Two days ago a bunch of pro-Trump people stormed the US capitol, thrashed some offices, and generally tried to disrupt the final certification of the electoral college vote and the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Since then social media has been abuzz with the talk about the details and the implications. There’s been a combination of frustration, hand wringing, disgust, anger, confusion, and a lot of other things besides.
Suffice to say I have Some Thoughts on the matter.
First off, this was a disgusting action by a bunch of pro-tyranny, often horribly racist idiots pissed that their tyrant didn’t win.
This was not any great day for freedom or righteous assault on a terrible place. Had it escalated the worst possible outcome was a civil war with no good sides, rather than a good side and a bad side.
This was not the work of antifa or some false flag operation, and to say so is some of the most ignorant, delusional, and rank stupidity I have ever heard in over 20 years of being politically aware.
Spike Cohen’s call for understanding is admirable, but in one of the few times I disagree with him I think it’s wasted words on people full of hate, bile, and blind cult worship.
This is not a great opportunity for the libertarian movement either. It’s probably the optimistic minarchist in me, but the combination of a return to more banal, functional evil and a LOT of newly energized people from the Jorgensen campaign ready to run for city council in 2021 is a powerful one. Massive chaos at the top and an almost inevitable crackdown won’t help advance our cause.
The argument that if the protestors had been black or brown they would have gotten their asses kicked by police rather than allowed to waltz in almost entirely unopposed has a lot of merit.
The whataboutism being drawn by some people over the Black Lives Matter riots this summer is false equivalency. Black Lives Matter had and has a completely legitimate and gigantic gripe, namely that the state really shouldn’t be murdering people, especially those that aren’t pale skinned. While I do wish that more of the rage had been directed specifically at the state rather than everywhere, as much as I can I understand that level of frustration, anger, and desperation. It’s palpable, and real, and justified. How you can listen to this, for example, and not be moved to tears or blind fury (or both) is beyond me. The Trumpians’ gripe, on the other hand, is complete bullshit. Every allegation of fraud was either shut down, often by Republican election officials in states Trump lost, or defeated soundly in over 50 lawsuits, often in front of Republican appointed judges. And as Legal Eagle pointed out, the gap between what Trump’s legal team said in public vs. what they actually said under oath was staggering. Black Lives Matter went to war for an ugly truth. Trump’s cult went to war for a lie. And contra Slim Charles, fighting on a lie only destroys. There are serious systemic problems with how we do presidential elections, including precinct consolidation, gerrymandering, the Commission On Presidential Debates, and stuff like I covered here. But under the rules as they stand Biden won fair and square. Trumpers need to suck it up and deal, and run a better candidate next time.
The LP’s public statement on the matter, contra the Mises Caucus, were right. The why, the how, and the who matters. There are scenarios I can envision where a group would have charged the seat of power like that and I’d cheer. But again, a bunch of racist wackadoos whining about their cult leader not winning over the other cult leader? Nothing righteous about it. And unless you’re really prepared for civil war, with all of the blood and pain that would result AND the highly uncertain outcome, maybe it might be a good idea to let a combination of political reform, growing our movement, and building competing institutions like alternate currencies, direct primary care providers, private education do its thing.
My opinion of the federal government and most of its actions ranges somewhere between my opinion of syphilis and AIDS. It remains a horrid, murderous, thieving monster that should be opposed whenever possible. But one of the few things it does well is relatively fair and open elections, with plenty of systemic problems but almost no retail level fraud. And yes, democracy has its own problems, but those elections still represent a real avenue for potential change and societal improvement. They shouldn’t be left to the violent whims of easily deluded racists begging for a new king.