Any clear-sighted observer can see that America is now undergoing its most severe crisis of legitimacy since the Civil War of 1861-1865. The Democrat Party has gone hard left, the education system is indoctrinating the young with a socialist syllabus as extensive and invariant as the Nazi curriculum of the 1930s, the media are irremediably corrupt, the pervasive ideology of “social justice” ensures multiple miscarriages of basic justice, an activist judiciary defies constitutional legality, and violence both rhetorical and actual has become the standard operating procedure of the New Totalitarians. The nation’s public institutions and government agencies are in full sedition mode, and the lawful tenure and authority of the President is under sustained attack. As David Goldman writes, correctly, President Trump is “fighting a mutiny by the U.S. intelligence community. If the mutineers succeed, it will be the end of the republic.”
There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth, much lament and detailed analysis among conservative thinkers and writers over the current state of affairs. The problem is that pragmatic and meaningful proposals to rectify a deteriorating social, cultural and political situation are hard to come by.
Normality tends to flinch in the face of reality. It is, after all, a natural inclination to dismiss or underestimate the premonition of catastrophe until, one day, it actually happens. Volcanoes do erupt. Occasionally an asteroid will plow into the earth. A revolution will destroy a nation from one year to the next. Foresight and preparation can avoid or at least mitigate disaster. Better to bite the bullet before the bullet strikes, and to act with courage and determination to avert a looming catastrophe.
Any effort at pushback is regularly met by the tactic of the false analogy, in this case by comparing justified anti-Marxist resistance with fascist bigotry, government oppression or anti-liberal intimidation. The tactic is highly effective since decent people—and most conservatives I know are decent people—tend to recoil from being associated with repressive regimes, ideologies of hatred and anti-democratic attitudes. The taint of the disreputable, no matter how apocryphal, is an extremely powerful deterrent. Clarity and fortitude must prevail against the miasma of spurious imputation deployed by the left.
Of course, the left will use the false analogy not only to denigrate its opponents but to justify its chosen paladins. The monstrous fanatic and genocidal terrorist Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS and torturer and killer of thousands, becomes for The Washington Post an “austere religious scholar.” Similarly, Antifa, a violent ideologically-driven fascist cult and the most recent incarnation of Hitler’s Brownshirts, Germany’s Baader Meinhoff and Italy’s Red Brigades, can pass itself off as anti-fascist.
One thinks, too, of the American Civil Liberties Union or George Soros’ Open Society Foundations or the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, whose grandiose titles mask their sinister agendas. Campus organizations such as, for example, Students for Justice in Palestine or the Progressive Student Alliance know how to play the name game to perfection. I have just heard that Students Against Bigotry, with the complicity of the administration, succeeded in having my wife’s talk on intersectional feminism canceled at her alma mater, the University of British Columbia, thereby abetting the triumphal march of bigotry. Freedom-loving people need to recognize the sordid technique of deceptive nomenclature for what it is, a brake against taking action, especially when it is used not only to glorify the left but to disparage the right, and refuse to dignify bogus appellations and libelous epithets with a fearful response.
In a recent article for PJ Media, I suggested that the time may have come for the president of the United States to invoke Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, which provides grounds for the prosecution of treasonous acts against the Republic. One can understand the reluctance to enact so harsh and nearly unprecedented a measure, but there is always the Insurrection Act, which enables the President ‘to put down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion’ in order to combat the rise of the autocratic left intent on destroying the greatest nation on earth.
The issue, I argued, is whether discursive, electoral or procedural means are sufficient to thwart evident sedition. Are investigations such as those launched by Attorney General William Barr and Attorney John Durham against deep-state operatives adequate to foiling a doubled-down leftist raptor? Or would something far more dramatic be needed to defuse the left’s duplicitous offensive against a sitting president, its protracted war on the free enterprise system and its attempt to emasculate the Constitution? The question, as Goldman warns, is how to prevent the end of the unique republican experiment that is the United States of America. If state action against treason is deemed necessary or at least advisable, it must surely be considered.
Such advocacy is, as they say, a slippery slope. Though many readers have come to my defense, others have accused me of harboring the very despotic and authoritarian ideas that I reject. “Solway is advocating for a totalitarian dictatorship,” one commentator opined. Another mischievously associated my approach to quelling a national insurgency with China’s treatment of the Hong-Kong protestors. “It is past time for China to put down rebellion, lawlessness & insurrection in Hong Kong,” he writes, cleverly linking American law with Chinese tyranny in pursuit of a leftist agenda. The police state, according to the tenor of his ironic gibe, is to be applauded. This was to be expected for that is how the false analogy works.
Of course, much depends upon one’s political convictions. Some, like Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, admire China’s “basic dictatorship.” Others believe in the settling of all disputes and conflicts, no matter how menacing or disruptive, by rational discussion and sensible persuasion. This attitude is what Will Durant has called “our democratic dogma [which] has leveled not only all voters but all leaders” and led to a condition of widespread mediocrity. State violence against its citizens is inherently problematic, if not in most cases detestable; and yet the preservation of a democratic republic may, as in the 1860s, require the adoption of force. This is the paradox of democratic life. As Michael Ignatieff, a former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, contended in his 2004 volume The Lesser Evil, a nation of herbivores cannot survive; it needs its carnivores to resist other carnivores. For Ignatieff, the enemy carnivores come from outside a nation’s borders; he does not engage the dilemma of a nation’s enemy carnivores stalking from within.
The fact is that we all depend on one manifestation of force to control another of coercive violence. The police are armed with powers, warrants and firearms to combat those who would otherwise rob and murder with impunity, and we do not object when our lives are at stake—unless we are pacifists who prefer death on principle rather than survival in an ambiguous and turbulent world where right and wrong may be hard to distinguish. However, if one believes that a democratic republic is worth saving from an organized campaign of lies, Marxist propaganda, corruption, deep-state conspiracies, threats against the President’s life, violence in the streets, and the sundry practices and strategies associated with the totalitarian left, something more than words is necessary.
There are times when force must be fought with force if a civil democracy is to be preserved from the ideological depravity of a monocratic political power. One cannot always fight an adversary committed to violence, national upheaval and political domination with moral indignation, intellectual lucidity and rhetorical argument. One must also resist the tactic of false analogy adopted by the leftist mind to further its agenda of state control over all aspects of civil life. The totalitarian left relies on nominal deception, a variant of a false flag operation defined by the Urban Dictionary as “Something disguised to seem affiliated with a group OTHER THAN the one it really is affiliated with.” The left is affiliated with the doctrine of absolute, one-party, draconian command over political and economic life while pretending to be wedded to the ideal of human perfectibility and an eventual pastoral sequel to the irrevocable nature of things. The disjunction is cavernous.
Leftist apparatchiks and their trolls will equate resisting intestine violence and planned insurrection with the Chinese crackdown against the citizens of Hong Kong fighting to preserve their freedoms. Such a false analogy easily permeates weak minds; indeed, it would be tantamount to placing a national paragon like Abraham Lincoln in the same camp as political gangsters and moral depraveniks like Josef Stalin or Chairman Mao.
Political discretion and soul-searching must precede the invoking of severe constitutional instruments against the threat of subversion, though they are on the books for a reason. Nor should one allow oneself to be deceived by false analogies and clandestine misdirection so beloved of the New Totalitarians. Should President Trump lose the next election, I suspect it will be game over. Certainly, advocating state intervention in perilous times may be compared to treading a slippery slope, but nothing prevents one from wearing cleats.