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Warning signs

I saw this tweet in passing earlier in the week and thought nothing of it at the time, other than “What a bad idea.”

But a friend of mine pointed out that this didn’t “look right” for what it purports to be: a call to action from “right wing elements”

Things that I noticed, more or less off the top of my head:

  • The color palette is Red/Yellow/Black. It should be White/Blue/Red. A white or blue background, blue or white text, and red highlights/background elements
  • The stars are wrong – they should be regular, filled, and either white or silver (as on the US Flag), not freehand yellow and distorted. Plus they are point-down, not point up.
  • The Statue of Liberty is an unlikely choice. Either a “generic government building with columns” or an image of the “WE THE PEOPLE” from the Constitution would be more likely, and either photorealistic or line art, not posterized. Or as in one of the VCDL examples, a “minuteman” or other recognizeably Revolutionary War Patriot
  • The text layout is wrong – both in being slanted, in color (see palette issues) and in kerning/justification (see the VCDL examples below)
  • There’s no exhortation to follow state and local laws concerning the carriage of firearms or other weapons

This design language screams Soviet/COMINTERN to me, from color palette to layout to image elements.

But the biggest missing item?

Attribution!

There’s no organization logos on this. No social media calls to action, no promotion at all. None of the most likely candidates for organizing this would ever pass up the opportunity to self-promote, and neither would the unlikely candidates.

I hesitate to label anything a “false-flag” operation, but this is certainly a “no flag” operation. And that is what rings the most false to me.

For comparison, see these posters from VCDL

https://vcdl.org/postercontest/

Needless to say, even if this event was actually being formented by people nominally on my side, I’d say it was a Bad Idea to go. But all of the above make me think it is a really Bad Idea.

And I’ve seen several gun rights groups say the same thing – that this isn’t coming from Our Side, and to not show up; or if you simply must, don’t show up in violation of local laws concerning carriage of arms.

32 Responses to “Warning signs”

  1. Andy B. says:

    These are random first-thoughts, not well thought-out (for a change) but anyway:

    I immediately flashed back to a gun club meeting many years ago when a member got up and gave us a long lecture on how we didn’t have the right kind of American Flag, it was a Flag of the Admiralty, therefor we were somehow infiltrated, and subverted, and blah-blah-blah. In other words, superficial features didn’t “look right”.

    My next flashback, being of a certain age, was that back in the very early ’70s, certain manufacturers (I think Pepsi was one) temporarily abandoned their Red, White and Blue label formats because those colors were turning off enough customers to make a difference. They had become subliminally connected with the Nixon Administration and everything that was characterizing “conservatism” as it was at that time.

    My next thought was that “Soviet/COMINTERN” doesn’t exist anymore — but their tactics do. Look for a connection to Russia, and maybe someone who used to work for the KGB. Keep in mind Russia isn’t Communist anymore — actually, the opposite.

    While I would say your cautions are not unfounded at all, I can say from some embarrassing experience, you need to be careful: Back in the early ’80s I was briefly (and deliberately!) sucked in by a local group of Great Conspiracy theorists, most with a JBS background. Within a very few months I was able to “better the instruction” of the group’s guru, in being able to see “Proofs of a Conspiracy” (maybe you can recognize the title?) everywhere. The kind of things I have since seen characterized as “seeing Masonic symbols on the moon.”

    I was shortly shocked awake by learning how banal their fundamental belief was, and thank God I avoided the life-long label that could have come from it being exposed to the public.

    • Alpheus says:

      In Eric S. Raymond’s essay on “Gramscian Damage”, one thing he pointed out that the Soviets started a memetic campaign to defeat the United States, and that while the Soviet Union didn’t survive, this campaign took on a life of its own. It’s still going through the United States. Hopefully the Republic will survive through (or at least resurface after) its influence and eventual burn-out.

      ESR also observed that, despite all their craziness, this was one thing that the John Birch Society got right.

      • Andy B. says:

        Something always to remember is that tactics know no ideology, and are 100 percent transferable. There is no tactic any ideology/theology will eschew if the alternative is to not have power.

        The mematic campaign “on the right” began roughly around 1970, and at the risk of seeming more self-centered than usual, I’ll suggest was specifically targeted at people like me — first in the family to go to college, anxious to have people think we were smart, and as a result of college, having a few more disposable resources to expend on “causes.”

        I remember the first mematic book pressed on me by a workmate; William Simon’s “A Time for Truth.” (Simon later appeared to have made a cottage industry out of writing endorsements for other mematic books by authors like Robert Ringer and Howard Ruff.) By the late ’80s I was what Eric S. Raymond referred to as a “pathetic memebot”, writing syndicated crap that was all stale, paraphrased memes, while I was thinking it was total brilliance that I was being rewarded for. I remember being really pleased with myself when the Olin Foundation picked up one of my columns for its newsletter, but I now recognize that its newsletter was nothing but a meme-amplifier. Of course it had great prestige on the right.

        Some of my associates at the time were on a very similar track. I remember a woman friend who landed several jobs “consulting” for different pols, up to and including Christie Whitman, and eventually became a “senior fellow” at a minor conservative “think tank”, significantly, in a discipline she had no background in whatsoever. I later recognized her talent was, translating common economic-conservative memes to apply to different issues.

        • Alpheus says:

          I’m not entirely sure why “conservative” ideas can’t get the same kind of traction that Leftist ones have done, but it may have something to do with Communists having the backing of a State or two to get the ball rolling.

          Alternatively, a question we can ask ourselves: what can we do to immunize ourselves from these memes, regardless of source? We can’t do it completely — indeed, we probably don’t want to, because “I have the right to keep and bear arms”, “I should be free to speak my mind”, “get a warrant”, and “I want my lawyer” are all memes that are rather important to preserve and spread — but it would be helpful to address and come to terms with this, regardless.

          • Andy B. says:

            “I’m not entirely sure why ‘conservative’ ideas can’t get the same kind of traction that Leftist ones have done.”

            I think you are vastly underestimating the extent they have, and underestimating how it was done.

            One measure (independent of ideology) is to what extent “memes” cross a line to become “gospel”, so are no longer recognized as memes. I strained to avoid using the word “gospel” but there is a thin line between ideologies and theologies, in that both embrace things that are believed by most adherents on pure faith; and questioning those things is regarded as apostasy. No discussion is possible because all is settled.

    • Ian Argent says:

      The design language is unlikely to be “right-wing” but not impossible.
      The thing that sent me over the edge of “this is not at all proper” was the complete lack of attribution/credit. Nobody does this sort of thing anonymously – they all want the chance at credit.

      • Andy B. says:

        “…they all want the chance at credit.”

        I reflect that may a good way to judge their “altruism” relative to a cause; the desire for credit can only be based in one of two things; fundraising, or, the desire to be personally rewarded with prestige and the power that goes with it.

        I don’t know whether you saw the other day my Old Story about organizing letter-writing (to legislators) sessions at my gun club, where there was no attribution on the letters other than the signature and address of the member signing it. That was partially to protect the club, and partially to “keep them guessing” regarding what organizing entity the pols were dealing with. Other than that, each letter was no more nor less than what it appeared to be on its face; the communication of a pro-gun sentiment to a legislator, and in that way totally altruistic in purpose.

    • Ian Argent says:

      I should point out that, at most, this is the result of a ESRian “prospiracy”

      Balance of probability is that it’s a lone actor who has a way to seed this to the “right”

  2. Skullz says:

    Even the groups that used to troll and challenge you (I can’t remember the derogatory term Mike V used t use) are saying “Stay away”.

    Also – welcome back. I Enjoy seeing your posts again.

    • Ian Argent says:

      Sebastian graciously allows me to write posts here from time to time – I don’t think Mike V had it in for me specifically. Though I imagine I was guilty by association

      • Skullz says:

        Whoops.. I guess I should check the author. In any case, I’m glad to see more activity here and I’m sure Mike V would consider you “guilty” too.

    • Sebastian says:

      I can’t remember them all. While the rivalry was real, I have to admit that sometimes his attacks made me chuckle.

  3. Richard says:

    General opinion in conservative circles is that this is a false flag. Is it Antifa or FBI? Hard to get the word out with all the deplatforming.

    • Ian Argent says:

      The only reason I didn’t out and out call a false flag op is because I don’t think it matters.

      I certainly meant to imply it.

      • Richard says:

        Someone has found the original poster that this was adapted from. Definitely a left-wing thing.

  4. Matt says:

    I think there is and has been a lot of manipulation of the right. Think about it, every time we see a list of people the FBI or Le needs to look at their are always some flavor of “right wing extremist/milita/etc.

    If this chills attendance because people expect provacator nonsense they win.

    If people go to an event and provacators cause chaos making us look bad they win.

    This isn’t a no win scenario, butbus a bad position

  5. Andy B. says:

    “I think there is and has been a lot of manipulation of the right.”

    Gosh, whenever I’ve said that people have hated it.

    For now I’ll only say, that has been far more extensive than what I believe you are alluding to, and involves a lot more false “friends” consciously engaged in the manipulation.

    • Alpheus says:

      I hate it, but I can’t help but conclude you are almost certainly right. And I hate it in no small part because it’s difficult to see how we can overcome the manipulation (especially, as Matt says, it’s “heads I win, tails you lose” kind of manipulation).

      On the other hand, the same is likely true of pretty much every group, to one degree or another, regardless of the political stances of any given group.

      Well, except the lizard people. They always seem to get what they want. At least, they do, until they push normal people too far….

      (To be fair, though, when we’re colloquially talking about “lizard people”, we’re literally talking about sociopaths, and sociopaths are very good at manipulating others. Enough so, it’s still an open question as to how psychiatrists can deal with them, without being manipulated themselves.)

  6. RAH says:

    To me it is false flag operation Designed to suck in angry people to make bad decisions. Game it out Thousands flock to capitals , armed. They fire on police and National Guard fire right back Bloody chaos What would be blamed gun owners and the right to be armed. WE on gun blogs have argued for years to make OC or CCW not scary to normies.

    This call for armed protestors will be an armed insurrection and will scare normies . The result will be gun confiscation in one form or another

    • Andy B. says:

      “WE on gun blogs have argued for years to make OC or CCW not scary to normies.”

      Do you remember when we were told the way to accomplish that was to hold OC demos at state capitols?

      What became “normalized” for us? Do you see any chance at all we were being set up for what’s happening, starting years ago?

      • RAH says:

        As you said earlier tactics can be used by anyone.Normalizing gun carry was to make it less scary Did it work, not so far. Many people have used the armed protest at Michagan as a threat It was, but meant to be low key. The underlying threat is that we the people do have the capability to revolt. Yet do not push us into that by depriving us of our freedoms and rights. It is a balancing act.

        Never the less the tactics of armed protestors commemorating Biden inauguration are bad tactics, It will hurt us and it is designed to make a pretext for removing gun rights.

        • Andy B. says:

          I agree that it’s a balance. However, from experience I have become cynical enough not to automatically take at face value the motives of people who lead us down certain paths, and in some cases to trust my own intuition with regard to public reactions.

          Despite having been referred to as a “firebrand” in my time, I never felt that public OC displays — especially in a “political” context, like at state capitols — were ever going to win us public support; judging that instead they would be seen as attempts at political intimidation, which is what they evolved into being. So I doubted first, the common sense of those who promoted those ideas, and given the way that evolution has gone, their motives.

          Now when anyone is seen OCing, people are going to flash back to yahoos invading the Capitol in DC. “Normalization” has gone the wrong way, right at the time when our main political opposition holds most of the federal cards. It would be hard for something to have gone so wrong without someone planning it that way.

  7. Matthew Whitticar says:

    I think a lot of people are waking up to the nonsense.

    The problem is that most people are not aware of the biases and that the right gave up meaningful fighting and every major institution. It is a slow boiled frog that just noticed the water is hot.

    The left and/or globalists control:

    *Academia
    *Media, all of it
    *the press, though the competition becomes more meaningful as time goes on
    *government institutions and bureaucracy from the local level to the top
    *banking/credit card processing
    *Social media and much of the internet

    *and by extension many large corporations

    it is either going to be 30-40 years or a bloody mess to have reasonable representation, let alone parity. Quite frankly, one of the best things we could do is dismantle 80 to 90 of the federal government enacted from the new deal to today and we would be far better off.

  8. Ian Argent says:

    ANJRPC is short and to the point

    https://www.anjrpc.org/page/DoNOTAttendANYArmedProtests

    DO NOT ATTEND ANY
    ARMED PROTESTS IN NJ

    Media and law enforcement reports have been circulating about supposed “armed protests” upcoming in Trenton. ANJRPC does not support, condone, sponsor or advocate any type of armed protest in NJ. ANJRPC warns law-abiding gun owners NOT to participate should they learn of any such activity. New Jersey law imposes draconian penalties of up to 10 years in prison for simple possession of even licensed firearms at such events. And fallout from such events could be used to call for even stricter regulations. Stay away.

  9. Richard says:

    Note that VCDL has been deplatformed. It’s like someone doesn’t want the warning about the false flag to get out.

    • Ian Argent says:

      I don’t think it had anything directly to do with this.

      We’re watching a preference cascade.

      • Richard says:

        Perhaps but my worry is that someone in VA won’t get the word because of that. VCDL has probably been the most prominent state organization involved with entirely peaceful protest.

        • Ian Argent says:

          I chose preference cascade because Mailchimp saw that Twitter and FB are “getting away with it” so now they’re taking their shot.

          Though I’ve also been told that Milchimp has always been “activist” so take that for what you will.

          Also hearing rumors that FB clamped down on VCDL as well

          • Ian Argent says:

            https://twitter.com/jonst0kes/status/1349853429162770432

            Mailchimp has always been activist and woke. Anyone who uses them should know what they’re about by now.

            • Andy B. says:

              Forgive me, I’m an old guy who has trouble keeping up with contemporary jargon, but what is the meaning of “woke” as it relates to gun rights?

              I was aware that it had connotations regarding racial matters, and possibly LGBTQ issues, but has it ever been used in the same sentence/paragraph with “gun rights”?

              I know you could never tell it from my grammar, but language is important to me; and seeing things evolve to having new connotations troubles me, even if I know language evolves and not much can be done about it.

              Specifically, can someone both be “woke” and still believe in gun rights? And if not, how “un-woke” do they need to be to belong to the gun rights community?

  10. Andy B. says:

    “Woke is a another way of saying lefty SJW”

    That’s what I mean by language changing. Since my 12:50 PM comment I of course took the time to look it up, and none of the definitions was that broad, though some indicated that was the way the term was headed, in common usage. None at all included gun rights as called-out issues.

    “Lefty” I can get, but what is the problem with “social justice”, exactly, other than that we can question what is defined as “justice”, issue by issue? But in our way, gun owners are seeking for “social justice” to be applied to our issue. Other people can question our definition, the way many gun owners question their definitions.

    It all becomes very confusing when terms are allowed to expand in meaning so the definition of their words becomes a knee-jerk, with little relation to the individual words’ meanings.

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