George Soros, Philanthrocapitalism, and the Coming Era of Global Neo-Feudalism

One can agree or disagree with the goals of OSFs and its benefactor. But progressives want to scuttle disagreement by blocking discussion of the sources of funding for their causes. The tactic they use is a rather crude one, one you’d think would be obvious to everyone. Yet it is effective, especially among the simple-minded. It involves appealing to Soros’ ethnicity in order to manufacture accusations of anti-Semitism. “Why do people loath George Soros?” The answer: “Because he’s a Jew.” Are there people who believe Soros lies at the heart of a Jewish cabal to rule the world? Yes, for sure. There are people who believe the world is run by lizards. What does that have to with the fact that Soros is effectively installing DAs around the country who are “reforming” the criminal justice system in a manner that puts vulnerable communities at risk? We deal in facts here on Freedom and Reason. And we don’t flinch.

In the summer of 2016, the rightwing anti-Semitic publication Politico published an article by Scott Bland carrying the scandalous title, “George Soros’ quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system.” In his article, Bland doesn’t just make it appear as if the billionaire financier, George Soros, who is Jewish, is behind the cabal to change the way the United States criminal justice system operates. He comes right out and says it: “Progressives have zeroed in on electing prosecutors as an avenue for criminal justice reform, and the billionaire financier is providing the cash to make it happen.”

Bland is relentless in pursuing this thread. “While America’s political kingmakers inject their millions into high-profile presidential and congressional contests, Democratic mega-donor George Soros has directed his wealth into an under-the-radar 2016 campaign to advance one of the progressive movement’s core goals—reshaping the American justice system.” That was the year Donald Trump won the White House and the big freak out began.

Fast-forward to November 24, 2001, in the aftermath of a massacre in Waukesha, Wisconsin, I tweet this:

Politico’s foray into anti-Semitism went unnoticed. At least the story has not been retracted. But when Newt Gingrich came on Fox News in September 2020 talking about Soros’ activities, he immediately drew the ire of the hosts of a Fox News television show. The topic was, as Gingrich put it, “Verboten.” (Watch the clip. The ladies are horrified. If they didn’t know how to react, you can be certain there were commands barking in their in-ear monitors. Soros is off limits. Why?) Gingrich anticipated this in a tweet posted several days before his appearance (The Times of Israel in covering the story noted that “Soros has funded progressive candidates for district attorney across the country”):

Both Politico, a center-left publication, and Gingrich, a conservative pundit and former Republican congressman, were over the target (the opening paragraph to this essay was sarcasm; I don’t believe Politico is anti-Semitic, nor do I believe Newt Gingrich is). Soros’ project is real and it has yielded tangible results. It was Soros-funded Wisconsin district attorney John Chisholm who eliminated cash bail in the county, a change that granted Darrell Brooks, Jr. the liberty to drive his SUV through a Christmas Parade in Waukesha, killing six people (so far) and injuring dozens of others. Brooks, a man with a decades-long criminal record, had been released just two days earlier. Posted bail was only $500. (See Rittenhouse’s Real Crime and Corporate State Promotion of Extremism; Waukesha is Scheduled to be Memory Holed.)

Chisholm is not a one-off. Another Soros acolyte, Chesa Boudin, is facing a recall election next year over the rise in San Francisco crime rates. “It’s my perception that Chesa lacks a desire to actually and effectively prosecute crime, in any fashion,” Brooke Jenkins, a homicide prosecutor, told the New York Times in June 2021. “While he ran on a platform of being progressive and reform-focused, his methodology to achieving that is simply to release individuals early or to offer very lenient plea deals.”

Chisholm and Boudin are just two of many DAs Soros has backed. Soros is getting his money’s worth. We’re in the middle of the greatest increase in violent crime in two decades. Last year’s violent crime rate grew by 30 percent over the previous year, the largest single-year percentage growth in criminal violence in American history.

Billionaire and backer of progressive causes, financier George Soros

For those who don’t know who George Soros is, he is a multibillionaire and philanthropist who funds the Open Society Foundations (formerly the Open Society Institute). He has funded the OSFs to the tune of billion of dollars. The OSFs is in turn a major funder of the racial justice movement, as well as pro-immigration causes. In other words, Soros financially backs black nationalism and open borders, causes lying at the heart of the social disorganization in American cities that fuels criminogenic conditions.

“It is inspiring and powerful to experience this transformational moment in the racial justice movement,” said OSFs president Patrick Gaspard in July 2020 of the organization’s support for Black Lives Matter. “We are honored to be able to carry on the vital work of fighting for rights, dignity, and equity for oppressed people the world over started by our founder and chair, George Soros.”

One can agree or disagree with the goals of OSFs and its benefactor. But progressives want to scuttle disagreement by blocking discussion of the sources of funding for their causes. The tactic they use is a rather crude one, one you’d think would be obvious to everyone. Yet it is effective, especially among the simple-minded. It involves appealing to Soros’ ethnicity in order to manufacture accusations of anti-Semitism. “Why do people loath George Soros?” The answer: “Because he’s a Jew.”

To gain some perspective, compare the characterization of criticisms of Soros with progressive complaints about the Koch brothers, Charles and the late David Koch, two billionaires who fund conservative political causes. Their father, Fred Koch, was the son of a Dutch immigrant. You might ask what that has to do with anything. Good question. What does George Soros’ ethnicity have to do with anything? George Soros is no more the personification of world Jewry than Fred Koch was the leader of a Dutch cabal to change American attitudes towards the fossil fuel industry. Moreover, if you know anything about Jewish politics and opinion, you’d know that Soros doesn’t speak for world Jewry. Indeed, a great many Jews do not like George Soros.

Are there people who believe Soros lies at the heart of a Jewish cabal to rule the world? Yes, for sure. There are people who believe the world is run by lizard people. What does that have to with the fact that Soros is effectively installing DAs around the country who are “reforming” the criminal justice system in a manner that puts vulnerable communities at risk? We deal in facts here on Freedom and Reason.

Progressive Democrats cynically leverage Soros’ ethnicity to marginalize and silence those who draw attention to the billions of dollars that are being invested in a political movement orchestrating the managed decline of the American republic and, more broadly, the enlightened West. For example, when Soros backed opponents of Brexit, and proponents of the movement to extricate the United Kingdom from the European Union criticized him for it, the way for the power elite to draw attention away from the money-power behind the transnationalist effort to erase national borders was to accuse critics of anti-Semitism.

The tactic is effective not only in stifling those who speak up, but carries a chilling effect on those who might. Being called an “anti-Semite” when you criticize Open Society Foundations has the same effect of being called a “racist” when you criticize Black Lives Matter. People don’t like to be called names and name calling can shut them up. This tactic is especially effective today since progressives, who administer the academy, culture industry, and media corporations, reject liberal values of free speech, debate, and dialogue.

This is the tactic being used to draw attention away from the money-power behind efforts to undermine the American criminal justice system, portrayed as “reform,” as if black nationalism and open borders could represent reform working in tandem with the interests of the American working class. Most Americans are unaware of Soros’ effort to transform American criminal justice despite Politico and others reporting on it years ago. Criminal justice “reform” is just one facet of what Soros and his fellow globalists seek.

Nicolas Guilhot, Professor at New York University

In 2007, Nicolas Guilhot, senior research associate of French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), in his article, “Reforming the World: George Soros, Global Capitalism and the Philanthropic Management of the Social Sciences,” published in Critical Sociology (no rightwing journal, I assure you), argues that OSFs serve to the same function as the Rockefeller Foundation: moving from the standpoint of globalism and modernization, these progressive organizations enlist intellectuals to legitimize the entrenchment of corporate and financial control over the world economy. One of the ways Soros has achieved this is by controlling the social sciences, whose depoliticized findings are pushed out by media firms and political groups.

Karl Marx and Frederich Engels write in The German Ideology (1845): “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance.” Sitting in Mussolini’s prison, Marxist Antonio Gramsci worked out the machinery of intellectual control in his theory of ideological hegemony.

Guilhot writes, “Philanthropic practices allow the dominant classes to generate knowledge about society and regulatory prescriptions, in particular by promoting the development of the social sciences. The 19th century industrialists had often invested their resources in the definition and treatment of relevant social issues, in order to institutionalize the new form of capitalism they represented. In the late 20th century, the new transnationalized social strata representing the hegemony of financial capital, whose power depends on their capacity to perpetuate the new socioeconomic order, used similar strategies. Philanthropy offers a privileged strategy for generating new forms of ‘policy knowledge’ convergent with the interests of their promoters.”

Focusing on the Central European University founded by Soros, Guilhot argues that “far from seeking to curb the excesses of economic globalization, such efforts are actually institutionalizing it by laying the foundations of its own regulatory order.”

Years earlier, in 1999, in noting another facet of Soros’ power, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman criticized Soros’s effect on financial markets.

[N]obody who has read a business magazine in the last few years can be unaware that these days there really are investors who not only move money in anticipation of a currency crisis, but actually do their best to trigger that crisis for fun and profit. These new actors on the scene do not yet have a standard name; my proposed term is “Soroi”.

The accidental theorist: and other dispatches from the dismal science. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 160.

Are these quotes from a nest of anti-Semites? Of course not. The charge of anti-Semitism is an attempt to keep people away from the truth.

Beyond a cheap thought-stopping trick by progressives Democrats to poison the well of their opponents, there is a genuine failure to understand transnationalization and the power actors transforming the global economy and with it the Westphalian system of nation-states and international law, with the long-range goal of fixing the problem of late capitalism (fall of the rate of profit, overshoot and collapse, and all the rest of it) by replacing it with a global system of corporate state neofeudalism—this in order to protect their power and privilege. Such aims are detrimental to the interests of the working classes of the West. Liberal values and republican virtue will be smothered by the New Fascism of the corporate state. Democracy will be replaced by technocracy. So the educator must be educated.

Diane Stone writes about this ignorance of globalization in her article “Global Public Policy, Transnational Policy,” published in 2008 in The Policy Studies Journal. “Trapped by methodological nationalism and an intellectual agoraphobia of globalization,” Stone writes, “public policy scholars have yet to examine fully global policy processes and new managerial modes of transnational public administration.” These observations are echoed in the William Carrol and Jean Philippe Sapinski’s 2015 article, “Transnational Alternative Policy Groups in Global Civil Society: Enablers of Post-Capitalist Alternatives or Carriers of NGOization,” published in Critical Sociology.

Perhaps it is true that public policy scholars had yet to examine fully global policy processes and new managerial modes of transnational public administration in 2008. But radical international political economists had well before that. For example, William I. Robinson, in his Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony, published in 1996 by Cambridge University Press, deploys a Gramscian analytical frame to lay bare the policy machinery that lie at the heart of the transformation of democracy and international affairs amid the dynamic of globalization, a transformation led by the transnational corporation (TNC). See also David Korten’s 1995 When Corporations Rule. (I studied under Robinson at the University of Tennessee.)

Joel Kotkin, Urban Studies Fellow, Chapman University in Orange, California. 

When one steps back from Soros, what one sees is a network of capitalist elites who are transforming the world economy in the way I have described on the pages of Freedom and Reason. A key word in my essays is neo-feudalism. One increasingly encounters this word. It is Joel Kotkin’s The Coming Age of Neo-Feudalism, who warns the world of this development in a manner resonate with a classical Marxist interpretation, who moved me to adopt it in my arguments. Kotkin’s earlier book, The New Class Conflict sees the rise of an oligarchy founded upon the high technological revolution, supported by the corporate state, academia, and media, a force I describe, following critical theory conventions, as the administrative state and the culture industry. In The Coming Age of Neo-Feudalism, Kotkin identifies three estates in the new world order.

The First Estate is comprised of the oligarchs who have amassed great fortunes, celebrated as “disrupters,” pioneers of a new and glorious future. They are like the robber barons of the Gilded Age who built the great factories and the transnational railroads. The Second Estate are the bureaucrats, consultants, public intellectuals, scientists, teachers, and other members of the professional-managerial strata—the administrators and cultural managers who support the First Estate. They’re the ones who preach multiculturalism and progressivism, who frame the political and societal narratives. Kotkin writes, “Many of the people in these growing sectors are well positioned to exert a disproportionate influence on public attitudes, and on policy as well—that is, to act as cultural legitimizers.”

The Second Estate are the folks who promulgate the rhetoric of “systemic racism” and “white privilege,” not to help those the rhetoric claims suffer on account of racism, but to orchestrate hegemonic devotion to the machinations of the First Estate, thus allowing the First Estate to get richer and more power, which, in turn, finances the lifestyles or the Second Estate functionaries. The university system is the mechanism that prepares functionaries for this role.

As Marxist Adolph Reed, Jr, has noted, identity politics and antiracism are central elements in the corporatist neoliberal project. Reed tells us in his article “Antiracism: a neoliberal alternative to a left” that “antiracism is not a different sort of egalitarian alternative to a class politics but is a class politics itself: the politics of a strain of the professional-managerial class whose worldview and material interests are rooted within a political economy of race and ascriptive identity-group relations.”

Antiracism is corporatist neoliberal doctrine rationalizing capitalism. He writes that “although it often comes with a garnish of disparaging but empty references to neoliberalism as a generic sign of bad things, antiracist politics is in fact the left wing of neoliberalism in that its sole metric of social justice is opposition to disparity in the distribution of goods and bads in the society, an ideal that naturalizes the outcomes of capitalist market forces so long as they are equitable along racial (and other identitarian) lines.” 

Kotkin describes the Third Estate as comprised of those who believe in the liberal values of modernity. That’s us—the working class and the populist resistance. Thus we have the progressive attitude, accepting the legitimacy of corporate governance (“Defining the Corporation, Defining Ourselves”; “Challenging Corporate Law and Lore”), standing in stark contrast to the populist nationalist movement defending Western civilization, the defenders of modernity. It is this resistance that Soros and his ilk mean to break. A true working class movement is opposed to what the globalists desire.

Make no mistake, Kotkin’s Second Estate is a powerful force in the West. The practice of organizing individuals into groups based on skin color and then promoting or punishing people on the basis of identity is the more insidious manifestation of neoliberalism. This thinking has invaded our institutions, public and private, and is now treated as the ground upon which other assumptions are founded.

Embracing the neo-Maoist Black Lives Matter agenda, universities across the country are rolling out reeducation camps for staff and students under the banned of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Intellectuals are being conscripted into the globalist corporatist project to prepare America for completely incorporation into it. On the ground, people claiming to express leftwing politics eschew the capacity for rational judgment. They just want to burn shit down.

The next time you hear deflection of criticisms of George Soros by appealing to his ethnicity and accusing critics of anti-Semitism, understand that what motivates this cynical move is a effort to keep from popular consciousness the work of global elites in transforming the interactional system of nation-states into a global neo-feudalist order. It has nothing to do with a Jewish cabal or anti-Semitism. Those are thought-stopping devices. This is about power and privilege—and those need neither ethnic nor racial inputs. This is about class struggle.

In a recent essay, If We Allow This, We are Over, I discuss the case of Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF is the hub of world planning by the transnational elite and its functionaries. To make the problem about George Soros one Klaus Schwab risks distracting readers from the reality that this is a network of elites who use their immense wealth and privilege to fund and influence global policymaking. This is why I have written so little about Klaus Schwab and never before (until now) George Soros.

History-making is more complex than personalty. At the same time, we are talking about individuals with immense money-power and global reach. Human agency matters. The debate between instrumentalism and structuralism, most famously carried out by Ralph Miliband and Nicos Poulantzas on the pages of New Left Review in the late-60s and early-70s, finds its resolution in work published decades easier, in C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite (1956) and, before that, in Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, written in the earl twentieth century. This is the analytical ground on which I pursue these questions.

Moreover, the assumption that there are no conservatives or right wingers to be found among world Jewry betrays a profound ignorance of the political and ideological diversity among those sharing this identity (see, e.g., the essay “The Great Reset and Klaus Schwab” published in The Jewish Voice). Read my essay. Read David Solway’s essay. Understand what’s at stake. Push out this content. Do not be afraid of smears. Those wielding false smears operate in bad faith.

Awokening to the True Meaning of Thanksgiving

One tragic aspect of the atonement discourse is the indoctrination of young people to experience trauma over past events they could not possibly have experienced themselves. They would find it difficult or impossible to know anybody who did experience the trauma they are asked to share in.

When people talk about intergenerational trauma they are describing the same problem as memory implantation. The same cognitive process that underpins memory implantation lies at the heart of intergenerational trauma. In memory implantation experiments, researchers have been been able to make people believe that they remember an event that actually never happened. A concern is that, in therapy, what is thought to be repressed or recovered memories, are actually false memories that are implanted in the client’s mind by the therapist. If this implantation occurs early enough, the person will remember something that never happened for the rest of his life and be affected by it.

This is a big problem with antiracism teachings and trainings. The indoctrinators take otherwise emotionally and psychologically well-adjusted children and adults and socialize them to believe they are victims of wrongdoings that occurred decades and even centuries before they were born and then point the finger at other children and adults and mark them as the perpetrators of the wrongdoings that they could not possibly have perpetrated. Manufacturing trauma around past events is a technique of control that furthers political ends. This is a rampant practice in public schools that works under cover of social and emotional learning, or SEL. It will not have escaped you whose political agenda is at work here in these teachings.

A dramatic illustration of the practice of guilting the living

The establishment media is busy today trying to establish a National Day of Mourning (CNN, NPR). They’re telling about the “real story of Thanksgiving” (NBC). This is a day of “truth-seeking” and “accountability-building” (Anchorage Daily News). Thanksgiving is not about bringing relatives around a table to strengthen the family bond, but a ceremonial marking another year of surviving colonialism. Robert Jensen’s suggestion that Thanksgiving should be a National Day of Atonement marked by self-reflective collective fasting is just more woke virtue signaling.

Atonement means to make reparations for a wrong or injury. In its religious sense it means confession of a sin. Those who will be asked to atone will be asked to atone for things done by other people a long time ago. In other words, it will be a ritual exercise for the woke religion. They ask us to atone for an original sin, namely the founding of the United States of America. As such, a National Day of Atonement would be a gesture to supernatural thinking that has no place in a rational and secular society.

Thanksgiving is about the living. It’s not about corpses except for the recently departed we remember together. Thanksgiving is about joining with friends and family and observing the value of those associations and relations that live in our lives. Those who want everybody to dwell in a narrative of collective guilt they show off wallowing in have way too much influence in today’s world. We need to be more forceful in our insistence that they sit the fuck down.

Rittenhouse’s Real Crime and Corporate State Promotion of Extremism

A short while ago, the jury in the Ahmaud Arbery death case, a murder that occurred on February 23, 2020 in Satilla Shores, a neighborhood near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia, reached its verdict. Travis McMichael, who shot fatally shot Arbery, was convicted on all nine charges, including malice murder and four counts of felony murder. McMichael’s father, Gregory McMichael, was found not guilty of malice murder, but was convicted on the remaining charges, including the felony murder counts. The McMichael’s neighbor, William Bryan, was found guilty of two of the felony murder counts and a charge of criminal intent to commit a felony. The killers were white. Their victim was black. The general view will be that justice was served in this case, although I suspect there are some who believed a different outcome would be more useful for their political purposes.

Travis McMichael, who shot fatally shot Arbery, stands to face the jury to hear whether he is guilt of the murder Ahmaud Arbery.

As was the case in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the jury being able to see video evidence makes a hell of a difference. You might have wondered why, then, with facts and reason demanding Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal on all charges, the establishment still refuses to acknowledge that justice was obtained in this case.

Context matters. Kyle Rittenhouse’s crime was standing up to the mob that the corporate state and the progressive rank-and-file had enabled. The criminals who assaulted him that night were doing the bidding of the establishment. Their task was disordering the community of Kenosha, as they had disordered so many other communities in the weeks following George Floyd’s murder under the weight of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May of 2020. The establishment can’t try Rittenhouse for interfering with a color revolution. They can only defame him for doing a noble thing. And so they did. And so they continue to.

This is how corporate state propagandists portrayed Rittenhouse upon his arrest:

How ideologically deranged does one has to be to find something untoward about Blue Lives Matter imagery and possessing Armalite rifles? As if supporting the police and the Second Amendment are indicative of a terrorist mentality instead of a young patriotic man who embraces the ethics of public safety and self-defense. Of course, patriotism, public safety, and self-defense are the problems. Patriotism is anathema to transnationalist desire. Public order is the antithesis of the disorganized community those who thrive on chaos seek. The right to self-defense presumes the ethic of individual autonomy, a moral barrier to serfdom.

Rittenhouse was guilty from day one and no fact was going to change that narrative. And so it didn’t. In a November 19 publication, the American Civil Liberties Union complained that “Rittenhouse was not held accountable,” presuming a guilty verdict was appropriate in that case. The author of the essays, Leah Watson, a staff attorney, writes that “Kyle Rittenhouse didn’t act alone.” Who else was in on it? The mob that was burning, looting, and vandalizing the city? No, law enforcement was Rittenhouse’s accomplice. Watson claims that the actions and inaction of the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department played a critical role in the tragic events that took place. Indeed, it was the inaction of law enforcement and emergency services that caused Kyle Rittenhouse and other young men to step up to the task of putting out fires and administering first aid. But Watson didn’t mean that.

Misrepresenting the shooting of Jacob Blake, Watson writes, “Faced with this latest manifestation of law enforcement’s systemic mistreatment and disregard for the lives of Black and Brown people, people took to the streets of Kenosha.” On August 23, 2020, police were dispatched to the scene of a domestic disturbance (the 911 call indicated a very serious situation) whereupon they discovered the man they were detaining had a warrant for criminal trespass and sexual assault with domestic abuse as modifiers. Attempting to affect an arrest, which became physical and saw the deployment of a Taser, Blake, armed with a knife, wrestled free and was moving with purpose to a vehicle that may or may not have been his. There were kids in that car. Black was either reaching for a gun in his car or trying to leave the scene with those children when he was shot. Blake survived his gunshot wounds (the media routinely report the shooting as a killing). The police did the right thing. But that’s not how the media reported it.

“Make no mistake,” Watson opines, without the benefit of supporting evidence, “the shooting of Jacob Blake and the related protests and fatalities stem from the deep-seated white supremacy that pervades our criminal legal system.” Aware that there is no evidence supporting the claim, Watson appeals to a false historical narrative “that recalls the origin of American police in slave patrols” (see The Line from Slave Patrols to Modern Policing and Other Myths). “These patrols sought to capture and return formerly enslaved people to the violence of enslavement and their later connections to white supremacist agitation during the Civil Rights movement are echoed in the violence seen in Kenosha.” Whether true or not, what does this have to do with Kenosha? According to the ACLU, contrary to what it known about the night, “white people brandishing weapons of war are given the benefit of the doubt and even encouraged by officers of those same police agencies.” This is what The Daily Beast sees in Blue Lives Matter imagery and Armalite rifles. They need only to see a young white man who believes in the rule of law to fill in the rest. This is the logic of identity politics. It’s not what you do. It’s who you are.

Watson applies a normative claim to a misrepresented situation: “Law enforcement should play no role in protests, unless it is to protect our First Amendment rights, and they should not use violence to control the crowd or silence those they disagree with.” Arson, destruction of property, looting, vandalism, and assault are not First Amendment expressions. They are criminal acts. Law enforcement has a duty to act under those circumstances. Members of the mob were armed, as well—and they were the aggressors. They came to Kenosha to commits acts of destruction and violence. It’s what Antifa and Black Lives Matter do. Rittenhouse and those like him were in Kenosha that night because inaction by public authorities green-lit violent political action. Rittenhouse was attacked because he was preventing little fires from becoming big fires and removing hateful slogans from buildings. The ACLU exists in a space safe from reality.

As you can see in the video below, Joseph Rosenbaum, the first man to attack Rittenhouse, became enraged when a member of the group Rittenhouse was with, armed with a fire extinguisher, put out a fire in a dumpster that Rosenbaum had lit. Rosenbaum and the mob was pushing the burning dumpster towards police cars down the street. “Why did you do that?” Rosenbaum demanded to know of the individual who thwarted their action. Because the police were standing down and citizens have a duty to defend their community. Watson tells an entirely different story, which you can read here. (For the record, I recently resigned from the board of the Northeastern chapter of the ACLU in protest of the organization’s abandonment of its traditional concern for civil liberties and rights. The ACLU has only gotten worse since then.)

The mob attempting to assault Kenosha police officers with a burning dumpster

Those who support the mob see Rittenhouse as a bad actor for putting out fires. In a blatant expression of victim blaming, they agree with those who attacked him that he should not have acted to diminish the impact of mob action. Who are these people who seek to maximize the destruction of the mob for political purpose? I have already identified them. They represent the corporate state and the progressive establishment. Academic, cultural, media, and political elites encourage the mob. They declare the mob righteous. Kyle Rittenhouse is the antithesis of the mob, the living personification of their ideological enemy. He is guilty because of who he is and what he represents. Working class white males are oppressors. Oppressors forfeit their rights. (See The Establishment Project to Demonize Conservative White Males. What’s This All About?)

As I argued in yesterday’s blog (Waukesha is Scheduled to be Memory Holed), the power elite are conditioning the masses to assess threats to their safety in ways that serve the interests of the corporate state. Although the character of racism has changed since the nineteenth century, shifting from anti-black to anti-white, this is not true for the character of classism; the working class remains the dangerous class. Mapping the shift in racism on top of classism we now have the problem of the white working class. This has been in the making for quite some time. Long-time readers of my blog will remember my essays on the problem of Islam and the efforts of progressives to downplay the significance of Islamic terrorism while promoting the Islamization of the West. This effort has involved denigrating white Christians, who are routinely portrayed a bigots for expressing concerns about Islam’s treatment of women and children. There is a common political economic interest underpinning the rationalization of the threat of black nationalism and rationalization of the threat of Islamism. Promoting Islam and black nationalism are part of a long-standing project of weaponizing minorities against the white working class Christian majority.

I write this as a life-long atheist, a religious pluralist, and an advocate of racial equality. I have no interest in Christianity being the dominant religious force in the West beyond a concern for what will fill the vacuum left by its marginalization (and that includes not just other recognized religions but such quasi-religions as antiracism). As for whiteness, I desire to live in a world were race doesn’t matter. But anti-white racism has become a hammer in the corporate-state toolbox. As I have said before, I don’t want to talk about race and religion, but others make me. As a man designated white at birth, anti-white racism represents a risk to the health, safety, and well-being of my family. It’s personal. I have to speak up.

Understanding the corporate-state project of anti-white racism helps us explain a lot of things. The promotion of anti-white racism is how the goals of assimilation and integration get redefined as racism and replaced by such divisive practices as diversity and equity. This is how Muslims become a race and the terroristic acts of black nationalists denied and downplayed. This is not a conspiracy. Those who say this mean to confuse the public. The project is open and in our faces. Today, it’s mainstream policy and practice. Organizations require workers to attend struggle sessions, euphemized as workshops and training in diversity, equity, and inclusion, where they are shamed for their whiteness. The assumption we are all supposed to make fundamental to our cognitive and moral processing is that whites are the bearers of white supremacy who enjoy a race privilege at the expense of black people for whom riots are the language of the unheard. Critical race theory explicitly makes this argument. We’re told that systemic racism is a real thing, that it is everywhere, and that white people uphold it in their defense of the Enlightenment, exposed as the racist project of white people. They’re teaching children this. When you object you confirm the truth of the accusation. If you object at a school board meeting, you are a domestic terrorist.

Eric Garner’s son has condemned a Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome for threatening “riots,” “fire” and “bloodshed” if Mayor-elect Eric Adams resurrects the NYPD’s anti-crime efforts—calling it “an insult to my family and the movement at large.” “Hawk Newsome threatening to burn down our city in response to Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’s proposal of bringing back the anti-crime unit in plain clothes is an insult to injury to my family and the movement at large,” Garner said. Garner’s remarks, while I am sure are heartfelt, reflects an attempt to rein in Black Lives Matter for public relations purposes. But it’s the movement itself that is the problem. It is a racist anti-working class movement organized and bankrolled by corporate power. Black Lives Matter’s explicit reasons for existing are based on falsehoods that slander and libel criminal justice professionals and white people.

A moment ago I dropped the word “terrorism.” The meaning of that term may feel slippery to many readers. In criminology, however, definitions enjoy precision. As it happens, I know a lot about this. Terrorism is the subnational use of violence or the threat of violence, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political ends. A terrorist is a person who resorts to such means and methods to produce a state of fear or submission. Examples of terrorism: (1) a black nationalist driving his car into a Christmas parade and swerving to hit civilians; (2) a black nationalist threatening to burn down New York City if the mayor gets tough on crime; (3) black nationalists threatening jurors with bodily harm if they return a verdict of not guilty in the case of white defendants claiming self-defense in the shooting of a black man.

Dozens of Black Lives Matter and New Black Panther Party members gathered outside of the Glynn Country Courthouse while the jury deliberated in the Arbery case. They were armed and carried with them a coffin.

With (3), I do not mean to imply that the presence of Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panther Party outside the Glynn Country Courthouse produced the desired verdicts. It was the intent of their presence. I also do not mean to imply any new limitations to the First Amendment. True threats are not protected by the First Amendment. A true threat is a symbolic action meant to cause one or more specific persons to believe they will be seriously harmed by those intending to engender that belief. The purpose of a true threat is to frighten or intimidate one or more specified persons into acting in a manner desired by the frightener. This is the point of terrorism (see above).

We are hearing quite a lot about white nationalism these days. In covering for Buzzfeed News the civil trial in Charlottesville where a jury just ordered white nationalists to pay 25 million dollars to victims of the “United the Right” rally, Christopher Miller writes, “The verdict in the landmark trial comes amid  a resurgence of far-right domestic violent extremism and the mainstreaming of these ideologies, ushered in by Donald Trump. The former president’s hyperpolarizing populism, nationalism, and racist rhetoric has enabled his followers—and some elected Republicans—to endorse violence, including an attack on the US Capitol in January.” I am tempted to explain why everything Miller writes in his essay is exaggerated, false, and misleading, but I have been over the ground many times before. There’s a more pressing matter today—the clear and present danger of black nationalism.

Black nationalism is at least every bit as dangerous as white nationalism. Indeed, while the white nationalist threat is overblown, black nationalism is in ascendency. It just killed and injured scores of people in Waukesha, Wisconsin only a few days after Rittenhouse was acquitted on murder charges. It wasn’t white nationalism that led the destructive and deadly political violence occurring throughout the summer and fall months of 2020. Political violence through May 26-June 8 alone is estimated to cost at least two billion dollars. Where is the trial ordering black nationalists to pay for that destruction? Worse, more than two dozen people were killed over those months of mob violence, violence that wasn’t condemned by the establishment but celebrated and encouraged. Where are the high profile criminal trials holding the perpetrators responsible? The media is asking former Vice-President Joe Biden whether he wishes to take back his characterization of Kyle Rittenhouse as a “white supremacist.” When will the media ask Biden if he takes back his characterization of months of mob violence as “peaceful protest”? As noted in yesterday’s blog, “If you can’t see the massive double standard, then you’ve poked out your eyes.” Ideology will do that to you.

If I replace black nationalist with white nationalist in the examples I give above, one has has no trouble seeing the terrorism. I have written about white nationalist terrorism. In many cases, hate crime charges are brought instead of terrorist charges. Progressives are horrified by the reluctance of authority to charge violent white nationalists with terrorism. They rightly wonder (in light of their perception), Why dark skinned Muslims but light skinned Christians? But changing the color or the religion of the nationalist or supremacist doesn’t change the definition of terrorism. We have the establishment eager to attach the label of domestic terrorism to parents complaining at school boards about what their kids are being taught while authorities rule out terrorism almost as soon as they capture to the man who drove his car into a Christmas parade and intentionally swerved to maximize the death toll—this contradiction determined by racial politics.

Americans of all races, ethnicities, and religions have for too long tolerated these forms of extremism, as well as the elite attitude that promotes them. For too long Americans have put up with a double standard that has in back of it project to defame those who extol American values. If we do not rise to speak the truth and confront the lies and expose the double standard, then we will lose our country. The West is in peril, and the forces behind its pending demise are transnational in scope and corporate in character. There’s a New Fascism on the horizon and it’s rapidly approaching. The ordinary America is its target.

Waukesha is Scheduled to be Memory Holed

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Police expect to refer five counts of first-degree intentional homicide and additional charges to prosecutors.” More charges will be forthcoming. The defendant, Darrell Brooks Jr., drove his  2010 maroon Ford Escape through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Witnesses report Brooks swerving side to side targeting people. They describe his actions as intentional. At least fifty people were injured, many of them children, some in critical condition. A majority of the dead are elderly: Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

Darrell Brooks, Jr., aka MathBoi Fly, drove his SUV into a Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin

As they always do, police officers, politicians, and pundits condemned the “senseless violence.” But you can’t say violence is senseless until you rule out meaning and purpose. I loath that cliché. Most of the time violence is meaningful and purposeful.

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said there was no sign the event was an act of domestic terrorism. In fact, they have already ruled this out. Black nationalist rhetoric, antipolice vitriol, pro BLM, pro Black Panther Party, and much, much more graced the social media pages of Darrell Brooks, Jr., aka MathBoi Fly. I’d share links but the pages have been scrubbed. The police presumably have access to all this information.

Chief indicators of terrorist action are the identity of the victims and the action taken against them. The victims were white. Brooks was trying to hit them. Imagine if Darrell Brooks Jr. had been a white man who espoused white nationalist rhetoric, had shot at people, had run over a woman at a gas station, and all the rest of it (his record is extensive going back decades). We can pretty sure all that would go to motive. You’d be called a racist for doubting his white supremacist bonafides.

How exactly is there a double standard that works this way in a society governed by white supremacy? I’m having a lot of trouble understanding this because it makes no sense. (I say this knowing why this double standard exists. It makes no sense from the standpoint of critical race theory.)

If a white nationalist drove a truck into a crowd of black people following a highly politicized verdict that ran contrary to his politics, there’d be hysteria. They’d tie it January 6 and President Trump. We’d be inundated with memes about white supremacists. They’re everywhere, we’d be told. The killer’s social media pages would be the stuff of news stories and talk shows for days. Experts would be brought in to explain the ideology and the organization behind it all. Full-blown moral panic.

Look at what they made January 6 out to be. They tell us that January 6 was the worst domestic attack since the Civil War, forgetting Pearl Harbor and al-Qaeda’s attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, where thousands were killed. The only person killed was an unarmed protestors who was nowhere near the officer who shot her in the chest. Property damage was minor. Some police officers were roughed up.

If a white nationalist in a truck ran over fifty black people at a parade there’d be a social media clamp down on conservative and right wing speech like you’ve never seen. They’re still lying about what Trump said in response to Charlottesville. (He condemned white supremacy, for the record.) They continue to lie about what Trump said about white supremacy during his presidency (he condemned it more than all other presidents combined). They deplatformed the President of the United States of America, for Christ’s sake. They’re still investigating him and those who support him. The FBI and DHS are harassing parents who are speaking out at school board meetings, characterizing their grievances as domestic terrorism.

Take a look at how the media and the Democrats portrayed the political violence of summer and fall 2020. Billions of dollars in property damage. Arson. Looting. Vandalism. Hundreds of people assaulted. Dozens killed. All at the hands of violent mobs they encouraged. How did they characterize the mob? Where are the memorials for its victims? Did the media ever tell Americans that the Black Lives matter movement rests on claims debunked by justice and social science? Where were the fact checkers on that? Where are they now?

Can you imagine the media characterizing months-long white nationalist mob violence as “mostly peaceful” protest? I can’t. But I can imagine the government declaring martial law.

If you can’t see the massive double standard, then you’ve poked out your eyes. Exactly how does such a double standard exist in such a thoroughgoing white supremacist country? You’d expect what’s downplayed to be played up and what’s up-played to be played down. The claim of ubiquitous white supremacy falls apart here. It’s a lie.

Even without such an event, even without much white supremacy at all, the media won’t stop talking about white supremacy. But the media will stop talking about Waukesha.

* * *

I have have been writing about the problem of terrorism for quite awhile. I teach a section on terrorism in my criminology class. In this essay, from June 2016, I write, “As a criminologist, I would probably classify it [the Dylann Roof case] as a case of lone wolf terrorism. In the Anders Breivik case in Norway, with similarities to the Roof case that are missing in the [Omar] Mateen case, the prosecution settled on terrorism charges (after considering crimes against humanity and treason). Breivik is considered exemplary of lone wolf terrorism.” To be clear, I classify the Mateen case as terrorism.

If you were one of those who believed the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting that occurred on June 17, 2015 was terrorism, then you cannot rule out classifying Darrell Brooks Jr.’s actions in Waukesha as terrorism. Ruling out terrorism in this case is a blatant political-ideological move that we should all find very troubling. We are living in a time when the establishment is not merely reluctant to classify black nationalist violence as terrorism but inclined to shine a favorable light on black nationalism. The notion that black nationalism and white nationalism are not comparable rests on a bad theory of power. It’s the same bad theory that claims black people can’t be racist. They can. As the citizens of Waukesha know too well.

It’s Not a Racist System

This sign contains a false premise

We abolished systemic racism in the 1950s and 1960s. Except for affirmative action, discrimination on the basis of race is illegal. That’s old news. I am old enough to remember when it happened (I will be sixty years of age in a few months).

The grievances we hear today about race are based on phantoms. Consider the core Black Lives Matter claims concerning the criminal justice system. A wealth of empirical studies fails to find evidence of racism in police shootings. As for prisons, the racial profile of the carceral system reflects the racial profile of crime in America. To be sure, the police kill too many civilians and states lock up too many people, but this is not due to racism.

There are racial disparities. Conveyed in reductionistic statistical terms, blacks trails whites in every significant social category. But it is to mystify the causes of these disparities to suggest abstractions for which there is no empirical evidence. We can’t hide the fact of the nonexistence of systemic racism by claiming it’s “implicit” in our actions or that sociological theory and academic jargon are required to see it.

The state of theory in the academy today is like theology—its incantations call into existence constituents in a spirit world. The purpose of the riots is something else. Yes, of course, there are those who believe the ideology and feel they’re doing good work. We see this in almost every religion. But enough people know the grievances are false or misspecified to figure out the ulterior motive.

If we want to solve the problems of working people, then we will have to confront economic power. We have to put ideology aside and confront the real source of inequality in the West: the system of social class.

The Establishment Project to Demonize Conservative White Males. What’s This All About?

“The judge. The jury. The defendant. It’s white supremacy in action,” Cori Bush (D-MO) declared following the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal. “This system isn’t built to hold white supremacists accountable. It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murderers walk free. I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m heartbroken.” She is also delusional. The world Cori Bush and her fellow progressives live in isn’t real. Kyle Rittenhouse is not a white supremacist murderer. The system not only holds white supremacists accountable, it abolished white supremacy over half a century ago.

Here’s a partial compilation of the deranged hot takes coming from progressive Democrats following the verdict. The remarks demonstrate how deranged the left has become in America. They truly live in an alternative universe.

Those of us who love liberty and understand the law are spending a lot of time correcting progressive Democrats about the facts and the law. Kyle Rittenhouse didn’t cross state lines with an AR-15 he was not allowed to possess in a car driven by his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, to enter a far-away foreign city to shoot black people peacefully protesting the police shooting of a black man. None of this is true.

Kenosha was not foreign to Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse, seventeen at the time, was a lifeguard in Kenosha. His father and several relatives live in Kenosha. Kenosha is approximately 21 miles from Antioch where Rittenhouse’s mother lives. The AR-15 was in Wisconsin, in the possession of Rittenhouse’s friend Dominick Black, whose father lived in Kenosha. Rittenhouse is allowed to carry an AR-15 in Wisconsin (which means they charged the kid with a misdemeanor gun crime that doesn’t exist). All the men Rittenhouse shot were white. The protests were not peaceful. This was political violence that had turned Kenosha into a war zone. The man police shot, Jacob Blake, was armed with a knife. Police were arresting Blake on a warrant for sexual assault. He was leaving the scene with three small children in the backseat of his car. Rittenhouse was in Kenosha to clean graffiti off walls, administer first aid, put out fires, and show solidarity for the small business owners who property was being destroyed.

At the scene, Rittenhouse was the target of an unprovoked attack by a serial child rapist named Joseph Rosenbaum, who had earlier threatened to kill Rittenhouse if he got him alone. Rosenbaum was white. Rosenbaum was with a man named Joshua Ziminski, a man with an extensive criminal record, who appeared to instigate the attack and then fired his gun in the air to increase the threat perception. Ziminski was white (his firearm was conveniently stolen shortly afterwards). Thus Rittenhouse was threatened by two men, one of whom was armed, the other having threatened to kill him and who was chasing him. Attempting to turn himself into the police after neutralizing the threat Rosenbaum posed, Rittenhouse was attacked by three other men, one of whom broke off the attack after Rittenhouse fired in his direction (we think we know who this was, and, if so, he has a criminal record); another, Anthony Huber, a white man with a criminal record who was beating Rittenhouse over the head with a skateboard, Rittenhouse shot through the heart; a third, Gaige Grosskreutz, a white man with a criminal record, armed with a 9mm Glock 19 handgun, which he pointed at Rittenhouse’s head, was shot in the arm. Rittenhouse, as every other person, has a natural right to defend himself from aggressors. The force he used was proportional to the threat he faced. The extensive criminal records of his assailants testify to the threat he faced.

The Independent falsely reports that the men Rittenhouse shot were black after the verdict is handed down.

None of these facts matter to progressives and the establishment. From the standpoint of the contemporary left in America, the killings are racist because of who Rittenhouse is, not what he did. Progressives have centered race and see the world through that lens. Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty of being a conservative white male. That makes him a racist. So was the judge, Bruce Schroeder, a white supremacist. Rittenhouse was defended by two former prosecutors, Mark Richards and Corey Chirafisi. They, too, were white supremacists. So were the jury, twelve citizens who listened intently throughout the trial held in Kenosha County Circuit Court and deliberated for four days, carefully reviewing the evidence, in the face of a campaign to intimidate them. The prosecution, led by Thomas Binger, a Kenosha County assistant district attorney, a Democratic Party donor, despite engaging in apparent misconduct during the trial, including what appear to be evidence and witness tampering, despite recklessly handling an AR-15 in the courtroom, despite grossly misrepresenting basic facts and the law to the jury, received little criticism in the press. Nor did the press report on jury intimidation. Rittenhouse was guilty and a racist by virtue of being who he was. Racists have no right to self-defense. His assailants became heroes and martyrs for the cause of Black Lives Matter despite who they were and what they did.

To understand why facts don’t matter, one needs to understand prevailing politics in America. There are two basic worldviews in operation here. On one side are the populists, who are in the process of reclaiming the Republican Party from the globalist establishment. The Republican Party was founded as an abolitionist party. In the Civil War, Republicans were the righteous force fighting to emancipate blacks from slavery. During the Jim Crow Era, Dwight Eisenhower federalized the national guard to integrate public schools on the order of the Supreme Court. During the Civil Rights Era, Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly supported the abolition of Jim Crow (Democrats filibustered the legislation). Today, Republicans advocate for equality before the law regardless of one’s racial classification. The populists uphold civil liberties, including equality before the law (colorblindness), individual rights, including the rights to free speech and self-defense, and limited government. These are foundational republican ideals that emerge from the Enlightenment. The populists immediately understood what happened in Kenosha that night. Had the jury returned a guilty verdict, populists would have rightly criticized the decision as corrupted by ideology and intimidation.

Progressives think this placard effectively conveys their grievances. In fact, it’s a testament to the validity of the American creed that Rittenhouse was acquitted. The verdict demonstrated that the system is indeed working.

On the other side are the progressives who have long comprised the core of the Democratic Party. Progressive Democrats are advocates of mass immigration, multiculturalism, transnationalism, and corporate governance. Progressivism is the ideology of the administrative state and technocratic order it manages. Historically, the Democrats have been the party of racism, serving in the nineteenth century as the party of chattel slavery, in the twentieth century as the party of racial segregation, and in the twenty-first century as the party advocating what John McWhorter calls “woke racism.” Today’s Democrats, just as Democrats of yesterday, base their politics on identity groups and racial politics. They see individuals as personification of abstract categories. They use race strategically to divide the working class to secure their rule.

As the party of the slavocracy and Jim Crow, Democrats have always seen individuals in grouped racial terms. This is same ideology that lies behind the party’s decades-long advocacy of cultural pluralism, what today we call multiculturalism, and mass immigration. Long ago progressives declared that assimilation, which is the integration of individuals into a shared national consciousness and culture without regard to race and ethnicity, is racist. Using the language of “diversity” and “inclusion,” Progressives argue instead for the integrity of racial and ethnic groups and the subordination of whites to the goals and results of “antiracism.” This is a disorganizing tactic. It obscures social class. Progressives do not believe in equality before the law regardless of race, but rather advocate “equity,” the redistribution of alleged privileges based on group membership that has a back of it a cracked theory of systemic (institutional or structural) racism, in which whites are collectively depicted as oppressors who enjoy race privilege and operate from a “perpetrator’s perspective,” while blacks are portrayed as the oppressed victims of a pervasive white supremacy—the white supremacy that, according to the left, lets racist killers go free.  

Why was Kyle Rittenhouse even charged? There’s a phrase we use in criminal justice studies (I am a professor of crime and criminal justice), “the process is the punishment.” The phrase was made famous by Malcolm Feeley in his 1979 book The Process is the Punishment. The phrase means that, even if the person put through the criminal court process has a favorable outcome, he is still punished by the process in its arduousness. The process thus becomes an effective deterrent to engaging in conduct that will likely be found in the end to have not been criminal. Rittenhouse was charged with first-degree reckless homicide against Rosenbaum, punishable by imprisonment of up to 65 years, first-degree reckless endangerment of Richard McGinnis (a reporter at the scene), punishable by imprisonment for up to 17 years, first-degree intentional homicide against Anthony Huber, punishable by a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole, attempted first-degree intentional homicide against against Gaige Grosskreutz, punishable by imprisonment of up to 65 years, and first-degree reckless endangerment of an unknown male, punishable by imprisonment of up to 17 years. Rittenhouse, already daily reliving the trauma of having to save his own life that night by killing people he did not want to kill, had to experience of the monumental stress of possibly never living freely in society again.

This is the problem with the state pursuing a case against Rittenhouse. Even if found not guilty (which he was on all counts), those seeing what was put through (and it won’t be over with the verdict) will be wary of arming themselves in self defense despite that being their right. This problem is the point of prosecuting this case: to affirm the progressive belief that conservative white men have no right to self-defense.

Everything Amber Ruffin says in the above clip is wrong. This is where the left is today, dwelling in a thorough unreality. At least they want you to wander lost on that terrain. For the record, most murders in America are committed by black males. Black males comprise only six percent of the population. When are we going to confront the horror of that? These murders mostly occur in American cities run by progressive Democrats. Without a radical change in the character of urban politics, the death toll in black-majority neighborhoods will continue to mount. The problem is not just intraracial homicide. Black males kill more whites than whites kill blacks. The three assailants Rittenhouse shot were all white. Rittenhouse did not cross state lines with a gun. Rittenhouse did not break Wisconsin gun laws. There was no peaceful protest in Kenosha. There was political violence instigated by a false narrative about a criminal named Jacob Blake.

The disconnect is not accidental. Ruffin’s words are more than wrong. They’re lies conveyed through faked emotion designed to dispossess the listener of the capacity to reason. Ruffin is an entertainer. Joy Reid, another entertainer, mocks Rittenhouse for his “white tears.” The media finds white tears to be those of crocodiles. The lies and dramatic sentiment are coordinated. They’re portraying white people as the enemies of a just society. They’re demonizing conservative white males. This is racist and sinister.

The moment Kyle Rittenhouse shoots Gaige Grosskreutz in the right bicep. Note the gun in Grosskeutz’s right hand. The man in the background is Anthony Huber who lays dying from a bullet through his heart.

The man standing over the kid on the ground is holding a gun in his right hand that he illegally possesses. He is aiming the gun at the kid’s head. The kid, who is being chased by a mob, is attempting to reach police officers. He is in a comprised position and facing almost certain death. He has already fought off three assailants—all with criminal records. He fires his weapon, which he is legally carrying, striking the armed assailant, thus neutralizing the threat. Textbook self-defense. If you couldn’t get this one right it goes to your judgment generally. If you can’t see this for what it plainly is, then I hope to God that you never sit on a jury. But those jurors in the Rittenhouse case? They tell us that justice is not lost. Not yet. America still has a fighting chance.

I leave you with authentic tears of joy. I was deeply moved by this moment. It reaffirmed my faith in American justice.

We are Standing at the Gates of Authoritarian Hell

The state of Wisconsin is attempting to remove a person from society for defending himself. This is terrifying. Equally terrifying is how many people can’t see this for what it is. But we know why they can’t see it, and this gives us a fighting chance to turn back to freedom.

As Erich Fromm explains in Escape from Freedom, written in the context of fascistic terror, the authoritarian personality is not only the possession of the tyrant. The authoritarian personality is the possession of all those who assent to tyranny. Authoritarian regimes depends on popular support.

Title page of Erich Fromm’s 1941 Escape from Freedom

It will not have escaped readers of this blog this reality—that those who believe Rittenhouse had no right to defend himself from aggression are mostly the same people who believe you have no right to refuse vaccination free of any consequence other than putting yourself at statistically greater likelihood of more severe illness. This is an appeal to the exclusive power of the state to defend you from harm, whether from personal aggression or from a virus.

These are largely the same group of people who believe that children should be able to make decisions about their bodies not only without parental consent but without the parents even knowing what their children are doing with respect to the most intimate aspects of their lives, decisions that could permanently alter them, harmful and damaging decisions made with the immature and reckless mind of a child.

The authoritarian desires to make the state the parent. The state monopolizes the use of force in order to leave powerless the citizens who, in a republic, organize the state to represent and protect individual and familial liberty and rights and interests, in order to make the individual from cradle-to-grave dependent on the state for everything.

To want this is to want to be a slave. As Fromm put it, it is an impulse to escape from freedom. They may be loud and obnoxious, but their bravado betrays a truth: these are weak people who want to be told what to think, what to say, what to do, how to live.

These are the same people who believe parents have no right to stop the indoctrination of their children in preachments that presume all white people are in possession of a privilege deriving from pervasive white supremacy, a supposed privilege that presumes without evidence, or by defining into appearance, the existence of systemic racism.

It is characteristic of the authoritarian personality to suppose unseen forces controlling the fate of people, forces from which the state claims to defend and save the individual in order to justify its control over the population.

We are at a conjectural moment in history. This is an inflection point. Either we save the republic for all of humanity or we cross the threshold into authoritarian hell and lose everything.

Bailey’s Dilemma: What Explains the Warped Media Frame of the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

“Uh, the, the police in our community couldnt possibly be there uh, to uh, protect our property because we own no property.”—Huey P. Newton.

Issac Bailey is a journalist and professor of public policy at Davidson College. On Wednesday, he published an op-ed for NBC’s Think entitled “A sobbing Kyle Rittenhouse already won—even before his trial is over,” in which those defending Rittenhouse are portrayed, at the very least, as sympathetic to white supremacy. I use Bailey’s essay to argue that claims of a persistent and ubiquitous white supremacy, which comprise a false narrative about race relations in America, represent a delegitimization campaign aimed at undermining the accomplishments of the civil rights movement in order to prepare the ground for the installment of critical race theory, an illiberal 1990s legal project currently being mainstreamed across the key institutions of the West. To advance that project there is a concerted effort by the state, media, and culture industry to manufacture mass perception of an America fraught with racial antagonism; part of the agenda involves antagonizing Americans by falsely accusing them of white supremacy. The Rittenhouse case is exploited to valorize the false narrative and to provoke racial animus and resentment. Bailey’s argument seeks what it condemns. While the Rittenhouse trial has nothing to do with race intrinsically (Rittenhouse is white and his attackers are white), it has everything to do with race politically. The Kyle Rittenhouse case is a political trial.

Kyle Rittenhouse attempting to contact law enforcement is attacked by a member of the mob rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, August 25, 2020.

Bailey’s verdict about what happened on August 25 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the events in question occurred, is typical across the media, a conclusion formed without journalistic integrity, a value no longer prized by a profession transformed by the rise of the Silicon Valley oligarchs. The frame assumes that Kyle Rittenhouse is a white supremacist who traveled with other white supremacists to the southeastern Wisconsin city of Kenosha to harass Antifa and BLM activists protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police officers. Joy Reid portrays Rittenhouse as a vigilante, a term growing in popularity among corporate propagandists and used as yet another synonym for white supremacist.

In fact, Rittenhouse, who was seventeen years old at the time, traveled with a friend to the city where Rittenhouse’s father lives to put out fires, administer first aid, and express with his presence solidarity for the small business owners victimized by arson, looting, and vandalism. Rittenhouse wasn’t armed to uphold the law and arrest rioters, or defend property with deadly force. He was armed because conditions were such that there was a risk greater than zero that he would be put in a position where he might have to use deadly force in self-defense. He was put in that position and, for the actions of others, Rittenhouse is on trial in the state of Wisconsin for intentional homicide and other felonies (and a misdemeanor gun charge). Both sides have rested and the jury awaits the judge’s instructions on Monday before deliberating the case behind closed doors. (I write about the Rittenhouse case in a recent post, the title of that entry indicating my opinion regarding the matter: A Clear Case of Self-Defense: The Trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.)

Media coverage portrays the rioters as protestors and demonstrators and represents their cause as noble. The noble cause turned Kenosha into a war zone. It should be noted for context that the reason the police were arresting Blake on August 23, 2020 was because authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest in July on several charges including criminal trespass to a dwelling and felony third-degree sexual assault, all with domestic abuse as modifiers. The police had been called to the scene of a domestic disturbance (the 911 call indicated a very serious situation) thus having a legitimate reason for detaining Blake. They were carrying out their duties as sworn law enforcement officers when, attempting to affect an arrest, which became physical and saw the deployment of a Taser, Blake wrestled free and was moving with purpose to a vehicle that may or may not have been his. There were kids in the car. And he had a knife. He was either reaching for a gun in his car or trying to leave the scene with small children in the car, in any case action creating a dangerous situation. The police officer stopped whatever Blake had planned. Blake survived his gunshot wounds. On the campaign trail, candidate Joe Biden spoke with Blake by the phone. Biden’s vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, also gave Blake a phone call, telling him that she was proud of him. The message could not have been clearer: the Democratic Party is on the side of criminals.

For the empathetic, the moment was hard to watch, as one could see the breakdown coming when Rittenhouse was asked to relive the trauma of having to kill serial child rapist Joseph Rosenbaum. The judge had to recess the court to allow the defendant time to gather his composure (he was otherwise quite composed and a compelling witness albeit I do not think as a rule defendants should take the stand). As the moment that inspires Bailey’s headline unfolded, I fully expected Rittenhouse’s emotional display to become a focal point of the morrow’s media coverage. As jaded as I am, I was taken aback by the cold-heartedness of the reporting.

USA Today exploited the moment in a fashion that could only have intended to antagonize the public, publishing an essay by Carli Pierson carrying the title, “Kyle Rittenhouse deserves an award for his melodramatic performance on the witness stand.” (Since when are melodramatic performances given awards?) Her words were such that Snopes was asked to verify whether the op-ed was even real. “Kyle Rittenhouse’s crocodile tears broke the internet Wednesday” caused many to find the publication of such an article in a major newspaper so incredible as to doubt its authenticity. Snopes confirmed that it was indeed real.

More calculating were stories such as the one CNN published, “What Kyle Rittenhouse’s tears reveal about America,” which finds Peniel Joseph writing, “His protracted sobs—and people’s telling reactions to them—spoke volumes about the moment America now finds itself in. Whether or not Rittenhouse is convicted, the perspective he represents—galvanized by the anger, fear and prejudice of White Americans—has already achieved its ends: normalizing a kind of racial privilege exposed, but far from extinguished, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder last year.” It is unclear how Floyd’s death exposed racial privilege. Did the arson, looting, vandalism, intimidation, physical assault, and even killing that occurred in the context of political protests based on a known lie expose racial privilege? Did the systematic failure of police to protect communities under siege expose it? And how, exactly, how does Rittenhouse’s emotional display normalize any of that?

Issac Bailey / Soros Justice Fellows Photo Shoot 2016 shot at Open Society foundation office in Manhattan NY on May 10th.

Bailey’s essay is perhaps more in the spirit of CNN than USA Today albeit both are engaged in manufacturing racial antagonisms. As is Bailey’s. In his op-ed, Bailey makes two predictions, both of which express his pessimism about race relations in America: “If convicted, he’ll become a right-wing martyr,” he writes of Rittenhouse. “If he is freed, it’s a message to others like him that prison won’t be in their future.” Bailey’s dilemma suggests dispensing with concern over whether the evidence supports the state’s case and exclusively focusing instead on the implications of either verdict, which, in Bailey’s frame, are both bad outcomes for black people—this despite the fact that those Rittenhouse shot were white (a fact that surprises a lot of progressives). That’s how stacked the deck is against black people in America: a white man shooting other white men is a manifestation of white supremacy. Black men shooting other black men is also about white supremacy. Everything is about white supremacy.

Bailey uses false assumptions and bad reporting to implicate white Americans in racism (remember, this is a professor of journalism) writing, “The truth is that too many white Americans probably see themselves in Rittenhouse.” Bailey not only means to implicate those white Americans in racism; he means also to short-circuit empathy for Rittenhouse. Seeing oneself in Rittenhouse, a teenager forced by circumstance to use deadly force to save his own life, is the natural response of the observer whose sympathetic circuits are functioning properly. This is why self-defense is recognized universally as a fundamental human right. However, if one can be convinced of the fiction that Rittenhouse is a white supremacist, that he came to Kenosha to be a mass shooter, and that white supremacists have not rights, and this is not hard to accomplish given the degree of racial thinking engendered by the prevailing politics of American society (alongside the myth that white males are overrepresented in mass shootings), then empathy can be transferred from Rittenhouse to his attackers, transmuting attackers into victims.

In his CNN op-ed, Joseph shows us how this works: “Anyone watching the proceedings who was unfamiliar with the events that led to this trial would be forgiven for assuming that Rittenhouse was the victim of an unspeakable crime rather than being its accused perpetrator.” What Joseph should have written if he were honest is that anybody who watched the trial who also lives in a progressive bubble would have been shocked to discover that Rittenhouse was the victim or repeated attacks by dangerous felons—just as so many progressives were surprised to learn that Rittenhouse’s “victims” were white men. The smear thus depends on misrepresentation of fact and disruption of the normal course of the empathic response. To make sure the reader makes this transition, included in the “nonsense” from those who defend Rittenhouse is Bailey’s mocking characterization of the supposed white version of what happened: “Those protesters made him shoot them. It was their fault, and only theirs, not Rittenhouse’s. He was trying to do good, to protect this dying nation.” That’s not the white version of what happened. That is what happened. (And, yes, this nation is dying, and it’s partly because corporations deploy propagandists like Isaac Bailey to center race in mass mediated discourse. The death of the nation is not inevitable.)

A big part of the deception is not only skirting the race of the alleged victims, but also who they were (and are) as people, which helps us understand why they attacked Rittenhouse. According to sex offender documents obtained from the Pima County (Arizona) Clerk of Courts, Joseph Rosenbaum, the man who first assaulted Rittenhouse, was a serial child molester. His victims were five boys ranging in age from nine to eleven years old. Those offenses landed Rosenbaum, 36, on the Wisconsin sex offender registry. That’s not the full extent of Rosenbaum’s criminal history. He had an open Wisconsin case for misdemeanor bail jumping that was filed on July 30, 2020 (less than a month before he threatened to kill Rittenhouse and attacked him), had open misdemeanor cases for battery (domestic abuse) and disorderly conduct (domestic abuse). Why is a man like this even allowed on our streets? The other dead guy, Anthony Huber, had a criminal record involving strangulation and suffocation, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment, and battery. He was a serial domestic abuser. Chubby, with a boyish face and do-gooder demeanor, Rittenhouse became the target of bullying by known criminals. The media has sanitized the records, so maybe Bailey doesn’t know this. Frankly, judging by his work, I doubt he would care to find out—or care if he did.

Bailey’s dilemma is so central to the propaganda piece that it is repeated and elaborated later in the essay. “If Rittenhouse is convicted, he will likely stop being a right-wing mascot and become a right-wing martyr,” writes Bailey. “If he isn’t convicted, he will set a precedent for others like him to pick up guns they shouldn’t have and thrust themselves into the middle of unrest they should avoid—confident in knowing that prison won’t be in their future.” Testifying to how quickly Bailey’s dilemma spread among progressives, a version of the dilemma, leveraging the specter of vigilantism, showed up the very next day on my Facebook page in a thread I started on the topic. “It is not in any body’s [sic] best interests for it to be possible to go out of your way to show up armed at protests hoping to act as civilian police, kill people, and not need to face potential consequences. He wasn’t just a random bystander, he chose to go to a place where riots had been occurring with a firearm to play police man [sic].” Following this logic, if Rittenhouse had been murdered by one of these men, it was Rittenhouse’s fault for having been there to be murdered. Offensive analogies should come easily to the reader’s mind at this point.

How does it happen that smart people make such stupid and offensive arguments? Why are they blaming the victim? And why are the defending violent criminals like Rosenbaum and Huber? Why does it matter if a man who attacks another man is unarmed? You can kill a man with your fists, your feet, your head. You can kill a man by knocking him to the ground. You can strangle him with your hands (Huber appears to have favored that method). You can gouge out his eyes. You can bite off his nose. How does an attacker’s history of mental illness negate another person’s right to defend himself from harm? A psychotic man attacks me because he thinks I’m a demon and I am supposed to let him kill or injure me? These are the arguments I have been receiving from progressives. I had to ask one fellow if he was being sincere when he raised these “objections” or whether it was sarcasm in the face of a textbook self-defense case progressives can’t grasp because they’re inflicted by ideology. This was a sociology professor. He announced his politics with his questions.

The race prism bends light in such a way that the truth sits in darkness. It is inconceivable to progressives that Kyle Rittenhouse could have acted in self-defense because progressives view this trial, like everything else these days, through the prism of race politics (which forces me to). According to critical race theory, which has become central to progressive politics, the righteousness of any action must be understood in terms of the dynamic of racial power, since race is the master organizing principle of human social relations—indeed of American history since 1619. Rittenhouse is a young white male at a Black Lives Matter “protest.” That is not the problem per se. If he were an ally and shot a Kyle Rittenhouse, that’d be different. The men who attacked the teenager were presumably allies. The problem is that Rittenhouse is the wrong kind of white person, the kind who believes in public safety. He was a cop wannabe. Public safety is code for defending the property of the white man, power used to oppress blacks. The police mentality Rittenhouse embodied is slave patrolling under a different name. Rittenhouse and those who were with him are white supremacists, indistinguishable from the police, the military arm of the white establishment. It follows that any action Rittenhouse took was a priori invalid because, as the wrong type of white male, he is a priori invalid. At the same time, acts of arson, looting, vandalism, even assault, perpetrated by those claiming to stand with BLM (who need not be black, just “allies”), are not criminal actions as such because they are perpetrated in the name of “social justice” and against the white establishment. They would never be described as vigilantes. They had a reason for being there doing what they were doing. Rittenhouse had no reason to be in Kenosha other than to oppress blacks by allegedly defending property. Anything that happens to him is fair game because he is a “perpetrator.”

Much of this stems from the ideology created in the 1960s by Stokely Carmichael and Huey P. Newton and other advocates of Black Power, dressed up in the 1990s by law professors and sociologists as critical race theory, the ideological mess embraced by today’s corporate state, which is using the theory to inform practice that changes our cultural, educational, legal, and social institutions and systems. Even a man as decrepit and perverse as Joe Biden, then candidate for the Presidency of the United States, understood this, tweeting a video that contained images of Rittenhouse (see above) to portray the young man as the face of white supremacy in the context of the election (the tweet told a much bigger lie, that the man who had disavowed white supremacy more than all other president put together refused to disavow white supremacy). The establishment media, having incorporated the CRT frame, spins headline and narrative in a manner reinforcing the antiracist worldview, a worldview based not on reason and evidence, but on the theory of racial power that portrays blacks as inherent victims of systemic racism and whites who do not agree with the project as advocates of that racist system.

The majority of America, as it learns what all this is about, increasingly rejects all this nonsense, rightly seeing it as racism itself just with the hierarchy flipped (when it’s the hierarchy itself that needs abolishing). So a jury of our peers may very well see through the injustice of the state’s pursuits and, in returning a verdict of not guilty, effectively nullify the actual reason Rittenhouse was charged with murder: anti-white racism. Yes, from the standpoint of the state, this is a political trial and it about race. But I worry that the jury may yield to this framing and to political pressure and convict the young man. On my social media and news feeds, the argument that a guilty verdict will send the right political message, namely that whites should stay in their lane, is a popular one. In principle, a court cannot impose a penalty for political reasons. The criminal justice system decides the merits of cases at the individual level without political prejudice or consideration. The question before the court is whether Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. In practice, a politicized process risks unjust outcomes.

If the jury pushes politics away and applies reason to evidence, they will determine that these killings were not murder. They were carried out in self-defense. Self-defense is what is known in the law as a justification that negates mens rea, which Latin for “guilty mind.” It is an affirmative defense. Rittenhouse’s actions constitute justifiable homicide. Had those men not attacked Rittenhouse he would not have shot them. He did not target them. He did not provoke them. There were others there that night who did not attack Rittenhouse. He did not shoot them. The fact that he shot no one else except those who attacked him indicates the conclusion that Rittenhouse was not the aggressor. Rittenhouse was there to put out fires and administer first aid. However, it doesn’t matter what he was doing as long as he was not acting unlawfully. He was not smashing windows, burning cars, looting stores. He carried a rifle that day because he believed he needed protection given the circumstances. It turns out that he was right. This case should never have gone to trial. Progressives see Rittenhouse as guilty for a different reason other than that which can be found in rational jurisprudence. This is for them and for state prosecutors a political trial. And so it is.

Consider the following scenario. A group of armed white men travel to a black-majority neighborhood where white supremacists (Ku Klux Klan and other actual white supremacists) have been burning cars and looting stores to stand in solidarity with black business owners. One of the men is physically threatened by a Klan member and uses his weapon to neutralize the threat. He is then attacked by other Klan members and has to use his weapon again, narrowly missing one man who finally retreated, killing another man, and wounding yet another. Would progressives react to this scenario in the same way that they are reacting to the Rittenhouse case? It’s hard to imagine they would. “Punch a Nazi in the nose,” right? The KKK had it coming. The white men defending black businesses were allies. They were right to be there to help the community defend against those who should not have been there. Of course, it’s unlikely in this scenario that the police would not have stood down and allowed the KKK to burn cars and loot stores in a black-majority neighborhood.

This is an essay about framing. The phenomenon of defending the interests of a group with which one identifies or allies is being selectively paired by progressives with the term vigilantism in order to create a frame favorable to the advancement of the corporate state agenda. I posed a problem on Facebook this morning comparing the paucity of scientific literacy among the professional-managerial strata to the paucity of juridical literacy in those same ranks and concluded that, given the level of intelligent and training (to be sure, training is part of the process of installing doctrine) the problem is really more about ideology than illiteracy. “The scientism that has gripped the professional class has its counterpart in antiracism,” I write. I reminded Facebook that I had shared a video in the early morning of CNN hosts bewildered by an attorney explaining why Rittenhouse is not guilty (that is the video I shared earlier). The CNN hosts in that video exemplify the general reaction of progressive academics and other cultural managers. For them, this is a political trial, and it is, but they believe it should be, and that is very scary. This is the mentality of totalitarianism.

I got pushback characterizing Rittenhouse as a vigilante and that vigilantism is the mentality of totalitarianism. I responded with sarcasm, “because as we all well know vigilantism is/was a regular feature of totalitarian states like the PRC and the USSR, whereas political trials aren’t/weren’t. We would never see in those states people held in indefinite detention for misdemeanors or suspension of public safety to facilitate cultural revolution.” That the academic who raised the issue replied that he did not understand my argument proved the point of the thread. I amended my complaint to include the importance of promoting literacy about totalitarianism (reading my blog will help with this).

To clear up any confusion here and reinforce the point I made earlier, as a matter of accepted definition, Rittenhouse is not a vigilante. A vigilante is a person who is not a member of official law enforcement who takes over the role of law enforcement when law enforcement fails to defend the community. I am not saying there is anything wrong with citizens upholding the law and defending (actual) communities, but the fact of the matter, as I have already said, is that Rittenhouse traveled with a friend to the city where Rittenhouse’s father lives to put out fires, administer first aid, and express with presence solidarity for the small business owners victimized by arson, looting, and vandalism. Rittenhouse wasn’t armed to uphold the law and arrest rioters or defend property with deadly force (which is problematic). He was armed because conditions were such that there was a risk greater than zero that he would be put in a position where he might have to use deadly force in self-defense. And he was right. To suggest that Rittenhouse’s presence there in that capacity contributed to him having to defend himself with deadly force is the equivalent to arguing that a woman had her rape coming because of how she was dressed and her presence in that alley that night. Idiots like Joy Reid make arguments like this.

* * *

Update 1:58 PM.

Just after publishing this post, an op-ed crossed my screen by Niall Stanage, of The Hill, in “The Memo: Rittenhouse trial exposes deep US divide,” which offers the following observation: “The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is once again exposing the deep fissures in American life—divides so deep that the people on each side seem to see two entirely different realities.” Stanage continues, “To progressives, and particularly to Black activists, Rittenhouse’s case is the embodiment of a fundamentally biased policing and justice system. They look at every step of the path Rittenhouse has traveled and ask what would have happened had a Black teen done exactly the same things.” Stanage quotes Earl Ofari Hutchinson who decries the “double standard, double standard, double standard.” Maybe it would have been different seventy years ago in America. But today, if a black teen had done exactly the same things, for exactly the same reasons, and authorities and the media had access all the images and recordings of that day, there would be no trial. Of course, his victims being black, it is likely that no one would known about it.

There are for sure two sides in this controversy. There is for sure a divide in America (many divides, in fact). But the truth is singular. The truth is never two-sided (except perhaps in physics). The confusion exists principally on the side of those who self-identify as politically left. That confusion is sown by the culture industry and the establishment media. The delusions of today’s left are the result of an ontology determined by an epistemological stance that substitutes political-ideology based on the postmodernist doctrines of racialism and intersectionality for the rational standards of objectivity.

Update 5:04 PM.

Ana Kasparian was wrong about these key facts because (a) her political-ideological frame and (b) she accepted the mass mediated frame. I was right about the facts from the git-go because (a) I don’t work from a political-ideological frame and (b) my default is set to doubting what the corporate state media tell me. The media have gotten so many big things wrong over the last several years that it’s surprising anybody believes the media. But, then, people believe lots of crazy shit, so the Ministry of Truth will never run short of gullible consumers. (TYT is so awful that I find it unbearable to watch. It’s shocking that Ana Kasparian confessed to being wrong, but I’m pleased to see that she did, so good on her. I would not have known about any of this if it weren’t for Greenwald because I can’t bring myself to tune in TYT. It’s tragic that TYT is as popular as it is.)

Part of the reason so many progressives assumed (and still assume) Kyle Rittenhouse was the aggressor in Kenosha on August 25, 2020, is that they believe that young white males are overrepresented in mass shooting. Seeing the booking photo of Rittenhouse appears to them as just one more young white male in a line of young white male mugshots. The conclusion follows. The Rittenhouse case illustrates once more the way the media warps public perception. In fact, young white males are underrepresented in mass shootings. Non-Hispanic young whites males even more so.

Michael Parenti once said something along the lines of the media may not tell you what to think but they do tell you what to think about. Indeed. They do this by selective presentation of facts and let confirmation bias do its work. The media reports on mass shooters and dwells on photos of young white males to create a false impression: the problem of violence in American society is the white male, especially if he is working class and poor. The white working class is the dangerous class. The false impression manufactured about white working class men is used to support a range of false claims about class, race, and violence in American society.

I dare say everything the public believes about class, race and violence in American society is wrong, and it’s because of the corporate media and the culture industry exploiting the power of ideological conditioning and reinforcing its assumptions. Tragically, and I apologize for sounding so cynical, but people don’t care about the facts. They only care about which side they are. But truth doesn’t have a side. They don’t care about truth, either. At least if it’s not their truth.

The Democratic Party is Not the Party of Liberal Politics

Glenn Greenwald, a journalist and constitutional lawyer whom I greatly admire, makes the error of treating liberalism not as a set of economic, ethical, philosophical, and political principles but as an ideological position accurately capturing the standpoint of progressive Democrats. This error occurs in a criticism of a FoxNews interview of Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney (former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s daughter) embedded in an article in The Daily Beast. I share the tweet below.

Before moving to that critique, I want to stress how much I admire Greenwald and clarify that my criticism issues from a desire to strengthen the populist democratic movement against transnational corporate power and the authoritarian designs of its political establishment. I believe Greenwald has a big role to play in that movement. However, much like Thomas Frank, Jimmy Dore, Aaron Mate, and Max Blumenthal, he has yet to finish stepping over the populist threshold. Okay, on to the critique.

Greenwald gets this right in his critique of the interview (conducted by Chris Wallace): “The Cheney family’s primary tactic for four decades has been to brand everyone who disagrees with them as ‘un-American.’” I was myself smeared with this label first back in 2003 and for some years after when I exposed the reasons the United States under George Bush and Dick Cheney was invading and occupying Iraq before and after the invasion in speeches and essays (see, e.g., War Hawks and the Ugly American: The Origins of Bush’s Middle East Policy; Christian Neo-Fundamentalism and US Foreign Policy). Greenwald is also right that Cheney’s function in all this—part of which was pressing the impeachment of President Donald Trump on bogus charges of “insurrection”—is to make the politics of the Democratic Party look other that what they truly are “vile and toxic.

Journalist and constitutionalist Glenn Greenwald

But Greenwald is wrong to include liberal politics in this tweet. (I touch on this in The Problem of the Weakly Principled. I stress that the title and the essay has to do with people other than Greenwald.) The Democratic Party does not practice liberal politics and this becomes obvious when you treat liberalism not as a party ideology but as a set of economic, ethical, philosophical, and political principles that stand for individualism and liberty.

What is liberalism? Liberalism is the politics of assembly (for all sides, not just Antifa and BLM rioters), bodily autonomy and personal sovereignty (not just for women seeking abortions), free association (not just for blacks who seek black-only spaces), free speech and expression (not just for those who change their genders), humanism, privacy, and secularism. Liberalism is also the politics of private property and limited government. When people deviate from these principles the question of their liberal bonafides may be thrown into question. It depends on how great is the deviation (and there is a contradiction between private ownership of the means of production and the realization of other liberal rights). However, when a liberal turns authoritarian, he does not bring liberalism with him. Instead, he leaves liberalism behind.

You don’t have to step back very far to see that the Democratic Party does not resemble these politics. Quite the contrary, in fact. The Democratic Party is the party of bullying, censorship and deplatforming, mandates and passports, double-standards (and doublethink), surveillance, religious zealotry, and big intrusive government. I have written numerous articles over the last several years documenting the Party’s transformation. The Party is now fully anti-humanist and illiberal. In a word, the Party is authoritarian and its rank-and-file has become reactionary. This explains why progressive Democrats and establishment Republicans like Liz Cheney have become allies in an elite war against the people: anti-democratic desire and sentiment bring them together around the imperatives of corporate state power.

What Greenwald means to say (and I apologize for attempting to speak for him, as he is so eloquent) is that progressivism (a term I believe he—like Jimmy Dore, Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, and others—desperately wants to reserve for those with his politics) is what is actually aligning with neoconservatism and especially neoliberalism and that these latter policy orientations are the priorities of both the Democratic Party and the corporate wing of the Republican Party, even if the latter would never speak the rhetoric of progressivism.

The alliance I am describing is not new. It became an open alliance in 1994 in the wake of the Republicans takeover of Congress (“Contract with America”) after forty years of progressive Democrat control over that branch of government. Clinton invited the alliance with his “New Democrat” politics, articulated by the Democratic Leadership Council and the Progressive Policy Institute. The alliance was reinforced during the Bush-Cheney years, as establishment Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, supported the war effort (which killed upwards of a million Iraqis in the first 3-5 years) and the construction of a vast surveillance apparatus (the PATRIOT Act). The Obama-Biden administration was a continuation of the alliance.

Mrs. Clinton was to keep things going when populist-nationalism threw a monkey wrench into the machinery named Donald Trump, who rose to power by blowing up the Establishment narrative. Thus began the long coup completed on January 20, 2021 with the installation of the decrepit former Vice-President Joe Biden in the White House, a ventriloquist dummy for the Establishment. The January 6 Commission is a concerted effort to prevent the return of Trump or one of his ilk to political power.

I understand why Greenwald is having trouble with all this. Like Thomas Frank, Naomi Wolf, Tulsi Gabbard, and others who are coming around to the realization, the politics they are instinctively drawn towards are presently represented by right-wing pundits and politicians and political organizations and parties across the trans-Atlantic space. There is a visceral reaction to the political rightwing among liberals, and so there is a degree of denial and rationalization. But the political right is where democratic populism is finding its fullest and most principled expression. I see in this an opportunity for coalition building. Wolf and Gabbard do, as well. Indeed, a growing number of liberals are appearing on the populist scene standing alongside such rightwing figures as Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro.

This has been a long time in coming. In a 2006 City Journal essay “Facing the Islamic Menace,” Christopher Hitchens notes that the character of the politics that gets the problem facing Europe, for example, religious extremism among mass immigration, is rightwing in character. In the essay, Hitchens recognizes the significance of Sam Harris’ observation in a Los Angeles Times column that ethnonationalism in Europe is at the forefront of recognizing what Hitchens calls “Fascism with an Islamic face.” This is no doubt a sticking point for Greenwald who has made his animosity towards Hitchens explicit.

I will explain Greenwald’s dilemma in a moment, but I need to elaborate Hitchens’ position so it is not unnecessarily misconstrued. What Harris writes in that essay is troubling: “The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists. To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.” Hitchens characterizes Harris’ words as “alarming” and “irresponsible.” At the same time, he grasps their significance, ending his City Journal essay by remarking “Not while I’m alive, they won’t.”

Hitchens’ remark was a call to the left to come home to democratic population and civic nationalism and defend their countries from the disorganizing force of theocratic desire. In the meantime, right-wing politics in Europe has moved away from the fascistic style towards a more libertarian populist-nationalism. No longer do racialist politics animate the European right. Indeed, populist-nationalist sentiment is, as we see also in the United States, rapidly spreading across racial groups, while progressives have constructed an elaborate racist ideology that is infecting major institutions in both public and private sectors.

Like Chris Hedges, Greenwald still clings to a politics of Muslim apologetics and the Chomsky-style rhetoric of anti-imperialism. I get it. Greenwald was politicized during this period. Chomsky fashioned his worldview. He admits it. Hitchens’ alignment with neoconservative policy under Bush and Cheney makes it difficult if not impossible for many of those who might otherwise admire Hitchens-style of populism and nationalism to avoid rejecting the corpus of Hitchens’ work for that reason. While I do not share that difficulty, I was as well very disappointed by Hitchens support for the war effort and publicly criticized him for it (while having to admit that his argument for war and occupation was the most compelling of the lot).

The difficulty Greenwald has with all this was evidenced only days ago by a reluctance to bring himself to condemn Chomsky for a truly hateful and authoritarian diatribe aimed at those who resist the COVID-19 vaccine (see Noam Chomsky is an Authoritarian). Hitchens recognized Chomsky’s growing derangement years before his death. We can only hope a man as passionate and as talented as Greenwald can also turn that corner.

This is the realization that inspired me to distance myself from the progressive Democratic establishment (as a college teacher, it surrounds me) and recheck my beliefs to make sure I was actually supporting a politics that reflected my values. My beliefs checked out.

Cheney and her ilk and the Democratic Party are the political functionaries of transnationalism. They are globalists, technocrats operating the administrative state that serves transnational corporate interests. They’re overseeing the managed decline of the American republic and, more generally, the nation-state. To their minds, no assembly could be more dangerous than that which gathered in Washington DC on January 6, 2021 to seek a redress of grievances.

When you listen to the substance of Greenwald’s arguments you can see that he is already a populist. Frank is, as well—he just needs to stop conflating populism with progressivism. These standpoints are, in fact, opposites, as the brilliant Richard Grossman pointed out so long ago. As I note above, Wolf and Gabbard are almost all the way there. Again, I understand why it’s hard to make the leap—or at least what feels like a leap given perception. People have been for so long gaslit over populism and nationalism that they have difficulty overcoming the internal resistance to the labels. That’s why Greenwald gets hung up over the label liberal. But Greenwald is a liberal. He shouldn’t let authoritarians steal the label.

The sooner those on the left and right understand their shared values the sooner they can come together and form a coalition against transnationalism. Such a coalition is necessary if we are to successfully resist the destruction of the Westphalian system and the Enlightenment values that sustain freedom and human rights. The character of populism is not fascist. It is the character that founded the American republic.

A Clear Case of Self-Defense: The Trial of Kyle Rittenhouse

In an August 28, 2020 blog, Suicide by Cop and Victim-Precipitated Homicide, I wrote the following, “In Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, a teenager from Illinois was attacked by several men who had assembled in Kenosha either to protest or riot the shooting of Jacob Blake (who survived his injuries). The teenager was armed and shot three of them. The following account is drawn from multiple news sources. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, a registered sex offender for a sex crime involving a minor, chased the teenager and threw something at him. Rosenbaum was shot multiple times and died from his wounds. Anthony Huber, 26, who had a criminal history that included charges of battery and domestic abuse, chased down the teenager and was beating the teenager with a skateboard while the teenager was on the ground. Huber was fatally shot in the abdomen. Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, a member of the People’s Revolution Movement of Milwaukee, who also has a criminal record, was chasing the teenager alongside Huber. Grosskreutz was armed with a pistol, which is clearly visible in video and images. Grosskreutz was shot in the upper arm and survived. He reportedly regrets not killing the teenager. The two dead men are being portrayed as martyrs. Did they think of themselves as heroes in a situation of their own making? Were these redemptive acts?”

Because the teenager was a minor I avoided using his name in the blog (he has now reached the age of majority). The state of Wisconsin did not treat Rittenhouse as a minor. On August 26, Kyle Rittenhouse was charged as an adult with five felonies and a misdemeanor. Among the more serious charges, the state accused Rittenhouse of first-degree reckless homicide against Joseph Rosenbaum, punishable by imprisonment of up to 65 years, first-degree intentional homicide against Anthony Huber, punishable by a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole, and attempted first-degree intentional homicide against Gaige Grosskreutz, punishable by imprisonment of up to 65 years. The 2020 presidential campaign season was soon full throttle and civil unrest continued, so I moved on to other stories.

Rittenhouse is now on trial, the trial is live-streamed, so it’s time to return to the matter. I have been watching the trial. As a teacher of criminal justice process, I feel obligated. But I am also very interested in this case for its ramifications. Will the jury deny Rittenhouse his human right to defend himself against death and injury? The facts presented at trial provide no reason for me to change the description of events I provided more than a year ago. That description was based on extensive photographic and video evidence. In the present blog, I recount the chain of events once more and renew my opposition to state action in this matter. I am convinced that this is an open-and-shut case of self defense. Rittenhouse should be on trial. I also suggest a motive behind this and other high profile prosecutions against individuals who defend themselves against belligerents.

The moment when the witness admits that Rittenhouse didn’t shoot him in the arm that was holding the gun until the witness pointed the gun at Rittenhouse.

The image above captures the moment witness and gunshot survivor Gaige Grosskreutz admitted under cross-examination by defense attorney Corey Chirafisi that Rittenhouse didn’t shoot him in the arm that was holding the gun until the Grosskreutz pointed the gun at Rittenhouse. That’s a prosecutor literally facepalming in the moment. The jury is just off to his right side. The prosecution then called Kenosha Police Department Detective Ben Antaramian to the stand. Here’s the exchange that led to Antaramian confirming that the shootings on Sheridan Road only occurred when Rittenhouse was attacked.

Chirafisi: You saw other people that were kind of—it wasn’t a two or three-person chase, there were multiple people kind of around Mr. Rittenhouse, some of them brandishing weapons, correct?

Antaramian: There were people—and there were people that were armed, absolutely.

Chirafisi: And those people who didn’t attack him—he didn’t fire at them, did he?

Antaramian: Correct.

Chirafisi: The only people that he fired at were people that had either kicked him, hit him with something, or pulled a gun on him when he’s running down Sheridan Road, right?

Antaramian: I would agree with that statement.

Chirafisi: And after he—initially, when he sees Gaige Grosskreutz, you’d agree when Mr. Grosskreutz’s hands are up, he doesn’t fire?

Antaramian: Correct.

Chirafisi: There is a person—to Mr. Grosskreutz’s—it would be his left—with a metal pipe. Do you remember that?

Antaramian: I don’t—earlier, you called it a wooden club—I don’t know that I’ve ever seen wooden, or—off, fairly off in the distance there’s a metal pipe, yes.

Chirafisi: So people who are armed, he doesn’t fire at any of those people, does he?

Antaramian: Correct.

Chirafisi: After the shooting, I counted—and I don’t, I’m not asking you for the specific number—but there’s multiple shots fired after Mr. Rittenhouse fires his last shout, right?

Antaramian: Correct.

Chirafisi: I counted ten, but there’s multiple, right?

Antaramian: Agreed.

Chirafisi: He never turns and fires in that direction, does he?

Antaramian: No.

Rittenhouse having exercised his right to self defense against Joseph Rosenbaum who had attacked him unprovoked in a parking lot. A mob of belligerents then chased Kyle Rittenhouse down a Kenosha, Wisconsin street. Rittenhouse was attempting to reach the police to turn himself in when the mob reached him and physically assaulted him. One man kicked Rittenhouse after Rittenhouse had fallen to the ground. Rittenhouse fired at him twice but missed both times (there is a felony charge concerning this incident). Another man, Anthony Huber, struck Rittenhouse with a skateboard while Rittenhouse was still on the ground. Rittenhouse fired once, striking Huber in the chest, killing him. Another man, Gaige Grosskreutz, pointed a handgun at Rittenhouse, and Rittenhouse, still on the ground, shot him once in the right arm, the arm attached to the firearm he was pointing at Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse was seconds away from possibly being fatally shot.

At no point was Rittenhouse an aggressor. We need to say this loudly: Rittenhouse was a victim. He was physically attacked by Rosenbaum, an unidentified assailant, Huber, and Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse was a victim of multiple assaults. In repelling his attackers, he lawfully exercised his right to use lethal force in self defense. His use of lethal force was proportional. The actions of these three men left Rittenhouse no choice but to take defensive action. The state is not only wrong but cruel for putting Kyle Rittenhouse through this. This young man is being forced to relive the trauma of having to defend himself against belligerents, some who whom were armed, all of whom represented a danger to life or limb, They intended to do him grave harm. His only purpose tat day was to defend persons and property as violent mobs where destroying the city. Rittenhouse justifiably defended himself expertly and judiciously. Given the conditions, it is frankly astonishing that that this young men, seventeen years old, had the presence of mind to so deftly execute the standards of proportional response. The video is graphic but a clinic in the rules of armed self-defense.

If the facts known from the beginning were not enough to end this travesty of justice, then yesterdays events should be. But the state had more than enough evidence to discontinue this case well before trial. Why didn’t they? They did not do so, it seems to me, because they are more concerned with appeasing the mob. They worried about more violence and property destruction in Kenosha and elsewhere, so they opted to drag an individual who followed the law through an arduous trial for the sake of the lawless. Politics is also an unavoidable influence in the case. In states across the country during the summer and fall of 2020, authorities sided with the violent mob over against the interests of law-abiding citizens. The media fueled the flames of destruction and violence while denying the character of the riots. They concealed from the public the truth that the reason for the uprising—systemic racism in the conduct of law enforcement—is a myth repeatedly debunked by science for decades. White they dwelled on Rittenhouse’s race, they usually never reported the race of his victims. For the record, Rittenhouse and his assailants are white males. The defamation of Kyle Rittenhouse was even perpetrated by the occupant of highest political office in the United States.

This tweet not only defames Rittenhouse, but mislead the public about President Donald Trump’s explicit and repeated disavowals of white supremacy.

We have video of a man claiming to be George Floyd’s nephew, Cortez Rice, reporting that he has people on the inside in Kenosha taking pictures of the jury in order to make public their identities of they do not convict (see above). Rice is saying, “We need the same results….” presumably referring to the manner in which the jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial were intimidated. (I cover that case and verdict here: The Derek Chauvin Show Trial; The FAR Podcast: The Derek Chauvin Verdict.) We also see intimidation being used in front of what the mob think is the residence of the judge who disallowed cameras in the Daunte Wright trial. For those if you who do not know, on April 11, 2021, Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter shot Duante Wright during a traffic stop and attempted arrest for an outstanding warrants. I discuss that case here: An Avoidable Tragedy: The Accidental Shooting of Duante Wright and Another Sacrifice Upon the Altar of Antiracism. The judge in the Rittenhouse trial today informed the court that a deputy observed someone taking video of the jury as they arrived. The deputy made the person delete the video. “I’ve been assured the officers had the video that was taken deleted. New measures are being taken to make sure that does not reoccur,” the judge told the jury when they arrived in the courtroom. This is menacing, attempting to intimidate judge and jury into making decisions based not on law and reason and evidence but on fear of reprisal.

The rule of law is being flouted for political-ideological reasons, most disturbingly around issues of race. We need to be clear about this. Rittenhouse is on trial because he is a white man, one likely holding conservative views, who lawfully defended himself against a lawless mob operating with motives approved by the Party. The Guardian described Rittenhouse a “white armed extremist.” This is a pattern. We all saw what authorities in St Louis did to Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a couple who defended their property against an armed mob of three hundred that broke and entered private property, signs announcing this clearly posted. Such were the forces arrayed against them that they pled guilty to misdemeanors and had to forfeit their guns. Meanwhile, we are shamed for criticizing mob violence when it is the right color or for noting the extraordinarily high rates of crime and violence in black-majority neighborhoods.