Aaron Bushnell Is the Barabbas Our Pilates Want Us to Worship

By John Zmirak Published on February 29, 2024

I used to think there was nothing worse than Communism.

That was dead wrong. For once, I was being goofily sunny and optimistic.

If only what we faced in America were orthodox Marxism and Marxists. Yes, Karl Marx was dead wrong about almost everything, a hate-goaded Utopian peddling a third-rate Christian heresy as if it were somehow the sober finding of philosophy, economics, and science. Marx dabbled in the demonic, dismissed moral qualms about violence, and goaded violent hatred for God, country, and neighbor. He also hated Jews, Christians, and blacks.

But at least Marx claimed to respect rational discourse and objective truth. Up to a point, you can actually argue with a Marxist. And the Cloudcuckooland Marx promised as the outcome of massive destruction was recognizably human: He wanted a vast global commune, something like an atheist monastery, where everybody was rich and nobody worked that hard, because wealth and social justice just tumbled down the hills from the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

That’s a juvenile pipe dream, something out of a fairy tale or hobo song. But it’s at least an understandable fantasy.

The Swine Drowned Themselves in the Sea

What we face today is vastly worse than even Communism, because it’s not even human. The worldview driving our culture and institutions today doesn’t have a positive goal, and barely has a name. We say “Woke” and think we know what we mean by that. But we really don’t. Almost nobody does, including the intellectual and spiritual leaders who goad our culture relentlessly “forward,” demanding “progress” toward … what outcome exactly? They don’t say because they don’t know, or cannot face it.

That’s because they’re acting like the Gadarene swine, being driven by demons to drown themselves in the sea. Dostoevsky foresaw what we would face, and wrote a novel called The Possessed, which eerily predicted Western culture today — a frenzy of irrational, apparently motiveless self-destruction and vandalism, without even a glimmer of false hope at the end, of the kind Marx dangled as bait.

We Are All in Jonestown, Guyana, Now

Do any Democrats really think that letting in tens of millions of unvetted low-skilled illegal immigrants will benefit our society? Do they even bother arguing that anymore? No, they simply demand it, and demonize anyone who tries to stand in their way.

Do psychologists really think that dosing young children with hormones and cutting up their bodies will make them happy and healthy? Are they even conducting serious studies to find out if this is true? No, they simply gang up and try to destroy any scientist or parent who dissents.

Our leaders and elites aren’t behaving like good little Marxist soldiers. Instead, they’re much more akin to the poor souls whom “Rev.” Jim Jones, an atheist radical, lured down to die in the jungles of Guyana. They don’t even have a fantasy paradise to offer people. Instead, they’re making the poisoned Kool-Aid itself the selling point. They promise us oblivion.

And that’s where they’re wrong, of course, since Hell is all too real.

The Tale of Two Suicides

Speaking of Hell, let’s talk about suicide. Because the best way to understand the spiritual death-spiral that has captured us is to compare the fates of two Americans with military backgrounds who tragically died that way: Jake Gardner and Aaron Bushnell.

We must see how each man ended up as he did, and how we were instructed by our elites to understand their stories.

USMC decorated combat veteran Jake Gardner, RIP. Via Twitter.

Stream readers will know Jake Gardner’s bitter fate from previous columns, such as this one. Put briefly, Jake was a highly decorated U.S. combat veteran who ran a bar in Omaha, NE. It was attacked during the George Floyd riots, which our elites goaded to punish America for the death of a drug-addicted career criminal whose arresting officers were already in jail. One of the looters attacking Jake’s bar and menacing his elderly father put Jake in a chokehold, and Jake shot him in self-defense.

When the local prosecutor viewed the videotape, he saw that it was plainly justified, and dropped the charges. So mobs converged on his home for weeks, until he caved in and hired a leftist special prosecutor, who falsely charged Jake with murder and hate crimes. Media trumpeted made-up claims that Jake was a “white nationalist.” His landlord evicted him. GoFundMe shut down his defense fund. The nation he’d served hunted Gardner like a war criminal, till at last he took his own life.

How did our masters react? A state legislator in his home state went on Twitter to gloat about his death.

We can’t have men serving their country honorably, running small businesses, defending their aged parents, and fighting off felons who try to choke them. Such men must be hounded to the grave. In service of … what ideology exactly? What possible goal could Gardner’s persecutors have had in mind except destruction for its own sake, the poison Kool-Aid not as a means but as an end in itself?

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Contrast with Gardner’s story the tale of Aaron Bushnell, who publicly incinerated himself in protest of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza. Bushnell served in our Air Force, and spouted socialist-anarchist views on social media. He became obsessed with the far-away sufferings of Muslims who voted for the genocidal Muslim terrorist group Hamas, in the wake of its spree of rape and murder on October 7. Far from suffering for his radical views, Bushnell was recruited for military intelligence, and received a high security clearance. He’s the kind of man our military is looking for today.

When Bushnell immolated himself as a sacrificial victim, allegedly to protest Israel’s “war crimes,” no legislators gloated. Instead, the allegedly Christian Harvard professor Cornell West went public to praise him as a kind of social justice martyr:

Bushnell slaughtered himself hideously in defense of foreign jihadis committed to genocide. So he should “Rest in Power,” and serve as an icon of justice. Gardner was a wretched, retrograde kulak who defended his family and property, so he deserved his fate.

Are you paying attention yet?

We are all Gadarene swine now, but some of us are trying to run back uphill.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His upcoming book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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