Almost three years ago, I wrote that America was presently embroiled in a Civil War. Naturally, this current war does not appear like past wars, just as virtually all past wars drastically differed in appearance, technology, and strategy from the wars which preceded them. Nevertheless, we are in a war — a Fourth Generation war, specifically — and the value of this interpretation lies in its explanatory power.
When I first saw the video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, I was convinced this was one of those rare instances of actual police brutality. The rule, of course, is that in these cases of interracial police brutality, the truth is almost always the precise opposite of what the media says. Starting with Trayvon Martin, nearly every highly publicized instance of a black man being shot by a cop turned out to be a legitimate and good shooting (I even thought the shooting of Daniel Shaver — a young white man — was plausibly defensible). The one exception seemed to be Freddie Grey, the man put into a bad choke-hold after passively resisting arrest for selling cigarettes.
The second exception seemed to be George Floyd.
That was before we knew anything.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it has to be that clear video evidence tells us absolutely nothing. The edited videos of Donald Trump seeming to support white nationalists were a lie; the video seeming to show kids mocking a Native American man at a protest: also a lie. The use of video media to convey a point has been elevated to a kind of optical illusion which persuades our mind to fill in the blanks with information that isn’t really there… but we think we saw it with our own two eyes.
Such was the case with George Floyd and Derek Chauvin. We now know that Chauvin appeared to have been kneeling (at least for much of the time) more on Floyd’s shoulder blade than on his neck. The autopsy report showed levels of fentynol and other drugs which may have been lethal on their own, and would have been only more dangerous when combined with Floyd’s heart condition. The body cam footage showed Floyd complaining about his inability to breathe in the car, long before he was put in the prone position by Chauvin. Chauvin used an entirely reasonable level of force (which is to say, minimal) in the circumstances. The charges seem to come down to mind-reading allegations of racism and police brutality, drawing upon a largely fictitious yet somehow still widely accepted narrative of anti-black racism in American law enforcement. The popular media stories of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, and — of course — Trayvon Martin, were all wildly misleading, and always misleading in the same direction: cops evil, black man didn’t do nothing.
Such was also the case with Derek Chauvin. To the open-minded observer, this could not have been more clear. Screw reasonable doubt: we can say that Derek Chauvin did not kill George Floyd with more certainty than we can say that Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.
But the jury convicted. On all counts.
Interestingly, there isn’t actually anything illegal about them convicting. But it still probably strikes most people who are interpreting events through the filter of “one nation at peace pursuing justice” as confusing if not outright crazy.
Here comes — once again — the value of the Civil War filter.
If we see this trial not as a pursuit of justice, but as a battlefield between two forces locked in a multi-dimensional war with each other, the outcome makes much more sense. For simplicity, we might call these forces “Wokeness” and “America.”
Let us consider some surrounding context.
One of the events many observers have flagged was Rep. Maxine Waters’ incitement to “get more confrontational” on the street, presumably from the baseline of the violent protests we’ve seen since last summer. On its face, the BLM protestors and their Antifa antecedents are actually terrorists, insofar as they seek to accomplish political change by means of violent intimidation (the word “terrorist” has rarely been used correctly since 9/11). Maxine Waters’ not-so-thinly-veiled appeal to those forces is recent, but it isn’t a stand-alone case — Kamala Harris raised bail-money for Antifa members, and various media organizations have run cover for the violent riots and looting, to the point that the descriptor “mostly peaceful” has become something of a joke.
We have every reason to believe that at least some of the jurors might have given a guilty verdict for their own safety, or to attempt to mitigate violence. And everyone knows this.
That isn’t justice, or even the pretense of justice. It’s just war.
The media narratives themselves prime the public to interpret events in a particular way. If a cop shoots a black man, and the cop has the misfortune of being white, the default assumption — or at least the thought on everyone’s mind — is that maybe racism was involved. But this priming goes beyond factual interpretation. It becomes a matter or morality, or perhaps more precisely, taste. It is unfashionable to disbelieve the narrative, and almost unthinkable to not at least respect it — to “see where you’re coming from,” etc, etc. And the media isn’t alone: colleges and universities across the country have been inculcating exactly this kind of thinking into its students, prioritizing this sort of “diversity training” above even the classics, sciences, and math in administrative effort and emphasis. And of course, there are the special-interest groups. Special honors here go to the NAACP, the ADL, and SPLC.
Against this kind of concerted and perhaps even coordinated effort, how could a jury be unbiased? Some of the most powerful institutions in America have been coordinating for decades to stack the deck against objectivity in exactly these sorts of cases.
But I don’t mean to paint a picture of doom and gloom. On the American side, we just had four years of Donald Trump, who was arguably the most effective and pro-American president we’ve had since Dwight Eisenhower — or Teddy Roosevelt, if we account for the sheer volume of internal resistance pitted against him (which is one more thing best explained and understood through the civil war frame). More recently, one of the most powerful and dangerous forces to emerge in this conflict has been on team America, in the form of a young journalist and activist named James O’Keefe. His may actually be among the most feared names in the not-so-United States, along with his organization Project Veritas.
The point here is personal. If you perceive the trial and its verdict through the filter of one nation pursuing justice, then naturally it will be disturbing — it reeks of political interference and corruption. Our country, it would seem, is losing its bearing, because this trial speaks for all of us.
But in the civil war filter, this verdict does not speak for all of us. It shows a defeat, but what may well end up being an inconsequential one in the long run. Derek Chauvin was not a victim of injustice, but was collateral damage, a cop caught in the crossfire of a culture-war that has been ramping up for years, and will probably begin escalating more seriously as economic stress deepens over the coming few years.
And within the context of a war, things are going reasonably well. We don’t know who’s going to win yet, but because of this trial and other events like it (electoral manipulation, media doxxing, political association with Antifa terrorists, etc), more and more Americans are beginning to realize that we are in a war. They are waking up to the Woke who have been actively attacking them, not as fellow countrymen in the jousting of politics, but as an enemy to be destroyed on the deceptive, bloody, winner-takes-all battlefield of war. The complacency of America was the greatest weapon of Wokeness, and that is beginning to slip away.