Since the attack on the US Capitol, a new war has been declared: a war on domestic terror.
On January 20th President Biden addressed his nation and the world. As the 46th President stood on the steps of the Capitol, two statements stuck out:
‘Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war and we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured’.
‘The rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, that we must confront and we will defeat’.
Later, in an interview with MSNBC, John Brennan declared that the Biden Administration ‘are moving in laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about ‘the pro-Trump insurgency’ that harbours ‘religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians’.
On the same day, a member of Congress announced that he was going to put forward a new domestic terrorism prevention act. To me, these are worrying moves and a massive overreach of state power. It is a bold move to put this into legislation. Who is to determine who extremists are? As the temperature of domestic US politics remains high, the polarised right and left are likely to point fingers at one another.
I believe this folly is comparable to President Reagan’s War on Drugs and President George W Bush’s War on Terror. Both were disasters. A 2011 report by the Global Commission on Drugs Policy presents the War on Drugs as a failure. Since the invasion of Iraq, terrorist attacks have risen and the political vacuum generated from the war gave space for the growth of Daesh.
John Brennan lazily ropes libertarians into his category of those the proposed legislation may cover. As a conservative, I can tell you that most libertarians do not consider President Trump as one of their own.
The intentions behind the global War on Terror may have come from a good place, yet as we have seen, ‘cancel culture’, hate speech laws and sued Christian bakers have led many on the socially conservative side of the debate to worry. When elected Democrats speak of producing legislation in this area, similar alarm bells sound.
It is also worth noting that the American Civil Liberties Union has warned a War on Domestic Terror could end up disproportionately affecting innocent people of colour. This could prove difficult for a president with a complicated record on race in America, especially when challenged directly by his now Vice-President.
Although at present, there does not seem to be any drastic action on the part of the Biden Administration, our current political climate means the United States should proceed with caution.
Bradley is a Burkean Conservative and Associate Editor at Liberal Base. His interest are in tribalism, relationship of liberty and order, western political parties and the rise of China.You can follow him on twitter @burkeansmithite
Image: Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images