The Real Danger of the Capitol Incident: Suppression of Truth and Dissent
Americans are completely correct in expressing utter disgust with the outrageous violent turn of the election protest at the Capitol on January 6th. People who smashed windows, pushed through barricades, injured others, and fought with police should be promptly prosecuted. In a system of ordered liberty, all forms of violent conduct are always dead wrong, unacceptable and counterproductive. Doubts about the election could have been expressed without the violence and destruction. Regardless of reason, the end never justifies the means because every means is an end in itself. Liberty and the Rule of Law require civic virtue and an unswerving standard of individual accountability for one’s acts, without exception.
Peaceful protests are part of political dialogue and have value. There was nothing wrong last summer with people gathering in Minneapolis to express their opinions of law enforcement. Similarly, there was nothing wrong with a march in Washington, D.C., to express opinions about the counting of votes in the election. The problem with both is the unnecessary and inexcusable resort to violence and property damage. Neither is it a justified or indeed helpful component to political speech.
However, in the rush to condemn lawlessness, we should not sweep important issues under the rug. We should not give political elites, who are invested in centralized power and globalism, carte blanche to use the actions of irresponsible people as ammunition to advance their agenda by prohibiting peaceful dissent.
Election Fraud Should Be Investigated
Millions of Americans doubt that Joe Biden won the election fair and square. To avoid further unrest, the people need to believe that their votes count and our system operates on the level.
Catholic University’s Claes G. Ryn, offers an analysis of election data at The American Conservative that raises legitimate questions, as have many other thoughtful people. Indeed, three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in a written statement rebuked Pennsylvania state judges for their actions in altering the deadline for ballots to be received.
Bottom line: Based on public perception, troubling statistics, and maladministration of state election laws, there should be an independent examination involving the contesting state legislatures of the results and procedures in key battleground states, with appropriate modifications made for future elections. Only that can dispel the doubts and set the stage to restore Americans’ confidence in our electoral system.
The Role of Leftist Operatives
A smaller issue, but nonetheless an important one, is the impetus for the attack on the Capitol. MAGA folks, despite the media keeping them under the microscope, have behaved quite well at large events leading up to the November election. Our summer of riots and destruction came from the far Left, not the Right. What happened? Was it that Trump’s rhetoric got too heated or are there other causes?
The Washington Times reported, then withdrew, reports that recognition software confirmed the presence of Antifa operatives. At least one Black Lives Matter activist was in the midst of the invaders—later disingenuously claiming he participated “as part of an effort to understand supporters of President Donald Trump.”
As more of those involved are identified and arrested it will be important that they face a dispassionate justice system meting out penalties fitting the crime—not railroaded by a narrative that all involved were “domestic terrorists” motivated by far-right ideology.
There Was No Coup Attempt
Nor was the disturbance at the Capitol a coup attempt. Politicians, the media, and commentators should stop exaggerating what happened. Wikipedia quite accurately describes a coup as “the removal of an existing government from power, usually through violent means. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a political faction, the military, or a dictator.”
If we want to know what a real coup looks like, think back to 1991 when communist hardliners put Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest, did not allow him communication with the outside, and took control over the Soviet Government. The coup ultimately collapsed, but it was a real coup attempt. Knuckleheads breaking windows, taking pictures in Pelosi’s office, defacing interiors, and scattering papers around the Senate chamber is hardly a coup.
The political Left and its media allies are using terms such as “coup” and “insurrection” to make the most of this opportunity.
Silencing the Opposition
With the false narrative that Trump and his supporters are endangering American democracy, the Left is silencing dissenting voices on the Right. Big tech and social media giants are shutting down major conservative voices and the President of the United States: Parler, #WalkAway, @POTUS, Trump campaign emails. And a Yahoo News journalist is calling for Twitter to ban other journalists: “Now do Jack Posobiec, Dan Scavino, Mollie Hemingway, Rogan O’Handley, Tucker Carlson . . .”
In response, Parler Founder and CEO John Matze has indicated to The Epoch Times that his company is “prepared to take full legal action” against Apple, Google, and Amazon. However, Matze has since noted that “Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day.”
And U.S. Senator Josh Hawley has now threatened to sue ViacomCBS-owned Simon & Schuster for just cancelling the release of his forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, saying that they “cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.” Hawley’s reply in his “statement on the woke mob at @simonschuster”:
This could not be more Orwellian. Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition. Let me be clear, this is not just a contract dispute. It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment. Only approved speech can now be published. This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of. I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have. We’ll see you in court.
And to their credit, the ACLU has issued a statement condemning Facebook and Twitter’s decision to suspend Trump. The ACLU properly warns about the dangers of “unchecked power” and the potential for other voices to be silenced.
True to form regarding government officials using crises to greatly expand their own powers (see Robert Higgs’s landmark book, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government), Joe Biden is eager to capitalize on the situation, labeling the protestors “Insurrectionists,” and “Domestic terrorists.” The Wall Street Journal has reported that “Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism . . . [to] fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them.” So, we have had months in 2020 with violent BLM and Antifa operatives burning American cities, destroying property, defying law enforcement, and occupying city blocks in Portland. Yet, the capitol mob are now branded as domestic terrorists and extremists. Americans need protection against them? Really?
Civil libertarian Glenn Greenwald and many on the scene have confirmed that the crowd’s gaining access to the Capitol was more a matter of serendipity than a planned assault: defenses were minimal, Capitol police were quick to back down and some openly welcomed the crowd, and most of those who entered the Capitol spent their time taking selfies with statues rather than storming the chambers of power. As Greenwald has observed:
There was zero chance that the few hundred people who breached the Capitol could overthrow the U.S. Government—the most powerful, armed and militarized entity in the world—nor did they try.
Biden’s response is not proportionate to what happened at the Capitol. Conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and independents, though they might not have voted for Trump and have disagreements with him, should come to the aid of the civil liberties of his supporters. Instead, too many leaders have allowed the Left to set the terms of the debate and are cowardly trying to distance themselves.
Until Trump appeared, the major parties refused to address the concerns of those in “flyover states” about jobs, taxes, immigration, the family, cronyism, religious freedom, foreign interventionism, and other issues. Political elites want to go back to the happy days where the two parties marched in lockstep. Trump upset that apple cart. Common people found someone—a very imperfect person for sure—who listened to them and sought to address their issues.
Many elites are now united in seizing the day to ensure that no future threat to their power can take hold, no peaceful dissent and debate be provided a platform, with draconian new unconstitutional powers being proposed in the name of responding to a crisis.