The White House press secretary is a perfect representative of our spiteful ruling class.
Defund Merrick Garland
You won’t hear cries for accountability this time.
In the wake of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appearance before the Senate yesterday, I will wait patiently for cries of “Defund the Police” to issue forth across the country. But they won’t. It is charming to watch the Left pivot from working to abolish law enforcement, to urging on a man who is, in effect, America’s most powerful cop.
Garland’s Department of Justice recently issued a memo asserting that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” It is implied, though never stated, that these are the dangerous offenses of parents who confront their school boards about race-, sex-, and gender-related propaganda. The memo announces that the DOJ “is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate.”
The Biden Administration has already announced its intention “to root out the hatreds that can too often drive violence.” It has made clear, furthermore, that the relevant “hatreds” are not those of the kind expressed liberally toward whites by groups like BLM and Antifa. Rather, Biden’s DOJ has been instructed to treat “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (principally those who promote the superiority of the white race) and militia violent extremists…as presenting the most persistent and lethal threats.”
In practice, this means that the feds are more concerned about whether Sandra the PTA mom is a crypto-Nazi than whether BLM leader Hawk Newsome really does want to “burn down this system and replace it.” “I could be speaking figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation,” Newsome told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum last June. It will fall to literary scholars to decipher this rich text, however, since no federal investigation is forthcoming into the insurrectionary tendencies of BLM and its affiliates—the ashes of ruined American city centers notwithstanding.
Last week, when Garland appeared before the House, Slate senior editor Jeremy Stahl deplored the “Hyper-Cautious Approach” which kept the AG from immediately prosecuting Stephen K. Bannon for his alleged role in the events of January 6. “Trying to remove all appearance of politics from the work of the DOJ, given the right’s continued assault on democracy, is like bringing a spoon to a knife fight,” Stahl wrote. In June of 2020, however, Stahl presented a list of “staggering gains” made by “protestors calling for widespread defunding of police departments across the country.” Luckily, those gains did not extend so far as to prevent the feds from investigating and subpoenaing Stahl’s personal political enemies.
Quite to the contrary: when his turn came to ask questions, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse implored Garland not to limit himself in his January 6 investigations only to people who were actually in the Capitol on January 6. “Please tell me it has not been constrained only to people in the Capitol,” said Whitehouse. “We have not constrained them in any way,” Garland answered. “Great,” replied Whitehouse, and then Garland went on: “it’s fair to say that all investigative techniques of which you’re familiar, and some maybe that you’re not familiar with…are all being pursued in this matter.”
As far as I’m concerned, anyone of any party who has committed a crime for any reason should be brought to justice. But after more than a year of ear-splitting demands for accountability in law enforcement, it is rich to hear not a peep of concern as the country’s highest law enforcement authority pursues a selective agenda of punishment according to obviously political criteria. In fact, the call from the Grand Arbiters of Social Justice has been for Garland to prosecute more people, more vigorously, and on more nakedly partisan grounds.
This isn’t inconsistent—not really. Because, as has been obvious from the start, there’s actually no such thing as “defunding the police” full stop, in the sense of abolishing cops altogether. All our revolutionaries want—all revolutionaries ever want—is to override local power using centralized force, to appoint their own national cops and make them play by their own rules, as dictated by their own momentary caprice and political advantage. It was never “defund the police.” It was always “give us a police state—and we will use it to crush you.”
The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.