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Breaking News Alert This Week In Lawfare Land: 'Deadly Force'

Until Republicans Use Power To Reward Their Friends And Punish Their Enemies, They’ll Always Lose

Conservative gatekeepers are content to let the left amass power for the sole purpose of harassing and even jailing those on the right.

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During an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” James Carville, a Democrat and political strategist, expressed his opinion that Speaker Mike Johnson and other “Christian nationalists” are a bigger threat to America than al-Qaeda. In a more recent rant posted on X, Carville urged young people to recognize the potential dire consequences of not voting for Biden in this year’s November election, at least as he sees it:

If Trump, and Roberts, and Alito, and Gorsuch, and Thomas, and Leonard Leo, and the Heritage Foundation — if they get a hold [of power], there will be no government left, there will be no rights left, you will live under theocracy, you’ll end up [with] Christian Nationalism. My advice to tell these young people is to get off your motherf**king a** and go vote because you should vote like your entire future, and the entire future of this United States depends on it because, quite frankly, it does, and that’s not an exaggeration.

Carville is not alone in employing this divisive and vitriolic rhetoric. President Biden and many other Democrat politicians have repeatedly stated that the Republican Party of today, led and influenced by Donald Trump, is “a threat to this country” and has continuously called “MAGA extremists” a “threat to the brick and mortar of our democratic institutions.”

This demonization of Republicans as an existential threat that must be completely vanquished from American politics altogether is now commonplace rhetoric for even supposedly centrist Democrats such as Carville and Biden. And yet far too many Republican leaders and conservative pundits cling to the notion that the response to this extremism is to defeat liberals in the “marketplace of ideas,” while chastising their own allies about their perceived lack of civility in the face of eliminationist rhetoric. This is not the way to win an election, much less save America from leftist tyranny.

The unwillingness of many leaders on the right to confront Democrats directly is hard to stomach; however, this rhetoric should come as no surprise, given the ideological origins of left-wing politics. Leftist hero Mao Zedong succinctly characterized politics as “war without bloodshed,” though his cultural revolution was still eager to use violence to achieve its political ends. Accordingly, the “wokeness” we see unfolding in all aspects of American life bears striking resemblances to Mao’s cultural revolution, including the use of political violence as evidenced throughout the 2020 George Floyd protests and, more recently, within the “Free Palestine” movement.

As such, one would think the Republican Party would take Democrats at their word and finally wake up and realize “what time it is,” but regrettably, that is not the case. Conservative gatekeepers act as if anyone on the right who exercises political power to put the left in their place is dangerous, and all the while the left is amassing power for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, and even jailing those on the right. Instead, they make outdated and ineffective overtures to the “three-legged stool” of conservatism as a way to appeal to moderates and fight the leftist onslaught. To say this belief is naïve would be an understatement. To say this is the rhetoric of controlled opposition would be more accurate.

Like it or not, our politics now fundamentally revolves around discerning “friend” from “enemy” — and rewarding the former and directly engaging the latter. German political philosopher Carl Schmitt introduced the friend/enemy distinction in his 1932 book The Concept of the Political. According to his theory, political entities define themselves by identifying friends (allies) and enemies (adversaries), a differentiation that profoundly influences political decisions and actions. This distinction constitutes the core of political and power dynamics, central to our contemporary politics.

It’s important to note that this does not pertain to mere rivalries or political disagreements. We are not talking about political battles over marginal tax rates or economic tariffs, as was the case in our politics of old. The friend/enemy distinction explicitly deals with what would be an extensional threat to one side or another.

During both the Cold War and the initial phases of the war on terror, the focus on an external adversary somewhat alleviated the intensity of internal political disputes in America while fostering solidarity and patriotism at home, especially when juxtaposed with the existential concerns of nuclear conflict or significant terrorist threats. However, the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union and the disillusionment with the war on terror, combined with the election of Barack Obama and later Donald Trump, awakened something within American politics that has been absent for decades:

The enemy within.

Whether it was when Obama designated working-class Americans in the Midwest as people who “cling to guns or religion” and have “antipathy to people who aren’t like them” or Hillary Clinton designating Trump voters as a “basket of deplorables” or, as mentioned earlier, President Biden likening “MAGA Republicans” as extremist threats to the nation, the escalation by Democrats designating their political opponents as the “enemy” has been deliberate.

That said, while it’s vital to designate who the “enemy” is within this binary, it is equally important to identify who is a friend. Once again, the left excels at this.

Perhaps one of the most egregious historical examples of how the left “rewards friends” without a care for their moral failings is with Bill Ayers, the leader of the Weather Underground, an FBI-designated far-left Marxist domestic terrorist group. Not only did he participate in a rash of political bombings that injured and killed innocent people, but after his charges were dropped due to misconduct by the FBI, the University of Illinois had no issues hiring him as a professor.

Eventually, no doubt due to his radical leftist beliefs, Ayers even found a way to cross paths with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. Ideological friends tend to find themselves frequenting the same political circles. Most recently, Bill Ayers has been seen at a campus protest offering the violent “Free Palestine” movement his public support.

And if you think the friend/enemy distinction is relegated only to political theory, you should know that a lot of supposedly mainstream liberal organizations are directly offering their financial support to the campus protests, as well as other left-wing purveyors of street violence, such as Antifa and the environmentalists that have been blocking roads around the country. This is a highly coordinated effort utilizing specific tactics to undermine law and order to achieve radical political ends.

In electoral terms, in a moment of brutal honesty Obama specifically alluded to the friend/enemy distinction during an interview with Univision when discussing Latino voters.

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us’ — if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election — then I think it’s going to be harder. And that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on Nov. 2,” he said.

Obama’s statement clearly embodies the friend/enemy dynamic in political alliances and reflects how identity politics, despite many internal contradictions, is a highly effective way of signaling who is a friend and who is an enemy.

If you’re in a war and only your opponent is going on the offensive, you’re guaranteed to lose. To thrive and win in politics as it exists today, conservatives must wholeheartedly embrace the reality of obtaining and wielding political power within this friend/enemy binary. Like it or not, in politics, as in warfare, the distinction between friend and foe is an indispensable guiding principle, intricately shaping the contours of our modern political landscape.

For those on the political right, recognizing and embracing the friend/enemy distinction isn’t a mere choice; it’s a strategic imperative.


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