Is civil conflict either desirable or inevitable?
In part, the Trumpocalypse has been propelled by a hyperbolic, media-driven narrative that suggests Trump's election electrified racists, misogynists, and bigots, and represents no less than the return of Jim Crow America, or worse. I documented some of the more absurd aspects of this narrative in previous posts, but baseless claims have now become so pervasive that documenting them has become impossible. Much of this rhetoric could have been chalked-up to election-year exaggeration. Instead, it's only persisted and grown like Pinocchio's nose -- becoming, day-by-day, ever more grotesque. As a result, I've decided to focus on hard data, the lack thereof, and my synopsis of how we got to this point.
What point, you may ask? The point at which a deranged Bernie bro shot the Republican whip, Steve Scalise. The point at which regressive leftist responses to this national tragedy ranged from calls for gun control to the need for better organized violent resistance. One Democratic Party official called the attack "so funny," while another operative called for social media followers to #HuntRepublicans. ABC's Scott Pelley stated that, "It’s time to ask whether the attack on the United States Congress yesterday was foreseeable, predictable, to some degree, self-inflicted"? Professors and journalists mocked the recovering Scalise on social media. A Trinity College professor used social media to suggest that first responders should have let Scalise and other "whites" die, using the hashtag #LetThemFuckingDie. A Nebraska Democratic Party official said, "I'm glad he [Scalise] got shot. I wish he was fucking dead." Yet, strangely, I know we haven't reached peak-Kafka. Somehow, things will get more bizarre before the fever breaks, and the trance is lifted.
On the one hand, one might have gotten the impression from the media that right-wing "hate crimes" -- allegedly inspired by Trump's rhetoric -- have reached something of crisis proportions. ThinkProgress, the organization that blamed conservative Christians for the Orlando shooting, reported 261 -- dubiously-sourced -- "hate incidents" since the election. A widely-cited (Washington Post, BBC, Huffington Post, USA Today, etc.) Southern Poverty Law Center "study" claims -- on the basis of self-reported and unverified anecdotal "evidence" -- that the month following Trump's election witnessed 1,094 incidents of "bias-related harassment and intimidation" directed at blacks, Muslims, women, LGBT, immigrants, and Jews, as well as twenty-six "anti-Trump incidents." The SPLC also notes that they were able to identify a total of thirteen false reports.
If you haven't figured it out by now, let me put it to you plainly -- the SPLC is a radical, left-wing, ideologically-driven, propaganda organization. For background on the SPLC, see here. For a debunking of SPLC methodology, see here. For an example of how SPLC rhetoric has inspired real hate crimes, see here. For John Perazzo's excellent overview of the SPLC and various other left-wing hate groups, see here.
While many of the "hate incidents" reported by ThinkProgress and the SPLC do not constitute actual crimes, the authenticity of many of these reports represent a much more significant concern. Besides glaring methodological problems -- including defining "hate incident" -- a fake hate crime wave seems to have accompanied the election, but neither the ThinkProgress nor the SPLC studies offer an effective mechanism for ferreting out fake reports. Meanwhile, independent researchers at fakehatecrimes.org have uncovered hundreds of fake hate crimes. Oddly, many of these fake hate crime reports themselves caused serious disturbances, received national attention, and continue to make the rounds in social media well after being debunked. There's been so many of them since the election that it's impossible to document in one blog post. Don't believe me? Google "fake hate crime." Those uncovered seem to have a binding thread -- the perpetrator wanted to "raise awareness" of...you guessed it..."hate"!
On the other hand, violent anti-Trump riots and attacks on Trump supporters have become a frequent occurrence. What's distinctive about violent anti-Trump resistance is the scope and status of many of the resistors: VP candidate Tim Kaine's son, professors doubling as antifa hooligans, actors and entertainers calling for the assassination of the POTUS, etc. Again, the examples of incitement are numerous. Anti-Trump attacks have become so commonplace, yet simultaneously ignored by the left-stream media, that Trump supporters started a website to document them.
Of course, reliable statistics for hate crimes in 2016 won't be available until the FBI publishes its annual report later this year. Until then, all is speculation, claims, and counter-claims. But, we do have hard data for ideologically-motivated terrorist attacks -- we know exactly which groups are responsible for causing the untimely deaths of Americans over the course of the last eighteen months.
As I noted in a previous post:
Despite the media downplaying the post-911 jihadist terrorist threat (for an example, see here) and hyping the "right-wing extremist" threat, a sober analysis reveals that there's really no comparison. What, you may ask, would a side-by-side comparison of your chances of being killed by a jihadist or by a right-wing extremist in the U.S. since September 11, 2001, actually be? It's not even close. It's 62:1. Yes, you read that correctly -- Americans are sixty-two times more likely to be killed by a jihadist than by a right-wing extremist (for a short article on the the debunking of the think-tank manipulated statistics that claim the opposite, see here, and for the full study, see here).For an updated examination of the issue of right-wing terrorism vs. jihadist terrorism, see here. Nevertheless, certain media outlets persist in claiming that right-wing terror represents the most pressing threat to the American public, and particularly since the campaign and election of Trump.
Let's have a closer look at the numbers:
According to newamerica.org analysts, fifty-five individuals have been "charged with or died engaging in jihadist terrorism or related activities inside the United States," or were "Americans accused of such activity abroad" since January of 2016. During that same time-frame, there have been two deadly jihadist attacks on U.S. soil -- the Florida Pulse nightclub shooting and the Colorado security guard shooting. While only one person died in the Colorado shooting, Omar Matin killed forty-nine (fifty if the shooter is included) and wounded fifty-three at the Pulse nightclub shooting, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Also during that eighteen-month span, black nationalist/separatist/supremacist attacks -- in Dallas and Fresno -- left eight dead and eleven wounded, with the Dallas attack being the deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9/11/2001.
In comparison, New America points out that "right-wing" violence -- stabbings in New York and Portland -- claimed the lives of three, with one injured. Of course, we now know that a left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter carried out the Portland stabbings, which claimed the lives of two, with one injured. When this obvious error is corrected, "right-wing" violence has claimed the life of one person in the last eighteen months. One.
To summarize -- over the last eighteen months (and according to New America), Americans are fifty-one times more likely to be killed by a radical Islamic terrorist, and eight times more likely to be killed by a black nationalist/separatist/supremacist, than by a right-wing terrorist; that's 51:1, and 8:1, respectively. But is it fair to focus exclusively on jihadists, right-wingers, and black nationalists? My point here is not to claim that violent attacks by Trump supporters haven't occurred, or to conflate the attacks of left-wing terrorists with all Democrats. Rather, my point is to illustrate the hate-filled narrative that undergirds the anti-Trump resistance. Would it be misplaced to call ideologically-inspired anti-Trump violence "left-wing terrorism"? How many examples of left-wing terrorism, one must wonder, can we find over the course of the last eighteen months, were we to look for it?
First, we must adequately define terrorism. The textbook definition of terrorism is "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes." National security discussions of future terror threats include concerns about the use of WMDs, cyber-terrorism, online radicalization that inspires lone-wolf attacks, and the myriad ways increasingly sophisticated technology may democratize destruction. Since 9/11/2001, a vigorous debate over the relative threat different extremist groups pose to American society has played out in American politics.
The Barack H. Obama administration tended to downplay deadly terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists, as well as keep their operational definition of terrorism a closely guarded secret. Hence, the many perplexing instances of "workplace violence." This was probably related to a behind-the-scenes policy shift in the focus of anti-extremism/terrorism programs -- and, perhaps, grant funding to think tanks like New America, the SPLC, and the George Washington University Program on Extremism -- which deemphasized the George W. Bush administration's concern with radical Islamic extremism, and broadened government surveillance and countermeasures to include "anti-government views, racism, bigotry, anarchy and other despicable beliefs." Yes, it would seem that the Obama team saw right-wing extremism as the proper focus of the DOJ. According to Obama's Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin's revealing statement from 2015:
When it comes to hate and intolerance, no single ideology governs. In America, harboring extremist views is not itself a crime, nor is the expression of even a hateful ideology or association with a hateful group. But the line between speech and violence is crossed too often, resulting in heartbreaking tragedy.Carlin's statement to his "colleagues" at the SPLC and GWU may have underscored a critical feature of how the Obama administration may have defined the dividing line between domestic extremism and domestic terrorism/violent extremism -- the former represents "hateful" ideology, while the latter concerns violence in the name of a "hateful" ideology. With that definition of terrorism/violent extremism in mind -- violence driven by ideological hatred -- we shall now define left-wing terrorism and develop a rough estimate of the number of attacks, deaths, and injuries as a result of of left-wing terror in the last eighteen months.
The ideology driving left-wing attacks -- resistance -- emerged from the fusion of New Left (Antonio Gramsci, the Frankfurt School, French Postmodernism) perceptions/assumptions of/about the pervasively oppressive nature of American society with a diminishing sense of leftist political power and control as a result of sustained electoral losses by progressive/liberal candidates at all levels of government. To be exact, Democrats lost 1,042 posts between 2008 and 2016, which included the loss of control of the House, Senate, Presidency, twelve governorships, and 958 state legislative seats.
Democrats, to date, have failed to examine internal factors -- such as public perceptions of Obama's policies for "hope and change" -- for this precipitous decline in political power. Instead, Democrats have persisted in the externalization of blame and fallen into the self-serving bias. Thus, as a result of deeply identifying the progressive agenda with the American national identity, they failed to see the blowback from a message that promotes national self-loathing, Christian bashing, radical social change, open border lawlessness, globalist agendas that padded the pockets of liberal-minded elites while destroying American jobs, contempt for traditional American values, and the toxic message of identity politics. Essentially, they were, and remain, blinded by ideological spectacles clouded by smugness and groupthink. Trump's victory became the quintessential example for many Democrats -- evidence -- that significant numbers of Americans must be racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, bigots.
As noted above, extreme ideological hate alone does not constitute terrorism. Accordingly, my figures will focus on the number of deaths and casualties caused by violent left-wing attacks, and will not account for the obscenely high number of threats, name calling, graffiti, etc. (the types of things included in ThinkProgress and SPLC figures) perpetrated on a daily basis. Nor do my numbers include self-reported incidents, or the use of intimidation, threats, and belligerent behavior that resulted in significant numbers of violations of the civil rights of college campus speakers. Nor will my analysis include injuries sustained in melees between belligerent pro-Trump and anti-Trump crowds that gathered for the express purpose of a showdown, or the plots foiled by law enforcement agencies (as included in the New America studies). I will exclusively examine the number of verified assaults, deaths, and casualties caused by clearly identifiable left-wing terrorist attacks.
Left-wing anti-Trump terrorism/extremist violence in the last eighteen months:
There have been high-profile attacks. The GOP Congressional baseball practice shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, injured five, with one killed (if we count the death of the shooter). This attack clearly fits the definition of a left-wing terror attack, as Hodgkinson was a dedicated Bernie Sanders supporter who, as an extension of his willingness to "resist," posted to social media that he intended to "Terminate the Republican Party," among many similar hateful, ideologically-driven statements, prior to traveling to Virginia and carrying out the attack. Sadly, regressive leftists in the media have already begun blaming the victims.
Despite initial media reports that indicated that the Portland stabber, Jeremy Christian, carried out a Trump-inspired right-wing terrorist attack, it quickly emerged that Christian was actually another Bernie Sanders supporter with a history of social media posts broadcasting his hatred of both Trump and Clinton. He also bizarrely claimed to be a white supremacist and was harassing Muslims at the time of his killing two and injuring a third. While this is clearly a case of hateful, ideologically-driven terror, Christian's schizophrenic worldview does not neatly fit the definition of left-wing or right-wing terror. Therefore, the deaths and injuries from this attack will not be included in my assessment.
There have also been numerous incidents involving leftist mob violence. In March of 2017, Allison Stanger was injured and treated at the local hospital after being attacked by Antifa and radical leftist protestors during a university scheduled speech by Charles Murray. In February of 2017, Antifa and radical leftist rioters -- up to 150 masked leftist hooligans -- shut down a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos at U.C. Berkeley. The attacks left behind significant property damage, and Trump/Milo supporters were pepper sprayed, hit with various projectiles, and beaten with metal poles, resulting in at least six injuries. There's the twenty Trump supporters that sustained injuries from beatings that occurred outside of a San Jose Trump rally. Sadly, rather than condemn these attacks, many regressive leftist journalists justified and encouraged them.
Then there are the attacks on Trump supporters that haven't garnered national attention, or academic inquiry. There was the California community college professor arrested for dangerously injuring a Trump supporter with a bike lock, the video of a racist anti-Trump assault in Chicago that took place after an auto accident, an assault on a student wearing a Trump hat, the BLM-affiliated "anti-bullying ambassador" that assaulted a seventy-four year old Trump supporter outside of Trump Tower in NYC, the man who was choked for wearing a Trump hat in the NYC subway, the violent assault of a Trump supporter for waving an American flag and holding a Trump sign in Connecticut, the eleven year old elementary student beaten for voting for Trump in a mock election in Texas, and the Florida high school student punched for holding a Trump sign. There was also the Georgia resident that was shot and killed for joking about voting for Trump.
Finally, there are the various attacks associated with alleged BLM and Black Power incitement. In July of 2016, Micah Johnson shot and killed five and badly injured an additional seven law enforcement officers at a BLM protest in Dallas, Texas. Johnson, inspired by the 1960s Black Power movement, as well as certain hip-hop lyrics, just wanted to "kill white people," and "especially white officers." (For the ongoing court case against BLM and George Soros, see here.) There was the abduction and torture of a mentally handicapped man in Chicago, which the assailants broadcasted via Facebook live and can be heard yelling, "fuck Trump" and "fuck white people." Gavin Long's ideological motivations are complex to say the least (Washitaw Nation and Nation of Islam member). Like Johnson, Long was allegedly radicalized by claims about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and retaliated by killing three and injuring three law enforcement officers in Louisiana. A couple of months ago, Kori Ali Muhammad killed three in Fresno, California, in what appears to have been a racially motivated attack. When considering the motivations in these three attacks, one is faced with a choice of classification -- do we label these attacks as "left-wing" or black nationalist/separatists/supremacist ideology. New America chose the latter, but why?
Aren't BLM and Black Power organizations ideologically oriented with the political left? BLM rhetoric, tactics, and goals seem to emanate from the New Left's playbook via critical race theory and Maoist-inspired socialist organizations. The influence of marxist-inspired leftist organizations of the 1960s and 1970s appears undeniable. Is New America's creation of a separate classification for black nationalist/separatists/supremacist, rather than using a more comprehensive "left-wing" classification, arbitrary and out of step when compared to its catchall category of far right-wing terrorism? I'll let the reader decide if my classification of these attacks as left-wing terrorism is warranted.
The stories above hardly represent a comprehensive evaluation of the left-wing terrorism that has occurred over the course of the last eighteen months. Nevertheless, certain comparisons can be made on the basis of these preliminary findings. Since 2016, left-wing terrorists killed twelve people (thirteen if you include the Virginia Congressional baseball practice shooter), as compared to only one person killed over the same time period by a right-wing terrorist. Left-wing violence injured an additional fifty-one people. These figures likely only scratch the surface of the wave of left-wing terroristic/extremist activity that has accompanied the left's dwindling grip on power. While radical Islamic terrorism still poses the greatest terroristic threat to American lives, left-wing terrorism has emerged as a strong runner-up and must become the focus of more sophisticated analyses that can employ greater resources than those available to a digital cowboy. Those still claiming that right-wing terrorism represents the greatest threat to American society need to take a long look at the data.
To summarize my analysis: Since January of 2016 -- the period in which the anti-Trump "resistance" movement formed -- Americans are fifty-one times more likely to be killed by a radical Islamic terrorist, and thirteen times more likely to be killed by a left-wing terrorist, than by a right-wing terrorist. That's 51:1, and 13:1, respectively. Should you still prefer the New America classification system, which appears to downplay the role of left-wing ideology, then the statistics are 51:1 (jihadist terrorism vs. right wing terrorism) and 11:1 (black nationalist/separatist/supremacist terrorism vs. right wing terrorism), and 2:1 (left-wing terrorism vs. right-wing terrorism).
Scripted violence against Trump and his supporters started when Trump secured the GOP nomination, but has gone into hyperdrive since the election. As we've come to expect in high-stakes political campaigns, Trump's already brash statements were frequently taken out of context and packaged as contextless, inflammatory sound-bytes -- Trump was as a racist, misogynistic, bigot. As a result, many developed the notion that these claims were unquestionably true. Calls for direct action and mob violence to thwart Trump rallies resonated in places like Chicago. Trump's campaign headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed. The removal of yard signs, as well as the vandalism of businesses and private residences of Trump supporters emerged as a commonplace sport. Physical assaults on Trump supporters proliferated. All was justified in the name of resisting what Trump and his "deplorable" supporters supposedly stood for.
Yet, most of the anti-Trump violence and property damage went unnoticed by the left, or was dismissed as anomalous. Instead, most media outlets were content focusing public attention on a series of supposedly Trump-inspired "hate crimes." Too often, these events turned out to be hoaxes perpetrated by radical leftists purposefully providing grist for an all-too-ready media that had abandoned any semblance of objectivity and journalistic standards. Don't believe me? Consider the the absurdity of the revival of Dan Rather's career as an example of the growing demand for fake anti-Trump news. Rather was previously hounded out of the profession for...fake news.
Then came the false allegations that Trump, his closest aides, and his supporters were Fascists and Nazis. These weren't allegations by amateur pundits. Flagship progressive/liberal outlets, such as The Atlantic and The New York Times, led the charge. Top leaders in the Democratic Party, including Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean, repeated the "white supremacist" and Fascist/Nazi allegations as though they were common knowledge. As we all know, Fascists/Nazis killed people -- lots of people. To make matters worse, progressive/liberal talking points in opposition to Trump's policy agenda were framed as to imply that Trump's policies, such as leaving the Paris climate accords, will kill people. Likewise, it's become commonplace for progressive/liberal commentators to wish death upon Trump voters and supporters for supporting the repeal of Obamacare. A popular motif, which has been openly embraced by Hillary Clinton and become the anti-Trump rallying-cry, has been to "resist." Borrowing a term used by the French resistance during the World War II Nazi occupation of France, flows naturally from the assumption that Trump's regime represents Fascism/Nazism. Do you talk to Nazis? Do you compromise with Nazis? No -- you kill Nazis because they are evil. Get it?
Accordingly, the media has given uninterrupted coverage of regressive leftists looking to ride the wave of anti-Trump hysteria to fifteen seconds of fame. Journalists joking about the assassination of Trump, or calling for his execution, have been overlooked. High-profile academics at the most prestigious American institutions have openly called for the forced reeducation of the POTUS and the overthrow of the U.S. government. Actors and entertainers have repeatedly celebrated the mock assassinations of the POTUS. One MSNBC commentator said defending Trump was like "hugging a suicide bomber." Members of the national security apparatus have frequently leaked classified information in an ongoing attempt to smear the POTUS, and on, and on.
Then there's the Russia narrative. This is probably the most unsettling aspect of the anti-Trump witch-hunt, as it appears that officials associated with the previous administration attempted to fix the election. Once the election was over, the same set of characters appear to have set in motion a plan that involved leaking calculated misinformation in order to subvert, and, ultimately, overthrow the Trump administration. Many useful idiots in the media uncritically swallowed the entire storyline hook, line, and sinker.
Perhaps yesterday's senseless attack by a disgruntled Bernie bro will convince the Democratic Party leadership to put the insurrection genie back in the bottle, but I doubt it. They seem to have fully embraced the art of cry-bullying and intend to take the Lyotard formula to its logical conclusion -- to either beat the republic into socialistic submission, or sacrifice the future of their party on the alter of irrational anti-Trump resistance. Have they given up on winning elections, and are now focused only on seizing power through banana-republic tactics? I suspect that at some point Trump will come out swinging. Otherwise, he, and the republic, may suffer death by a thousand leftist cuts.
- The Cowboy Historian
**See my Addendum for a ten-day "snapshot" of leftist violence and violence promoting/praising rhetoric in the wake of the Scalise shooting**