Why are likely Jan 6 defendants so nonchalant about going to prison?

I’ve spent some time thinking about this.

Among some quick and easy answers:

  • They don’t fully understand what they’re facing, because…
  • They are appallingly ignorant about our history, our laws, our prosecutorial agencies such as the DOJ, and our conventions. And I’m being kind to call them “ignorant;” they are also not smart. Which is also being kind.
  • They believe — because they’ve been told by manipulators — they’re on the right side of history and will be acquitted.
  • They’ve been told they’ll be fine because of the Supreme Court. (See above, re their ignorance about our laws.)
  • They’ve been told that when Trump wins in 2024, he’ll pardon them.
  • They’ve been convinced — by manipulators — that prison will be no big deal, and will indeed be an honorific.

Ah, that last one…

Quite coincidentally, over the past couple of years I’ve read biographies of Trotsky and Lenin and have connected those radicals’ histories with what’s been going on here in America.

As well, I’ve become vaguely aware that the “intellectual” maven for this radical American terrorism is Steve Bannon. And Steve Bannon has professed himself to be a Leninist, whatever he thinks that means.

Really, I’m not going to attempt to enter Bannon’s head to figure out what he thinks Leninism is, in great part because he’s an opportunistic poseur who will pay lip service to anything that’ll win him attention. (So many MAGA egos, all competing for attention.)

There are a number of things I would say about Lenin. The central one, though, is he was an awful person. (So, indeed, was Trotsky.) I loathed him.

Reading a fine biography of any subject means spending a lot of intimate time with the subject, and spending time with Lenin was such a bummer, I was able to read only a few pages every night before getting nauseous and dyspeptic.

But that’s not why I’m referring to him here. Lenin, Trotsky and the whole Bolshevik cohort called themselves professional revolutionaries and worked at this profession from early adulthood. Promoting their revolutionary ideas in Tsarist Russia, with its vicious secret police, the Okhrana, entailed a number of arrests and being thrown into one prison or another.

Hitler went to prison, too, after the failed Beer Hall Putsch.

Even under Tsarist overseers, the Russian revolutionaries did not suffer much in prison. Nearly all of them were middle class, even upper middle class, and had all sorts of privileges in prison. Indeed, Trotsky felt prison was a great place to write.

Fairly regularly, the revolutionaries were sent into exile, into remote Russian towns and villages, where they lived, often with their wives and families, until they got restless and departed by walking to the nearest railway station and taking the train back to civilization, usually to countries that were not Russia.

Until they returned to Russia, to St. Petersburg, for the Revolution, which replaced one totalitarian state with another one, and the Okhrana with the Cheka.

It seems to me that a hot selling point of Leninism today may be that terms in prison on behalf of Trump are to be viewed as glamorous badges of honor. They convey authenticity and elevated status to these revolutionary wanna-be’s. They’ll come out in 5 or 15 or 20 years or so with tattoos proclaiming their membership in a cult, the commander of which is the empty suit that was Donald Trump.

So that’s why I think this band of violent bros think prison will be a breeze, a highlight of their future C.V.s. As I said, they’re not very bright. They surely don’t understand that the 2022 United States is nothing like 1900’s Russia.






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