Many of my readers will remember an incident back in 2017, where a Right-wing protest and a Left-wing protest confronted one another in Berkeley and the “Based Stick Man” (Kyle Chapman) broke his stick over the head of a Lefty antagonist. At the time, this was so notable it became a meme. Gifs of the moment the stick broke on the Lefty’s head became associated with Mortal Kombat, Final Fantasy VII Limit Breaks, and other such things. Eventually a graphic novel of the event was even proposed.
In other words, this was a notable event. It was different enough from the norm of political discourse in the country to receive national attention.
Today, there are probably several stickmen hitting people over the head at political protests and rallies every week. The Frog has been slow-boiling these past three years. Achieving notability today means pulling an AR-15 and a handgun out on a mob breaking into your neighborhood, or killing two antagonists and wounding another as happened in Kenosha, or getting shot by a ‘security guard’ after some kind of argument at a protest.
Neighborhoods burn, naked women display their genitals at the cops, people fight in the streets, and we have the occasional open gun battle making its appearance. Hitting someone with a stick is nothing, now. From 2016 to 2020 we’ve gone from relatively normal protests and rallies, to dead bodies rapidly becoming expected in protests increasingly degenerating into street fighting. At this rate, a Beer Hall Putsch from the Left should Trump win wouldn’t even faze me. I more or less expect that it is more likely than not in the event of a Trump victory in the election.
In the last few years, the entire tone of political interaction in America has been poisoned. I remember the days where I could have have political discussion with Leftist friends, and they might disagree with most of what I said, but it was not a particularly big deal. The very same people are now posting things like “if you don’t believe systemic racism is the greatest problem facing America, don’t even talk to me! This is not up for debate!” Or another one: “it’s okay to disagree about favorite pizza toppings, but not over support for Black Lives Matter!”
Political opinions have been elevated to “fact” status by the political tribes. So if my opinion on universal healthcare differs from a Leftist’s opinion, I must be wrong, because it’s a fact that universal healthcare is superior. It’s not up for debate. Socialism is superior to Capitalism. Not up for debate. Trump is a racist. Not up for debate. The illegal immigrants being held until they can be returned to their countries of origin is the exact same thing as concentration camps, this is a fact not up for debate, and this means that Trump is Hitler.
Again, not up for debate.
The moral surety of the political tribes is what disturbs me the most. It is one thing to say “I think X is more likely to be true than Y” and act accordingly. It is quite another matter to say “X is definitely better than Y, and any disagreement means you are evil, and I have moral license to do whatever I want to force your obedience.”
Some people blame the political poison on Trump, and this might have carried water if the behavior originated with the MAGA tribe. It largely, however, originated with the political Left in recent years. It’s to the point that the Washington Post ran a piece about how only a Biden landslide victory could stave off the political violence. It was an implicit admission that if the Left doesn’t get their way, they will burn it all down (or at least threaten to). What is also implicit in this is that the political Right is starting to respond in kind (and the Kenosha shootings are tacit evidence that this worm is turning).
Now, I am cautious of using any one single graph as gospel. But this is nonetheless an interesting datapoint:
The trend here is worrisome. The Kenosha videos were fascinating in that if you listen closely, it sounds like there are other shooters other than Kyle Rittenhouse. No one else was shot aside from those involved with Rittenhouse, of course, but it was interesting that we had a city burning and some kind of roving gun battle in the streets. I mentioned earlier that this was the crossing of a political Rubicon. Protests haven become street brawls (Based Stickman gives us a rough timeline of when this began). And street brawls are starting to mutate into open war (Kenosha). Kyle Rittenhouse may be similar to Based Stickman in that he marks a point of departure, where history can say “this is when things really went off the rails”.
From 2016 to 2020, we went from large-scale (but mostly peaceful) protesting to street brawls and gun violence. Where will we be in 2024? When will the frog jump out of the pot? The whole tone and emotional tenor of political discourse has radically shifted.
America is heading rapidly toward something like Civil War (albeit nothing like the previous one). I see no signs that it will diminish, no matter who is elected in November. Trends continue until they don’t. We don’t know where the inflection point will be, or what it will look like. Tomorrow this could all calm down, though I don’t think it is very likely. But if the trend holds, America is in for some seriously dark times.
Keep your ammo dry, my friends. There’s a non-trivial chance you’re going to need it soon. The Culture War is starting to turn into something much worse.
The riots have, in this blogger’s opinion, crossed a Rubicon into what might escalate into something resembling a Civil War. Yes, people say “the war is coming” with relative frequency in Right-wing circles, and up until now, said war has not come.
But look at this video and tell me that things have not changed:
For reference – because the video is muddled a bit – I will narrate what happened as best I can tell from the various videos and pictures I’ve seen. The guy on the ground with the rifle was assaulted by a guy with a skateboard, and another man with a handgun (see picture of his mangled arm and handgun here). Rifle-guy shot both. Skateboard-guy died of a chest wound, and handgun-guy had a fair chunk of his arm blown off, and ran to the police for protection. The irony of that last point should be lost on exactly no one.
A gun battle in the streets followed. Watch the whole video.
Elsewhere, another gun battle occurred at a used car dealership, in which one person was shot in the head and killed: see video here. One gun battle in the streets we might write off. Two? It’s getting a lot more difficult.
Roving gun battles in the streets between political factions is an escalation we have not seen since at least the 60s, and even then, there is, IMHO, a palpable difference. The rioters, while having some centralized targets like police stations and courthouses (which have been the targets of a ‘siege’ of sorts in Portland), are also engaging completely random targets like used car dealerships, which have nothing to do with any political motivation, save that they are there. Back in the 60s – at least from what I know of it – you had more of a counter-culture vs Establishment mindset. And while there is some of that here, there’s also a lot of essentially random looting, violence, arson, and otherwise that has no real justification – and it’s everywhere. We had it in my hometown. Any sizable city in America has probably experienced at least some of it.
We have random diners accosted in various locales, told to join the rioters in a fist salute to Black Lives Matter, or be surrounded by an angry, threatening, screaming mob. Black Lives Matter protesters roam through suburban neighborhoods demanding that homeowners give up their homes and property to the mob. Remind me just who are the fascists here?
It seems to me that we might have crossed the Rubicon, and Civil War, or something akin to it may be inevitable at this point. If true, I don’t imagine the conflict would be anything like the first war between the states – the geographic and demographic issues are more urban vs. rural than they are North vs. South. Let’s posit for a moment that Trump wins reelection. Does anybody think the violence will lessen if that eventuality happens?
What is Biden wins? I wonder if we might see an escalation there, too – some kind of emboldened strategy for revenge on the Trumpites. But of the two options, Biden probably represents less violence in the very near term – with potential for things to get more ugly should the Democrats attempt some kind of political crackdown on the Right (a possibility I think is very likely).
In any event, one blog I follow has a running “minutes to midnight” style summary of where we are on the Civil War clock. And we’re in stage 9… out of 10. With 10 being open warfare. At least according to his barometer, anyway. I don’t think he’s wrong, and if anything things have gotten worse since he wrote the last post.
Did we cross the Rubicon over the last few days? Only history will tell us for certain. But me? I think it’s very likely that we just did.
Keep your ammo dry.
Had a little fun with these…
President of Turkey Recep Erdogan wound up losing Istanbul in a recent vote – a significant political development for him, considering he was once the city’s mayor. To push up his failing support, he decided to convert the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, something hard-line Islamic fundamentalists have desired for some time.
The Hagia Sophia is approximately 1,500 years old, and has been variously an Orthodox, Catholic, and Islamic site of worship. Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) converted the structure to a museum in 1935. Since that time, it has been well-cared for, with careful monitoring of the structure and restoration efforts designed to keep it safe.
In Erdogan’s haste to convert it to a mosque for his political gain (in only 14 days), he has transferred responsibility for the structure, and essentially frozen out the preservation efforts and museum staff. This Twitter thread goes into many reasons why this is extremely dangerous. With the recent fire in the Notre-Dame cathedral, the threat to the structure is difficult to overstate.
My own family’s connection to the region means that this issue is somewhat nearer and dearer to me than it might be to most, but the Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest churches ever built – the first to feature a pendentive dome – and for many centuries featured the largest interior space of any structure in the world. It is an architectural marvel even today.
In his haste to convert it into a mosque for his political purposes, Erdogan is threatening the structure’s very survival.
We should not be surprised by this move, though. Erdogan has, for some time, acted in a manner reminiscent of an Ottoman Sultan. And with the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism more broadly, the Hagia Sophia’s days as a museum were probably numbered anyway. But the haste in which Erdogan is pushing this conversion, there is serious risk to its very survival. Consider things like electric lighting – obviously retrofitted in an ancient structure like the Hagia Sophia – and the Islamic preference for carpets. Consider the extreme age of the masonry work and the many earthquakes the structure has survive previously (albeit while receiving some damage).
The way Erdogan is going about this, he is freezing out the secular preservationists. If we have another Notre-Dame situation… well, I don’t want to think about it. I really don’t.
Turkey once made one of the strongest attempts to secularize an Islamic country, and for a time they succeeded more than most. But those days are over. Do we really want a Neo-Ottoman Empire in NATO?
I doubt he’d show any more care or attention to NATO and his treaty obligations than he has to the Hagia Sophia.
In any event, Islamic Twitter is celebrating, talking about covering up or chiseling away the ancient Byzantine mosaics (they regard empresses depicted in these mosaics as prostitutes) and erasing the structure’s Christian heritage. There are equally impressive mosques in the city today – built in a style mirroring the Hagia Sophia (the Süleymaniye Mosque and Blue Mosque in particular). This is not really about worship so much as it is about showing the world the power of Islam.
The reality is, the Turks have possession of it, and I can no more stop them than the Muslims can stop Christians from worshiping in the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba (though that does not stop SJW-like demands for it to be given over to the Muslims). But if the thing is to be done, care should at least be taken for its preservation (something the Spanish have attended to well enough for the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba). But it’s not about obtaining a site of worship or preserving a historical structure – not for Erdogan and his cronies.
It’s about a statement of power.
Normally, roundabout this time of year, folks would be BBQing, waving some flags around, and shooting off some fireworks with friends and family. And to be fair, my readers are more likely than not to be doing exactly that. This is true for a good portion of middle America, even so.
It is unclear if it is true for most of America, though.
CNN and the Democrat party both delivered condemnations of Mt. Rushmore in alignment with the protests going on there, and there has been noise on social media to attend to its removal. Proposals ranged from those who wished to give it to the Lakota to do what they wish, to those who wanted to publicly blow it up. The reasoning, of course, is that there were two slave owners on the monument, and four white men. That Lincoln freed the slaves no longer means anything – something I explained to those who wanted to torch the Confederate monuments some time ago.
At this point, I doubt Mt. Rushmore will survive much longer. Trump appears to still support it, given his rally there. But given the Democrats’ position on it, I doubt it would long survive a Democrat administration:
There are various reasons supplied for why the monument must go. It was Native American land (but so was all of North America at one time – is it the intention of the Left for anyone with European ancestry to leave?). Two of them were slave-owners (though Washington provided for the freedom of his slaves). They are four straight white males. Etc… Some of the reasons may even carry some validity – I’m not going to sit here and worship at the altar of these men. They were men, and thus possessed good and bad traits, both. Good Americans, yes, but still men – with all the flaws that go along with it.
Rather, I ask where this motivation comes from. What is the end goal?
In my opinion, the end goal is the erasure of the United States of America. It is to transform America into something else, something Leftists presumably believe to be better, but which has little in common with the America we know. The media, though condemning Mt. Rushmore rather obviously in pieces and clips like this one from CNN, falls short of outright claiming July 4th to be racist. But it comes close in pieces like How Black Lives Matter Transformed the Fourth of July. Likely, the full-scale denunciation of Independence Day will come later. In 2016 CNN reported favorably on Mt. Rushmore when Bernie Sanders went to visit it. Now that Trump is there, the monument must go. So perhaps we have roundabout four years before calls to replace July 4th with Juneteenth begin to be heard in volume (they are already on social media).
In my most recent article, I speculated on the obsession with ever-smaller injustices on the part of the Progressive Left. A few of my readers wondered if, perhaps, I was not giving too much credit to the Left in assuming good faith. And to be fair, I think that the useful idiot side of Social Justice may be acting in a sort of perverted good faith. But the media? No. This became obvious to me when they repeatedly denounced wearing face masks, then explained that if you did not wear a mask, you wanted granny to die of the ‘rona. Or when CNN repeatedly trashed Trump for believing that some medication was going to help with coronavirus, and then a month or so later, reported that the medication in fact did help.
There is certainly no good faith on the part of the media.
So far, the political Right has been ineffectual in stopping this latest wave of anti-American sentiment, and the Progressive Left has moved faster than I’ve ever seen the move in my lifetime. We went from debating Confederate statues to people pulling down statues across the nation – and not just of Confederates, but general Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and other abolitionists. This was never about the Confederates. Rather, the Confederate monuments were the dam holding back this wave, and once the dam failed…
…well, here we are.
Enjoy Independence Day, my friends. America appears to be on borrowed time, though, and it is unclear how many more years will pass before this, too, is cancelled by pop culture. And when Independence Day goes, what will remain of America?