1. Target: Trump
Is there a media-driven “climate of violence”? You bet there is, and it’s being whipped up by the left and the Main Stream Media, here and around the world. And it has a clear purpose: The ultimate goal is the destruction of the Trump presidency—and, for at least some, seemingly, the goal is the assassination of President Trump himself.
But don’t take Virgil’s word for it: Have a look at the cover of Village magazine. That cover shows a rifle’s crosshairs superimposed on a photograph of Trump’s head. And the headline reads, “Why not.”
The once-obscure magazine, published in Ireland, is now basking in worldwide attention, and American social media are happy to magnify Village’s glorification of a criminal act. Here’s that deadly image, for example, on Twitter. As an aside, we might ask: Doesn’t Twitter have rules against “hate speech” and “incitement of violence”? Or are they not enforced when the target is on the right?
The Village article itself plays a clever editorial game. It begins by describing Trump as “a purveyor of hatred” and then lists all his other purported sins, including the mistreatment of refugees, an overall wrong-headed foreign policy, retrograde ideas on “climate change,” and opposition to abortion.
After that litany, the magazine considers the options: “So perhaps the solution is tyrannicide. As he might say himself—‘take him out.’”
Next, under the heading, “Kill Him?” the magazine proceeds to cite philosophers and theologians who have declared tyrannicide to be justifiable, from Cicero to Thomas Aquinas to Martin Luther. And then, to rub the point in even harder, the magazine admiringly recalls the German Klaus von Stauffenberg, who nearly succeeded in killing Hitler in 1944. The message is obvious: Trump is another Hitler, and so you, the reader, must decide for yourself what to do next.
Yet then, having raised all these issues in the most load-the-deck manner possible, the magazine pulls back, sort of, at the last moment. It writes, “Shooting Trump is unnecessary and disproportionate.”
Of course, we all know what’s going on here. Indeed, Virgil recognizes the technique employed by Village as a variant on the ancient rhetorical device known as paralepsis–that is, raising an idea while pretending not to raise it. Having argued, vehemently and at length, that Trump is a civilization-level menace, the magazine then adds a few weasel-words about not harming him. So Village hopes that it has itself covered: If any bad fate befalls Trump, its writers will say, as they barely conceal their smirks, “Gee, we didn’t want that to happen!”
And Twitter seems to be a favored venue: The online publication Mashable reports in just the first 12 days of the Trump presidency, more than 12,000 tweets have called for the President’s assassination. As the story notes, this volume of threats is far beyond the capacity of the US Secret Service to investigate.
Meanwhile, the incendiary attacks keep coming. Under the header, “Beau Willimon Declares War On Donald Trump,” Deadline: Hollywood details the strenuous efforts of the House of Cards creator to bring the President down. The article details Willimon’s voluminous tweets, including his own mock-version of the Declaration of Independence, which begins with the words:
When in the course of American history it becomes necessary for the people to save our Nation from a Tyrant,
We can pause over that word, “tyrant.” At the end of his 25-tweet rant, Willimon writes that his preferred method for getting rid of Trump is impeachment. However, a casual reader might not read all the way to the end. Or a reader with his or her own imagination might be provoked into think that stronger measures are needed; that is, by any means necessary. And Trump is, after all, a “tyrant,” right? Some undoubtedly will think of the Latin words spoken by John Wilkes Booth moments after he shot President Lincoln in 1865: Sic semper tyrannis! (Thus always to tyrants!)
Of course, Twitter, could delete all these inflammatory tweets with the flick of an algorithm, and yet it doesn’t seem interested in doing anything at all. One might even speculate that Twitter management agrees with them.
Meanwhile, as we all remember, Twitter has always been in a quick hurry to enforce left-wing PC orthodoxy on right-wingers; it has permanently suspended the Twitter account of Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as others, for supposed non-criminal incitement. And yet now, confronted with literal criminal incitement, Twitter does nothing. It doesn’t take a student of classical rhetoric to recognize hypocrisy.
Perhaps one day, Twitter, and other social media, will get around to deleting these offensive, dangerous, and illegal posts. Of course, perhaps one day, it will be too late. Perhaps then, in the view of the anti-Trump haters, it will be a case of the end justifying the means—“mission: accomplished.”
2. The “Climate of Violence”—The Left Loves It So Much
So let’s look more closely at this idea of a “climate of violence,” which is said to foster acts of actual violence. Sometimes this inflammatory “climate” is real, and sometimes it is not real. We’ve learned that while the political left usually says that it opposes this sort of violence-inducing “climatology,” in fact, quite often, it embraces it—even adores it.
Yes, today, the left talks a lot about “peace,” “coexistence,” and all that. And yet, as Virgil wrote in January, when it comes to Trump, one tool of the left, the MSM, gets notably militant; it becomes hormonally eager to reach for violent imagery.
So it’s in this context that we must evaluate extreme anti-Trump media items, such as the semi-suggestion of Rosa Brooks, a former high official in the Obama administration, that what’s needed is a military coup d’etat against the Trump White House. We can note that Brooks published this piece in a well-known MSM outlet, Foreign Policy, on January 30, and it’s still there. Nobody in the MSM, at least, seems to have a problem with it.
More recently, in the same pro-violence spirit, the German magazine Der Spiegel, arguably the most influential publication in that country, unveiled a cover story showing a knife-wielding Trump holding high the bloodily decapitated head of Liberty, from the Statue of Liberty. The message to readers is clear: We must stop this madman before it’s too late.
We can note that the Spiegel cover was admiringly echoed all over the planet; among the admirers was The Washington Post, which, sticking up for the American media, pointed out that The New York Daily News had presented a similar cover back in December 2015.
Meanwhile, as John Nolte has chronicled, CNN has been a serial offender: For more than a year now, it has hurled, against Trump, just about every loaded epithet imaginable.
And it’s not just Trump. It’s also his staff that’s in the crosshairs. For instance, on February 5, USA Today published an editorial entitled, “What Bannon shares with ISIL leader.” Yes, you read that right: A newspaper that claims a readership in the many millions just equated White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon and the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. As the piece asserted brazenly, the two “share similar world views.”
We might pause to note that this was an editorial, as opposed to a random opinion piece. In other words, the words represent the collective judgment of the USA Today editorial board, whose names can be found here. Yes, this is what they really think. The sheer nuttiness of the editorial aside, we can observe that the piece is seemingly an open invitation to take, uh, strong action against Bannon.
So, yes, the left hates the “climate of violence”—except when it loves it.
And there’s a long history: Perhaps the most cynical use of the “climate” trope has been the way that the left has twisted the cultural and historical memory of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
That tragic incident, of course, occurred in Dallas; then, and now, North Texas has been a conservative area. And so for more than half-a-century, it’s been an MSM cliche—boosted by prominent historians, such as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.—that a local “climate of hate” was somehow responsible for JFK’s death. Even today, after it’s been established beyond doubt that the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was a pro-Castro communist, the “climate of hate” meme still persists in the MSM. In other words, it’s the fault of Dallas, and the right, that Kennedy was murdered.
Similarly, after the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the left/MSM immediately heaped the blame on “right-wing media.” And this drumbeat has continued, even after it was learned that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was sexually obsessed with Giffords and was listening to nothing but the voices in his head.
More recently still, in 2016, we were reminded that the left never objects to a climate of violence—if it’s for a “good cause.” Thanks to the efforts of James O’Keefe and others, it’s easy to find abundant, we-have-it-on-tape evidence that the Clinton campaign, or at least its close allies, deliberately sent provocateurs to Trump rallies to cause trouble—trouble which then could then be blamed on Trump. In the summarizing words of Breitbart’s Joel Pollak:
Clinton’s defenders might claim she did not know anything about the tactics being used, but that defense does not suffice. The consultants who carried out the tactic, centered around Robert Creamer and his Democracy Partners organization, told O’Keefe’s undercover investigators that they had set up a “double-blind” system so that Clinton would not have to know directly about any particular action being taken on her behalf, but Creamer appeared to admit on video that Clinton had general knowledge about their activities.
Needless to say, state and local authorities have been completely uninterested in pursuing any of these seemingly open-and-shut cases of conspiracy and incitement.
And the beat goes on. In DC on January 21, the pop-singer Madonna, speaking to a large crowd of angry feminist protesters, mused about “blowing up the White House.” And she has continued to defend her remarks, which could reasonably be construed as incitement to violence, even murder. (One can only imagine what would have happened if a conservative had said that.) And yet of course, Madonna will face no economic or legal consequences; indeed, Hollywood will probably find a way to give her some new award or endorsement gig.
In the meantime, out west, Milo Yiannopoulos has also been the object of a “climate of violence.” And yet for their part, pressies have oscillated between yawning and cheering. A man was shot and critically wounded in Seattle, and still, the MSM didn’t much care, because, after all, the man seems to have been a Milo supporter.
And just a few days ago, at the University of California’s Berkeley campus, rioters shut down a Milo appearance. As Milo said afterward, the rioting “tells you something very, very clear about the left’s commitment to free expression.” It’s worth recalling that back in 1964, Berkeley was the hub of what was grandiosely dubbed, by students, as the “Free Speech Movement.” Now, 53 years later, the self-proclaimed guardians of the First Amendment have had no interest in upholding Milo’s constitutional right to free speech.
In fact, some on the left have gone the complete opposite way: toward fact-free ideological conspiracy-mongering. One such is UC Berkeley’s Robert Reich, the former Clinton cabinet secretary; Reich went on TV to accuse the right—and specifically, Breitbart—of causing the violence, as a provocation against the left. In other words, the whole fracas was Milo’s fault. Talk about blaming the victim!
Reich’s brand of fantastic projection was too much for Rush Limbaugh, who asked of his radio-show audience:
Do you know any right-wingers capable of this kind of behavior? I mean, go to Ferguson, go to Baltimore, go to San Bernardino, go to Watts. Take any protest, any violence. Go to Oakland any time you want. Any time there is violent protests, it’s always left-wingers bought and paid for by the Hillary campaign, the Democrat Party, or George Soros, and never once have the Democrats ever condemned them, ’cause they’re proud of them.
Yes, that is correct: Cutting-edge Democrats have never condemned the violent hooligans doing their dirty work, for one simple reason—they’re proud of them.
And even now, Reich continues to unapologetically—make that, eagerly—spew his crackpot conspiratorializing. Obviously Reich is a devotee of the Big Lie: that is, a falsehood, repeated often enough, equals truth. So never mind the fact that we have since learned that it was the anti-Milo protesters who were on someone’s payroll—George Soros’ payroll. (We might also observe, not that any of the local authorities seem to have noticed, that the fomenting—and financing—of violence is a crime.)
As Milo told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, the left’s game plan is to claim that its opponents are nothing but racists, sexists, white nationalists, anti-Semites, and homophobes. And to make these charges, the left doesn’t need any evidence, only the accusations. Once again, that’s the Big Lie technique. And yet such fact-free slandering is just fine with the MSM, which then goes to work amplifying the accusations, thus amping up, yes, the “culture of violence.” As Milo said:
The media has created this environment in which it’s okay to say almost anything about somebody who is right of Jane Fonda. … And it’s a way of legitimizing, in some cases, as happened last night, violent responses.
And we might add, beyond Milo, Breitbart itself is increasingly the target. Virgil might add that the tactics being used are straight out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. All of Alinsky’s “rules” are being practiced today, but we can focus on Rule #11: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”
Breitbart is tough; we’re used to fights and fighting. This wasn’t a fight we began, but it is a fight we seek to win. And yet everyone on the populist-nationalist right ought to see the current situation clearly: The hard left has plenty of resources, and no scruples about deploying those resources. And so Breitbart is just one of many targets. And of course, if the left can attack us, well, Soros & Co. won’t stop there. They’ll be coming for you next.
So that’s the real context of the vast “climate of violence” conjured up by the left. It’s all part of a master plan—a plan for mastery. That is, smash the enemy, and then rearrange the pieces into a new left-wing order.
Yet in the meantime, we must remember the main target: President Trump. And so we can can step back and observe, with grim certainty, the dream scenario of some on the other side:
A weird and bloody kind of lefty-media glory awaits the person who takes to heart the message of that cover story in Village.