Tuesday, October 11, 2022

"Defund the Police" Vs. "Defund the FBI": What Tocqueville and the Founders Might Have Pointed Out

According to non-thinking Republicans (that would be RINOs, for the most part) and to non-thinking Democrats (that would be the lot of them), "Defund the Police" and "Defund the FBI" seem to be, at best, two sides of the same coin.

1/4)  Seeking the Approval of Those Who Hate Us

That, at least, was how Mike Pence made headlines after the FBI raided Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in August, saying that calls to defund the FBI was “just as wrong” as shouts by leftist drama queens and crisis seekers to defund the police.

“The Republican Party is the party of law and order,” [the former VP] said. “Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”

Is that truly the case, however? Is "Defund the FBI" really the equivalent of "Defund the Police"?

I have written before on conservatives (more than a few of them fairly religious, unfortunately) who, as admirable as they otherwise may be, don't seem to use their brains and are just clueless (maybe not as clueless as Joe Biden, but certainly far less willing to fight).

— see The Mote in Thine Own Eye (in the Eye of the Conservative): Why Are Conservatives So Naïve That They Refuse to See the Beam in the Eye of Those Who Hate Their Very Existence?
In that perspective, Trump’s former vice president added this:

“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI.”

Fine.  But again, why isn't any progressive on the left-leaning side making similar comments regarding local police forces?  Why can't they — why can't we all — be against the cops who are corrupt or who shoot and/or kill unarmed civilians (white as well as black) while not exonerating the rest of them? Why must only conservatives and Republicans play the Nuance and Self-Blame games while the Left (and the Rinos) get to scream their virtue signals to their hearts' content? Why the usual double standards?

For instance, listen to one Matt Lewis. He claims to be a "conservative", which may be true, but it seems more likely that he is using the left's old trick whereby leftists write letters and posts claiming that "I am a lifelong and faithful Republican except that there is just this little problem that I cannot stomach that dreadful person (Trump/Bush/Reagan/Palin/etc/etc/etc…) that my party nominated" followed by (this being an actual Matt Lewis quote) "Today’s Republican Party is 180 degrees different from the party that most of its members—like myself—signed up to join."

When you mention "the devastating revelations in the Jan. 6 hearings" (ho-hum) and the "many outrageously cynical flip-flops for the party of Trump", Matt Lewis — without ever once alluding to any of the Democrat party's many faults — you might just be a Liz Cheney-type RINO, and therefore an outright fake conservative.

But no matter. Let us hear what Matt Lewis has to say regarding alleged Republican hypocrisy:

After a 2020 election cycle that saw the “law and order” party criticize Democrats for wanting to “defund the police,” we’ve seen quite a few members of the right’s commentariat blithely wave off video of MAGA rioters beating Capitol police officers with flagpoles. (Those cops’ lives don’t matter, to the Blue Lives Matter crowd.) Now, a lot of those same voices on the right are saying, “Defund the FBI.” So much for lionizing the law enforcement heroes who run toward danger.

Do the FBI's "law enforcement heroes … run toward danger", Matt Lewis?  Or do they run towards hymn-singing pro-life activists and towards Melania's underwear drawer in Palm Beach?

Why the reversal? It’s not because the police have suddenly become more abusive, and it’s not because Republicans figured out that standing against law enforcement wins votes. The real reason concerns Trump’s attempt to avoid accountability and oversight.

The police have not become more abusive, Matt Lewis?! See Tucker Carlson's replies below (section 3/4). That Matt could write this post without even alluding to the many instances of concern regarding the politicized FBI (not to mention the the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland calling not just January 6 protesters but reg'lar run-o'-the-mill parents "domestic terrorists") — after refraining from even alluding to the many instances of grave problems with the 2000 election — seems to confirm that he is a fake conservative or a RINO in the Romney/Cheney mold. Someone who Hates Our Very Existence.

Indeed, the first indication that Matt Lewis is not being straightforward is — again — that he never, ever, not once, pauses to do what seems to be obvious, i.e., condemn the leftists' "Defund the Police" slogan. Wasn't that what, after all, started the whole mess in the first place? Couldn't Matt Lewis have done so just once, at least in a brief aside?

This is one of the main ways of identifying an undeclared partisan such as a RINO, by the way, and this you can (try to) explain to a Republican (real or fake), to a Democrat, and/or to an Independent alike, as well as to a foreigner:  a self-professed conservative, man or woman, black or white, who gets on his high horses always and only, or mainly, concerning scandals real or alleged related to members of the GOP.

At this point, let us turn to Instapundit, who links to The very bad reason white Democrats want to defund the police. Here, The New York Post asks, "if higher socioeconomic status and greater insulation from violent crime do not entirely explain the white vs. non-white “wokeness gap,” what does?"

The answer, [contends ], is that group-based feelings of guilt and shame over perceived white privilege and racial inequity tend to prevail over worries about risk. Particularly in the aftermath of high-profile racialized police incidents (such as Floyd’s death), white Democrats — who score high on measures of collective shame and guilt — become fixated on distinguishing themselves as “good white people,” who are doing something (however counterproductive) to protect minorities from the “racist” institutions that “victimize” them. The downside of depolicing either doesn’t register, is rationalized, or [is] dismissed altogether. 

 … these findings should at least give pause to those who dismiss white depolicers as “limousine” liberals supporting “virtuous” policies without having to live under them. 

The reality might be even more disturbing: Gripped by “white savior” ideology, they may actually be willing to endure the consequences for what they falsely perceive will bring about equity and justice. If only they wouldn’t impose this tradeoff on the rest of us.

Read the whole thing™. (Merci `a Monsieur Driscoll pour le hyperlien.)

Below, I focus on more historical reasons for what separates the two movements.

2/4)  The Historical Perspective: The Origins of the American Republic

Because we are not here to simply take down Matt Lewis.

We are here to discuss in general terms whether Defunding the FBI is really on the same level as Defunding the Police.  Is it tit for tat, and nothing more? Is the one as bad as the other? Is one just replying with a Nyah-nyah to the other side?

The answer comes from de Alexis de Tocqueville:

One of the most pertinent things that the writer of Of Democracy in America found in his 1830s visit to the young American republic was how every citizen felt connected to all concerns, local as well as national, was a participant therein, and how well the Republic functioned because decisions were always taken at the lowest (at the most local) level possible.

In "Democracy in America," published in 1833, Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the way Americans preferred voluntary association to government regulation
writes Niall Ferguson (thanks to Instapundit).

"The inhabitant of the United States," he wrote, "has only a defiant and restive regard for social authority and he appeals to it . . . only when he cannot do without it."

Unlike Frenchmen, he continued, who instinctively looked to the state to provide economic and social order, Americans relied on their own efforts. "In the United States, they associate for the goals of public security, of commerce and industry, of morality and religion. There is nothing the human will despairs of attaining by the free action of the collective power of individuals."

What especially amazed Tocqueville was the sheer range of nongovernmental organizations Americans formed: "Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations . . . but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fetes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools."
That concerns policing as well.

A local cop (of whatever race) will hardly agree to gratuitously aiming at or arresting the son of, say, the Doe family down the street as a "white supremacist" or as a "domestic terrorist" or some other sort of wild criminal charge since he has known John Doe (and his parents and his family) since young John was a kid (whatever the cop's age, older or in the same age bracket).  And if he did, the cop's own neighbors — especially the cop's own mother — would be sure to intervene, and browbeat her policeman son for acting like a twerp.

Consider the difference with an FBI member, or certainly an FBI leader, thousands of miles from home, whose new "neighbors" are professional politicians in the Democrat-dominated Washington DC along with the rest of the professional Drama Queens, crisis seekers, and hoi pollo whose cocktail parties and whose cool kids' parties he wishes to attend and whose women he wishes to meet.

In general, America's local decisions attitude implies trust:  trust in one's neighbors, trust in one's fellow citizens, trust in a We-Can-Do-It spirit.

This is what the American Revolution was about.  If you want to attach a religious dimension to the Spirit of '76, what the revolutionaries fought for was adhering to the Bible's command to "Treat (and love) your neighbor like yourself."

The message "Don't tread on me" is not only a warning (to Britain and to George III) to "stay away or reap the consequences"; It is a — rather dispassionate — affirmation of the Biblical command, with strong practical implications. It implies that the use of bureaucrats (not just policemen) and all types of aristocrats in life is often unnecessary.

As W Cleon Skousen's The 5000 Year Leap (A Miracle That Changed the World) points out, the independent attitude was all that was needed for progress to spring forward by leaps and bounds, once the equality of man was declared and, better yet, ensconced in the fabric of a new nation.

If you can treat things on the local level as well as, or better than, at the national level (or simply at a larger level), there is not much need for bureaucrats and a socialist state.

This, not at all incidentally, explains why modern-day leftists, and why the Deep State, hate the Judeo-Christian religion, along with America itself. (Shouldn't the average schmoe be feeling (collective) shame and guilt?)

(Regarding local control, incidentally, if you believe that the South's Democrats fought for States' rights during the Civil War, know that it is nothing less than The Greatest Myth in U.S. History.)

As Dennis Prager writes (in Whites Aren't Hated for Slavery but for Making America and the West),

the left … hates America, which it regards as the paragon of capitalism. By becoming the most successful country in history, America, the quintessential capitalist country, remains a living rebuke to everything the left stands for. If America can be brought down, every left-wing egalitarian dream can be realized. … What the left does very much seek is to destroy America as we have known it -- the capitalist and Judeo-Christian enclave of personal freedom.

This is what Democrats abhor:  the idea that the average citizen and neighbor is worthy of trust.  This is what the Left can't stomach. That policemen are more loyal to their community and to America writ large than to its central government. They want to defund the police in order to put more power in the hands of the national police force in Washington whose members, or at least whose leaders, are less loyal to their neighbors in the communities in which the grew up than to their new "neighbors" the national politicians and the Deep State (not to mention the new state religion).

3/4)  Watch Some FBI Maneuvers that Would Not Likely Be Duplicated Among Your Everyday Police Force

Following August's Mar-a-Lago raid, the FBI raided dozens of Trump supporters nationwide in September, meaning that In 2022, whether you're considered dangerous or not depends on who you voted for. Tucker Carlson contrasts the FBI raids with rifles and body armor on pro-lifers singing hymns at abortion centers with the FBI's lack of interest in the firebombings of pregnancy service centers:

 … what's really stunning is nobody — the people who've lectured us for years, "the criminal justice system is just too mean", that "MS-13 are children of God" — they don't have a problem with this at all. The people who claim to hate mass incarceration, it turns out, are strongly for the mass incarceration of anyone who disagrees with them; and they're doing it. 

As Julie Kelly has reported relentlessly, judges have sentenced dozens of January 6 defendants to months in prison, followed by probation. Why? Oh, because they entered a public building as police officers stood by, lifted the ropes for them. What was that about, by the way? Don't ask, shut up. They belong in jail.

As of this week, dozens of January 6 defendants are still being held in pretrial detention. No one notices. Where's the Republican Party in that? Nowhere. At the same time, the FBI has made zero arrests — none — to protect pro-lifers from actual violence — not hymn singing, firebombing. The CompassCare Pregnancy Services center in Buffalo was firebombed in June. No arrests have been made. In fact, the FBI seized surveillance footage from the facility and never gave it back.

 … See how this works? So, a group aligned with Joe Biden firebombs a building (firebombs!) and the FBI does nothing. Instead, they send agents with automatic rifles to the home of a 55-year-old man with 11 children because he sung hymns in an abortion clinic. 

4/4)  Conclusion

What it all boils down to, doesn't it?

On the contrary: "Defund the Police" and "Defund the FBI" complement each other exceedingly well. But not in the way Pence and Lewis think.

If you want to defund the Police, you do not want to defund the FBI; indeed, you want to defund local policemen for the nation to have to rely on a centralized police force, one that is loyal to the power in place instead of to the neighbors in one's tiny community.

If you want to "Defund the Police", you want to actively "fund" the FBI. Conversely, if you want to "Defund the FBI", it is because you trust in, and because you want to fund, your neighbor — the average American citizen (black or white) — to wear the local police uniform.

The national police force is open to politicization. Local police forces are not. (Not as much, at least.)

A number of members of the FBI are willing, perhaps eager, to see the establishment of a police state, or at best blind to it.

In that perspective, shall we let the last word go to Steve Bannon?  Lest you think that I have been too polite and courteous throughout this just-the-facts-ma'am post, Steve will let go a broadside or two.

In response to Mike Pence, Steve Bannon argued that the FBI's raid on President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate 

represented the actions of a "police state," which he said justified why some Republicans were calling for its dismantling.  "There is no comparison of any defunding the police," he claimed. "We've never called for defunding the police. We're calling for defunding the police state."

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Anti-Tehran Demonstration in Paris Marches on Iranian Embassy Only to Be Tear-Gassed by French Police

Across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, thousands of demonstrators, many (perhaps most) of them Iranian, gathered at le Trocadéro this weekend to protest against the anti-woman repression in Iran and the warmongering policies of the ayatollahs in Tehran. 

In the wake of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the police almost a month ago, one sign read "End sexual apartheid. Close all [Western] embassies in Iran." 

On the other side, it read "European Union must stop nuclear deal. Biden must stop giving money to the Islamic Regime in Iran" with the four final words covered in red to symbolize blood. 

Chanting such slogans as femme, vie, liberté ! (Woman, life, freedom!), the protestors left the colorful square during the Sunday protest to try to march on the Iranian embassy in the French capital, report Le Monde and the AFP, only to be tear-gassed by the French police before they could reach their destination.

A similar protest and similar clashes have taken place in London…

Here are some of the photos  that I took at le Palais de Chaillot.