Suppressing the Rabble: Portraying Conservatism and Republicanism as Fringe and Dangerous

(A clarifying note: Radical in this narrative is a euphemism for extremism. To be radical actually means to get to the truth of what determines the fundamental nature of some thing. Then, in action, a radical aims to either align political and social structures around that truth, if desirable, or, if it is not, overthrow the political and social structures that perpetuate the status quo to establish a new fundamental nature. Extremism, in contrast, is the quality of holding fanatical political or religious views. Extremism describes the quality of Antifa and Black Lives Matter to a T. The worldview of these groups is so off base that there can be nothing radical about it. Rooted in postmodernist epistemology, these groups are post-truth. They are countermovements against the Enlightenment. Corporate power is using extremism to undermine democratic-republicanism the Westphalian system. But there is much more to its strategy, as the reader will learn in this blog.)

Accusing all whites of possessing race privilege and using this premise to establish an ethic of equity that (largely symbolically) redistributes opportunity and wealth on a racial basis to enhance the legitimacy corporate governance might strike this audience as radical, but Brian Stelter of CNN will tell you that defending the American republic and the United States Constitution is “radical” (in a way, it is, but not in the way he means). Stelter warns his audience that the country faces radicalization from right-wing media outlets flooding the airwaves with “conspiracy theories” and “disinformation.”

Stelter is not alone in distracting public attention from the radicalism of critical race theory by characterizing the millions of populist Republicans who won’t accept the corporatist narrative about the 2020 election as “radical.” The state capitalist propaganda organ NPR published an article a few days ago with the title “Right-Wing Embrace of Conspiracy is ‘Mass Radicalization,’ Experts Warn.” The article, listed under the department heading “National Security,” written by Hannah Allam, a recruit from BuzzFeed News, where she covered, according to her bio, “U.S. Muslims and other issues of race, religion and culture,” provides a useful illustration of the way in which establishment propagandists frame threats to national security in a manner designed to facilitate the corporatist-globalist project to undo democratic-republicanism. A core part of the project is marginalizing conservatives and populists.

The image used by NPR in the story cited. Here’s the caption: “The Million MAGA March drew thousands of President Trump’s supporters, including members of far-right groups such as the Proud Boys, Patriot Front and others, to Washington, D.C., last month.”

Allam opens the article with this frame: “The widespread embrace of conspiracy and disinformation amounts to a ‘mass radicalization’ of Americans, and increases the risk of right-wing violence, veteran security officials and terrorism researchers warn.” (For an account of relative threats from extremists groups, see my Antifa, the Proud Boys, and the Relative Scale of Violent Extremism.) I will get to the veteran security officials and terrorism researchers in a moment, but first, I want to show how easily Allam’s opening sentence can be rephrased to convey not an alternative version of reality but a more accurate account of what is actually happening in the world. The rephrasing goes like this: “The widespread embrace of conspiracy and disinformation amounts to a ‘mass radicalization’ of Americans, and increases the risk of left-wing violence.”

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the left-wing mantra that White people are responsible for the suffering of Black people. Note the capital letters. I resist this convention in my own writing, but the media has taken to rendering the categories as proper nouns in order to be inclusive. In other words, all white people are responsible for the suffering of all black people—and all black people are suffering. The clear analog to the mantra on the left is the right-wing claim that Jews are responsible for the suffering of Gentiles—only very few people actually subscribe to this theory anymore; however, the theory of systemic racism is widely preached by academic and administrative leaders, cultural managers, and prominent politicians and pundits, and law and policy, even street action, are shaped by it. Indeed, rhetoric accusing whites of enjoying group privilege, of benefiting from the functioning of institutions designed from inception to secure and perpetuate race privilege (and oppression), is directly linked to left-wing violence. How did Allam miss the chaos that ensued in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Officer Derek Chauvin in May? The arson, assaults, looting, and vandalism only lasted until the apparent election of Joe Biden in November (when the insurrection turned to celebration). She didn’t miss it, of course. It doesn’t fit the narrative.

I can hear the objection to the contrast I am making: “But the Black Lives Matter movement has a legitimate grievance. Right-wing populists do not.” Yet, as that term is defined by the establishment, the theory of systemic racism is a conspiracy theory: it’s a grand theory without evidence to support it. What is substituted for evidence of racism is the fact of inequalities between demographic categories, inequalities that suggest any number of causes, many of which may be empirically supported, others which do not find such support. Capitalizing the names of categories doesn’t make them organized and intentional parties (although that is the intent of rendering them as such). Demographic groups are not human agents. They are abstractions. On the other hand, the “right-wing” populist movement is rebelling against the managed decline of the American republic, not supposition but the empirical fact of elite dismantling of the Westphalian system and the transnationalization of corporate governance, what elites openly call in the halls of GOs and NGOs “The Great Reset,” what they used to call it the “New World Order.”

In light of this, the purpose of describing popular resistance to denationalization and the destruction of democratic-republicanism as terrorism becomes rather obvious. Allam writes, “At conferences, in op-eds and at agency meetings, domestic terrorism analysts are raising concern about the security implications of millions of conservatives buying into baseless right-wing claims. They say the line between mainstream and fringe is vanishing, with conspiracy-minded Republicans now marching alongside armed extremists at rallies across the country.” But the “right-wing claims” are not baseless. I’m an expert in international political economy. It is a primary emphasis in my Ph.D. credentials. The evidence presented on such “right-wing” programs as Steven Bannon’s War Room is sound. The analysis is cogent and compelling. I can vouch for it. It is what in the 1990s left-wing political economy knew as the truth about the world. Now it’s the claims of left-wing identitarianism—the claims Allam omits that caused destruction and violence across the country—that are baseless. For example, as the body of scientific literature clearly demonstrates, lethal civilian-police encounters present without racial bias when controlling for context and crime rates. Systemic racism in police shootings was the major claim of the Black Lives Matter uprising. It isn’t that we don’t know whether the claim is true or not. We know that the claim is false. (What do they say? “Listen to the science?” What they really mean is “listen to our science.”)

Disparate factions on the right are coalescing into one side,” Allam writes, “self-proclaimed ‘real Americans’ who are cocooned in their own news outlets, their own social media networks and, ultimately, their own ‘truth.’” If you follow the embedded link that I copied over with her quote, it will take you to an article Allam published on November 15 with the headline, “A March Without Millions is Still a Worrying Sign of a Nation Divided.” Duh, the nation is divided. Allam’s anti-conservative bias is on full display there: “Throngs of largely mask-free, conspiracy-immersed Americans turned the city’s Freedom Plaza into an alternate reality on Saturday.” These are the people—Hillary Clinton dubbed them the “deplorables”—that Allam portrays as “extremists” and “terrorists,” dropping such words and phrases as “cabal” and “mass delusion,” recalling the official narrative of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, while condemning the popularity of “InfoWars-style channels.” (For a careful study of mass delusion, see A Fact-Proof Screen: Black Lives Matter and Hoffer’s True Believer. See also Panic and Paranoia Deaden Humanity and Sabotage Its Future.)

In her December article, Allam quotes Mary McCord, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw terrorism cases and who’s now a law professor at Georgetown University: “This tent that used to be sort of ‘far-right extremists’ has gotten a lot broader. To me, a former counterterrorism official, that’s a radicalization process.” Allam reports that McCord said this as Millions of Conversations, an organization “aimed at reducing polarization.” (For those who may not know, McCord played a central role in the harassment of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the Russiagate hoax.) Millions of Conversations asks participants to #PledgeToListen: “I pledge to listen to others who hold different opinions, views or beliefs. I will try to understand their reasons and their perspectives and will respectfully express my own in return.” How does portraying tens of millions of Americans as “far-right extremists” represent an attempt to understand the reasons and perspectives of others?

It doesn’t. What projects like Millions of Conversations really seek to do is reign in and delegitimatize a population that is increasingly awakened to the reality that they are losing their country to transnational power and that major corporations and the political establishment use their control over academia, legacy media, and the culture industry to deceive the public into supporting it. Millions of Conversations means to present establishment hegemony as reasonable and inclusive, while portraying the opposition to denationalization, globalism, and neoliberalism as delusional and dangerous. Meanwhile, despite openly espousing conspiratorial and racist theories about Western civilization, Black Lives Matter and Antifa are legitimized and used as the shock troops for corporate power. The insurrection played a major role in the color revolution that will, if successful, install the Biden/Harris regime.

In her December article, Allam quotes Elizabeth Neumann as saying, “Breaking through that echo chamber is critical or else we’ll see more violence.” Allam makes a point of making sure her readers know that Neumann resigned in protest her position in the Department of Homeland Security office that oversees responses to violent extremism. In resigning, Neumann accused Trump of pouring “fuel on the fire” of domestic extremism. The purpose here is to leave the impression that even Trump’s officials are abandoning Trump over populist nationalism. But keep in mind that Neumann has openly admitted that she “very reluctantly” voted for Trump, and, having served under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, elites who established the Department of Homeland Security and the position of assistant secretary of counterterrorism and threat prevention, is a known player in the neoconservative establishment that the populist movement opposes. Neumann’s high profile resignation was part of the effort, led by such establishment groups as the Lincoln Project, to undermine Trump’s re-election efforts and discredit populist-nationalism.

To hear state media tell it, the problem is vast. In laying out its extent, Allam writes, “While it’s impossible to pin down the scope of such beliefs, analysts say, the numbers are staggering if even a fraction of President Trump’s more than 74 million voters support bogus claims that say, for example, the election was rigged, the coronavirus is a hoax, and liberals are hatching a socialist takeover.” But the claim that the election was rigged is not bogus. Peter Navarro’s report The Immaculate Deception is alone more than sufficient to demand an extensive investigation into the 2020 election (see below). See also the documentary Who’s Stealing America. Also see my blogs on the matter: A Comprehensive Investigation into the 2020 Election is Patriotic. Preemptive Surrender? Not So Much and The Hustle and its Cover: Burgeoning Evidence of Massive Fraud in the 2020 Election.

Moreover, the complaint about COVID-19 is not that it’s a hoax, but that elites have exploited the crisis to disrupt social networks, entrench progressive policies and technocratic governance, wreck small business, and create the conditions for removing Trump from office and replacing him with a globalist subservient to the interests of transnational corporate power. As for the concern over socialism, if one defines socialism as the massive expansion of bureaucratic-collectivist control, that is the adoption of the authoritarian Chinese model of state capitalism, then the concern is legitimate. From the standpoint of historical materialism, I define terms differently—what conservative label socialism I define a neo-feudalism. But the content and the threat are pretty much the same. (This is why we “listen to others who hold different opinions, views or beliefs” and “try to understand their reasons and their perspectives.” When we do this we risk discovering that, while they may use different words to describe the world, they have credible opinions.)

How widespread is the belief among conservatives that the election was rigged? According to Allam’s December article, seventy-seven percent of Trump supporters in a Monmouth University Poll are suspicious of the outcome. Digging into that poll finds that four-in-ten Americans overall desire more information about the vote before they can be certain of the election’s outcome—and that was mid-November. Of course, ordinary Americans aren’t supposed to even want more information (which explains the widespread resistance to forensic examination of Dominion voting machines). Allam can’t resist adding that the belief that fraud elected Joe Biden comes “despite no evidence to support that claim.” The media uses this line at every turn. But the fact is that there is widespread evidence for that claim (see above). Moreover, the percentage of Americans suspicious of the results is increasing. A more recent Rasmussen poll finds that forty-seven percent say fraud was likely. The media knows this. In lockstep fashion they are attempting to create a perception: no fraud happened and even thinking it may have makes you are a conspiracy theorist. Nothing to see here. Get on with your lives—but wear masks and socially distance.

Allam’s piece is essentially propaganda for the Millions of Conversations conference, which is, in turn, an exercise in ideological hegemony. You can read it for yourself, but I want to close with the attention she pays to Arie Kruglanski, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland who studies, among other things, theories of belief formation and motivation used in corporate operations, consumer behavior, and political attitudes and action. She paraphrases him as saying, “Nobody expects polarization—or its spinoff, radicalization—to go away when Trump is out of office. It’s now a fixture of the American political landscape, part of an international trend toward right-wing populism.” She continues, “He said the erosion of trust in public institutions leaves ample room for disinformation to take root.” “Disinformation” is a euphemism for information that undermines the official narrative. Disinformation is routinely deployed by intelligence services against disfavored governments. It is an essential tool of information warfare.

Allam quotes Kruglanski as saying, “We don’t trust the government. We don’t trust the Congress. We don’t trust the Supreme Court. We don’t trust now the science. We don’t trust medicine. We don’t trust the media for sure,” Kruglanski said. “So who do we trust? Well, we trust our tribe. We trust conspiracy theories that tell us what we want to hear.” Yet it’s academics, administrators, managers, and pundits for the establishment who push the conspiracy theories that motivate left-wing rebellion in the cities of America and Europe. It’s these forces that Balkanize American society with identity politics, who shut down open society through corporate censorship and deplatforming of critics of globalization, progressivism, and technocracy.

What Kruglanski is bemoaning is what sociologist Jürgen Habermas in 1973 dubbed a “legitimization crisis,” marked by decline in the confidence of administrative leadership, functions, and institutions. Kruglanski acts as if this is bad thing. But, using the most recent legitimation crisis involving our electoral system, the truth is that questioning the results and demanding investigation of allegations of election fraud is not what is undermining election integrity. Rather it’s the attempt to obscure fraud by various methods that delegitimizes the process. The public is told there is no evidence of fraud when there is clear and substantial evidence of fraud. More than fraud, there is evidence that the election was rigged and widespread illegalities. How is the public supposed to take this? Calling them “conspiracy theorists” and “extremists” may have limited value in encouraging them to believe the lies before them. It may arouse in them even more suspicion.

If we desire integrous elections, then we need to investigate allegations of illegalities and fraud. Isn’t that what trust in science and our institutions demands? When those agencies accountable to the public resist transparency in a process, the public has cause to be suspicious of the process and the motives of those agencies. When we say we want people to have a faith in a process, we don’t mean we want people to ignore or dismiss evidence of fraud and rigging out of hand. At least truth seekers don’t want that. Democratic-republicanism should not run on blind faith but free and open inquiry. Blind faith’s the way totalitarian governments work. Faith in a process in a free and open societies is not an exercise in willful ignorance. Paraphrasing a recent snark, saying there is no fraud does not mean there’s no fraud. When we say we want to have faith in or to be able to trust a process, we mean we want an integrous process. We don’t have an integrous process. Election officials are black boxing the 2020 election. The media is gas lighting the public over it. A rational person loses faith in bogus processes. The same is true for the way the technocracy has pursued the pandemic. Marginalizing competing interpretations, especially when those interpretations fit reality more neatly that the officials ones, doesn’t exactly inspire trust in the system.

Folks like Kruglanski are concerned about the potential for a mass movement to change the status quo. “Every large political movement started at one point as a small fringe minority,” he said. “And when it catches on, it can engulf the whole society. So, you know, the danger is there.” What about the civil rights movement? Or the feminist movement? The environmentalist movement? The labor movement? The secularist movement? Indeed, there was danger when these movements caught fire and engulfed the whole society. But the question was also: for whom were the movements dangerous? This is why Trump and the deplorables must be stopped. If populism catches fire, the globalist project is in jeopardy. Corporate elites have too much riding on the project. Their power and privilege is at stake. The populist movement to restore democratic-republicanism and liberalism? There is danger there.

Update (a few hours later): The Daily Beast just published a story, “Heavily Armed Far-Right Mob Floods Oregon Capitol.” The “mob” made up of various libertarian and patriot groups and fellow travelers is protesting the intensification of the lockdown ordered by Governor Kate Brown. A protestor named Duane explains his motivation: “I’m here to support the constitutional rights of people and of Oregon business. These people are unemployed and their lives are being ruined by this situation and most importantly by a government that seems to have taken totalitarian views.” At one point a protester called out hypocrisy, declaring over a bullhorn: “We are now declaring this area a patriot autonomous zone. If Antifa can do it so can we.” More hypocrisy comes in the form of Oregon State Troopers repelling the “mob” with pepper spray and tear gas. I am sure we will see progressives and corporate media decrying the heavy-handed tactics of the Troopers.

 

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.