It’s certainly not unprecedented. Leftist Maximilien Robespierre, the French Revolution’s main author, was a passionate capital punishment opponent who called the death penalty a “cowardly assassination” — he then went on to execute thousands during his Reign of Terror. Likewise did the liberals of decades ago frown upon punishment, sometimes saying it “doesn’t work” and is “morally wrong.” Boy, has that ever changed.
Now, Frenchie Max style, punishment’s effectiveness is not only a self-evident truth to leftists, but it can’t be harsh enough.
That is, when it’s the “right people” being punished.
A good example is the recent sentencing of “Proud Boy” January 6 defendants, one of the latest of whom got 17 years for an incident in which no “one was killed, no property was significantly damaged, nothing was set on fire, nobody whipped out a gun, nobody got taken hostage, [and] no mass casualties were strewn through the streets,” as commentator Monica Showalter put it Friday.
In contrast, Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters routinely get off with minor or no charges.
The Hill reports on the aforementioned J6er who had the book — and a few addenda — thrown at him, writing that Florida Army veteran and “Proud Boy Joe Biggs on Thursday was sentenced to 17 years in prison, the second-highest sentence handed down to anyone convicted in connection with the Capitol attack.”
“Biggs was convicted of sedition and other serious felonies earlier this year after being accused of leading members of the right-wing extremist group to the Capitol and talking with the first rioter to breach police barricades just minutes before he acted,” the site continues.
Also sentenced Thursday was Proud Boy Zachary Rehl, an ex-U.S. Marine; he got 15 years after a conviction for leading a mob toward the Capitol on J6.
This was followed Friday by the draconian sentencing of two other Proud Boys figures: One-time leader Ethan Nordean received 18 years’ incarceration for “seditious conspiracy.” And Dominic Pezzola was convicted for breaking a Capitol window, ushering rioters into the structure (much as some cops had done), and grabbing a shield from a policeman. He did “get off” relatively easy, however.
He’ll serve 10 years.
Also receiving 18 years, this past May, was Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes. He was joined that month by Oath Keepers Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs, who got 12 years for “conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties and tampering with documents or proceedings,” as The Hill puts it.
Well, okay, they didn’t get 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread like Jean Valjean did. But suffice it to say that Nancy Pelosi’s line, “People will do what they do” — uttered to dismiss the actions of violent mobs tearing down statues — is not universally applicable. When leftists do what they do, they get a hand.
When conservatives do what they don’t usually do (aka, what liberals oft do), they get done.
Speaking of which, Showalter analyzes the Biggs’ case’s particulars. She first quotes The Hill again:
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly ultimately applied a terrorism enhancement to Biggs’s sentencing guidelines, wherein a defendant must have committed an offense that “was calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct.”
Kelly cited Biggs’s efforts to tear down a fence separating rioters from the Capitol and bringing them “one step closer” to their objective of halting the 2020 election certification as reason for applying the enhancement.
“I really don’t think this is a close call,” he said of the decision.
Of course not — not when the accused opposes the regime.
Bit it’s really quite “laughable,” opines Showalter. “All the rioters, aided by a nest of still opaquely known FBI informants, did was manage to disrupt and delay the electoral certification of 2020. Was there any congressional Democrat at the Capitol that day who was so intimidated by the January 6 rioters that he planned to change his vote to Republican?”
What’s more, The New York Times “indicated that Kelly actually seemed to know that he was off base, but it didn’t matter to him,” Showalter adds. As the paper wrote, “While Judge Kelly said the provision was technically applicable, he was less certain — given what Mr. Biggs had actually done — that it fit in a more colloquial sense.”
“He noted that he had reviewed several cases involving terrorism, most concerning situations where defendants ‘were training to fight American troops or planning an act like blowing up a large building,’” the Times continued. “And he expressed skepticism that the Proud Boys had engaged in that kind of behavior on Jan. 6.”
In fact, “Whatever the disruption was,” Showalter emphasizes, “it was not an insurrection or coup attempt — we are watching real insurrections and coups these days in places like Niger and Gabon — with guns, blood, dead bodies, flights out, and flung suitcases of stolen cash. Those are the real thing.”
It also was just a glimmer of what the Left does continually. There were 2020’s 600-plus left-wing riots, which tore the country apart in an effort to oust President Trump from power; the May/June 2020 leftist attack on the White House, which injured 50 Secret Service agents and forced Trump to retreat to a “terror bunker”; and the June 2020 Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) insurrection, in which rebels established their own jurisdiction and their “warlord,” Raz Simone, was seen giving a supporter an AR-15. To this day, Simone has never been charged.
Then there was the longest continuous occupation of a government building in American history: The multi-week, 2011 left-wing occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol (tweet below). (This occupation was allowed by the authorities, do note. But would they have been so accommodating had the protesters been conservatives?)
Oh, and Nancy Pelosi called the above an “impressive show of democracy in action.”
Note, too, that this normalizing of political violence has an effect: People (including conservatives) become conditioned to accept it as the status quo — or at least as a heating up of a political cold war — and then will respond in kind, perhaps considering their action a reaction and a necessary sort of proportionate force.
Except that they then get government force.
Might that not be the idea, too? To wit:
- Give your mobs free rein so you can destabilize the existing order and increase your power.
- When your opponents, not surprisingly, react likewise, portray them as being Threats to Democracy™, aided and abetted by a complicit media that will do your bidding.
- Then use your opponents’ reaction as a pretext to quash their opposition — and that of their peaceful co-ideologists.
Hey, tyrants will do what they do.