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The Feds announced to great fanfare that they foiled a plot by far-right extremists to kidnap the daffy governor of Michigan. They coordinated this with the governor so she could try to gain some sympathy. Of course, this being the age of lies, the extremists were mostly anarchists and random goofballs talked into this by the Feds. Putting aside the absurdity of this case, it does raise a good question. That is, why has there been so little organized violence in America?
Now, people will point to the left-wing riots over the summer, but that was always intended to be theater. Those people in the streets are not resisting anything or trying to topple the system. They are creatures of the system. As soon as official sanction is withdrawn, they melt away, as we saw in 2016 and now 2020. What we have not seen is violence from people who genuinely wish to topple the prevailing order or strike a blow against it for political reasons.
This is not just a current year issue. The 9/11 attacks were a spectacular example of how an open society is vulnerable to attack. There are plenty of Muslims in America and some portion of them hate the government. The 9/11 attacks should have inspired some of them to do similar attacks. Instead, a few misfits were caught in lone-wolf style efforts, but otherwise, not much. As with the fictional right-wing militias, the FBI was left to arresting on-line losers pretending to be Al-Qaeda.
It’s easy to miss the lack of organized violence, as the media floods the zone with agit-prop about invisible Nazis and peaceful riots. These are campfire stories they tell the true believers so they will remain vigilant. In reality, there has been precious little push-back of any kind, much less the violent sort. They had to turn Gavin McInnes’s goofy fan club into a terrorist group, because they were so desperate for material. The demand for extremists of any type far exceeds the supply.
Consider this. When was the last time someone fired a shot at a president? Despite how hated Trump is by the Left, there has been no Squeaky Fromme. According to Wikipedia, the threats to Obama were humorously ridiculous. The worst thing to happen to Bush was that some Iraqi tossed a shoe at him. Like Obama, the threats to Clinton were random goofballs. The last President to get shot at was Reagan. Assassination has become a thing of the past in our politics.
Going back to the Muslim stuff, the thing no one ever asked is why were these guys so bad at violence? Timothy McVeigh showed how easy it is to make a big bomb from common materials. Instead of hijacking airplanes, they could have had suicide bombers in rental trucks popping up all over the country. Think about how many soft targets there are in a typical city. Think about how many vulnerable choke points there are, like bridges and tunnels. Yet, nothing ever happens.
Now, the Feds will claim that their vigilance is what keeps us safe from this sort of stuff, but that is obviously not true. Their effort to subvert the 2016 elections has revealed that the brain-drain in the FBI reached a critical stage long ago. Like the Michigan incident, their big collars are goofballs they talk into saying dumb things on-line. A real terrorist plot would have nothing to fear from the FBI. The lack of such incidents is due to factors outside of the law enforcement operations.
One possible answer for this is that people engaged in politics are not the sort that see force as a political tool. It is the foxes versus the lions phenomenon. Modern politics is about abstract concepts, not group interests. Union guys a century ago were willing to blow up the company offices because both sides were lions, engaged in a battle for physical stuff. Today, political combatants are foxes, engaged in a battle of wits over complex theories about how best to run society.
Another possible reason is people are becoming more docile and stupid. The latter is fairly well established. Not only is the demographic mix lowering overall intelligence, but the smart fraction is getting dumber as well. Organized political violence needs smart motivated people. Since the Industrial Revolution, western culture has selected against violence and force, in favor of cooperation. The result is a more docile population that is getting dumber with each generation.
Of course, political violence may be a lagging indicator or even knock-on effect of political turmoil at the upper reaches of society. The West is middle-class and peaceful, but in a steady decline. At some point, like a failing business, the impending collapse becomes obvious to enough people that they abandon orderly politics. This rush to the exits of conventional politics leads to an explosion of political violence. Perhaps that is what lies ahead for the West.
Perhaps Steven Pinker was right and the arc of human evolution leads away from violence and humanity is headed to a peaceful demise. Occidentals have become the panda bears of our species, happy to eat and sleep, but too disinterested in their own survival to reproduce or defend themselves. The rest of the world, which seems more violent and aggressive, is simply a few steps behind, as they have always been, on the evolutionary timeline, but they too will go gently into the night.
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