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The 1776 reactionaries


One of the ideas, for lack of a better term, emanating from MAGA-land is that the 1/6 Sedition Riots were analogous to the American Revolution:

During an appearance on conservative outlet Real America’s Voice, Greene repeated a frequent GOP talking point that the real focus of congressional investigators should be violence at Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. But while doing so, she essentially suggested the Capitol riot comported with our Founding Fathers’ vision.

The racial-justice protest violence “was an attack on innocent American people, whereas January 6th was just a riot at the Capitol,” she said. “And if you think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says to overthrow tyrants.”

Greene added: “So there’s a clear difference between January 6th and the Marxist-communist revolution that antifa, BLM, Democrat ground troops waged on the American people in 2020.”


For months after Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by a police officer during the riot — and even though video of it emerged almost instantly — few on the right raised concerns about it. Then Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), who is perhaps the one congressman who outflanks Greene on the GOP fringe, began talking about it like it was a murder. Today, even relatively standard-issue Republicans have echoed the claims. Rep. Troy E. Nehls (R-Tex.), who when he was chosen by the GOP for the Jan. 6 committee this summer was thought to have been a rather acceptable pick for Democrats, is now also calling it a “murder.”

The effort to rehabilitate the other people who stormed the Capitol has followed a similar progression. During a House hearing in May, far-right Republicans such as Gosar and Reps. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.), Pat Fallon (R-Tex.) and Jody Hice (R-Ga.) tried all manner of ways to downplay the riot. They compared it to a “normal tourist visit” and suggested the people involved were simply misguided misfits or even, in Gosar’s estimation, mostly “peaceful patriots.” This is around the time when the idea that those prosecuted for unlawfully entering the Capitol were being persecuted began to catch on. Today, it’s an article of faith in much of the GOP.

As Ed Kilgore observes, while insane this also has deep roots within American conservatism:

The treatment of right-wing insurrectionism, actual or potential, as the work of patriots as blessed by the Founders is hardly original to Greene. It is intrinsic to the Second Amendment absolutism that is dangerously popular among conservatives these days. The doctrine holds that the ultimate purpose of the right to bear arms is to ensure a citizenry that is willing and able to “resist tyranny,” with the meaning of “tyranny,” of course, left up to those choosing violence to battle it. And it was also implicit in the tea-party-era movement known as “constitutional conservatism,” which argued that conservative policy prescriptions ranging from free-market capitalism to states’ rights to fetal personhood were eternally embedded in the Constitution in conjunction with the Declaration of Independence by the Founders, who themselves had divine sanction for their work. Thus any contrary policies imposed via democratic representative government were inherently illegitimate and warranted resistance. In unbalanced minds, that resistance would definitely justify terrorism.

The same anti-democratic creed is alive and well in MAGA circles, including the intellectuals of the Claremont Institute who serve as shock troops in the wider world, much as MTG does in Washington. “In March, one of Claremont’s senior fellows published an essay proclaiming the need for a counterrevolution against the American majority who didn’t vote for Trump,” Laura Field reports at The New Republic. “In late May, the think tank produced a podcast that gamed out how a future president might convert herself or himself into a new Caesar.”

The fact that “Second Amendment absolutists” is a category that apparently includes five Supreme Court justices seems bad.

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