Fingers and Stones


Sunday morning, fresh cup of coffee in hand, I start browsing Twitter and run smack into this at the top of my feed:

The article linked in that tweet is here: Tusindvis af bevæbnede amerikanere gør sig klar: – Der kommer en krig til november.

Here’s the lede: “Der findes formentlig flere tusinde amerikanere, som forbereder sig på en borgerkrig efter valget. Her er nogle af de grupper, der er klar.”

I’m clearly missing something in translation, because I read that as “There are presumably thousands of Americans preparing themselves for a civil war after the election. Here are some of the groups that are ready.”

I find the first sentence impossible to believe.

I can believe there are thousands of Americans preparing for the black helicopters of the U.N. to swarm over America and subjugate it to the dictates of the Global Elites and their extraterrestrial masters.

I can believe there are thousands of Americans waiting for an exiled Nigerian prince to transfer a fortune into their bank accounts.

I can believe there are thousands of Americans still nostalgic about the great new taste of New Coke.

I cannot believe there are thousands of Americans preparing for civil war after the election.

There are millions.

It’s terrifying.

It was also inevitable (the preparations, not the civil war) the minute the opposition to Donald Trump decided first to style itself, and then behave, as the Resistance.

Some of my closest friends began supporting the Resistance before Donald Trump had even been sworn in, during those halcyon days of late 2016 and early 2017 when, as I chronicled in detail in a previous post, the Resistance consisted of calls to persuade members of the Electoral College to flip their votes, calls to abolish the Electoral College, calls to impeach the president, calls to remove him via the 25th amendment, and calls to harass and intimidate members of his administration, and their supporters, in public.

The Resistance has spent the past four years insisting on the illegitimacy of the Trump presidency and the insanity, incompetence, stupidity, cruelty, and pure evil of the man himself.

(I don’t think such a statement requires supportive links: the supporting evidence can be found by typing “Trump” into your preferred news search engine.)

A sober, thoughtful opposition could have spent the last four years exploiting Trump’s obvious political weaknesses and vulnerabilities to expand their base and mobilize their energy for electoral victory next month.

The Democratic leadership has been about as sober and thoughtful as the average frat party. So here we are.

Newton’s third law of motion states (roughly) that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In a Wired article on that law, Rhett Alain directs the reader’s attention to “an older translation into English of Newton’s The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (volume 1), where the relevant text about the Third Law says:

To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.

And also says:

If you press a stone with your finger, the finger is also pressed by the stone.

Note that the stone doesn’t want to press back. The stone doesn’t choose to press back. A stone has no power of thought or independent motion. It cannot seek out fingers to press. But agency’s got nothing to do with it. The stone is pressed, and by universal law it presses back.

In other words, the minute you declare yourself The Resistance, you have summoned into being an oppositional force. You have pressed your finger against something that must inevitably press back.

A lot of Americans voted for Trump in 2016 because they considered him the lesser of two evils. Many voted for him because he was the Republican. Some may even have voted for him out of impish mischievousness. Others, and I would guess the majority, voted for him because they liked him. But whatever their individual reasons, they voted for him, and the election was free and fair, and by the rules of American elections Trump became the president elect.

And immediately the Democrats abandoned their role as “the loyal opposition” and declared themselves the Resistance. That’s the finger pressing. Suddenly everyone who voted for Trump, whatever their reasons, was involuntarily part of the stone.

Of course, people aren’t stones. People can think and choose, they control their own behavior. If a stranger approaches me on the street and declares himself my personal resistance, he’s provoking a response from me. As a sovereign human being, however, I have the power of choosing what the form of that response will be. Among them is the option of simply smiling and walking away.

If I get home and find the stranger has gathered a couple of friends to stand and shout at me from the street, my response might be different. If I am unable to sleep that night because they are deliberately making noise to keep me (and my family) awake, it might be even less charitable. And if they begin smashing my windows, slashing my tires, occupying and lighting fires on my property, my reaction is hard to predict. At some point along that series of events, however, I would certainly begin taking precautions based on the two obvious and objectively indisputable observations: that these people hate me, and that their actions are escalating. I wouldn’t be much of a husband or father if I didn’t think about protecting my family, would I?

What would my preparations be? Who knows.

But I have no doubt that TV2 News would be there to write about Greg Nagan’s dangerous preparations for a violent conflict.

Look, I’m not here to defend armed militia groups, or to get all in the face of TV2 News for what is actually a (mostly) good piece of journalism.

I’m simply unable to understand why the establishment media of the western world find one set of armed militia groups so terrifying, while another isn’t even acknowledged.

It’s telling to me that the article opens and closes with references to the “Not Fucking Around Coalition.”

Image credit: unattributed image from TV2 article. Presumably members of the NFAC at a rally in Louisville.

The article notes (my emphasis):

De sorte militsfolk ville demonstrere mod, at myndighederne i Louisville ikke havde straffet en gruppe betjente, der ved et uheld skød den sorte kvinde Breonna Taylor under en ransagning i hendes hjem 13. marts i år.

Og Grand Master Jay – der i virkeligheden hedder John Jay Fitzgerald Johnson – havde truet med at brænde Louisville ned.

It then does a little jujitsu by noting that “elsewhere in the USA, the FBI had information on a militia group planning to kidnap a high-ranking politician, but it wasn’t Grand Master Jay.”

And voila!, like that, Grand Master Jay and the Not Fucking Around Coalition (and their explicit threat to burn down a city) disappear until the very last paragraphs of the article:

Under Den Vrede Vikings besøg i Kentucky kom det ikke til direkte konfrontation mellem hans folk og de sorte militsfolk fra Not Fucking Around Coalition. Det skete takket være en indsats fra det lokale politi, der havde held til at flytte grupperne forskellige steder hen, så de ikke mødte hinanden.

Men vikingen mødte også sorte demonstranter, der gav udtryk for deres uenighed – og dem talte han civiliseret med.

Men hvis parterne ikke formår at tale civiliseret med hinanden efter valget i 2020, er der i alt 393 millioner civilt ejede skydevåben i omløb i USA, som kan benyttes i konflikten.

This is interesting: violence between the armed anti-police group and the armed group that had come to the city to “defend” it against the anti-police group was averted thanks to the work of… the police, who preserved the peace by keeping them apart.

And the Angry Viking spoke civilly to black demonstrators who approached him.

Also, the city wasn’t burned down.

But, the authors conclude, “if the sides fail to speak civilly with one another after the election in 2020, there are 393 million privately-owned firearms in circulation throughout the country that can be used in the conflict.”

Indeed. I interpret this to be a suggestion that in the event of an American civil war following the election, it will be a well-armed civil war. That is true. Duly noted.

But maybe all of our understanding could be improved by talking about more than one side of the current divide? Especially when the side chosen for dissection here has been the side reacting to the other?

Take the NFAC out of Louisville, for example, and the Angry Viking and his followers never even enter the city. Take the riots out of Kenosha, Portland, etc., and no groups of any kind materialize to defend them.

Which cities have been set ablaze by the Proud Boys? What neighborhoods have been smashed to oblivion by Oath Keepers? Where is the video of “Boogaloo Boys” taking over restaurants and forcing their patrons to recite a pledge?

Again: this is not to defend those groups, but to point out that they are reactive in nature, and when masked, armed groups start assaulting American cities, even going so far as to declare their own “autonomous zones” (as we saw in Portland, Seattle, and D.C.), and the local authorities refuse to intervene, reaction is inevitable.

So where are the long, deep articles about Antifa, about NFAC (whom I first heard of in this TV2 News article), about any of the groups whose violence across the nation was “the finger that pressed the stone?”

Why are the establishment media of the western world wetting themselves over groups that have materialized to fight, rightly or wrongly, groups that have been wreaking havoc to the tune of billions of dollars in damage and countless injuries, and more than a dozen deaths? Why are the establishment media, who were so quick to blame a Sarah Palin campaign ad for the shooting of then-Representative Gabby Giffords, so unwilling to draw a line from the wild rhetoric of BLM to the premeditated assassination of police?

An obvious answer would be that the establishment media sympathize with one group and not the other. Is it correct? I don’t know, but it fits the facts.

And that’s fair enough, as far as it goes: “We don’t cover the violence perpetrated by group A because we understand and support their point of view, but we disagree with group B and therefore find them dangerous.”

But when the stakes are not “who gets elected” or “whose contract gets renewed” or “who gets the Nobel Peace Prize,” but “whether or not there’s a civil war,” one might hope that the media could do better.

# # #

All of that said, the TV2 News article does commit a few errors beyond failing to provide any reporting on half of their subject. (“In my article on the Russian civil war, I have chosen to discuss only the Mensheviks, but there were also Bolsheviks.”)

Worst was their use of the BIG LIE:

Under den store tv-debat mellem Donald Trump og hans modkandidat Joe Biden 29. september 2020, blev præsidenten spurgt, om han var villig til at fordømme voldelige racistiske grupper som Proud Boys.

– Hvad vil du kalde dem? Giv mig et navn, giv mig et navn, sagde Trump, før debattens moderator, Chris Wallace, nævnte Proud Boys.

Donald Trump fordømte ikke gruppen. I stedet sagde han:

– Proud Boys. Hold tilbage, men hold jer klar.

I can’t be polite about this. It’s been debunked a million times. Any journalist capable of the kind of in-depth reporting represented by the rest of this article knows that’s false. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth. I get why Joe Biden repeats the Big Lie: it’s because he’s a politician trying to get elected. I do not get why the media continue to prop him up on that. Here’s are some quick refreshers if you need them:

Actual transcript from the September 29th debate (emphases mine):

WALLACE: “Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups…”

TRUMP: “Sure…

WALLACE: “And to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha, and as we’ve seen in Portland”

TRUMP: “Sure, I’m prepared to do it, but I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing not from the right-wing. I’m willing to do anything, I want to see peace…”

WALLACE: “Then do it, sir.”

BIDEN: “Do it, say it.”

TRUMP: “What do you want to call them? Give me a name.”

WALLACE: “White supremacists and right-wing militias”

BIDEN: “Proud Boys”

Trump: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.”

Compare that to the TV2 News version (my emphases here):

Donald Trump fordømte ikke gruppen. I stedet sagde han:

– Proud Boys. Hold tilbage, men hold jer klar.

You can argue about the significance of that “and stand by.” (You can see a good parsing of it in a Federalist article by Emily Jashinsky: I borrowed the transcript text directly from that article, as well.) But you can’t deny that he twice affirmed his willingness to denounce these groups, and then even went so far as to dance the stupid dance demanded of him.

Do it! Say it! Do it!” — It sounds so desperately sincere, so pained: “oh, Mr President, won’t you please, please, please do this one good and important thing that would be so meaningful to so many people?” Except they both know Trump has already disavowed white supremacy repeatedly. After all, Wallace asked Trump the exact same question during a 2016 debate and got a disavowal then. So it’s not desperately sincere: it’s disgustingly insincere and it’s damaging the country. Do they care? No. Why do they not care? Interesting question.

Meanwhile, the president asked Biden to condemn Antifa, and Biden flatly refused.

If it was appropriate for Trump to condemn white supremacists, and if it was appropriate to demand (“say it! do it!”) that he ask the Proud Boys (whose leader is himself a “person of color”) to “stand down,” then surely it would have been appropriate for Biden to condemn Antifa and to ask the violent supporters of BLM to stand down.

He didn’t, and no one in the establishment media seems to care.

What he said was that Antifa was “an idea, not an organization.”

Big fucking deal. Marxism was an idea, not an organization, and it killed more people than any organization in the history of the world.

I thought Trump’s answer was pretty spot on: “When a bat hits you over the head, that’s not an idea.”

If you’re going to state (as a lie) that Trump “has not condemned the group,” shouldn’t you also at least acknowledge (as the truth) that Biden didn’t condemn any groups either? If only to give your own lie a little more credibility?

I mean, if we’re going to say the rules of the game are that you have to disavow violent groups supporting your “side,” then isn’t it just as important for Biden to do so?

The article also brings up Timothy McVeigh, the man behind the devastating Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people in 1995.

Timothy McVeigh mente, at myndighederne var ved at underminere amerikanernes frihedsrettigheder – fuldstændig lige som Wolverine Watchmen og mange andre militsfolk gør i dag.

This is a grotesque equivocation.

Timothy McVeigh believed armed attacks on the federal government, even with collateral civilian deaths, were justified. To compare everyone who believes the federal government is undermining Americans’ freedoms to Timothy McVeigh is like comparing everyone who believes in a welfare state to Lenin or Stalin. It’s an unnecessary slur.

# # #

Finally, let’s remember the lede of this article “There are probably thousands of Americans preparing themselves for a civil war after the election. Here are some of the groups that are ready.”

Read the whole article and you’ll find yourself wondering who these groups are ready to fight a civil war against.

To fall back on Newton’s Third Law, it’s an article about the stone. Think we’ll ever be told about the finger?