It doesn’t happen often that both the editorial board of the New York Times and the National Review, courtesy of David French, mirror each other. The singularity has happened.
If one of the perpetrators of this weekend’s two mass shootings had adhered to the ideology of radical Islam, the resources of the American government and its international allies would mobilize without delay.
The awesome power of the state would work tirelessly to deny future terrorists access to weaponry, money and forums to spread their ideology. The movement would be infiltrated by spies and informants. Its financiers would face sanctions. Places of congregation would be surveilled. Those who gave aid or comfort to terrorists would be prosecuted. Programs would be established to de-radicalize former adherents.
And from the NRO side:
It’s time to face some dreadful, terrible facts. The United States is now facing a deadly challenge from a connected, radical, online-organizing community of vicious white-nationalist terrorists. They are every bit as evil as jihadists, and they radicalize in much the same way. And just like the ISIS terrorists our nation and our allies have confronted in the great cities of the West, they use the most modern of tools to advance the oldest of hatreds.
Substitute “jihadist” for “white supremacist” or “white nationalist” and then imagine how we’d act. Imagine how we’ve acted.
Both make the same call. French:
It’s time to declare war on white-nationalist terrorism. It’s time to be as wide awake about the dangers of online racist radicalization as we are about online jihadist inspiration. And it’s time to reject the public language and rhetoric that excites and inspires racist radicals. Just as we demanded from our Muslim allies a legal and cultural response to the hate in their midst, we should demand a legal and cultural response to the terrorists from our own land.
Advertisers have a duty not to sponsor television programs that flirt with white nationalism or advocate it outright.
Banks have a duty not to help finance white nationalist organizations.
Religious leaders should feel called to denounce white nationalism from the pulpit.
Technology companies have a responsibility to de-platform white nationalist propaganda and communities as they did ISIS propaganda. And if the technology companies refuse to step up, law enforcement has a duty to vigilantly monitor and end the anonymity, via search warrants, of those who openly plot attacks in murky forums.
Those people who encourage terrorism anonymously online should be named.
In calm moments after 9/11, people ultimately came to realize how poorly and destructively we reacted. Innocent Muslims, as well as non-Muslims who kind of looked like they might be Muslim, were beaten. The USA Patriot Act was passed. Cries that constitutional rights had to give way to win against the terrorists were met with thunderous applause. Wars commenced over inflamed factless claims. We became a nation at war with shadows.
So let’s do it all over again, but worse.
Everyone who isn’t a white nationalist seems to be in lockstep that we must end white nationalism by any means necessary. Who is our enemy? If we thought Al Qaeda, a foreign group bent on jihad, was too amorphous to identify, even though there was an organization and structure, are we now ready to declare a non-group with no discernible definition, denominated “White Nationalists,” the new enemy combatants?
This is a pivotal moment in our modern history. Every wave of terror is dangerous, but waves of racist terror are particularly dangerous in a nation that was once torn to bloody shreds in large part because of its repugnant white supremacism.
Those are the words of David French, as inflammatory as they are empty, shrieking at the mob, whipping up hysteria, while pretending his dull scalpel can somehow distinguish the “good” conservatives from the undefined enemy to be pre-emptively locked up, stripped of rights, silenced or, perhaps, slaughtered. What arrogance makes French think he won’t have his throat slit when the peasants storm the NRO castle?
Who are “white nationalists”? No one has begun to consider how one distinguishes those bent on doing harm from those who harbor beliefs slightly right of the most extreme left. Am I joking? No.
Not that the analogy between 9/11 and today bears up to scrutiny, as if anyone cared to take the time, and take the chance, of disputing the mob, but it serves to create a false equivalency for the passionate and ignorant who use the comparison between our mobilization when planes were crashed into the Twin Towers by a sophisticated group of foreign radicals bent on undermining the fabric of western secular society and our newfound American terrorists.
The question isn’t whether we have a problem, whether these mass murders were horrifying, whether these disaffected, mentally unstable, armed people should be stopped. Of course they should. But how do we react without repeating the same mistakes made last time? How many thousands, millions of people will be stripped of rights, imprisoned, silenced, for holding less-than-progressive views?
Who are these dangerous “white nationalists”? Is every Trump supporter to be rounded up for the re-education camp? The New York Times would have Fox News taken off the air, the NRA denied banking, the views it deems hateful removed from the internet. And they have the blessing of The National Review.
It’s understandable that well-intended conservatives want no association with white supremacists, and seek to distinguish themselves by parroting the demands for rounding up the racists, eradicating constitutional rights for whose deemed unworthy and cheering the beating of anyone wearing a MAGA hat.
Not only have they, and we, learned nothing from our 9/11 excesses, but they now unleash the mob and its bludgeon on themselves and everyone who doesn’t toe the mob’s line. How can anyone believe this mindless hysteria will end better than the mindless hysteria before it? And who would be crazy enough to call for calm rather than outrage? Obviously, only a white nationalist, since all the good people are busy going hysterical.