Condemning The Capitol Hill Riots
The idiocy we saw occur two weeks ago in Washington DC was disgusting, and deserves full and unequivocal condemnation. This kind of behavior is in no way conservative, nor does it represent the conservative movement. Similar to the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots of last year, these must be called out from our side of the aisle utterly forcefully because there is an attempt to attribute it to the conservative movement writ large.
Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that the rioters were not conservatives. He is correct. His words, nonetheless spurned mockery from various blue checks on Twitter. But if you look at what the people who behaved violently, or who tried to inflict chaos believe, these people are NOT conservatives.
One of the great things about Donald Trump’s initial candidacy is that it brought a lot of voices to the table. People who wouldn’t naturally vote GOP. But the flip side of that is some of the more fringe people found a path into supporting their man in the Republican Party, and believe they are the true conservatives, who ought to overthrow the fake conservatives. There can be some arguments that people on the right have gone soft on some issues they shouldn’t have. Specifically on immigration and cultural issues. Then Trump came along and actually fought back, which appealed to people. The only problem is that Trump himself wasn’t naturally a conservative and he had a tendency to just wreck everything like a bull in a China shop. That can be beneficial sometimes, if guided to make desired changes. And he did a lot of great things with some guidance from advisors who kept their eyes on conservative priorities. Overruling conventional wisdom and politically correct premises that the right been too fearful to take on. That was good. Other times, the guidance overcorrected too much and we got leftwing policy such as the First Step Act or failing to follow through on a lot of his immigration promises. Still, there were lots of different people who thought they were now the true conservatives, despite not knowing much about conservatism. And while I agree that the Republican Party needs to stick up for conservative principles more forcefully, most of these people I’m referring to do not preach conservatism. Perhaps they have a few common policy prescriptions, but it’s not consistent to conservative philosophy. I’ve written about this with regard to the alt-right and their attempt to seize control of the rightwing.
And alt-righters joined in as well, to the various protests that embraced QAnon conspiracies and had expectations that Trump would remain president or the Republican Party must be destroyed. Alt-right agitator Nick Fuentes led chants of “destroy the GOP” prior to the Georgia senate election. He is somebody who has been near universally condemned by the right, but he hopes to tarnish the larger image of conservatives with his antics because he wants to tear it all down. This is the philosophy of a lot of those like him. Their intent is accelerationism. The idea that the only way to eventually win is make the conflicts more polarized and dirty. That is because these people seek to undermine conservatives and make themselves appear to be the standard bearers and thus, win over converts. They have a symbiotic relationship with the left, who seek to smear all conservatives as unstable racists. Which is why it is imperative that we as conservatives remain consistent and separate ourselves from the perpetrators of the riot. That isn’t to say we should roll over and accept what the left is currently trying to do. On the contrary, forcefully condemning these actions proves that we on the right do not accept this activity. Of course there is then the problem of the smearing of everybody based on the group of people who committed the violence. And laying the blame upon anybody who raised concerns about voter fraud.
Voter fraud was a serious issue that a lot of people on the right were concerned about and rightly so. But the best way to move forward would have been to stay calm and present evidence. Sadly, the claims of voter fraud were taken over by the likes of Lin Wood and Sydney Powell, who proceeded to lay out wild accusations they couldn’t prove. And they didn’t even try to prove these claims in court. Wood’s claims devolved into deranged conspiracy theories that led to ridiculous calls to not vote in the Georgia senate race, and accusing Mike Pence of treason. But back to the original legal arguments, the closest we got was witness testimony that could have easily been what people thought they were seeing or entirely made up. Nonetheless, this gave a lot of people on the right hope that Trump could still pull a victory out of the hat prior to certification of the electoral votes on January 6th. And there were indeed many people who protested in the assumption that something could have been done, because they believed the claims. And that was a vast majority of the people who were there for Trump’s speech and quasi-rally and remained peaceful. Of course no such win occurred, and partisans then sought to blame everybody who indulged such hope. This happened in concert with people on the left and the right staying entrenched their own bubbles; echo chambers that reinforce that the only way your candidate can lose has to be because of cheating or a conspiracy.
We saw that with the Russia narrative, because prior to the election, Democrats thought there was no way they could lose. Then years later, there were unfortunately a lot of Republicans who had a similar faith that there was no way their candidate could lose. So there must be a more sinister reason. I’m much more inclined to think that while the changes to election rules, like converting the system to universal mail-in ballots, led to the benefit of democrats, and the detriment of republicans. A lot of people who went along with the belief that Trump could not have legitimately lost the election, ranging from the president himself, to Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. In a way, the legal changing of the election rules caused democratic advantages to be boosted and seeds of mistrust were sown among supporters of Donald Trump. While I agree that what the senators did was likely more an attempt at performance art, calculated to win over ardent Trump supporters for their own 2024 presidential run, it is ludicrous to accuse them of inciting violence and call for their expulsion from Congress. Trump was certainly a problem in fomenting such hope, when he could have easily quashed what was coming by accepting defeat, but I still wouldn’t testify that he’s guilty of incitement to violence. Incitement has a very strict legal standard and the charge with regard to Trump has been stretched beyond legitimacy, mostly from people who flagrantly ignored or even cheered on claims that could just have easily encouraged the riots we experienced in our country last year.
So, it is important that we fight back, but also fight smart. We can’t let our emotions sway our consistent principles. We stood against riots during the summer of 2020, and we stand against riots now. We stood against violent attacks on law enforcement, then and we stand against violent attacks on law enforcement, now. Consistency not only is key, it is the morally right path forward. Do not let the people who desire the destruction of the conservative movement to frame who we are.