The Federal Government is Treating Pro-Lifers Like They’re Al Qaeda

In the run-up to the midterm election, a quick review of the Democrats’ rhetoric shows that they think the country hates the pro-life movement. They have now gone beyond mere talk and are criminalizing dissent. 

My personal experience is that while the country is fairly evenly divided on the question of abortion, many people in the middle have complex views. Pro-choice people often feel ambivalent about abortion, and no one likes to see the police treat mere protesters like common criminals.

The Biden Administration is trying to marginalize the pro-life movement, and one of the biggest sources of humiliation and demoralization is to bring the hammer of law enforcement down on otherwise law-abiding people. While this seems entirely unreasonable to everyone but the fiercest partisans, it also will have some of its intended effect by discouraging the movement’s activists. 

People with jobs, families, and reputations to maintain generally don’t want to end up in handcuffs or in prison. 

The FBI Has Acted Like This Before

This template has been there for a while. This is how the FBI treated left-wing activists (with some justification) in the days of Huey Newton, the Weather Underground, and COINTELPRO. When that movement retreated, they dusted off the same playbook (with much less justification) against the militia movement in the 1990s, assorted Muslim Americans in the 2000s, and, more recently, January 6 defendants, COVID lockdown protesters, and now the pro-life movement. 

In the earlier cases of alleged Islamic terrorist plots and the recent Governor Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot, the crimes were basically invented by the FBI, because the accused were neither dangerous, nor capable of completing a crime on their own. Maybe the accused technically violated laws against conspiracy after being encouraged and cajoled by FBI informants, but this is like saying someone has committed attempted murder by sticking needles in a voodoo doll. In these FBI-controlled, informant-driven cases, most of the criminal intent remained merely that; these marginal people could not ever complete the crimes in question without government encouragement and assistance. 

Like the fireman-arsonist praised for putting out the fires he himself secretly started, these tactics let the FBI say they bagged a terrorist and pat themselves on the back. But since these suspects were not much danger on their own, the country is no safer after their convictions. As with the War on Terror more generally, this is a case of activity, but not progress.

Unlike the murderers, rapists, bank robbers, and other real criminals with real victims, who tend to occupy local law enforcement, much of the “anti-subversion” stuff is exclusively federal and driven by politics—specifically electoral politics and whatever is the moral panic du jour. 

The Left’s ongoing rage is palpable. After Obama’s election, the Left believed it had won the culture war, including the abortion issue. Trump’s election in 2016 was a major aberration, as was the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs. Instead of the “arc of history” moving towards left-wing justice, Trump and his supporters were symbolic anti-progress and completely anathema for this reason. 

Many on the Left lost their minds in response. 

The Left Treats the Right Like Heretics

It should be pretty clear that the Left, for all their talk about “Our Democracy™,” consider anything outside the managerial class consensus to be an affront and a threat—something both offensive and dangerous. They used to reserve this talk primarily for racism, as anti-racism was the foundation of the domestic security state’s growth in the 1960s, as well as being the foundation of the Left’s jaundiced, conditional love for America and its history. 

But the Left has had less success trying to convert other ideas to the same low status as racism, including anti-gay and anti-trans beliefs, vaccine criticism, election skepticism, and lately the pro-life cause. While people on both the Left and Right find actual racism distasteful and mean-spirited, most people also know that charges of racism have sometimes been used to abuse people, such as the recent campaign against “white privilege.” More important, most people do not think election skepticism or pro-life views, even if they dispute those opinions, are on the same level as real racism. 

In giving pro-life activists like Mark Houck the SWAT team treatment, the real message from the powers-that-be is not one about ideas, but rather a signal that their plan is to marginalize beliefs and label the believers marginal. It is the opposite of debate. The SWAT raids and federal charges are meant to make clear that merely considering certain ideas is damaging both to the observers and to society, and thus, these ideas and their proponents need to be suppressed. 

Since the 1960s, abortion has been debated. Like many interminable culture war debates, it involves the intersection of many conflicts: family life versus feminism, modernity versus tradition, religion versus secularism, convenience versus duty, and right versus wrong. The debate about abortion is ultimately a debate about who we are and what we value. 

Abortion is going to become a more relevant debate now that the Supreme Court has overruled the fraudulent Roe precedent. But, instead of allowing this issue to be resolved through local debate and discussion, Joe Biden, his lackeys in the Department of Justice under Merrick Garland, and their muscle in the FBI are working together to treat the pro-life movement the same as al Qaeda and the KKK. 

This is why pro-life activists are being given the Gestapo treatment for misdemeanor crimes, such as trespassing, under the ill-conceived FACE ACT. Needless to say, there is no reason to use a SWAT team to arrest someone under this statute other than to intimidate and humiliate. 

The FBI Does Not Deserve Respect or Support

There are two important lessons from recent events. 

One, the federal government, and particularly federal law enforcement, have become an enemy of right-leaning Americans, because they willingly and gleefully treat us like common criminals for engaging in ordinary political activity. The major goal of these efforts, along with the January 6 overreaction and the social media bans, is to discourage any real-life networking, activism, organizing, or effective political action on the Right. 

The second takeaway is that the Right needs to reconsider how it feels about the FBI and other organs of federal law enforcement. The Right generally and habitually defers to law enforcement, particularly local enforcement who deal with real crimes and real criminals. We are the ones with the “Back the Blue” flags. But this deference should not apply to the FBI, ATF, or the IRS, for that matter. 

Local law enforcement is kept accountable by the surplus of aggrieved victims; they do not have nearly as much time to go looking for dragons to slay. Federal law enforcement, by contrast, has too much time on its hands, can use vague and expansive laws to go after nearly anyone, and it is too close to our highly ideological ruling class in Washington, D.C. to restrain itself. 

The cast of FBI characters we saw during the fake Russian collusion scandal, including Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Andy McCabe, and the preening Jim Comey, did nothing to improve the FBI’s image—instead showing us how venal, cringe, and dishonest the FBI’s leadership was. Current Director Chris Wray is cut from the same cloth; putting him in charge was one of Trump’s many mistakes in personnel. 

There is no reason to back the blue, when the blue in question is federal law enforcement reflecting blue state values and blue check Twitter and all the other pseudomorality championed by our overbearing political leaders. 

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About Christopher Roach

Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.

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