The Reichstag is Burning … DO Something! Anything!
The left’s dream scenario is close to coming true. They’re on the verge of making political opposition to their goals a de facto hate crime. Of casting conservatism and orthodox Christianity as “extremist” views that are inherently violent. That would leave them unprotected by the First Amendment, undefended by the Second. Leftist elites hope to pull off this sleight of mind by smooshing together utterly unlike things, then counting on people’s fear to suppress their rational faculties.
Media have stoked a the-Reichstag-is-burning-let’s-suspend-the-Constitution! moral panic in the wake of appalling mass shootings. Some have called for the FBI to investigate any organization they can possibly tar as “racist” or “extremist.” To treat them as we did al Qaeda affiliates (but not ordinary mosques) in the wake of 9/11.
Silence and Disarm Half the Country
At the same time, the left and squishy, unprincipled right promote Red Flag laws. Those would give every nosy neighbor or old enemy the power to annul any citizen’s Second Amendment rights with a single phone call. Then he must prove he is not a psychopath or extremist, at his own expense.
Whether the left is targeting the First Amendment or the Second, count on any public Trump supporter, pro-life activist, or vocal traditional Christian to be quickly singled out. Groups like Media Matters, and rooms full of Soros-funded interns, would be recruiting 24/7 for leftists across the country. “Would you like make America safer and stop white supremacist terrorism? Then report your annoying MAGA neighbors.” These groups would provide a suitable script to use on the phone with police. You know, the way human smugglers currently offer a script for illegal immigrants to use, claiming fake asylum for economic migrants.
“Would you like make America safer and stop white supremacist terrorism? Then report your annoying MAGA neighbors.”
If Red Flag laws do pass? In a matter of months, the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights will be a dead letter. One of those quaint, archaic laws you look up in books, like bans on riding your donkey counter-clockwise on the Sabbath.
The Deep State Unleashed
If we let the Deep State operatives still running the FBI define as “extremist” all the groups loathed by the left, the First Amendment will end up virtually meaningless, too. Any group that bucks the system will get investigated and harassed as if it were the Klan. Or as if they were Jack Phillips, whose “crime” was to refuse to bake a cake with Satan licking a sex toy. Or Tea Party groups at the mercy of Lois Lerner’s IRS.
It would probably be smarter for the left to focus on repealing the Second Amendment before targeting the First. It’s very hard to silence armed citizens — as the Nazis realized when they decided not to try occupying Switzerland.
But leftists are not in control of themselves. They’re proceeding with the logic of a mob goaded by demons, like the “nihilists” in Dostoevsky’s novel The Possessed. Let me lay that logic out for you here.
How to Define Half of Americans as “Nazis”
Before we follow these lemmings over the cliff, time to get our bearings in the real world. There does exist a very small subculture of people whom we can call white nationalists. I doubt there are even a million such people in America. There are probably more members of Nation of Islam or the Church of Scientology.
These white nationalists agree with the left that America’s history, culture, institutions, and economy rest on white supremacy. If spokesman Richard Spencer is representative, they share the left’s contempt for our Founding. They despise the claim that American liberty is a distinctive and beautiful thing, grounded in Christian notions of human dignity. They agree with Antifa that America’s founding documents were little more than a fig leaf for white domination.
Such people have no interest in defending small government, religious liberty, unborn life, the free market, or gun rights, for every citizen. They echo the left in calling all these things our forebears praised smoke screens for white rule over non-whites. It’s just that they’re for all those “racist” institutions, while the left is against ’em.
Be Careful What You Pretend to Believe
Obviously, neither Donald Trump nor 99 percent of the millions who voted for him believe in any of this. Trump wants a united, prosperous America behind secure national borders — not a shattered country with a rump “white homeland” purged of minorities.
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But leftists pretend to believe otherwise. They swallow the shared assumptions of Antifa and white nationalists, and agree with their cynical reading of U.S. history. Then they take up the Marxist redefinition of “racism” used by Intersectionalists. For these groups, “racism” doesn’t refer to any actual hatred or even bias. No, you can be a racist without either knowing it or willing it. If you simply happen to benefit from historical inequalities, even those with innocent origins, you’re guilty. So the fact that Americans enjoy the rule of law and prosperity, while Guatemalans don’t? That’s a “racist” fact. And if you don’t want to admit all of Guatemala across the border? Then you’re a racist.
That leaves you essentially no better than the lonely, depraved young men who shoot up public spaces. Or the cranks who trade Nazi jokes on 8chan, and deny the Holocaust.
A Constitutional Right to Crazy Ideas
That, my friends, is how the left is teaching itself to think about the other half of the country which rejects its political programs. No wonder a Hollywood studio is releasing a film that’s a protracted murder fantasy aimed at pro-lifers and Republicans.
In cold hard fact, Americans have a Constitutional right to believe any crazy thing they want. Anything, from the Lizard Man Conspiracy theory to the Church of the Subgenius. And that includes white nationalist nonsense too.
As long as citizens don’t advocate violence in pursuit of that goal, the government has no business silencing their speech or taking away their guns. If you don’t believe that, then you’re the real extremist. You’re the one I’m afraid of. But I still don’t want to exclude you from America’s Bill of Rights.
John Zmirak is a Senior Editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration.