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The New Republic: A New “War on Terrorism” Is the Wrong Way to Fight Domestic Extremists

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My immediate thoughts on the new Hannah Gais piece in The New Republic on how to fight “domestic extremism” (she works for the SPLC) are as follows:

  • The accelerationists largely disappeared after the El Paso shooting back in the summer of 2019 and the crackdown that followed although there might be a few accounts on Telegram
  • As the arrest records show, it was a bunch of normies who stormed the Capitol and aside from Nick Fuentes, Baked Alaska and the Groypers no one else was there
  • It is normies who have been radicalized by Trump’s defeat with something like 70% of Trump voters still believing the election was outright stolen from him and some huge number in the millions being open now to using violence to “save America”

A domestic “war on terrorism” against accelerationists is a ship that has sailed and is all but certain to backfire given the precedent set abroad and our current fragile political climate.

The New Republic:

“In the months since, the question of how to stem the tide of domestic extremism has been met with appropriate seriousness from most corners, save certain factions on the right. But many of the solutions offered pose serious problems themselves. Among the more troubling developments is an explosion in calls for a domestic “war on terrorism.” Proposals along this line, emanating from federal law enforcement, intelligence officials, and lawmakers, have run the gamut, from invocations to use the tools and institutions refined during the Bush- and Obama-era “war on terrorism” to demands for a new criminal domestic terrorism statute. The Department of Homeland Security, a sprawling bureaucratic behemoth created in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and branded during the Bush era as one of the “essential institutions” in fighting terrorism, has reportedly been tapped by the Biden administration to play a greater role in combating white supremacist extremism. Likewise, the federal No Fly list—which names people who are prohibited from boarding commercial aircraft for travel within, into, or out of the country, and has been referred to as a “due-process nightmare” by civil liberties advocates—has been trotted out as a potential means of restricting the freedom of movement of insurrectionists. …

Their act of terror, which took place at the behest of the president of the United States, was planned and carried out in full view. In 2017, when Gebert and others marched in Unite the Right, they were emboldened by Trump’s recent election; they too saw no reason to hide. In 2021, after the president’s enthusiastic endorsement, they saw no reason to back down.

In the end, the grim truth is that any attempts to curtail the actions of white supremacists—those of sensible law enforcement or those of an overreaching “war on terrorism” tool kit—are treating merely the symptoms, and not the cause. White supremacist ideology has been knitted into American society since the country’s founding. To try to undo the conditions that produce individuals like Gebert or Beckett is to undertake a vast cultural project. Some white nationalists “may be members of foreign terrorist organizations, but others are members of Congress or popular Fox News hosts,” pointed out Emerson Brooking, a fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington. “There’s no way to ‘other’ a movement that wields so much power and so much influence over American life.”

BTW, has anyone noticed there actually isn’t any terrorism going on?

Joe Biden has been president for five months now and there hasn’t been any accelerationist mass shootings. There hasn’t been anything like the Oklahoma City Bombing. The widely anticipated QAnon invasion of Washington, DC failed to materialize. Given the fraught political climate and Joe Biden’s lack of legitimacy on the Right, maybe the status quo is the best case scenario?


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