It has never been hard to reconcile this blog covering both science-fiction stories and the toxic weirdness of far-right extremists because both involve counter-factual storytelling. The difference is like the difference between a stage magician whose act involves an agreement between performer and audience to suspend belief and a con artist who uses misdirection and spectacle to deceive. Both the stage magician and the SFF author are also held to higher standards of consistency and elegance in maintaining the audience’s illusions.
Inevitably, I’ll be circling back to the January 6 2021 US Capitol Riot, in which Trump supporters stormed the US legislature to prevent the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election. The riot successfully delayed the vote but only for a time and did not usher in a Trump second term as predicted by QANON supporters.
At the time, there were three kinds of reactions I was seeing on the right:
- Muted condemnation from some people
- Praise and excitement
- Claims that riot was being orchestrated by ANTIFA or the “Deep Sate” to some degree
The last dot point had actually been a common position the day before the protest. There was an expectation that there might be violence or police confrontations and commenters were claiming in advance that if there was any trouble it would be caused by left-wing agent provocateurs.
On the day itself, there was a duel between the bottom two narratives as people tried to sort out which of the two stories was the right one. Was the weirdly costumed “Q-Shaman” (the shirtless man with the tattoos and the horned furry helmet) an obvious infiltrator or a heroic symbol of the Q movement? [Spoilers: he was definitely part of the Q contingent].
Both Sarah Hoyt and Vox Day settled on the second dot point at the time. In particular, Day had been calling for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act as a means to seize power and saw the use of force as a legitimate response. He was also widely predicting that, despite everything, Trump would be inaugurated president before the end of January.
- “The President orders his troops to stand down… presumably because their job is done. The certification was stopped and the Congress has been rounded up and secured.”
- “President Trump’s silence so far suggests a major announcement is coming tonight. And I have to admit, this is already the greatest thing I have seen or heard since the Miracle on Ice in 1980.”
- “Listening to Anderson Cooper’s voice shake as he tries to explain why it was right for blacks and gays to protest but wrong for the DC protestors to take over the Capital building is hysterical. You can hear the fear in the voices of the CNN commentators. They are TERRIFIED that Trump is crossing the Rubicon.”
Fast forward to June 17 2021 and I am sure you will all be shocked to learn that Day is now firmly in the “false flag” camp. Promoting a story from RT.com (aka “Russia Today”) which itself links to Tucker Carlson/Fox News, as well as an even more obscure right-wing news outlet, Day is advancing the theory that the whole riot was engineered by the FBI. The speculation arose from court documents which (according to the articles) show a number of unnamed and unindicted co-conspirators in the cases laid against protestors who have been prosecuted. The assumption being that these unnamed people are FBI agents who had infiltrated far-right groups such as The Proud Boys. It’s speculation and of course, it’s not impossible but from thin facts to speculation to the conclusion that the FBI organised the riot to discredit the right requires several unsupported leaps. https://archive.ph/3k3y3
The particular theory is not my focus though. What is interesting is the shift. In January 2021 (at least prior to Joe Biden’s inauguration and the complete absence of Trump staging a military coup) Day regarded the Capitol riot as a blow against the Deep State/Democrats/”elites”/SJWs/writers who put romance elements in science fiction novels/sundry other enemies. Now, he’s pushing the claim that the whole thing, even down to booking hotel rooms and flights, was a cunning Deep State plan.
“The false flags are getting a little more sophisticated. This is why Boomer-style mass demonstrations are such a bad idea. Whether the organization is suborned like the Tea Party or false-flagged like the Capital Hill fake riot, the probabilities lie with the situation being very different than the participants imagine.”https://archive.ph/3k3y3
Anyway, Day has a message for everybody:
“Never take an Internet tough guy at face value, especially not when he’s publicly preaching violence against the government.”
Hey! For once I agree!