Don’t exaggerate threat of the US Capitol’s ragtag rioters

Don’t exaggerate threat of the US Capitol’s ragtag rioters. By Brendan O’Neill.

The ragtag army of Capitol breachers may have looked ridiculous, decked out in Trump-wear, face paint and antlers. But what they did was not ridiculous, it was serious. They illegally entered the democratic citadel of the United States, a beacon of democracy to many people around the world, with the express intention of blocking the peaceful transition of power voted for by their fellow citizens. …

This was not a fascist coup, as so many shrill, supposedly liberal commentators are claiming. Their flagrant use of the word “fascist” to describe every political movement they disapprove of is an insult to reason and history. This wasn’t a coup full stop. The National Guard swiftly suppressed the morons, the barricades were put back up, and even their hero, Donald Trump, told them to go home. A coup is a conscious effort to illegally seize power from the government. These people couldn’t even believe they made it into the Capitol. They were like children finding a candy store unguarded.

Hmmm, so who left it unguarded, and why? Who benefits?

And it wasn’t an insurrection, either, as Joe Biden and others are calling it. Except perhaps a pantomime insurrection, a cosplay revolt, a more heated version of those history aficionados who spend their weekends dressed up as soldiers of the American Revolution or the American Civil War. …

Political correctness:

Across the media, there is a striking disparity between the claims being made about the Capitol incursion and the photographs of it. The claims are extreme: this is fascism, they say; it’s like 1933; the far right is now usurping democracy itself. The German Foreign Minister even made a reference to the Reichstag Fire, the 1933 arson against the German parliament that the Nazis used as a pretext to seize power.

Reality:

But the photos show something very different. They show wide-eyed protesters, as bemused as the rest of us that they are inside the Capitol building. In some photos it looks more like an unscheduled tour of the Capitol rather than anything like a coup — the protesters even stayed inside the barriers as they walked along the carpet. They took selfies while sitting on the Speaker’s chair. …

It is important to note this disparity because it confirms that something very political is taking place right now. The threat inflation, the wild claims about a fascist coup, are transparent efforts by the cosseted political and cultural elites to endow their project with moral importance; to give their restoration of managerial, technocratic power after the four-year populist experiment — which is fundamentally the project that Biden and his influential supporters are currently engaged in — the gloss of historical urgency. …

Hypocrisy:

The elites’ condemnation of the riotous invaders rings hollow, too. These are the same elites who refused, for weeks, to condemn the savagely destructive rioting that gripped large parts of the US in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Indeed, serious commentators condemned anyone who used words like “riots” and “looting”. CNN infamously referred to fiery assaults on buildings and livelihoods as “mostly peaceful” protests. Biden and other leading Democrats were silent. When protesters assaulted police stations and even a courthouse, in Portland, little was said. You cannot implicitly green-light BLM rioting for weeks on end and then condemn the violent lunacy in the Capitol and expect to be taken seriously.