist or communist government in history has relied for its own survival on turning family members and friends against one another.

Unfortunately, I suspect the FBI will have trouble understanding why such a technique shouldn’t be used here as well. In America, presumably, we’re snitching for good, not for evil. So if it helps fight crime, why not?

Well, again, if you’ve got a terrorist in the upstairs bedroom, you’re responsible for that one way or another. But the problem here is with the general concept, which reveals a fundamental schism in worldview: There are those who believe people owe fealty to the government, and those who believe the government owes fealty to the people. In many cases these are reciprocal, and they overlap, but they are not the same. In one view, the American view, government is simply a conduit of the people as a whole, exercising power on their behalf. In the other view, the Marxist view, government is an end, not a means: It is the people in itself.

Everything in Marxism is defined by one’s relationship to the government. Any personal ties—family or friends—weaken the government’s claim on the individual. They are a barrier to that individual’s loyalty and, in particular, his dependency. This is why Marxism works so hard to abolish the family. To take a peculiar example, Israel’s earliest kibbutzim were aggressively Marxist to the point that children were separated from their parents, installed in a childrens’ dormitory, and raised communally. That didn’t last long—but the destruction of the nuclear family was a priority then, just as it is for the Black Lives Matter movement now.

The FBI’s tone-deafness on the subject is the inevitable result of our raising a generation of kids who never learned any affection for liberty or freedom of speech, and who instead have a deep resentment of America, the West, and Christianity. These kids have grown up and some of them are now in the FBI. Many of them are doing the best they know how, but unfortunately they know nothing at all. 

So here’s a question: If you arrive at the home of a relatively elderly person whom you know will not resist arrest, and you kick down his door and toss in a flashbang grenade, storm all over the property with rifles at the ready, make a big show of arresting the person and then ransack the house, what was your purpose? It wasn’t simply to make a safe arrest and gather evidence: It would have been much safer for all parties concerned to ask the person to turn himself in to the local police. On what basis was this arrest deemed worthy of a SWAT team? 

The FBI is doing it the dangerous way—with guns and noise and violence—because they want to send a message. They want to instill terror both in the people they arrest and in every one of us who is watching. You might call it “domestic terrorism.”

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