Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky
I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.
– Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?
– Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
By definition, a human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange – meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State. It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil. The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities. This is what the television news is all about. Unfortunately there is so much original sin in us all that we find evil rather attractive. To devastate is easier and more spectacular than to create.
– Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.
– George Orwell, 1984
I have spent large chunks of the last two evenings / nights listening to the police scanner in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That is perhaps a little neurotic, but I usually have about 20,000 concerned companions at any given time. Social media is now flooded with people who, in possession of the actual facts of these uprisings, remark constantly about what complete and utter horseshit mainstream media reporting has become. That’s a mundane observation these days, but sometimes I am still shocked by our institutional failures.
To me, Kenosha represents something of a turning point in left-wing extremist ultra-violence. I really don’t care about rioting in places like Portland, Seattle, Chicago, New York, or Atlanta. Those are longstanding empires of corruption and dysfunction, and if you bought real estate there, it’s probably because you are personally so messed up politically and intellectually that you sought that environment out.
Kenosha, on the other hand, is not even a large town. It’s situated in-between Milwaukee and Chicago and has 100,000 mostly boring middle-class people who – until this week – had a pretty swell comeback story from the loss of manufacturing jobs that accompanied globalization. This is not some bourgeois-but-woke hivemind, but a place where people eke out a living selling mattresses and office furniture and used cars. It’s quintessential Middle America.
The media cliche of “mostly peaceful protests that escalated into violence” has been plainly refuted by the police scanner for days to anyone who is listening. In fact, it has been a clockwork instigation that begins roughly when the RNC coverage ends each night. There was never any peaceful intent.
Instead, you have a relatively small town with a small town police force that is overwhelmed from the very beginning of the events by rioters who are coming in from out-of-town. Police on the scanner report literal caravans of cars and trucks with blacked-out plates moving into town from Chicago. (On Twitter, Antifa and BLM activists ask for directions to Kenosha and how to evade road blocks.) The cars are loaded with people ready to destroy, often carrying loads of gas cans, bricks, bottles filled with concrete mix, makeshift weapons, and lots and lots of guns, which they gleefully brandish.
The mainstream media photographers are there, not to chase the very real and ubiquitous violence, but to chase the narrative – “Getty,” if you will – shot. The one man with arms raised to the heavens, standing in the way of an armored personnel carrier, ignoring the vicious hellscape around them. Ignoring the pure, unadulterated evil around them for civil rights-ish propaganda.
They don’t want pictures of the 70-year-old man who has his jaw shattered by rioters as he tries to put out a fire at his friend’s business.
They don’t want pictures of small-town business owners pleading with rioters not to torch their life’s work.
They don’t want pictures of youth trying to torch a dinosaur museum, because apparently fossils are oppressors now.
You knew from listening to the police scanner at 10 pm that people were going to be shot and killed last night. Armed citizens, aware their police – whom they probably know by name, if not kin – are overwhelmed and their Boomer liberal, Fauci-wannabe governor rejected additional federal assistance so he could keep his swampy bona fides, took to the streets to form protective lines themselves. I’m kind of surprised these confrontations did not happen earlier, as the rioters in Kenosha and other cities have been moving into residential neighborhoods.
What would you do if you were a normal, middle class person in this town? Your business either destroyed or about to be destroyed. Your real estate is now worthless. You started off the month worried about where your kid was going to go to school, and now it’s like WTF can you even stay in your own house without some ignorant and spoiled young monster setting it on fire while you sleep?
Can you even begin to ponder the scale of grief and rage these folks are experiencing? The destruction these rioters are wrecking is not unlike a natural disaster. In fact, that’s one of the most bizarre elements of it – the completeness of the destruction they are leaving in their path. They pulled down dozens of streetlamps. They busted out the little walk/wait signs at intersections. No small detail escaped. They even blocked off escape routes so citizens must experience their terrorism. And yet it wasn’t a natural disaster. This destruction was accomplished by human beings who freely chose and even planned to do it. They showed up wanting to smash, maim, and kill. And if you see videos of them talking about it, they are downright giddy about it. They love the ultra-violence. It’s… fun.
What is the difference between having outsiders torch a town over concocted grievances that do not even involve the townspeople, and an act of war? What is the moral logic of treating these rioters as anything other than enemies of the polis? The punk with Molotov cocktail is treated more carefully than the small business owner who lost everything on the pyre of the outrage du jour.
The likelihood of the man shot by police in Kenosha (and, no, I am not going to “say his name” – the dude beats the shit out of women, he’s not my saint or martyr) being revealed to be armed and dangerous individual is probably high. You knew this when the family’s lawyer tried to get out in front of the narrative with politically sympathetic journalists within hours.
Police were responding to a 911 call made by a woman known to him, who said he was in her house when he should not be, and had stolen her keys. The man had a history of domestic violence, active warrants for his arrest, and was wanted in connection with felony sexual assault. They expected a violent confrontation from the beginning, and they got it, as he was also videoed wrestling with cops, then storming away from cops with guns drawn toward his car. A sane individual looking at the already-known facts about this man would not portray him as an innocent victim of anything. He is a person with a history of physically assaulting other people and you just watched him on video physically assault cops and evade arrest. The dude is not fucking MLK.
Yet this is the excuse for turning a small town of good, hard-working people into a smoking pit of rubble. It’s disgusting. But not as disgusting as how people in positions of power now outright side with evil.