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Dual tracks, ideological distortion

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted October 29, 2018

Last week featured a revealing spectacle. On Monday, the FBI took out a pipe bomb in a hand-delivered package from the mailbox of the Soros estate; they said they detonated it. Two days later, all hell broke loose. Similar packages with other bombs were found or intercepted. Amongst the addresses were Hillary Clinton; former President Barack Obama; former Vice-President Joe Biden; Maxine Waters, who got sent two; John Brennan via CNN; Robert deNiro; and, due to a clumsy attempt at a false flag, Debbie Wassermann Schultz. Her Florida office got the bomb meant for Eric Holder’s address because it had been returned to ‘sender’ due to insufficient postage.

During the two days between bombs discovered and perp nabbed, it was as if the world had split into two tracks: the Normal track and the ideological track. The former concentrated on the search for the perp, the amateurishness of the bombs, speculation on the motives of the perp, who and where he was, etc. President Trump quickly condemned the act and promised that the perp would be brought to justice. It didn’t take long for investigators to figure out that the perp was from Florida. On Friday, they nabbed Cesar Sayoc, Jr. after getting a latent fingerprint of his from one of the bomb envelopes. They already had his fingerprints on file for a reason you can easily guess if you don’t already know.

Mr. Sayoc proved to be quite a character. A former male stripper, he was working as a doorman and DJ at a place called the Ultra Gentleman’s Club. As Heavy.com explained, Sayoc pled guilty to at least two felonies, both third-degree grand theft, the second felony committed long after the first. He was given one year’s worth of probation for making a bomb threat to a power company that had proceeded to cut off his electricity for non-payment. He had had several other scrapes with the law, but he didn’t get dinged with a lot of jail time. Incongruously, given his criminal history, he successfully registered as a Republican in March of 2016; the primary there was held on March 15th. He did prove to be a Trump supporter, which debunked some speculation flying around, but in a creepy “superfan? way. His Twitter account was like his van: covered with pro-Trump and anti-anti-Trump memes. Both spoke to a monomania, which a lawyer for his family explained as Sayoc regarding President Trump as a substitute father.

If this hasn’t put you on your guard, imagine a fellow who regards a Hollywood starlet as a substitute girlfriend. One who did was a fellow named John Hinckley Jr.. Hinckley was found not guilty for reason of insanity, which Sayoc’s lawyer undoubtedly knows.

While the hunt was on, the go-to comparison was to Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski. A former math prodigy turned back-to-the-earth simple-liver, Kaczynski was triggered by the sight of a constructed road near his unheated and unpowered wilderness cabin. He then started to send out mail bombs, which, unlike Sayoc’s, worked and exploded. In 1995, Kaczynski successfully intimidated the New York Times and the Washington Post into publishing in full his 35,000-word manifesto. It was a blend of insightful social criticism and lunatic ideology. According to Kaczynski, the woes of the world result from the Industrial Revolution. His bombing campaign had the apparent aim of sparking a revolution that would force the world back to mid-18th-century technology. It’s not easy to concoct an ideology that makes Ban-the-Bomb activists look pragmatic, but the Unabomber did it.

Given the looniness of his ideology, it’s no surprise that the only Kaczynskiite was Kaczynski. No-one followed in his wake. But it’s important to remember that, had he not been triggered and followed through by making and sending out mail bombs, Kaczynski would have been nothing more than an insightful social critic and harmless eccentric.

Reaching back through the decades for analogies to Sayoc’s spree says something important about America. These incidents are rare, for a good reason. Once they occur, they’re almost universally punished – not only by the law but also by social sanction. Unlike the increasingly frequent hate-crime hoaxers and false accusers of rape, with their spates of media flattery and “nothing to gain? Go Fund Mes, enactors of political violence are hardly ever rewarded. With the exception of antifa, whose violence tops out at assault, vandalism and at least one robbery - the level of a pre-’70s street gang looking for a rumble - you’d have to go back to the 1970s to find an exception. Both the Weather Underground and the Purto-Rican-terrorist Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) were lionized in certain circles. Not coincidentally, each group racked up a series of bombings and violent crimes before they had sputtered out or been brought to heel. Contariwise, no-one of any account lionized the Unabomber.

The folks who believe that President Trump is too compromised know very well that one of their confreres indulging in political violence would be a disaster for their movement. We’re about to find out. A confirmed White Nationalist, Robert Bowers, was arrested after shooting up the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He shot at least seventeen people - including four police officers - and allegedly murdered eleven. Pamela Geller wrote, “Synagogue shooter Robert Bowers is Jew-hater and Trump-hater?; her post has screenshots from Bowers’ Gab account to back her up. The Gateway Pundit has more, including Bowers’ belief that President Trump is “controlled by Jews.? This shooting is much worse than Charlottesville. If the above-discussed pattern hold, White Nationalism will decline more and further than it declined after Charlottesville.

With the above exceptions, which themselves are sparse, almost everyone knows that political violence is a proven way to kill a political movement. This is exactly the way it should be. This social punishment, if universally applied, makes political violence as rare as school shootings before 1999’s Columbine. As Malcolm Gladwell explained in an insightful 2015 article, the Columbine massacre was a tipping point because it spawned an underground cult of teenagers who see Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as role models. These underground cults are like the cult of aberrational Islam, which showers psychic and material rewards on suicide terrorists. If the above-forecasted further shrinkage in White Nationalism does not occur, there’s a danger that Bowers and his fellow nutcase Dylan Roof are White Nationalism’s answer to Harris and Klebold. The FBI should adapt the techniques they’ve used to capture most (but not all) Muzzie terrorists and infiltrate both groups, with the advice of the sex-crimes cops who’s successfully infiltrated secret pedophile rings. .If you live near a synagogue, keep an eye peeled: that will help eradicate any subcult and strengthen-up the norm that political violence is to be condemned and punished.

In Normal world, we see the same old story of incentives and disincentives. When political violence is condemned and punished socially, it remains rare, dominated by nutsos, and does not spread. When it’s rewarded, even in a subculture cult, or even excused, as left-wing thugs are, political violence does spread and it becomes more recurrent and organized. The Weather Underground and the FALN were not agglomerations of lone nutcases; nor is antifa.

On The Ideologist Track...

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there arose a theory to explain why violent crime was rising. It claimed that real-world violence was caused, or at least influenced, by increasingly violent movies and TV programs. Despite not having any direct evidence, like outbreaks of movie-house or TV-room violence when violent programs were shown, this theory gained some traction and was vaunted as plausible until it was tested. Once tested, it fell apart. The same goes for more recent theories of this sort, like the one that blames violence on violent video games.

They were catchy theories that lacked correlation. Other theories, like police science’s Broken Window Theory, cohered with the disincentive one. Applying them led to rates of violent crime dropping in the ‘90s.

The violent-movie theory does look like a soporific for people who got uncomfortable or reacted hostilely to the disincentive theory.

As highlighted by a joint statement from Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer after the bombs were discovered, the progs have settled on a similar theory: political violence is caused by President Trump’s “hateful rhetoric.? Their attempts to be bipartisan only brought this bias into clear focus.

In a nutshell, this ideological bias leads certain people to confuse words with deeds. It’s been on display continually for the last two years. Observe how the allegations about Trump’s “hateful rhetoric? are full of generalities and non sequiturs. The latter resemble the “spectral evidence? technique used in the Salem witch trials. Direct ties are sparser than copycat crimes inspired by violent movies.

The sparseness of evidence makes this bias an ideological one. It’s even shown up in courts of liberal judges who have ruled that Trump’s tweets are admissible evidence. It has a partisan component, but it’s not confined to partisanship; attempts to be bipartisan bring it into sharper focus. Observe that this bias is relied upon when President Trump is accused of being buddy-buddies with authoritarian figures like Kim Jong-Un and Vladimir Putin. Observe that Trump’s rebuttals always focus on what his Administration had done: tightening up sanctions on Russia and inveigling President Xi Jinping to lean on North Korea.

If you’re a regular here, you’re used to judging President Trump on what he has done rather than on what he said. Aside from his tariffs and he veering away from wars, you wouldn’t have gone far wrong if you had predicted President Trump’s actions would dovetail with the agenda of Conservative Inc.: regulatory rollback, a cut in marginal tax rates, appointing originalist judges, and so on. The predictions made by those affected by the bias, the ones extrapolating from the over-the-top portions of his speechifying and tweeting, have proven to be wildly wrong.

There’s an old back-office saw that says it’s not as bad to be wrong so long as you’re consistently wrong. Being consistent make it straightforward to correct the mistakes. The same rule applies to the bias that confounds words with deeds. The mostly-prog pundits and commentators under its sway display a stable behaviour pattern, so it’s straightforward to disregard them when they go off in this vein. Encouragingly, a lot of Normals have learned to disregard. Trump’s base disregards as strongly as the Supreme Court upholds the First Amendment.

In truth, it’s time to revivify the old-school distinction between words and deeds. Not only would it muffle ideologues’ attempts to infringe the First Amendment, but also it would bring back some common sense - including the common sense that says Trump is no more to blame for Sayoc’s bombs than are the Greens for the more nefarious crimes of Theodore Kaczynski. ESR

Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is spinning his wheels at Steemit.




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