Cool Heads Should Prevail Amidst New DHS Domestic Terror Alerts

Cool Heads Should Prevail Amidst New DHS Domestic Terror Alerts

By June 7, 2022

After the BLM/Antifa riots of 2020 and threats to burn down Catholic parishes, how seriously should we take these alerts?

Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it.

In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.

— Roger Scruton, “How To Be A Conservative” (2018)

The US Department of Homeland Security issued a very broad alert to the general public warning about the potential for increased domestic violence and terrorism leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, specifically from four sources:

  • Left-wing domestic terrorism not limited to but including pro-abortion extremists, BLM/Antifa, eco-terrorism, and other affiliated groups.
  • Right-wing domestic terrorism not limited to but including anti-immigration groups, nationalist and reactionary organizations, or instances of lone wolf terrorism against soft targets.
  • Islamist terrorism from al-Qaeda or ISIL-affiliated groups seeking to inflame national tensions.
  • Foreign actors including Russian, Chinese, Iranian (Hezbollah) or other state sponsored terrorist activities up to and including cyber-terrorism and misinformation campaigns designed to inflame the environments and provoke acts of left-wing or right-wing domestic terrorism.

DHS was keen to point out what these soft targets might actually be in practice, again not limited to but including the following:

  • Minority communities such of African, Asian, Hispanic or Arab descent designed to provoke a response in the media and wider community.
  • Religious communities such as Muslims, Catholics, evangelical Protestants, and Jews in their places of worship.
  • Soft targets such as schools, supermarkets, mass transit and other facilities such as water treatment systems which remain difficult to harden against terrorist events.

DHS is also warning about how these events may transpire:

  • Lone wolf attacks typically consisting of 1 or 2 individuals radicalized by propaganda, misinformation, or psychological trauma.
  • Cyber-attacks consisting of attacks on banking institutions, hospitals, health care networks, local businesses of any size, and personal banking information.
  • Mass casualty events involving firearms, explosives, incendiary devices, or other events designed to inspire fear and gather attention.
  • Single casualty events designed to inspire and provoke fear or reaction for/against a targeted group.

You can read the entire alter by clicking here, though the DHS memo isn’t terrible instructive.

But I will leave you with a book entitled The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef. The basic premise of the idea is that people consist of two sorts — the first viewing the world as a hostile place and ergo with the mindset of a soldier, and the second viewing the world as an interesting place and therefore with the mindset of a scout.

Worth 12 minutes of your time.

The salient point in all of this is that there are forces out there that would love to provoke others into a state or reaction — thinking with red heads (hot) rather than blue heads (cool) to borrow a New Zealand All Blacks terminology.

Which means that in any instance of violence — domestic or foreign — blue heads must prevail and especially in instances where our own tribes are attacked and violated — Sebastian Junger has an excellent short book on tribalism that I highly recommend.

Make no mistake about this though.

Outside forces would love nothing more than for us to tear one another apart. The political left in this country has leaned into the hammock of violence with riots and uprisings against the patience of conservatives — and there are no parallel examples on the right for the left to scream whaddabout against.

Which is why I begin with the wisdom of the late Roger Vernon Scruton.

Conservatives by instinct are preservers of the good, beautiful, and true. These goods that have been so meticulously harvested and nurtured by past generations are indeed at risk of being squandered by the present generation.

World-builders and utopians are always eager to destroy, but the wisdom of another great conservative — William F. Buckley Jr. — reminds us that those are precisely the Fabian operators against whom we should resist.

Yet as Scruton reminds us, the political left has everything to gain from the tearing down of the old in favor of the progressive new — and that awful line about the arc of history bending towards justice will ultimately excuse a litany of horribles in pursuit of a perfect abstraction.

For those of us reminded that the entire premise of the US Constitution is the pursuit of a more perfect Union and not a utopia? America is going to be tested in the next few months in serious and real ways. Not reacting to news and making it plainly clear that violence is and remains intolerable in the pursuit of political ends will be a universal effort requiring both sides of the aisle to see things clearly and not cheat the public trust.

Can it be done? One certainly hopes that the media misinformation and the rhetoric is more bluster than fact. Just remember, folks, that what you see online and in the media isn’t even close to reality. What’s real are your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, local law enforcement and first responders, and the tight circle of people who are willing to help one another.

Remember this as well. 331 million Americans woke up this morning, went to work, sat in school, played outside, argued politics, sat in a park, drank beers, ate three squares, went home to watch movies and wrestle with the kids. Tomorrow they will do the exact same thing. And the next day. And the next.

We are living in a golden age and no one cares.

But there are a lot of people who sit up all day and all night thinking of ways to ruin what we as Americans have — and when you see it, think of those bad actors and ask yourself cui bono? Who benefits?

God is good; all the time.

Cool heads, ladies and gentlemen.

Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.

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