The expanding cracks that run through the surface of the coating of society in the United States have never been so evident nor, in the last 150 years, have they ever fallen so deeply. The diversity of a patchwork culture initially fueled by immigration implies that a certain disorder becomes a permanent feature of a society united by so many different threads. Thanks to their dynamic economy, the nation’s leaders developed the skills needed to carry out a complex political and cultural balance. For most of the last century, they have avoided approaching a turning point. Today there are indications that it may no longer be so.
Reporting on a public opinion poll in the United States, Giovanni Russonello adds a disturbing caption to an article in the New York Times last week: “Fifteen percent of Americans believe that ‘patriots may have to resort to violence ‘to restore the country’s legitimate order, the poll indicates.’
The loneliness of Matt Gaetz
The Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Core survey reveal that “15% of Americans say they think the levers of power are controlled by a cabal of pedophiles who worship Satan.” It would be reasonable to object that this figure also means that 85% think otherwise. In a democracy, where the majority is expected to rule, the fact that only one in six or seven Americans believes that absolutely absurd theories should not be the problem. But that perception changes when Rusonello tells us that the same 15%, in a nation with more guns than people, argue that “‘ American patriots may have to resort to violence ’to depose pedophiles and restore legitimate order of the country”.
Today’s Daily Dictionary Definition:
Recourse to violence:
In the culture of the United States, the traditionally privileged solution to all widespread problems, which involves not only the right, but the duty to eliminate ideas, beliefs, people, and in some cases (“the only good Indian is an Indian whole populations that fail to conform to the authentic values defended by a certain group of citizens of their shared beliefs
The aforementioned “only good Indian” has traditionally been attributed to a Civil War general, Philip Sheridan. Language historian Wolfgang Mieder notes that even today “it is used with surprising frequency in American literature and media, as well as in oral speech.” We could call it the “only good X” mentality. Depending on historical circumstances, X can be equal to “Gook”, “Taliban”, “Arabs” and “Blacks”. This, in the eyes of some people, has been shown to be useful in motivating soldiers in wartime to mitigate the consciousness of killing. But, especially in a society based on diversity, the same idea should be absent from civil conversation.
Representative Matt Gaetz, a prominent Donald Trump advocate who is currently being investigated after being accused of sex trafficking and pedophilia, has been promoting issues loved by QAnon believers, including the idea that the time has come to resort to violence. At a rally in Georgia, accompanied by Marjorie Taylor Greene, a fluent language brand, Gaetz criticized Silicon Valley companies he accuses of censoring conservatives. Not only did he preach resistance, but action: “Well, you know what? Silicon Valley cannot cancel this move, nor this rally, nor this congressman. We have a second amendment in this country and I think we have an obligation to use it. “
Playing the role of a high school history teacher, Gaetz clarified what he meant: “The second amendment: this is a bit of history for all the fake media. The second amendment is not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports. The second amendment seeks to maintain, within the citizenry, the capacity to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if necessary. ”
This could be called Gaetz’s attempt to replace fake news with fake history. When the Constitution mentions the eventual need of eighteenth-century economy states to deploy a “well-organized militia,” the only concern it expresses refers to the police. Historians have identified a special focus on legitimizing citizen patrols to capture runaway slaves and especially to counter possible slave uprisings. Gaetz considers that weapons are necessary for rebellion, while the Second Amendment proposed their use to prevent rebellion. Today, every state has a plethora of well-organized and well-armed police, presumably capable of dealing with the rebellion. What they no longer have is the problem of slave uprisings.
Gaetz’s demagoguery reveals how easy it is today to invoke and distort the reality of history in a nation where people are taught to believe that the sole purpose of history is to inspire patriotic feeling. And patriotic feeling serves to identify those who are not patriotic enough. Because the United States is a nation that looks to the future, most people view knowledge and understanding of history as a waste of precious time. It can only be distracted from the nation’s mission to shape the world into the ideal represented by American exceptionality.
The media and even the education system seem to see history not as a drama involving complex cultural, political, and economic forces, but as an endless series of isolated events that must be cited for the selfish political purpose of anyone. The second amendment has become a simple slogan. Even the Supreme Court of recent decades has aligned itself with this supposed reading of history that denies historical reality.
A former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Warren Burger (appointed by Richard Nixon in 1969), dared to look the story in the face and clearly explain the meaning of the Second Amendment. In 2012, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin noted that “it was simply considered that the constitutional law gave that the Second Amendment did not give people the right to bear arms.” But the power of Burger’s reasoning did not match the slogan enacted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). After Burger’s withdrawal in 1986, most of the Supreme Court adjusted to the NRA, turning individual ownership into weapons into a sanctified right. Toobin attributes the change to “the rise of the modern conservative movement in the 1970s and 1980s.” And now, thanks to Matt Gaetz, we have an idea of where this change in interpretation can lead.
The last government overthrown on American soil dates back to 1776, when the Yankees dismissed British rule. On January 6 this year, a crowd incited by President Donald Trump tried to maintain what they considered the legitimate Trumpian order. The crowd was about to physically assault members of Congress. While it effectively amplified the chaos fostered by Trump’s celebration of political hooliganism, he had no chance of “restoring the country’s legitimate order”.
A much more interesting and politically revealing attempt to overthrow American democracy took place in April 1933. Interestingly, which is another way of saying “understandably,” most traces of this attempt are they have erased the active understanding of Americans about their own history.
A year after the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a group of some of the most prominent bankers and industrialists in the United States, fearful that the new president would be undermining what they considered his private economy, devised a very serious plot. These men had been following events in Europe. They admired openly and even incited Hitler’s policy. Convinced that the hour of the world triumph of fascism had sounded, they recruited the famous Marine Corps General Smedley Butler to lead a force of 500,000 soldiers with the intention of dismissing Roosevelt. Instead, Butler decided to expose the fascist conspiracy known as the business plot.
Later, Butler wrote a truly instructive book on the imperial history of the United States, “War is a Racket.” He describes how, as a soldier, he had become the puppet of the national interest, but of American business interests. The business plot is not mentioned in any school curriculum. Butler himself has been largely erased from American historical memory. More surprisingly (meaning “understandably”), the investigation into the plot by Congress never revealed the identity of the conspirators. To do so would have been considered an intolerable injustice, since, as American conservatives want to insist, they are the “manufacturers” and not the “buyers” of the American economy.
Today, the American business community is lined up behind the establishment, including the current Democratic president. Their loyalty is assured, provided the established Republicans avoid Biden’s nefarious plan to raise taxes on the rich, which they will surely do.
*[In the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, another American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce, produced a series of satirical definitions of commonly used terms, throwing light on their hidden meanings in real discourse. Bierce eventually collected and published them as a book, The Devil’s Dictionary, in 1911. We have shamelessly appropriated his title in the interest of continuing his wholesome pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the news. Read more of The Daily Devil’s Dictionary on Fair Observer.]
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