By Joe Bast | June 13, 2022

Nathan Pinkoski, “Arming the People Against Revolution”
Claremont Review of Books
Winter 2021-2022

I recently finished reading Nathan Pinkoski’s “Arming the People Against Revolution.” The essay recounts in some detail why the Spanish Civil War occurred, then more quickly recounts Francisco Franco’s emergence and then victory as leader of the counterrevolution.

Many of the events leading up to the civil war have their parallels in the United States, beginning (I would say) around the time of the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The parallels are so close and so many that it is really shocking. In both cases, socialists worked within the constitutional system to destroy it while centrists and conservatives were too careless or cowardly to call them out.

Amazingly, the author does not comment on these parallels, even the most obvious ones: The surprising election of a conservative leading to unconstitutional changes to election laws prior to the next election to ensure it didn’t happen again; the selective prosecution of peaceful conservative protesters but not violent leftist rioters; the police shooting of a conservative figure (Jose Calvo Sotelo in Spain in 1936, Ashli Babbitt at the U.S. Capitol in 2021); and the socialists’ announced plans to stack the courts. For the life of me, I don’t know why the author didn’t call out these ominous parallels.

The sequence of events leading to the violent conservative-led revolt in Spain in 1936 diverges from those occurring in the United States only in recent months when Sen. Joe Manchin single-handedly stopped Democrats from creating one or two new states, stacking the Supreme Court, nationalizing the country’s housing and energy sectors, and taking other actions that probably would have provoked a violent reaction from the American people. Imagine that: We came within one vote of a hot civil war here in the United States.

Instead of drawing this (to me) obvious and disturbing conclusion, the article ends abruptly with a two- paragraph conclusion that includes the odd assertion that China, rather than the United States, is the closest thing in today’s world to a “Franco regime model.” This is the first mention of China in the entire article and cannot have been the country most readers were thinking about as they read this article.

Maybe other readers had the same reaction as I did?

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