Understanding the violence so we can fix its source.
Violence itself is a form of extremism. What we saw at the Capitol Wednesday – a building that has not been breached since 1814 – was certainly extremism, but it is important to understand it and distinguish it from other forms of extremism.
There are two kinds of violent extremism that are very prevalent – that which stems from people who might otherwise not engage in violence but have been pushed too far or feel they have been backed into a corner. And another that ipso facto uses violence as a strategy.
This latter type of violent extremism is often connected to an ideology. We saw this clearly with ISIS, Al Qaeda and the like. In addition, we saw this summer and are currently seeing it with Antifa, which has essentially shown itself to be a nihilist/anarchist group simply bent on destruction.
It is the former that we saw breaching of the Capitol Building on January 6. First, let us make clear that we are not condoning this or any violence – on the contrary. What we are trying to do is understand it in the hopes of preventing similar manifestations of violence in the future.
For those following trends for the last number of years – possibly decades – in America, this was no shock. Rather it was the expression by a small group of Americans who have reached their boiling point. It is also likely true that a very large number of Americans are at or close to this point, but they would never take such actions.
How did they reach the boiling point?
People reach the boiling point when they are angry and they have no constructive release for their anger. The irregularities of the recent presidential election (legal violations, rules changes, constitutional infringements) may have been the catalyst, but the anger was already simmering through:
- The shutdown of political discourse through cancel culture, social media bans and admitted jimmy-rigged algorithms by big tech
- Draconian lockdowns and the blatant hypocrisy by politicians, who not only violate them themselves but also allow (and promote) massive political protests while closing down churches, open-air restaurants and other “safe” businesses
- Having the violent looting and burning of American cities by BLM supporters ignored by the media and supporting politicians
- Banning of medical information by tech giants regarding the coronavirus, including that by respected and world-renowned medical professionals
- The hijacking of the American school system from kindergarten through college with critical race theory, alternative gender theories, cultural Marxism and the use of history books like Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States
- The incessant promotion of lies and hoaxes against their political views and candidates by the mainstream media for the last four years (the Russia hoax, the Ukraine hoax, the “fine people” hoax, etc.)
- The demonization by the media and many vocal leaders of the Left of people on “the other side”
- The encouragement of harassment and hounding of Republican politicians by Democrat politicians like Maxine Waters, etc.
Some have called the events on Capitol Hill a wake-up call. In some ways, it was, as no one expected those on the Right to take such drastic action. In this way, the Left was put on notice that there will be consequences of their actions and that the Left doesn’t have a monopoly on violent demonstrations.
In other ways, given the short-lived memory of the mainstream media, the events will only serve as a cudgel, emboldening the media in their righteous indignation.
If the election irregularities were the final straw that resulted in the breaching of the Capitol Building, if nothing else, this demonstration sent a clear message that when half the population cannot trust its election results (according to a number of polls) it is the beginning of the end of this great experiment we call America.
If it is to be saved, the first job is to fix the election system, state by state – otherwise, there won’t be a system left to fix.
Then we can get to the business of rectifying the wrongs of cancel culture, our deceptive and duplicitous media and the curricula being taught to our children.
Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org
EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.