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Salvo 02.02.2021 4 minutes

Will Biden and Harris Criminalize Memes?

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The DOJ’s charges against Ricky Vaughn show contempt for the rule of law.

There is no doubt that Douglass Mackey, the man behind the 2016 election-era alt-right “Ricky Vaughn” Twitter troll account, is a miscreant. He spewed anti-Semitic and otherwise abhorrent bile from his pseudonymous perch, contributing to a hostile Twittersphere climate. 

Nevertheless, the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) is legally wrong—and engaging in petty harassment of a political enemy—to expend limited prosecutorial resources to target Mackey, whose Twitter account has long been suspended, for alleged conspiracy to deprive others of their constitutional rights. 

DOJ’s press release summarizes Mackey’s legally relevant underlying conduct: “As alleged in the complaint, between September 2016 and November 2016, in the lead up to the November 8, 2016, U.S. presidential election, Mackey conspired with others to use social media platforms, including Twitter, to disseminate fraudulent messages designed to encourage supporters of one of the presidential candidates…to ‘vote’ via text message or social media, a legally invalid method of voting.” The DOJ complaint specifies that the law Mackey is charged with violating is 18 U.S.C. § 241, which covers, in relevant part: “two or more persons conspir[ing] to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

Hold aside the point that voting in the United States constitutional order is, contrary to what myriad progressive Supreme Court justices have mused, better understood not as a “right” but as a state-regulated privilege subject only to federal oversight via circumscribing constitutional (namely, the 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th Amendments) and statutory (namely, the Voting Rights Act of 1965) provisions. Prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) still have to prove an actively coordinated, multi-party conspiracy, and that such a conspiracy did not merely produce fraudulent tweets, but that those tweets actually had the effect of oppressing, threatening, or intimidating Hillary Clinton supporters who intended to vote for their preferred candidate. That is, in short, highly dubious—this case isn’t going anywhere. Moreover, who would have guessed that the Biden DOJ took such a dim view of Clinton voters, believing them to be so easily manipulated? 

The fact that such a charge was ready to be unfurled a mere week after Biden’s inauguration, while an active blue-checked leftist named Kristina Wong shows no signs of now being prosecuted for doing the exact same thing on Election Day 2016, highlights the vindictiveness of the Biden-Harris regime. The double standard demonstrates how the new administration intends to exercise regime-level political power to exacerbate and entrench our current national crisis of a game rigged at every level in favor of societal elites.

Surely the EDNY, one of the nation’s most prestigious and reputable prosecutorial offices, has more important things to do than chase after a discredited, inactive social media troll. And why the blind eye toward the still-active Kristina Wong?

Retribution against its political enemies and protection of its friends is now the reason for being of the Left, which will do anything in its power—and its power over “private” appendages—to protect and preserve its moral purity and distract from its lack of a policy agenda. Without monsters to slaughter, it has no way to maintain its buoyancy. As I recently wrote, there are stark and harrowing ramifications of America’s current regime-level national politics: for at least the next four years, the “defining question…will be whether one is ‘loyal’ to the regime and thus ought to be rewarded, or is an ‘enemy’ of the regime and thus must be punished.” Mackey must be prosecuted as a regime enemy and Wong must get off scot-free as a regime loyalist. 

Mackey may be an unsympathetic reprobate, but conservatives should recall how our current crisis of Big Tech censorship commenced with bans of similarly unsympathetic figures of the Right, such as Alex Jones. Many of the conservatives who reconciled themselves to the ban shrugged off concerns it could lead to a slippery slope as baseless fear-mongering. But like the “build your own Google!” smart set whose idealism was proven fatal by Parler’s recent excommunication, they now find themselves against the wall. 

This is not about the bigot Douglass Mackey. It is about a governing regime that has dropped the pretense of a neutral rule of law. The Biden-Harris regime’s drive to hunt down its enemies and shield its friends will only further heighten the tensions of our already frenzied politics. For there are now two sets of rules in this nation, and we will all be made to comply.

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