by Christopher Roach
The George Floyd riots, conveniently shut off this past summer, were as much theater as reality. They were designed to associate Donald Trump with police abuses and disorder, while painting Democrats and their notions of “racial justice” as the path forward.
Ordinary citizens standing up for themselves interfere with this guerilla theater indoctrination; after all, there are a lot more normal people who do not want their towns burned down than there are maniacs willing to do street violence. This is why individuals like Kyle Rittenhouse and citizen self-defense groups are dealt with so harshly by the government and the media.
Government Did Not Protect Us Last Summer
Consider that there were dozens of fires and beatings and a significant number of killings in Minneapolis, Kenosha, Chicago, Portland, St. Louis, and Seattle in the summer of 2020. Hardly any Antifa and BLM rioters have been brought to justice. Federal authorities have made no significant effort to roll up these groups.
In the cities worst hit by the riots, there appears to be a semi-cooperative relationship between the rioters and prosecutors. In the Rittenhouse trial, prosecutors presented Gaige Grosskreutz as a blameless victim, even though he illegally carried a concealed gun and pointed it at Kyle Rittenhouse after chasing him down. Grosskreutz also escaped responsibility for a subsequent DUI.
But if Rittenhouse’s presence was provocative and illegal, why was Grosskreutz’s pursuit and brandishing a gun not a more serious crime?
Worse, one of the surprising revelations during the trial was the late production of FBI aerial footage. The high-definition footage had inexplicably disappeared, and the FBI kept news of this all to itself until a media leak. But the infrared, night vision footage remains, supporting Rittenhouse’s narrative and also providing a means to identify the various left-wing criminals who ran amok. Presumably, similar videos were secretly taken during other riots in 2020.
But, so far as we know, in spite of an impressive surveillance capability, as well as signals intelligence and other resources at its disposal, the FBI has made no significant effort to identify and suppress the leaders, organizers, funders, and foot soldiers of Antifa and BLM responsible for the 2020 riots.
Instead, we are lately told there is an explosion of “white supremacy” in a country that elected Barack Obama fewer than ten years ago, and that Antifa is only an “ideology,” not a terrorist group.
Racial Justice vs. American Justice
It is becoming obvious that there are now two standards of justice. This development marks a major retreat from the American ideal of blind justice, which is based on individualized determinations of guilt for particular crimes. The question is supposed to be a narrow one: did this person commit this charged offense, and did the prosecution prove that beyond a reasonable doubt?
Now prosecutors and the state are putting their thumbs on the scales, chasing down those on the Right for relatively minor crimes, including a stolen diary the FBI is tracking in New York, reprisals against leftist violence, and, of course, the all-hands-on-deck prosecution of the January 6 protesters. At the same time, federal and state prosecutors are downplaying, releasing, or failing to investigate conspiracies that led to widespread rioting in 2020, which resulted in at least 25 deaths.
None of this is an accident. We saw hints of this two-tiered approach in the lackadaisical prosecutions of the 1970s terror group, the Weather Underground. Many were given kid-gloves treatment and went onto successful careers in academia. Even when the system worked, backdoor channels relieved many of having to face consequences. Recall Bill Clinton pardoned convicted terrorist Susan Rosenberg as one of his last acts in office. Far from feeling guilty or disavowing violence, she has since become a prominent BLM leader.
While using the same language as the rest of us, the Left’s concept of justice is flexible. The Left is neither pro nor anti prosecution outside of the Marxist lens of “race, class, gender.” In other words, they are not for justice, but rather for their team.
Formerly confined almost exclusively to class, the Soviet Union implemented this philosophy with gusto. In an excellent 1938 law review article, “The Soviet Concept of Law,” Vladimir Gsovski lays out the basic approach:
[I]in accordance with the Marxian doctrine of historic materialism and class struggle, the impartiality of law is denied altogether by the communists. Any law is for them in the first place the law of the ruling economic class; impartial justice is merely an illusion and law reflects actually the class concept of justice.
In other words, in a dispute between a proletarian and a bourgeois, or a former aristocrat and the Soviet State, the question was not one of individualized guilt or innocence, but rather whether a verdict furthered the broader goals of the revolution. Individualism became passé.
Needless to say, millions were sent to the Gulag and shot in the back of the head in Lubyanka prison as expressions of such “class justice.” Today, instead of the bourgeois, whites and conservatives and property owners are the “enemies of the people” under the ubiquitous Marxist framework of “race, class, and gender.”
Is Self Defense Still Allowed?
The Rittenhouse prosecution is a landmark case. It is fundamentally a referendum on whether normal, middle-class Americans will be at the mercy of the Left’s violent shock troops. The prosecution is simply an expression of the “class justice” concept, as Rittenhouse was treated differently than those who initiated the violence in Kenosha.
The un-American and thoroughly destructive concept is dressed up as “critical race theory” or “equity” or some other euphemism. But, in practice, it amounts to anti-white race hatred and hostility to successful middle-class property owners of all races.
Rittenhouse is no white supremacist or fascist or whatever boogeyman the media and the Left have concocted. But he is an avatar for the system’s self-proclaimed enemies. The system does not believe such people are entitled to self-defense; they are held to a different standard of justice than the one that applies to the oppressed and the woke.
So far, the Marxist takeover of the justice system has been incomplete. We still have an advocacy system, and Rittenhouse benefited from a judge who still cares about the Constitution. We also have a jury system, where regular people, and their sense of justice, operate as a check on run-amok prosecutors.
That said, the process itself is a punishment, a Kafkaesque, expensive ordeal where an innocent person wonders if he will spend the next 65 years in prison. And juries too often have the same “race, class, gender” framework as the broader Left.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Soviet regime and its crimes have been memory-holed. Younger generations have no lived experience of fearing nuclear war, observing the manifest failure of the Soviet state to provide a decent quality of life, and the testimony of numerous dissidents mistreated by the Soviet system because of their independence of mind and commitment to personal freedom. Knowledge of this is suppressed, not least because the Democratic Party and our major cultural institutions are now fully in the grip of a Soviet-style ideological program, one hostile to freedom, justice, and the rights of “class enemies.”
Although Rittenhouse was acquitted, none of us are safe, so long as “critical race theory” and other Marxist ideas pollute our law schools, our judges’ minds, and our legal system.
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Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.