Recent events can push the imagination in a conspiratorial direction, something like this:
- Left-wing financiers, like George Soros, back groups intent on causing trouble.
- In an organized way, those groups escalate initially peaceful protests into political violence.
- This draws out fringe white supremacist groups to prove their mettle in opposition and gives them propaganda leverage.
- The two sides find flash-points to stare each other down.
- Police authorities take a containment approach that allows violence to begin.
- When the victims of violence are on the wrong side, from the progressives’ point of view, such as House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the compliant news media dutifully downplays the attack and runs the “lone crazy guy” narrative.
- In this environment, it is only a matter of time before somebody is seriously hurt or killed on the side that serves the left-wing’s purposes, as happened in Charlottesville.
- As if previously coordinated, Democrats and news media launch into action pinning the violence on President Trump, who can be counted on to get caught up in the verbal jousting and say dumb things.
- This forms the pretense to undermine his administration’s ability to function and, ultimately, to overthrow him.
Note that this isn’t my analysis, but rather a description of the storyline that’s floating around out there. Some parts of it have the ring of truth. Then-Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s gratuitous stroll through a Tea Party rally with minority members of her caucus, as if daring the peaceful protesters to say or do something politically helpful, is an earlier, milder, indication that politicians do think in these ways.
I typically ascribe such developments, even when they appear coordinated, to the organic workings of incentives and human nature. Robert Shibley, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), offers some explanation of who benefits from the failure of police to stop political violence as soon as it starts to percolate (via Instapundit), even without the intent of setting the conditions for violence:
There is one group of people who have so far consistently benefitted when political violence has been allowed to take place: the politicians who lead our localities and the de facto politicians who run our campuses. They avoid the political fallout from images of police confronting violent protesters (who may also be their supporters), they get to blame whichever side they like less for causing the violence, and get to pretend to fulfill their responsibility to keep people “safe” by making it harder for controversial viewpoints to be expressed.
Whether there’s a conspiracy at play or not, however, note the central position of police authorities in simply maintaining the conditions under which political action can remain merely speech, allowing ideas to do battle, rather than people. Maintaining space for the exercise of our rights is the entire purpose of government in a free society. If our government will not do that, it is either useless and unnecessary or working toward dictatorial ends.
If the latter, then theorists can fill in the motivation for the above-described conspiracy. After all, if Donald Trump proved anything, it’s that even the constrained, financially captured, and carefully orchestrated form of democracy that we now have in the United States can disrupt the plans of the powerful. Uncontestable control of the wealthiest, most-powerful nation in the history of our planet is a whole lot of incentive to undermine an elected president.