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The Liberal Fantasy of the Capitol Coup

The Liberal Fantasy of the Capitol Coup, by Simon Cottee

Just like after 9/11, America’s elites have weaponised their trauma

When, after 9/11, the neocons agitated for regime change in the Middle East, they believed that history was on their side: so they conjured up the existential threat of weapons of mass destruction, just in case history had other ideas. More than a decade later, this tactic has found favour with a wholly different tribe: America’s liberal establishment.

Just like the neocons before them, they are bewitched by the prospect of war with an enemy they believe poses a threat to their way of life. The only difference is that this deadly menace doesn’t live in some far-off land, but right at home. They might even live next door.

As The New York Times put it in an editorial last week, “the Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and has shown that it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends”. And there is only one way to survive this threat: to “mobilise at every level”. The NYT was, of course, referring to the attack on the Capitol last January: “Jan. 6 is not in the past,” we’re warned. “It is every day”.

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3:11 pm on January 6, 2022