Wokeists, Russia’s 1922 Criminal Code & The Domestic Terrorism Act of 2022.
Posted by Ed Folsom, 5/27/2022.
In Volume I of The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn observes that those who do great evil don’t think of themselves as doing evil. They don’t embrace and revel in their evilness. Instead, he explains, “To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law.” He continues:
“Ideology–that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his actions seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.”
Solzhenitsyn’s abusers were communists. The ideology that justified his abuse and the abuse, torture and murder of millions of his fellow Russians and others within the Soviet sphere, was communism. That was the delusional ideology that framed evil as good and rewarded it with praise and honors.
Before I bury the lede more deeply, this brings me to the current progressive/leftist ideology of Wokeness and its social justice/equity agenda. Wokeness holds that America is a systemically racist nation, founded and perpetuated in white supremacy; that all disparate outcomes among various groupings of people by race, sex or sexuality are rooted in systemic evils that, in turn, are rooted in white supremacy – that is to say, that “whiteness” is the root of all evil. The Woke agenda is to root out “whiteness” and to destroy all social norms and institutions that perpetuate it. The only path to redemption from whiteness is through the church of the Woke. But one must be ever-vigilant, because all Woke rules are strictly compulsory yet they “evolve” from minute to minute.
Recently, Wokeness brought us a bill in the U.S. Congress called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 (H.R. 350). After passing the House, it was defeated in the Senate yesterday. But who could object to preventing domestic terrorism?
Well, what is “domestic terrorism?” For that, the bill referred us to Title 18 United States Code, section 2331(5), which defines it as follows:
“(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.”
All good so far… So, how would the bill have prevented terrorism? According to the bill’s Congressional Research Service’s summary:
“This bill establishes new requirements to expand the availability of information on domestic terrorism, as well as the relationship between domestic terrorism and hate crimes. It authorizes domestic terrorism components within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to monitor, analyze, investigate, and prosecute domestic terrorism. The domestic terrorism components of DHS, DOJ, and the FBI must jointly report on domestic terrorism, including white-supremacist-related incidents or attempted incidents. DHS, DOJ, and the FBI must review the anti-terrorism training and resource programs of their agencies that are provided to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Additionally, DOJ must make training on prosecuting domestic terrorism available to its prosecutors and to assistant U.S. attorneys. It creates an interagency task force to analyze and combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies. Finally, it directs the FBI to assign a special agent or hate crimes liaison to each field office to investigate hate crimes incidents with a nexus to domestic terrorism.”
Of course, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security wouldn’t only have investigated completed acts of domestic terrorism. While the legislation confined the duties of the Department of Justice to investigating and prosecuting incidents of domestic terrorism, it created a broader mandate for the DHS and FBI. It stated that the DHS’s Domestic Terrorism Unit “shall be responsible for monitoring and analyzing domestic terrorism activity,” and that the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Section would be responsible for “investigating domestic terrorism activity.” What, then, is “domestic terrorism activity?” The legislation did not provide a definition of that term.
In fact, the DHS and FBI were expected to investigate something even broader than “domestic terrorism activity.” The proposed legislation mandated that they must team up with the DOJ to produce periodic reports to Congress. Each of those reports was to include “an analysis of incidents or attempted incidents of domestic terrorism” over the previous 6 months, and the number of:
- “domestic terrorism related assessments initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation;”
- “domestic terrorism-related preliminary investigations initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation;”
- “domestic terrorism-related full investigations initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation;” and
- “domestic terrorism-related incidents.”
So, the proposed legislation would have required the DOJ and FBI to investigate not just “domestic terrorism” and not just “domestic terrorism incidents,” but “domestic terrorism activity” and “domestic terrorism-related” activity and incidents. What are those? What does “domestic terrorism-related” mean? Might it mean speech alone? If so, what speech? These matters would apparently have been left to the eye of the FBI or DHS domestic-terrorism-unit beholder.
In fact, more than that was to be left to the beholder’s eye. Each report to Congress was to specifically include an analysis of “any White-supremacist-related incidents or attempted incidents.” Reports within each of the subcategories: assessments, preliminary investigations, full-investigations, related incidents, etc., were to contain a section specifically relating to “White supremacism.” In other words, “White supremacy”- related incidents and activities were to receive particular focus (and by express legislative emphasis they received exclusive focus) in the proposed legislation. No other motive for domestic terrorism received any mention at all – for instance, not Islamic jihadism and not woke progressivism or its offshoot the leftist so-called “anti-fascist” or Antifa movement — only white supremacy. This emphasis and exclusivity was extremely important to the purpose of the proposed legislation.
Democrats have repeatedly told us that white supremacy is the greatest terror threat we face. So, they introduced legislation calling for police intelligence agencies to gather statistics that would promote that very narrative and no other. But what is “white supremacy?” Until a couple of years ago, who would have guessed we’d be told that protesting COVID lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, business closures and domestic travel bans manifests white supremacy? Who would have guessed that parents speaking out against schools teaching their children that America is a systemically racist country and that whiteness is to be shunned as the root of all evil would be accused of “white supremacy?” Or that people would claim that parental objection to schools teaching kindergarteners about transgenderism is rooted in white supremacy?
What is white supremacy is very obviously also in the eye of the beholder. But not every beholding eye gets to make the determination — that is left to appropriately Woke consciousness. The leftist beguiler begins by talking about Nazis, then associates Nazis with the term “white supremacy.” Then, the leftist beguiler uses that association to go after “white supremacists” as if they are Nazis, even though very few, if any, of those smeared as white supremacists have anything to do with Nazis. In this way, the leftist beguiler justifies silencing a broad range of people and topics that the beguiler wants silenced and eliminated.
People who are sympatico with the agenda understand this fully, even as many of them will deny it. For example, an A.P. piece reporting on the defeat of H.R. 350 opened with the following statement:
“Democrats’ first attempt at responding to the back-to-back mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, failed in the Senate on Thursday as Republicans blocked a domestic terrorism bill that would have opened debate on difficult questions surrounding hate crimes and gun safety.”
First of all, the bill was not a response to the shootings in Uvalde, Texas. That’s more fake news from the narrative spinners. The bill was introduced in January of 2021, discussed in committee in March and April of 2022, and passed by the house May 18, 2002, 4 days after the Buffalo shootings and a week before the Uvalde shootings even took place. Second, the bill had nothing to do with “gun safety.” But most importantly, what the bill would have done is create special investigative units in the DOJ, FBI and DHS to conduct “domestic terrorism-related” assessments, preliminary investigations, investigations, and prosecutions, and to generate periodic reports to Congress emphasizing the importance of any connection to “white supremacy,” to the exclusion of all other motivating factors underlying “domestic terrorism-related” incidents and activity.
The only way the bill’s enactment could possibly have “opened debate on difficult questions” would have been by providing statistics to bolster the Democrat narrative that “white supremacy” is the greatest terror threat we face. Yet, in that debate, anyone pointing out that emphasizing white supremacist-related domestic terrorism-related activities exclusively leads to deceptive de-emphasis of other motivations would surely be shut down with leftist accusations of “whataboutism.” In other words, “We’re talking about white supremacist terrorism, here. Stop deflecting with your whataboutisms.” Any “debate” opened by the passage of H.R. 350 would surely have gone the way of all important public “debates” and “conversations” initiated by the political left: “We talk, you listen – Now sit down and shut up, you racist, white supremacist whataboutist.”
This brings us to the nub of the agenda underlying H.R. 350 and the leftist mainstreaming of the proposition that whiteness is the root of all evil. Under H.R. 350, “white supremacy” would have been whatever the special police units said it was. As discussed above, we know that white supremacy could be people protesting government curtailment of liberties, such as restrictions on travel or the ability to make a living. It could be people protesting what they view as dangerously nonsensical indoctrination of their children in public schools. Or, according to Democrats in the House of Representatives, it could mean having an association with their political enemies, the Republican party.
Back to Solzhentsyn and his communist abusers, Solzhenitsyn might be wrong in thinking that a person who does evil always needs a rationale to delude him into believing that he is doing good. After all, nihilists like the teen-aged mass murderer in Uvalde, Texas, have no ideology. They appear to embrace the most unthinkable evil, either because it is unthinkably evil or for no particular reason at all. But in the political realm, Solzhenitsyn is surely right. The Nazis had their ideology of National Socialism. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, et., al., all had Communist ideology to delude them into thinking their mass murders of tens of millions of civilians, collectively, served a greater good. To perfect those delusions, those great evils were carried out under color of law.
As Solzhenitsyn relates, in 1922, the Bolsheviks were in a hurry to produce a criminal code in time for the trial of their political enemies, the Social Revolutionaries (SR’s). Lenin told the People’s Commissar of Justice, Kursky, that it was necessary to “find a formulation that would connect the activities [of the Mensheviks, SR’s., etc.] with the international bourgeoisie.” Under Bolshevik ideology, the international bourgeoisie were unquestionably the enemy, so Lenin urged concocting a political formulation to connect all activities of the Bolsheviks’ domestic enemies to the international bourgeoisie. But, again, to perfect the scheme and the illusion that evil was in fact good, these domestic enemies had to be eliminated under color of law, in accordance with statute.
Lenin also thought the best way to deter anyone who might consider resisting the ruling party’s whims was through a regime of official terror. The criminal code had to allow for terror to be used as a method of persuasion (an extreme form of general deterrence, you might say). Lenin therefore explained in a letter to People’s Commissar of Justice Kursky:
“The basic concept, I hope, is clear, nothwithstanding all the shortcomings of the rough draft: openly to set forth a statute which is both principled and truthful (and not just juridically narrow) to supply the motivation for the essence and the justification of terror, its necessity, its limits.
The court must not exclude terror. It would be self-deception or deceit to promise this, and in order to provide it with a foundation and to legalize it in a principled way, clearly and without hypocrisy and without embellishment, it is necessary to formulate it as broadly as possible, for only revolutionary righteousness and a revolutionary conscience will provide the conditions for applying it more or less broadly in practice.”
To summarize, the Russian criminal code of 1922 was created to legalize the use of State terror in a principled way. To serve that purpose, the code had to be formulated as broadly as possible, so it could be left to those properly possessed of revolutionary righteousness and conscience to provide the conditions for applying it. To most effectively eliminate one’s political enemies through legalized terror, one must not be overly precise in defining and delineating the prohibitions.
Just as the committed domestic abuser understands that his victims must be kept in a state of fearful uncertainty – never knowing what word or action might trigger the next beating (something only an abuser, with the proper conscience and sense of righteousness, should determine) – the same holds true of State terror. The enlightened Woke must determine who are unworthy, why they are unworthy, and what must be done about it. The unworthy must be made to internalize their worthlessness, to renounce themselves for it, to denounce other un-worthies (after all, silence is complicity), to beg their betters for undeserved mercy, and always to strive and hope to serve their righteous masters who alone know the appropriate conditions for meting out punishment. But legalized State terror, as opposed to terror imposed by an individual, is nearly sublime. After all, the State controls the police, the judges and the prisons. There’s nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide.
Just as Lenin knew that the statutes supporting the Bolshevik terror campaign had to be broad enough to allow the righteous to apply it effectively, the Democrat sponsors of H.R. 350 understand the need for appropriate legislative breadth to allow the righteous of Woke conscience to root out their domestic political enemies. Stalin’s international bourgeoisie is the Wokeists’ “whiteness.” Stalin’s “Mensheviks, SR’s, etc.,” are the Wokeists’ “white supremacists.” The Wokeists’ statutory focus connecting “white supremacy” exclusively with “domestic terrorism-related activity” links the Wokeists’ political enemies exclusively to a dire threat justifying drastic, extraordinary action. The principle is the same for Lenin and the Wokeists. The differences are matters of detail and magnitude.
Are you a white supremacist? You can never be quite sure. Are you concerned about the unremitting wave of people who are allowed to enter the U.S. illegally, by the millions each year? That might make you a “white supremacist.” Have you taken the left wingers seriously when they have told us for decades that white people will soon be in the minority, and that this is an unmitigated good, while they vaguely threaten that this means the whiteys will soon get theirs? Apart from wondering why leftists always suggest that their coming utopia will threaten you, do you question why it’s inherently good that America will soon be a white-minority nation?
Well, if you think it’s nothing but good that whites will soon be a minority, that’s apparently fine with the Wokeists. But if you think it might not be good, that makes you a believer in the “great replacement” conspiracy theory. In other words, whites are clearly headed for minority status if you think that’s good, but if you think it isn’t good, it’s a conspiracy theory to think it’s happening at all, because it isn’t, and you’re a white supremacist. And if you speak out against this thing that would be happening if you thought it was good, but that isn’t happening because you think it might not be good, you might come under investigation by the intelligence services for domestic terrorism-related activity. You can never be quite sure.
You clearly lack the righteousness and Woke conscience to know the circumstances under which the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 should be applied. If it had passed, all you could have done is to fear that wandering from the Woke line would cause the law to be applied to you; to stay abreast of the particular day’s Woke definition of “white supremacy;” stay as distant as possible from whatever that is; renounce all past connections to it; loudly denounce anyone vaguely associated with it (silence is complicity, after all), and hope that’s enough to keep the State’s agents of persuasion-through-terror away from you when the time comes to mete out the beatings.
Ah, life under Woke progressivism – cowering from your omnipotent and omnipresent abuser.