Welcome to the Foxhole

by James C. Sherlock

I just posted this response to a relative who asked me to read a post by a left wing professor blaming Q’Anon for the violence in the capitol.

I read the article. I haven’t read enough of (name of the author) to characterize him, so I won’t.

I will, however address the violent fringes of American politics.

When I look at the pasty, scruffy-looking college students and millennial anarchists from this summer’s violence, I see a threat but one easily contained by police if let to do their jobs. The issue is that the violent left had political cover.  The mayors of the left could not bring themselves to effectively deal with their violence because they agreed with their politics.  

It is those leftist extremists and apolitical looters against which the nation’s cities boarded up their stores and restaurants right before the election. Not in case Donald Trump lost, but in case he won. A threat, but with political permission manageable because they are not generally individually tough or skilled at violence. If blue collar unions had backed and participated in that violence, it would have been a different story, but they did not.

When I look at the violent right, that is a completely different matter. These men and women are rough street fighters, many with backgrounds that have taught them how to exert violence efficiently and effectively. 

Most extremists on the right have, or had, blue collar jobs and were proud to do them. Many are truck drivers, plumbers, firemen, cops, construction tradesmen and military veterans. Many have Scotch-Irish heritage and, as Senator Jim Webb titled his book, were “born fighting”. Their personal dignity means more to many of them than life itself. They largely have avoided political violence all of my life.

I had hundreds of men like this who worked for me in the Navy. They were brave, skilled and indispensable sailors. They would have given their lives for their nation willingly. Some did. Some of them broke the rules and had to be dealt with, but I never, ever talked down to them. They did not deserve that.

My take on the right wing violence now at this time is that many of the perpetrators got increasingly tired of constantly being dismissed by the dominant progressive culture as unworthy of participation in political life, which is of course far worse than being disagreed with. 

Then they got very tired of it.  Dealing with them will be a heavier lift than dealing with the violent left wing fringe, because they are far tougher on average.  

Any persons who were or are violent for political reasons or not need to be dealt with by governments at every level. Always have, always will. Security from violence is the first responsibility of government. The intense focus of the progressive culture on political violence at this point is welcome, but still politically selective and certainly time late. 

The people who made a living denigrating blue collar conservatives and their culture or just did so casually at cocktail parties and in chat rooms are morons. They kept poking at a hornets nest and were shocked when hornets came out. They sowed the wind, and now all of us reap the whirlwind.

I personally never differentiate based on the “reasons” for violence. Reasons are irrelevant. That is why I don’t know much about Q’Anon —  I don’t care. It is a symptom, not the disease.

Any persons who were or are violent for political reasons or not need to be dealt with by governments at every level. Always have, always will. Security from violence is the first responsibility of government. 

The difference now is that right-wing extremists won’t have political cover from the progressive culture.

Perhaps the only delicious feature of the current crisis is that we, including finally the left, will be asking law enforcement men and women, many from the same cultural backgrounds as the right-wing extremists, to deal with those extremists. They will do the job and do it well because that, too, is their culture. Good thing.

We are all law and order advocates now. Welcome, my friends on the left, to the foxhole.

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63 responses to “Welcome to the Foxhole

  1. I think antifa plenty tough, very smart, and very effective pros at what they do.

  2. Let’s not forget when the Democrats stormed theCapitol building and literally disrupted the Kavanaugh hearings. Weren’t they yelling, harassing, and causing havoc?

    I saw a meme that compared BLM v. Capitol riots and called it Outrage Manufactured, and it’s quite apropos;
    BLM v. Capitol

    Lasted 7 months v. lasted several hours
    Condemned mostly by Republicans v. Condemned by Rs & Ds
    Encouraged by media & politicians vs. encouraged only by fringe pol. groups
    Police force used for both
    23+ people shot dead vs. 1 person shot dead
    700 officers injured bs. 14 officers injured
    150+ federal buildings damaged vs. 1 federal. building damaged
    100s small businesses destroyed vs. no small businesses destroyed

    No outrage vs. Nationwide Outrage

    • You make a mistake allowing yourself to be considered as defending the capitol invasion with “whataboutism”. It needs to be condemned by every American.

      Just like the violence last summer needs to be condemned by every American.

      It wasn’t, but don’t sacrifice your own principles in response.

      • The mote in his eye, the log in your own….I find myself fighting with friends over this crap, this belief that the end justifies the means. Or that two wrongs make a right.

        • Surely you don’t mean that you see in my essay any reference to or inference that two wrongs make a right or ends justify the means? I certainly did not.

          I unequivocally condemned violence from any source, and wrote that all of it should be stopped by government action.

          I also wrote that right wing violence is potentially more difficult to stop than left wing violence because of the more powerful potential street fighting capabilities of those inclined to right wing violence.

          So I must have misunderstood you.

  3. I was having a text message exchange with a liberal friend of mine last night during the football game. He is quite concerned that the Capitol attack was just the start and that broad based insurrection is likely. My position is that an widespread insurrection won’t happen without some cooperation or participation from the police, national guard or military. That seems unlikely around the inauguration. However, it seems much more possible that groups like the Idaho National Guard might decide that the insurrectionists are really revolutionaries and reject the central government’s rule over Idaho under the theory that if Antifa can take create CHAZ maybe the people of Idaho can decide they won’t accept what they perceive to be an unconstitutional federal government.

    • I was watching CNBC this morning and a defender of the Facebook and Twitter moves said it was a simple standard, really: No use of their platforms to promote violence based on lies. Based on lies. So calls to violence based on truth are ok? Who’s truth? How about no appeals to violence at all? This is just going to get worse….

      • “Who’s truth? How about no appeals to violence at all? This is just going to get worse….”

        Goes hand in hand with “the only good cause, is my cause” and “End justify the means”.

      • Baconator with extra cheese

        I have to say many pushing these ideals aren’t hiding them. They are mostly being honest about limiting speech and attacking prior American ideals. And people are openly voting for it which is pretty crazy. I hope they understand that Pandora’s box is opening wider and wider and we probably can’t ever go back.
        They should pray their side stays in power… can you imagine a strict religious sect seizing the powers to censor that these people want to grant to government and certain corporations? Wow…

      • It absolutely is going to get worse.

      • It probably will get worse. Shutting down Parler was really stupid. It confirmed that the “deep state” / “system” / etc would silence the voices of conservatives while allowing anything to be said by liberals.

        When Al Queda was using satellite phones to plan their atrocities did the US cut off satellite phone service? Of course not. We let them keep using the sat phones and then hunted them down and killed them based on those sat phone conversations. If bad actors really were planning mayhem over Parler wouldn’t the best approach have been to monitor those plans, hunt down the miscreants and arrest them? Now they’ve scattered to the dank and dusty recesses of the dark web where their plans may never be known.

      • “Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.” –Some Soviet dissident.

    • The precedents set throughout all of last year, by all parties will now begin to show their 2nd and 3rd order effects.

      It’s like when Sen. Mitch “Cocaine” McConnell warned Sen. Harry “Mob” Reid that removing the filibuster would have consequences when he wasn’t in power.

  4. Baconator with extra cheese

    I have a bad feeling that in 2021 we’ll be wishing for the gold old days of 2020.
    I’m also glad I’m not in an underwater mortgage or living at the financial tipping point. Because I see a financial reckoning coming… either with inflation, taxes, or both…. just cancelling the Trump tax cuts is going to catch a lot of families off guard… I enjoyed the extra ~ $220 a month it meant to me.

    • That — the potential of widespread deprivation — is what worries me more than anything. I think much potential violence in the US is disarmed through debt slavery — when you *need* to be on the 8-5 hamster wheel for 50 years to keep a roof over your head and to send your kids to good schools, that is a mighty powerful disincentive for insurrection. If the financial balancing act fails at a national scale, it will activate militancy on both sides at a scale we can’t imagine.

  5. It is stupid to compare Portland with a violent coup attempt at the US Capitol to prevent congress from ratifying a fair, legal election of a new president. Spare me the false equivalence. Spare me the “two wrongs don’t make a right” bullshit. Not responding to comments.

    • CHAZ/CHOP was in Seattle, I don’t know if you’re aware or not but that’s a different state.

      So we can glean from the rest of your comment, that like Trump. You’re a Narcissist.

    • My essay condemned violence from all sources. “Always have, always will.”

      If that is in your mind “false equivalence”, Peter, then you conjured it up in order to oppose it. It is called a straw man. You need help.

      Not responding to comments is a particularly mature position. Fingers in ears, eyes closed, yelling as loud as you can.

      • “False Equivalence” is the new liberal mantra that excuses bad actions from the left while holding the right accountable for the same type of behavior.

        In Seattle political authorities demanded that the police abandon their precinct and then allowed the domestic terrorists to hold an area of a city captive for 3 weeks.

        At the Capitol the police fought the invaders killing one dead. The building was cleared in a few hours. 90 people rightly suspected of domestic terrorism have been arrested.

  6. Hey James,
    Read “Steal This Book,” and they were hippies.

  7. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    The blue collar conservative voter is an active participant now and that will remain so for a while. They don’t have many chips but they have pushed everything they have to the center of the table. Old fashioned Republicans should pay attention to them and stop their paternalism of the past. Progressives have vastly underestimated their numbers and resolve.

  8. Jim S. Seattle whatever. Civil disobedience and outright neighborhood violence is not the same thing as an outright coup attempt at the US Capitol. Can’t explain why you don’t get that. It is like comparing a small air raid with Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

    • I condemned them both. I did not suggest they were comparable.

      I wrote: “When I look at the violent right, that is a completely different matter.” I then described extensively why right wing violence is more threatening. And what stirred it up at this level we have never seen before. And that we punish the violent while deescalating the rhetoric.

      So I suggest you don’t critique what you wish I had written, but rather what I did.

      It is ok to condemn all violence. It will make you feel better.

  9. I meant civil disobedience and outright neighborhood violence “ARE.” Funny but I was in high school in the DC area in 1968 when MLK was killed. The Army had machine gun nests on the Capital steps. But not Jan. 6. Republicans?

    • The failure of law enforcement, which was supposed to be led in the execution of pre-designed prevention and response plans by the Capitol Police, the lead federal agency, demonstrated highly dangerous incompetence.

      In my experience it is wishful thinking on your part to consider this somehow a conspiratorial accommodation of white rioters rather than holiday-schedule-driven readiness failure of the entire federal and D.C. law enforcement bureaucracies.

      I know conspiracy between rioters and law enforcement fits your narrative, but surely you can wait for evidence for such a devastating charge.

      Rule number one in dealing with bureaucracies: Never assign skullduggery to failures that can be explained by incompetence.

    • Time for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

  10. On left-right street action: Last summer, an AAR from III%er folks who participated in the Portland violence was posted to a militia-adjacent blog I follow. Not going to link it here to save Jim some peace of mind, but its conclusion was as follows: RWers do not understand American street violence nearly as well as they think they do. Portland antifa is particularly well-organized, sure, but these were four former military types who got absolutely ****canned. Training and organization matter much more so than the number of Punisher-decaled AR-15 mags you can cart to a rally. The right has yet to understand this. Up to the point where street actions become firefights, the left has the upper hand.

    “…now all of us reap the whirlwind.”: A bunch of leaderless, demoralized, and incompetent Mossy Oak Legionnaires wandering the Rotunda like it’s a glitched-out Halo level does not a whirlwind make. Again — 99% of the militant right militates in their head and their head only. The real storm will be the ham-fisted response of the security state to all of this, enabled by hypochondriac liberals who magnified 1/6 into a melanoma — not just another mole.

    Lastly: As a card-carrying Jim Webb Dem I appreciated the nod to America’s most vital martial race, but it’s a little funny to toast the Scots-Irish and castigate leftist street actors as “scruffy-looking” in the same post.

    • Lest you think me too old and out of touch, I got the “glitched-out Halo level” reference. But you lost me on “punisher-decaled magazine”.

      What the heck is a Punisher decal?

      • Most commonly sighted at Clark Brothers off Route 29 on warm Saturday afternoons.

        • Chris Kyle and Seal Team 3’s logo.

        • Okay.

          My philosophy on adding things to firearms is that if it does not improve the functionality, accuracy or firing rate of the weapon it is a useless, extraneous, waste of money.

          Plus, crap like that in the photo is more likely to get you noticed. And I do not want to be noticed.

          • The same people who put this on their firearms have every other piece of equipment known to man on it.

            We had a term for them in the Army, it’s not polite to use in mixed company.

          • I’ll bet I’m at least 10 years, probably 20, older than you and I know that!


            Started as a comic book. Always made me think of the Phantom.

          • NN I don’t know if you had any affinity to comic books but “The Punisher” first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man #129” circa 1974.

          • I did not know that. But I did like the movie. I liked his apartment mates. Plus, nice car.

          • NN the Satellite or the Goat?

          • GTO. Meh, both. Still the Bullit car was better. Now, you tell me which.

            Also AMC AMX.

          • I liked the GTO, but if I had my druthers it would be a fastback Mustang.

            I dated a girl in high school who’s uncle had a Dart/Duster with a 440. My BIL had a’68 Satellite with a 383, he just sold it not to long ago (it was a boat).

        • It (the punisher decal) has also been spotted on Jeeps adorned with all sorts of useless crap.

          • Real Jeeps or the ones they put on Dodge Caliber Unibodies hahaha.

          • Has there been a real Jeep made since AMC was bought by Chrysler??

          • I can get on board with that statement.

            However, there are more eccentric things made by AMC that I’d rather own over their Jeep.

            A 4X4 Eagle comes to mind, I had a high school friend who’s brother owned one as a car and the other for parts.

          • What amazed me about AMC is that they used a lot of parts from both Ford and GM. Early 80s Jeep a friend of mine did an engine swap on (side work for someone else) had a Ford ECU in it (it had one of the those electronic feedback carburetors in it). The connector on it didn’t match up with any ECU that Ford used on their own vehicle at the time, though. So maybe somewhat custom-designed for AMC.

          • Three letters AMX. Alabama ran them as interceptors.

          • “Has there been a real Jeep made since AMC was bought by Chrysler??”

            I will say this about Jeeps and other 4-wheel drive vehicles. I have owned, and driven extensively off road, the following Jeep vehicles:

            1952 CJ-3A
            1957 CJ-5
            1953(?) M-38
            1954 M-38-A1

            So, yes, I have owned “real” jeeps. I have also driven the following other 4-wheel drive vehicles off road:

            1980 Subaru DL Station Wagon
            1980s Suzuki Samuri
            1972 Toyota Land Cruiser
            (?) Hummer
            (?) Hummer H2
            1968 Jeep M715 Pickup
            1967 Dodge Power Wagon (with the big slant 6)
            Various 4-wheel drive pick-up trucks

            None of the above were highly modified. Most had oversized, but not huge, tires and nothing had higher than about a 2″ lift. The military vehicles were pretty much bone-stock.

            I most recently owned a 2010 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The Rubicon was/is hands-down the most capable off-road vehicle I have ever driven. And yes, I tested it extensively from the day I bought it. When it’s odometer turned to 1,000 miles I had it buried in a mud bog above it’s door sills and it was chugging along like it was on a dirt road. Based on my experience I would guess that the slop I was in would have swallowed-up every vehicle listed above with the possible exception of the M715 and the Land Cruiser which are, respectively, numbers two and three on my personal list of “best off-road vehicles”. I put that Rubicon in some very tight and very rugged places and it never let me down.

            The new generation of Jeep Wranglers may have too many “luxury items” for some Jeep-snobs’ taste, but make no mistake, they are exceptionally capable vehicles, and they definitely qualify as “real Jeeps” in my book.

            Finally, I have to give some love to the old Subaru Wagon. It was under-powered but it was like a little mountain goat. To this day it is the best snow vehicle I ever owned, and if it had better ground clearance it would probably be on my short-list of best off-road vehicles.

          • PS – The above endorsement of the Jeep Wrangler applies to the manual-transmission models ONLY.

            In my opinion there are two things that should NEVER have an automatic transmission:

            Small sports cars

      • Check out The Punisher on Netflix. Decently entertaining show, but start with Dare Devil

    • Scruffy-looking describes me some days in my gilded COVID cage when I am in the same clothes I have had on for three days in a row. How do you think I have the time to write three posts in one day?

  11. Captain. Trump certainly managed military and police at his Bible photo op at Lafayette Square last summer. NG Blackhawks beating down demonstrators with their prop wash. As a Naval Aviator you knok what that means.

    • In college, they landed a Huey on the lawn. On take off, the damned thing flipped up a cigarette butt that hit me in the eye and knocked me over. Still remember how much it hurt.

  12. Yeah. Vepco did that to us reporters at north Anna years ago. Augie wallmeyer was such an asshole.

  13. Krebs on Security as some interesting research and theories on QAnon, if you want to get a deeper insight into it:

    > A person identified only as “Q” has for years built an impressive following for the far-right conspiracy movement by leaving periodic “Q drops,” cryptic messages that QAnon adherents spend much time and effort trying to decipher and relate to current events.

    • The Q crap always reminded me of a low-effort Cicada 3301 operation. Inspired, perhaps, but probably not tied to whatever Cicada turns out to be.

      However, it does lend credence to Krebs’ theory that chan admins are behind Q. Such folks were in the perfect position to recognize that the energy and interest people showed in Cicada in the mid 2010s could be weaponized for political ends.

  14. I think the rioters this summer were pretty frightening given the violence, property destruction, looting, arson, and other mayhem I witnessed. Moreover, they kept at it for months and are STILL AT IT! We all condemn what happened at the capital, but it was over in half a day and did not entail looting or arson. Let’s do a side by side comparison. What is different is that it came close to home for the snowflakes in congress who all skeedadled to save their own skins. Your whine-ey article was off the Mark.

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