09/23/21

Data Study: 18 Months of Ammo Sales during a Pandemic, Protests, and the Biden Presidency

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

ammo sales during the pandemicIn our previous data study on the initial effects of the pandemic on our business, we outlined increased sales due to the public’s growing leeriness of COVID-19, starting from February 23, 2020, when the news coverage became ominous.

That’s only part of the story, however, because, over the last 18 months, we’ve experienced a particularly charged election year, BLM protests amid calls to “defund the police,” a contentious transfer of power, and most recently a surprise ban on popular Russian ammo.

These events, in particular, set against the backdrop of the ongoing response to the pandemic, resulted in demand spikes. Looking at the data below, you’ll get a sense of a high-level trend during the pandemic and then see how that trend changed during certain specified time periods, like the BLM protests, when already-elevated demand went up even more.

To give a pre-pandemic baseline of sorts, over the past 18 months our overall sales have increased as follows:

  • 590% increase in revenue
  • 604% increase in transactions
  • 271% increase in site traffic
  • 77% increase in conversion rate

This data is from February 23, 2020 – August 23, 2021, when compared to the previous 18 months (August 24, 2018 – February 22, 2020).

Below are tables which list the top 10 states, ordered by our total sales volume, and how they fared during these recent demand spikes when compared to the previous time period, respectively. We also listed which calibers were most popular in those top states. Here is how to interpret our data:

  • State Ranking by Sales Volume displays the total sales volume (how much was ordered in United States dollars) on a state-by-state basis in column one. Column two shows how much sales have increased percentage-wise in that particular state during the designated time period. Only states to which we sell are shown.
  • Most Popular Caliber by Sales Volume displays the most popular caliber based on sales volume in that state in column three, as well as the increase for that caliber by state during the designated time period. Columns five and seven display the second and third most popular calibers based on sales volume in that state; columns six and eight display how much the sale of those particular calibers has increased on a percentage basis.

And now without further adieu, here’s our data on the prolonged increase in demand for ammunition – and how recent events have further spiked that demand.

18 Months of Ammunition Sales During the Pandemic: State Ranking by Sales Volume

State Ranking by Sales Volume Most Popular Caliber by Sales Volume 2nd 3rd
State % Increase % Increase % Increase % Increase
1. Texas +736% 9mm Ammo +1,866% 223 Ammo +922% 5.56×45 Ammo +224%
2. Florida +586% 9mm Ammo +536% 5.56×45 Ammo +2,182% 223 Ammo +256%
3. Georgia +613% 9mm ammo +507% 5.56×45 Ammo +1,014% 223 Ammo +1,040%
4. Pennsylvania +644% 9mm Ammo +668% 5.56×45 Ammo +3,378% 223 Ammo +210%
5. Washington +775% 9mm Ammo +721% 223 ammo +642% 5.56×45 Ammo +992%
6. Arizona +765% 9mm Ammo +727% 223 Ammo +∞% 5.56×45 Ammo +2,750%
7. North Carolina +739% 9mm Ammo +1,107% 223 Ammo +∞% 45 ACP Ammo +5,034%
8. Illinois +469% 9mm Ammo +1,045% 223 Ammo +217% 12 Gauge Shotgun Shells +∞%
9. Colorado +659% 9mm Ammo +1,471% 5.56×45 Ammo +834% 380 ACP (Auto) Ammo +7,346%
10. Virginia +484% 40 S&W Ammo +53,769% 9mm Ammo +802% 5.56×45 Ammo +354%

Note: These figures compare February 23, 2020 – August 23, 2021, to the previous 18 months, August 24, 2018 – February 22, 2020. Due to city and state laws, Ammo.com does not ship ammunition to AlaskaHawaiiMassachusettsCalifornia, Washington, D.C., New York City, or Chicago. These jurisdictions, along with a handful of other states, have been excluded from the table above.

Demand Spike: Ammunition Sales Following the Surprise Ban on Russian Ammo in August 2021

Following the Biden Administration’s announcement banning the importation of Russian ammunition, we saw an immediate spike in sales of calibers produced in Russia. The most popular calibers of imported Russian ammunition are 7.62×39, known as “The Hammer of Lenin,” and 5.56×45, largely due to the Soviet Union’s huge legacy capacity to mass-produce select rifle rounds, predominantly in steel casings.

Sales Figures for 7.62×39 Ammo

Below are the figures from August 17, 2021 – August 23, 2021, compared to the previous period, August 10, 2021 – August 16, 2021.

Nationwide:

  • 124% increase in revenue
  • 52% increase in transactions
  • 91% increase in site traffic
State Ranking by Sales Volume of 7.62×39 Ammo
State % Increase
1. Arizona + 442%
2. Texas + 35%
3. Pennsylvania + 275%
4. Michigan + 185%
5. New Jersey + 507%
6. North Carolina + 260%
7. Florida – 49%
8. Washington + ∞%
9. Tennessee + ∞%
10. Illinois + 4%

Sales Figures for 5.56×45 Ammo

Below are the figures from August 17, 2021 – August 23, 2021, compared to the previous period, August 10, 2021 – August 16, 2021.

Nationwide:

  • 48% increase in revenue
  • 41% increase in transactions
  • 38% increase in site traffic
State Ranking by Sales Volume of 5.56×45 Ammo
State % Increase
1. Arizona + 359%
2. Texas – 43%
3. Pennsylvania + 62%
4. Florida – 44%
5. Illinois + 465%
6. Michigan + 410%
7. Washington + 125%
8. Oregon – 1%
9. Colorado + 1,016%
10. Maryland + 87%

Note: Due to city and state laws, Ammo.com does not ship ammunition to AlaskaHawaiiMassachusettsCalifornia, Washington, D.C., New York City, or Chicago. These jurisdictions, along with a handful of other states, have been excluded from the table above.

Demand Spike: Ammunition Sales During the Contested Transfer of Power in January 2021

Below are the figures from January 4, 2021 – January 22, 2021, compared to the previous period, December 16, 2020 – January 3, 2021, at a nationwide level and at a state level:

Nationwide:

  • 78% increase in revenue
  • 33% increase in transactions
  • 73% increase in site traffic
State Ranking by Sales Volume Most Popular Caliber by Sales Volume 2nd 3rd
State % Increase % Increase % Increase % Increase
1. Texas +79.37% 9mm Ammo +80% 5.56×45 Ammo +461% 223 Ammo +159%
2. Florida +86.47% 5.56×45 Ammo +330% 9mm Ammo +17% 223 Ammo +339%
3. Georgia +85.34% 5.56×45 Ammo +476% 9mm Ammo +33% 223 Ammo +482%
4. North Carolina +63.31% 9mm Ammo -23% 5.56×45 Ammo +118% 223 Ammo +378%
5. Arizona +107.65% 223 Ammo +1,941% 9mm Ammo +69% 308 Ammo +1,884%
6. Pennsylvania +68.77% 223 Ammo +212% 9mm Ammo +39% 5.56×45 Ammo +135%
7. Ohio +68.77% 5.56×45 Ammo +268% 9mm Ammo +174% 223 Ammo +346%
8. Michigan +75.60% 5.56×45 Ammo +355% 223 ammo +562% 45 ACP Ammo +176%
9. Tennessee +82.73% 5.56×45 Ammo +427% 9mm Ammo +11% 223 Ammo +695%
10. Washington +23.21% 5.56×45 Ammo +518% 223 Ammo +580% 9mm Ammo -34%

Note: Due to city and state laws, Ammo.com does not ship ammunition to AlaskaHawaiiMassachusettsCalifornia, Washington, D.C., New York City, or Chicago. These jurisdictions, along with a handful of other states, have been excluded from the table above.

Demand Spike: Ammunition Sales During the BLM Protests Amid Calls to “Defund the Police”

Below are the figures from May 28, 2020 – June 5, 2020, compared to the previous period, May 19, 2020 – May 27, 2020, at a nationwide level and at a state level:

Nationwide:

  • 200% increase in revenue
  • 192% increase in transactions
  • 99% increase in site traffic
State Ranking by Sales Volume Most Popular Caliber by Sales Volume 2nd 3rd
State % Increase % Increase % Increase % Increase
1. Texas +138.80% 9mm Ammo +178% 223 Ammo +148% 40 S&W Ammo +149%
2. Florida +321.33% 9mm Ammo +351% 223 Ammo +670% 5.56×45 Ammo +110%
3. Pennsylvania +166.62% 9mm Ammo +351% 223 Ammo +160% 40 S&W Ammo +190%
4. Georgia +213.71% 9mm Ammo +319% 223 Ammo +130% 5.56×45 Ammo +106%
5. Illinois +290.28% 9mm Ammo +625% 223 Ammo +345% 7.62×39 Ammo +951%
6. Washington +121.66% 9mm Ammo +186% 223 Ammo +26% 45 ACP Ammo +129%
7. Virginia +334.86% 9mm Ammo +344% 223 Ammo +524% 5.56×45 Ammo +143%
8. Arizona +222.15% 9mm Ammo +212% 223 Ammo +410% 45 ACP Ammo +321%
9. North Carolina +218.24% 9mm Ammo +275% 223 Ammo +188% 5.56×45 Ammo +172%
10. Colorado +195.93% 9mm Ammo +199% 223 Ammo +428% 5.56×45 Ammo +143%

Note: Due to city and state laws, Ammo.com does not ship ammunition to AlaskaHawaiiMassachusettsCalifornia, Washington, D.C., New York City, or Chicago. These jurisdictions, along with a handful of other states, have been excluded from the table above.

Conclusion

The pandemic led to a sharp increase in demand for ammunition. This increase has continued for the past 18 months. It’s been further exacerbated by a particularly charged election year, BLM protests amid calls to “defund the police”, a contentious transfer of power, and most recently a surprise ban on popular Russian ammo. If you’d like to read our analysis as to what drove the initial increase in demand for ammunition, you can find that here.

08/21/21

Battle of Appomattox: Understanding General Lee’s Surrender

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

battle of appomattoxThe Battle of Appomattox Courthouse is considered by many historians the end of the Civil War and the start of post-Civil War America. The events of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General and future President Ulysses S. Grant at a small-town courthouse in Central Virginia put into effect much of what was to follow.

The surrender at Appomattox Courthouse was about reconciliation, healing, and restoring the Union. While the Radical Republicans had their mercifully brief time in the sun rubbing defeated Dixie’s nose in it, largely in response to the Southern “Black Codes,” they represented the bleeding edge of Northern radicalism that wanted to punish the South, not reintegrate it into the Union as an equal partner.

The sentiment of actual Civil War veterans is far removed from the attitude of the far left in America today. Modern-day “woke-Americans” clamor for the removal of Confederate statues in the South, the lion’s share of which were erected while Civil War veterans were still alive. There was little objection to these statues at the time because it was considered an important part of the national reconciliation to allow the defeated South to honor its wartime dead and because there is a longstanding tradition of memorializing defeated foes in honor cultures.

The Events of the Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

Long story short, the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse was a last-ditch effort by General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to meet up with the remaining Confederate forces to consolidate their efforts. The Greys failed and General Lee surrendered to Grant which effectively ended the war.

For ceremonial purposes, General Lee waited for General Grant in a white uniform. Grant, who suffered from migraines, noticed his headaches end once he and Lee had negotiated a ceasefire. Grant, in his magnanimity, allowed Lee to choose the place of his surrender – Lee famously chose the Appomattox Courthouse.

General Grant’s generosity extended beyond allowing Lee to choose the location of his surrender. Lee’s men were allowed to keep their horses, sidearms, and personal effects, including their mules ­–Grant recognized the importance of the mules for the upcoming plowing season. Grant went so far as to give Lee’s men rations for their journey home. Lee could not have hoped for much more and certainly would have been satisfied with far less.

The terms of surrender were dictated to Grant’s assistant, a Seneca Indian by the name of Ely S. Parker. Lee commented at the time that “It is good to have one real American here,” to which Parker replied, “Sir, we are all Americans.” Indeed, this was perhaps truer than it had ever been in American history.

civil war

A particularly poignant moment followed when Lee exited the courthouse and Grant’s men applauded in celebration but were quickly rebuked by their commanding officers. He immediately ordered an end to any celebration, remarking that “The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall.”

General Custer and other officers purchased furnishings from the room where the surrender took place as souvenirs. General Grant went out to visit General Lee and other Confederate soldiers. The two sat on the porch of the McLean House, where the two talked before setting off for their respective capital cities. Generals Longstreet and Pickett also made an appearance.

Grant was not the only one willing to make concessions in the name of national unity – the very idea of a ceremony of surrender was anathema to much of the top brass in the Confederacy.

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06/7/21

ATF Nominee And Waco Special Agent Chipman Lied In Pushing For Massacre

By: Daniel John Sobieski

No, that is not David Chipman standing in the ruins of the burnt-out Waco compound, site of the 1993 slaughter of members of the Branch Davidian religious group led by David Koresh. He was too busy back at the office helping to manufacture and disseminate lies about what went on at the compound to justify a brutal, murderous, and unnecessary assault.

The animus he exhibited in his tenure at ATF towards gun owners and gun rights, to the point of using violence as a gun-control tactic, reflects a view he holds today and shares with the likes of Biden “gun czar” Beto O’Rourke, and includes gun confiscation by armed agents of legally purchased guns owned by law-abiding citizens. His definition of an assault rifle is so broad as to include virtually all rifles owned by lawful gun owners.

He is no fan of the Second Amendment which was put in the Bill of Rights to protect the other nine; put there by Founding Fathers as an ultimate bulwark against tyrants and tyranny. It was written to protect individual gun ownership because the British were coming, not because deer were in season. It was written to prevent such tyranny as David Chipman envisions,

The Branch Davidians could be described as an earlier version of Obama’s despised “bitter clingers,” clinging to their guns and their interpretation of the Bible but basically just wanting to be left alone. You might call their compound an early “autonomous zone,” but not set up by the genuinely violent and dangerous Antifa and BLM protesters that looted, burned, and killed at will while law enforcement pursued the law-abiding gun owners of America. As it was, the Branch Davidians could have been dealt with non-violently. Chipman felt otherwise, making up false horror stories to justify a violent assault. As Tiana Lowe notes in the Washington Examiner:

Chipman was indeed a case agent in the Waco siege of the Branch Davidian compound. The incident was a massacre of civil liberties and the rule of law, in addition to the 82 lives, it ended unnecessarily. Rather than bring up credible sexual assault charges against cult leader David Koresh, who could easily have been arrested during his jogs around the compound and jaunts into town, the ATF staged a militarized and performative military action against American citizens.   

The Waco stunt, endorsed by the Clinton administration as a part of its crackdown against the Second Amendment, also found a quiet defender in then-Sen. Biden. Even after evidence emerged that the ATF had whipped up baseless charges about a meth lab in order to secure helicopters and charge firearms violations, Biden proved a partisan, opposing oversight hearings that were certain to damage the Clinton administration.

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05/4/21

Why is the Left so Obsessed with Cancel Culture?

By: Richard Douglas | Scopes Field

The American left has gained a ton of notoriety these last two decades, especially at the tail end of the Bush administration. They were certainly disagreeable then, but cross-party relationships still remained relatively intact and generally non-hostile, at least compared to today. The left has flown off the handle as the Obama administration egged on bad behavior and active hostility toward conservatives. Social justice became a huge topic, even gaining rabid activists that usually started in their teenage years. At first, it started out annoying, but relatively harmless. Then social media blew up. It was all downhill from there. Social media became a staple in American life and gave people incredible influence just for being present on social media. Young people were the first to adopt these platforms and have in turn become some powerhouse for reciting activist rhetoric. What’s worse is that these young people could spout insane nonsense and have other teenagers agree with them. The internet became an echo chamber for off-the-wall beliefs and perpetuated naive beliefs that were carried into adulthood because of the nature of the internet.

When Twitter hit the scene and became one of the most popular platforms in play these people gained genuine power. It first started off with coining terms like “microaggressions” and tens of genders. Then regular people began receiving hate for innocuous actions like enjoying Wild West movies (because Indians were portrayed as the bad guys) or refusing to be active supporters of the LGBT community even if it went against their personal beliefs. They even tried to go after guns for a little while. It evolved further with groups of people getting victims fired for things they said when they were clueless teenagers.

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04/28/21

Nationalism vs. Patriotism: What’s the Difference and Why it Matters

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

what is nationalism vs patriotismThe terms “nationalism” and “patriotism” are often used interchangeably. This is understandable, as they have somewhat overlapping meanings, both of which suffer from a certain amount of vagueness. However, there are a number of key differences between the two that are worth shedding light on. In the final analysis, we believe that the term “nationalism,” while not denoting anything totalitarian by its nature, is not an accurate term for the sentiment that exists in the United States. Nationalism, it would seem, is more suited to Europe or Asia, places with historic nations, united by common language and ethnicity that are necessarily tied with a certain area of land.

There’s a lot to unpack here and the differences are extremely subtle. And to give a bit of a spoiler, we’re not going to be taking the position, as is often the case, that patriotism is fine but nationalism is simply a metastatic and malignant form of patriotism.

First Things First: How Do Both Differ From Libertarianism and Conservatism

Gadsden Flag Don't Tread On Me

Before going any further, it’s worth taking a few minutes to distinguish both patriotism and nationalism from libertarianism and conservatism. We can do this without parsing out the difference between patriotism and nationalism – and for that matter, libertarianism and conservatism.

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04/15/21

Common Sense Gun Control – Prosecute Hunter Biden For His Gun Crimes

By: Daniel John Sobieski

Joe Biden is a liar and a hypocrite. His attempted executive order end-run around the Second Amendment contains nothing that would have prevented recent mass shootings and certainly wouldn’t make people in cities like Chicago safer on any given weekend. For example, restricting people from making guns at home from kits and regulating gun parts accomplishes nothing – no one is being killed with homemade “ghost-guns” Gang-bangers and drug dealers fighting for turf do not spend their time making guns from kits. C’mon, man, get real.

He lies about the lack of background checks at gun shows allowing undesirables to buy any kind of firearm that they want  Name one mass shooting with a firearm purchased at a gun show. And ever notice that no one ever gets shot at a gun show?

A Joe Biden unconstrained by facts or reality nonetheless wants to make background checks more universal than they already are. I have an idea for Joe Biden – how about making the background checks we already have work and how about criminally prosecuting those who violate our gun laws and recklessly threaten public safety starting with Joe’s son Hunter Biden? Those moves would be a powerful antidote and deterrent to gun crimes.

Background checks only work if the databases are diligently populated and maintained. Take the church shooting in Sutherland, Texas which killed 26 people. The shooter, Devin Kelley, should have been flagged in the database for prior infractions but was not. As Fox News reported:

Kelley – who killed 26 people when he opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday – had a domestic violence conviction the Holloman Air Force Base’s OSI unit failed to enter into an FBI database used to conduct background checks on gun buyers, officials revealed Monday.

One wonders how many gun crimes might be stopped by simply hiring a few more clerical workers to follow the requirements of existing law and make the existing system work. And the irony here is that Kelley was stopped from continuing his murder spree by a private citizen who grabbed his AR-15 and helped chase him down.

Stephen Willeford certainly could remind the self-righteous Biden that guns in general and the AR-15 in particular, which has been misrepresented by gun control zealots as an “assault rifle,” can be used by good guys to save lives as well as by bad guys to take them.  He is the hero of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who, hearing the sound of gunfire at a nearby church, grabbed the AR-15 he had taught others to use as an NRA instructor and chased down the mass murderer who had shot up the First Baptist Church before he could continue his murder spree elsewhere:

The hero who last November stopped the gunman behind the deadly Texas church massacre said using an AR-15 enabled him to end the bloodshed.  In an emotional interview with CRTV’s “Louder With Crowder” on Monday, Stephen Willeford described the gunfight and dramatic car chase that ensued to stop the shooter from slaughtering additional churchgoers. The former National Rifle Association instructor was home Sunday morning when his daughter told Willeford she had heard gunshots from the nearby Baptist church, prompting him to get his AR-15 rifle from his safe and load a magazine.  He ran to the church and confronted the alleged shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, who fired shots at Willeford.  While taking cover behind a pickup truck, Willeford fired several shots at the gunman, who sped away in his car. Willeford ran to a truck stopped at a stop sign and asked the driver to help him to stop Kelley, who had a history of domestic violence and had been kicked out of the military.  The two men pursued the gunman, whom [sic] officials say wore tactical gear and a bullet-proof vest, down a nearby highway until the vehicle eventually careened off the side of the road.  When police arrived, Kelley was found dead on the scene with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head as well as two other gunshot wounds – one on his leg and one on his torso.  Officials believe the gunman took his own life.”If I had run out of the house with a pistol and faced a bulletproof vest and kevlar and helmets, it might have been futile,” Willeford said.  “I ran out with an AR-15 and that’s what he was shooting the place up with.”

Willeford is just one of the “bitter clingers” in Texas and elsewhere who shoot back, saving, not endangering lives, by being the good guys with guns stopping the bad guys with guns. Assault is a behavior,  not a weapon, and stopping a bad guy with a gun is not assault.

Joe Biden wants to keep guns out of the hands of the Stephen Willeford’s of the world, guys who prove that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. If Joe Biden had his way, Willeford wouldn’t have stopped Devin Kelley who, like Hunter Biden, got kicked out of the military yet was able to buy a gun. That is the problem that needs to be fixed, Joe Biden, enforcing existing reporting laws and punishing those who lie on their federal applications to hide the reasons they should be disqualified, like Hunter Biden. As Andrew McCarthy writes in the New York Post:

“Lie and try.” That’s what the feds call cases in which people who are disqualified from owning guns under federal law try to get a gun by concealing the disqualification. It is maddening but true that many of these people are not charged….

The purpose of the law is to prevent lethal weapons from falling into the hands of people who are unstable or dangerous. Thus, some of the disqualifications deal with criminal and similarly suspect behavior, such as prior convictions and dishonorable discharge from the armed forces, while others deal with conditions of instability and mental disturbance, such as narcotics abuse and mental-disability adjudications.

And notice what happened in Hunter’s case. He did not reveal his history of drug abuse, he got the gun, and he handled it negligently, to the point, according to reports, that his then-girlfriend found it in a car and carelessly sought to dispose of it in the trash bin of a local store — obviously because she was concerned about the dangerous potential of his having it.

This is the guy who smoked parmesan cheese he crawled on his carpet to find. Hunter Biden was kicked out of the military due to a drug problem and lied on his federal application to het a gun. He did not buy that gun at a gun show, He did not assemble it from a kit. Yet his careless handling of it could have resulted in another tragedy had the gun, disposed of not far from a school, been found by a child or a criminal.

Why hasn’t Joe Biden said that Hunter Biden should never have been allowed to buy a gun and that he should be criminally prosecuted for lying on his federal application? This is the class act who had an affair with his dead brother’s widow, an affair blessed by father Joe who said he was glad they had “found each other.” And the question is not only whether that was Hunter’s laptop but whether the shocking pictures and videos of Hunter are him. Yet for some reason, he never gets asked. As The Federalist reports:

Hunter Biden was the subject of a strange missing firearm case in 2018 after Hallie Biden, the wife of his late brother and subsequently Hunter’s girlfriend, tossed it into a trash can behind a grocery store near a high school, according to a strange new report from Politico. It appears Hunter, the son of President Joe Biden, might have lied on the federal forms he filled out to purchase the gun a few months prior, forms The Federalist has now obtained.

Hunter answered “no” to a question on the Firearms Transaction Record asking whether he was an “unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”…

The now-president’s scandal-ridden son was in numerous drug and alcohol rehab programs, including in 2003, 2010, and 2014, soon after being discharged from the military for using cocaine. According to the New Yorker, he also went on a cocaine binge in 2016. His infamous laptop he dropped off for repairs in 2019, a story which tech giants and the media aggressively tried to cover up during the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, included graphic photos and video of Hunter allegedly smoking crack cocaine while engaged in a sex act.

It’s unclear whether Hunter was using drugs around the time of his firearm purchase or what timeframe the question “are you a user of” illicit substances implies. Hunter was, however, suspected of smoking crack cocaine in a Washington, D.C., strip club in late 2018. He purchased the firearm the same year on Oct. 12.

According to Politico’s reporting, Hunter Biden lied on his ATF Form 4473, the firearm transaction record and background check form, on October 12, 2018, when he swore under penalty of a $250k fine and 10 years imprisonment that he was not a drug user. Then, only 11 days later, Hunter’s then-girlfriend (the widow of his not-long-deceased brother, but not the mother of the child he sired with a stripper while he was living with his brother’s widow), Hallie, “disposed” of the handgun in a trash can outside of a grocery store.

First, prosecute Hunter Biden for federal gun crimes, Joe. Then we’ll talk.

*Daniel John Sobieski is a former editorial writer for Investor’s Business Daily and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

02/21/21

Operation Choke Point 2.0 is Emerging

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

I was just thinking about this old Obama administration program this week as it was a web tag it used years ago. Additionally, there was a time that Congressman Darryl Issa came to Clearwater to speak at an event I attended and he spoke on this disgusting program among other topics.

Well, Kelsy Bolar is on the case and a big hat tip to her for the alarm she is sounding. Let’s keep in mind the moves that Bank of America made in partnership with the FBI to report their own customers’ banking records that they asserted went to Washington, DC to begin a revolution at the Capitol on January 6. You can imagine that this program is quite the talk in the halls of Congress by progressives.

Operation Choke Point: The Government's Covert War on ...

Here goes:

Amongst the record-breaking number of executive actions taken by President Joe Biden was one related to a little-known, frightening Obama-era program called Operation Choke Point. The program, dubbed so under former Attorney General Eric Holder, uses the power of the federal government to target legal yet leftist-disfavored businesses. These include gun sellers, pawnshops, and short-term money lenders.

The Trump administration did its best to end this blatantly unconstitutional program that sought to discriminate against legal industries. In 2017, the Justice Department declared the program “formally over.” At the end of Trump’s term, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency established the Fair Access rule to solidify its culmination.

Operation Choke Point... DOJ Cuts Businesses From Banks

But on Jan. 28, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under President Biden announced it would pause the Trump-era rule intended to prevent another Operation Choke Point from happening again.

The Backstory of Operation Choke Point

The Trump administration rule appeared innocuous enough, instructing banks to “conduct risk assessments of individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers when providing access to services, capital, and credit.”

Under Operation Choke Point, federal regulators instructed banks to do the opposite — to openly discriminate against entire industries the Obama administration found objectionable. Weaponizing the power of banking regulators at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, the Obama administration realized it could block entire industries from the banking system that it didn’t like. This made it difficult — if not impossible — for politically disfavored businesses such as gun sellers and short-term lenders to operate.

Essentially, by using the power of federal banking regulators to intimidate banks from providing their services to these industries, the administration choked off their access to the financial system, leaving them paying more for essential banking services, or unable to use a bank at all.

The Obama administration claimed the program was intended to root out fraud by cutting off “high risk” industries from the banking system. But the administration didn’t make any differentiation between legal and illegal “high risk” industries, intentionally grouping lawful industries such as firearms sellers with patently illegal activities like Ponzi and credit-card schemes.

Different agencies within the Obama administration denied wrongdoing in various ways. At least one bank, however, admitted to choking off three legal enterprises at the government’s behest. Dozens of business owners — many of them gun sellers and short-term lenders — said their bank accounts and access to credit card processing platforms were suddenly stymied or shut down with no explanation and no opportunity for recourse.

Given its stained reputation, we shouldn’t expect the Biden administration to bring back Operation Choke Point under the same shameless name. But the return of the larger strategy behind Operation Choke Point appears here to stay.

Whereas seven years ago the idea of using the powers of the federal government to choke certain Americans from public life was controversial enough for the Obama administration to deny wrongdoing, in today’s era of social justice and cancel culture, it’s applauded.

Build Your Own Banks

Within corporate America, an employee was run out of Boeing over an article he published 33 years beforehand arguing women shouldn’t serve in combat (a position many Americans hold today). In the media, a Jewish, pro-Israel, pro-choice, bisexual writer was choked from The New York Times for not being leftist enough.

In Hollywood, a conservative actress was choked from Disney for expressing politically incorrect views on her private social media account. In the beauty blogging world, a conservative blogger was ousted from her role as a Sephora representative.

For all intents and purposes, Operation Choke Point is happening every day on a massive scale. Yet instead of “just” choking off access to capital and banking services, we’re witnessing a stranglehold on information, speech, and the broader marketplace of ideas. Concerningly, the government is now playing an active role.

As exemplified by Parler and the recent Twitter purge, Big Tech is choking conservatives off their social media platforms while Democrats cheer it on. In an attempt to choke conservatives out of entire industries of employment, critical race theory training and pledges are being forced on schools, government workplaces, and the armed forces.

This Dynamic Is Now Worse

Signs of Operation Choke Point’s formal resurrection are symbolic of the larger attempt by government actors to choke politically disfavored industries and individuals from the mainstream. While cancel culture has led to a politicized economy, the federal government’s arbitrarily targeting of individuals, groups, and entire companies will increase the politicization of the country, where the only acceptable views are from those in power.

Operating in the dark corners of the federal bureaucracy, Operation Choke Point bypasses public input and the legislative process, leaving politically unpopular individuals and businesses to fend for themselves. If the Biden administration’s rule reversal is any sign, the next four years won’t be about unifying the country to “Build Back Better.”

After being choked from essential services in the economy, conservatives and right-of-center businesses will have no choice but to Build Your Own — if that’s even still tolerated or allowed. Build your own banks, build your own credit card processing companies, build your own web hosting platforms, build your own social media platforms, build your own companies, build your own media, build your own schools, and build your own country — because you’re choked from “ours.”

Of course, all this will do nothing to further the causes of bipartisanship, unity, and healing President Biden claims to desire. Capitalizing on the trend of cancel culture, a return of Operation Choke Point would devastate an already damaged country. By abusing the powers of federal regulators, Operation Choke Point 2.0 would solidify what most right-of-center Americans already know: Instead of unity, Democrats want you choked from everyday life.

Three years ago, former President Obama infamously claimed his administration “didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us.” While it’s tempting to point to Operation Choke Point to refute this, perhaps Obama was right. With Biden sitting by Obama’s side, the Obama administration wasn’t the least bit embarrassed about using its powers to choke legal businesses from existence. Indeed, it was the entire goal and they appear poised to do it again.

12/19/20

Collectible Weapons: How to Protect Your Wealth – and Your Family – With Valuable Guns

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

Collectible Weapons: How to Protect Your Wealth – and Your Family – With Valuable GunsIt’s an unusual means of investment, but one that we think will appeal to our readers on a deep level: collectible weapons.

There are a number of advantages to investing in collectible weapons that will appeal both to those who love weapons and those who keep an eye on their money. Indeed, this is a popular investment category for people who like something a little more durable than stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrency. They can also provide protection during uncertain times.

Antique weapons in particular can be an attractive means of investing – after all, like land, they’re not making any more. Like any antique investment, it helps to have an eye for the material at hand. You’ll have to be able to appraise both the current condition of the weapon and have some idea of how its value might appreciate in the future.

Old Guns Aren’t Subject to ATF Snooping

The good news is that firearms made before 1899 are not covered by federal firearms laws, though they might be regulated by your state. This also means that, even in the event that Joe Biden is installed as President and the Senate goes Democratic, that barring a sweeping change in firearms law – certainly not out of the question, but also not very likely – no background check will be required to buy or sell your antique firearms made before 1899, which are covered by a special carveout under federal firearms law.

What’s more, there are a number of weapons on a special ATF list that are not subject to the same background check laws as other firearms. This includes guns like the World War I-era US Military Colt 1911 Pistol .45. These are historically significant firearms that are at least 50 years old – but note that “50 years old” now goes up to the end of the 1960s. With sweeping firearms bans potentially coming down the pike, firearms not subject even to the old rules might well skyrocket in value as other avenues of self-defense are closed off.

The price point for entry in the antique firearms market is about $1,500, though more common and desired weapons go for about $2,500 as of this writing. Knives and swords are also purchased by people looking to invest in collectible weapons and, as far as we know, there are no plans to make sweeping restrictions on the purchase of these.

When you buy an antique firearm, it’s extremely unlikely that the value is going to go down. While it’s true that the broader trends of the weapons market change, there are some models, like the Winchester Model 1873, that never go out of style and are always sought after by people who are trying to get into the market. The condition of the weapon and its rarity always play a role in the purchase price.

From the perspective of someone who is actually planning to use the weapon as well as purchase it, you can’t really do better than the classic weapons that are so sought after by collectors.

How to Begin Purchasing Collectible Firearms

Collectible Weapons: How to Protect Your Wealth – and Your Family – With Valuable GunsYou can purchase antique, collectible firearms at auctions or gun shows, as well as in private transactions. However, as with any private firearms transaction, you need to be cautious when making such a purchase for both legal and economic reasons – the buyer must always beware, but this is doubly true when dealing with private sellers.

There are two types of investors in collectible weapons, broadly speaking, known as “treasure hunters” and “connoisseurs.” Determining which you are will be helpful in terms of figuring out how to begin investing in firearms. Each fits in with a particular personality type.

  • Treasure hunters are the yard sale aficionados of the gun investment. Indeed, you will spend a lot of time at yard sales, estate sales, pawnshops, and little gun shops way out of the way if you’re a treasure hunter. This is because a treasure hunter is constantly on the hunt for the deals to be had. You might buy a classic Winchester for $350 and immediately flip it for $100,000, but chances are a lot better that you’re going to end up buying a lot of weapons with moderate appreciation.
  • Connoisseurs are the niche collectors of the gun investment world. They know a lot about a specific gun, type of gun, or gun manufacturer. For example, a connoisseur might know everything there is to know about one particular Colt revolver, and so they do nothing but purchase that particular weapon.

Which of these should you be? Honestly, the better question is “which of these are you already?” If you like going antiquing or yard saling or picking through people’s junk, you’re already a treasure hunter. If you have an affinity for a particular kind of antique weapon, you’re already a connoisseur. The issue is just figuring out how you’re going to incorporate investing in collectible weapons into your pre-existing personality type.

Much like stocks, there are a number of weapons that are simply always a good purchase because they gain value consistently, if not quickly and wildly. At the very least, they are not going to lose value – meaning that if you ever want to cash out your investment, you will get back what you paid. These weapons include but are by no means limited to:

And then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have weapons that are virtually always bad investments. This isn’t because the weapons are bad guns. On the contrary, you will likely look at this list and think at least once: “Hey, I own one of those and it’s a great gun!” Sure, it’s a great gun, but it’s a lousy investment because it probably lost a lot of value the second that you completed the purchase and walked it out to your car.

The two worst investments? Any kind of AR or AK build. Again, this isn’t because there’s anything wrong with either of these. It’s just that there are so many of them that there’s little chance they will become collectible at any point during your lifetime. There are occasionally spikes in prices due to fears of a ban, but they’re not solid investments.

Evaluating the Value of Collectible Weapons

Collectible Weapons: How to Protect Your Wealth – and Your Family – With Valuable GunsAt some point, you will have to familiarize yourself with and get a working knowledge of the Blue Book of Gun Values. As the name would imply, this is what people use to evaluate their knowledge of weaponry in the investors’ market. Online gun marketplaces can also give you an idea of which weapons are likely to increase in value over the long and short term.

Some of the factors to look at when purchasing weapons include:

  • Branding: There are certain brands that are always going to be worth more than others because of their iconic status. Think Colt, Smith & Wesson, and the like. These have a cachet that is impossible to deny, a status similar to Coca-Cola or Levi’s 501s or the Chevrolet Corvette in terms of recognizability and general interest.
  • Nostalgia: Similar, but not identical, to this is the concept of nostalgia as it pertains to weapons. Dirty Harry’s Smith & Wesson Model 29 or the 1911 from Magnum, PI are two examples of weapons that are almost certainly going to hold, if not increase, in value over time because of their cultural recognition and the nostalgia that comes along with it.
  • Perception: Quality is great, but the perception of quality is even better. Glock and Benelli are two examples of brands that are largely perceived as being of exceptionally high quality. Whether or not the individual weapons live up to that reputation is less important than the fact that they are perceived as such.
  • Rarity: Limited edition weapons are always going to be worth more than weapons made in a totally unlimited quantity. There will always be a market for weapons that were made in extremely limited supply, regardless of how “good” the gun actually is.

One tip? Buy guns that you like. In some cases, it can take decades for a weapon’s value to increase. So if you’re not enjoying the weapon while you wait for its value to appreciate, you’re simply collecting paperweights.

Finally, for those who want to invest in weapons but aren’t interested in the weapons themselves, there’s the stock market. Gun sales were booming in the spring of 2020 and the stock market reflected this boom in prices. This is a particularly attractive option for people who like guns, and like the idea of guns, but aren’t looking to get themselves a safe full of them.

Either way, you decide to invest, one thing is for certain: the future is a bright place for people who put their money behind weapons.

12/12/20

Judge Disqualifies Attorney Prosecuting McCloskey

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

“Ms. Gardner has every right to rebut criticism, but it appears unnecessary to stigmatize defendant—or even mention him—in campaign solicitations, especially when she purports to be responding to others,” Clark wrote in his ruling. “In fact, the case law and Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit it.”

Judge orders Circuit Attorney to comply with search ...

“The campaign emails demonstrate the Circuit Attorney’s personal interest in this case, raise the appearance of impropriety and jeopardize the Defendant’s right to a fair trial,” Judge Thomas Clark wrote in the ruling entered on Thursday. “These email solicitations aim to raise money using the Defendant and the circumstances surrounding the case to rally Ms. Gardner’s political base and fuel contributions.”

Clark’s order only applies to Mark McCloskey’s case. Patricia McCloskey, who has been charged separately, is scheduled to appear before Judge Michael Stelzer in January.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey Charged with Unlawful Use of a ...

Gardner has scheduled an appeal of the ruling for January 7, 2021.

DW: A judge disqualified the Democrat circuit attorney who was prosecuting the gun case against Mark McCloskey from this summer, saying that the attorney’s campaign fundraising activities created the appearance that she prosecuted him for political purposes.

Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II’s order against Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner and her office cited “two fundraising emails that Gardner’s reelection campaign sent in response to political attacks before and after she charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felony gun crimes in July,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “The judge’s order deals a political blow to Gardner, whose office has waged numerous legal challenges to defend her practices and reform-minded agenda during her first term.”

The Post-Dispatch noted that Clark’s order only applied to Mark McCloskey and bars her office from prosecuting the case. The order does not apply to Patricia McCloskey, whose case is assigned to Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer. The order states that the a new prosecutor has to be appointed to the case.

“This court does not seek to ‘interfere with the democratic process’ but strongly believes the present ‘circumstances’ justify disqualification,” Clark wrote. “Deference to precedent, acknowledging the will of the voters, and respecting separation of powers are all vital to a representative government, an equitable criminal justice system and the rule of law. Likewise, campaigning without tainting the right to a fair trial is equally compelling and constitutionally sacred.”

“After considering the arguments of counsel, the pleadings coupled with the attachments, the applicable case law and the relevant statute, the court finds the emails raise an appearance of impropriety and warrant disqualification,” Clark continued. “In short, the Circuit Attorney’s conduct raises the appearance that she initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes. Immediately before and after charging Defendant, she solicited campaign donations to advance her personal interests.”

The Post-Dispatch reported that defense attorney Joel Schwartz indicated that he will file a motion requesting that Stelzer adopt Clark’s ruling in Patricia McCloskey’s case.

“This is what we wanted,” Schwartz said. “We would like a fair-minded prosecutor to take a look at the alleged crimes and reassess the evidence and see what they come up with because we don’t believe any of the evidence supports any of the charges. … As long as that happens, then I think we’ll have the right outcome and that would hopefully be no charges.”

When she first announced that she was prosecuting the McCloskey’s, Gardner said, “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis.”

McCloskey has repeatedly defended his actions as self-defense and lawful protection of private property. “I went inside; I got a rifle … because as soon as I said ‘this is private property,’ those words enraged the crowd,” he said in an interview. “Horde, an absolute horde came through the smashed-down gates, coming right at the house. And then I stood out there, the only thing we said is, ‘This is private property, go back, private property, leave now.’ At that point, everybody got enraged, there were people wearing body armor.”

“One person pulled out [some] loaded pistol magazines and he clicked them together and he said, ‘You’re next,’” McCloskey continued. “We were threatened with our lives, threatened with the house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened. It was about as bad as it can get. You know, I really thought it was the storming of Bastille, that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd and they broke in the gate and they were coming at us.”

As The Daily Wire reported, multiple Republicans have expressed support for the McCloskeys:

Republicans have stood up for the McCloskeys as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) sent a letter to United States Attorney General William Barr urging him to action against Gardner. Twelve Republican members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Barr, in which they specifically named the McCloskeys, demanding that he take “decisive action” to protect Americans from “mob rule.” Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parsons signaled last week that he would likely pardon the McCloskeys if they were charged.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) responded to the charges by writing on Twitter, “St. Louis’s Soros-funded prosecutor let dozens of violent rioters go free, she sued her own police department, and murder has skyrocketed under her watch. Yet despite refusing to arrest violent criminals, she targets a family with a felony for guarding their home.”

08/22/20

Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political Radicalism

By: Sam Jacobs | Ammo.com

Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political RadicalismIt’s a rather strange claim of the American far left that their interests are opposed to that of corporate America because there’s virtually no evidence to support it. Quite the contrary: During the wave of Black Lives Matter rioting that took place during the early summer of 2020, American corporations marched in lockstep. Not only did they use social media to swear fealty to this political movement, but they also made massive internal changes in conformity with BLM propaganda.

It’s called “woke capitalism” and while it’s not necessarily new, it’s certainly more prevalent than it ever has been. The term itself was coined by conservative editorial writer Ross Douthat in 2018. He succinctly summed up what woke capitalism is: superficial nods toward cultural leftism that allow the company to do what it really exists to do – make money.

You might be confused or think that there’s something ironic or askew about major corporations backing supposed “rebel” ideologies. However, this stems from a very superficial understanding of the topic. When we delve deeper into it, the motivation for large corporations siding with ostensibly “anti-capitalist” groups will come clearly into focus.

What is “Wokeness?”: Understanding “Critical Theory” and The Frankfurt School

Before going any further, we should spend some time defining what “wokeness” means.

Wokeness is a kind of shorthand for an area of the American political left that is obsessed with identity politics. This is, as the name would imply, the politics of identity. Thus, people are not rational actors, nor are they necessarily economic units. Rather, they are little more than a collection (or, in the parlance of this ideology, the intersections) of skin color and séxuality.

The socioeconomic class might enter into this, but if it does, it’s generally as an afterthought. While Marxism might play some influential role, the wokists are far more likely to locate the revolutionary subject in, for example, trans-identified black men than it is the working class.

One can understand the hostility of the “woke” to the Bernie Sanders campaign in this context: it is much more revolutionary under the guidelines established by wokism, to put more racial minorities with unusual séxual identities on the board of Lockheed-Martin and Goldman-Sachs than it is to provide for greater economic equality on behalf of their workers.

The bedrock of wokeness is not classical Marxist socialism, but something called “critical theory” and in particular its variant “critical race theory.” This has its roots in the Frankfurt School and an early 20th-century Italian philosopher and politician named Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci’s big idea was that cultural power preceded political power. Thus, to have a Marxist political revolution, one first needed a Marxist cultural revolution. This was to be accomplished by a “long march through the institutions.” What this means is that leftists were to infiltrate every institution of significance and gain power within them.

We can see the result of this idea today. While American leftists bear little, if any, resemblance to Marxists of old, they have penetrated our institutions and dominate culturally – in academiain entertainment and increasingly in the economic sphere as well. If one were to read the Communist Manifesto, there are a series of demands at the end, most of which have come to fruition such as universal public education, a progressive income tax, a national bank, and the industrialization of agriculture.

This isn’t to say that there is a massive Gramscian conspiracy with thousands of members. Such a thing would be completely impossible to prove or disprove. However, the kernel of the idea has taken root, in part thanks to bona fide promotion in academia, and in part because it simply seems to have largely been a successful operation.

Thus “critical theory” is effectively a sociological philosophy and method that involves constant ideological attacks on Western civilization. Its guiding principle is that Western civilization is based on subjugation, dominance, and tyranny. This takes many forms including “racism,” “patriarchy,” “heteronormativity” and “cisséxism” – all of which are predicated upon weaponized guilt.

Weaponized guilt is essentially taking those elements of Western and Anglo-Saxon culture, which prize even-handedness and “fair play,” and turning them against the culture itself. Indeed, the selection of the name “Black Lives Matter” is a masterstroke in weaponizing guilt: The only possible disagreement (or so say the advocates and allies of the movement) is that you don’t think black lives do actually matter. But, of course, except for extremely isolated, marginalized, and numerically insignificant pockets, virtually everyone agrees that all lives have the same value. Indeed, it is a cornerstone of Western civilization and Christian teaching that this is true. It is nearly axiomatic. The Declaration of Independence declares that the basic equality of men is “self-evident.” No one would even know where to begin “arguing” this, simply because it is so accepted as a fact.

It’s worth noting that wokeness largely entered the American political vernacular after the fall of the Occupy Movement. This is not an endorsement of either the Occupy Movement specifically, nor economic reductionism and confiscatory tax redistribution schemes more generally. However, it is worth noting that the corporate affinity for a seemingly “radical” form of politics requiring nothing in the way of actual financial sacrifice began after the death of a political movement demanding corporate accountability and economic redistribution starting at the very top.

The Business Side of Things

Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political RadicalismA “conspiracy,” or however we wish to define it, is not the only reason that Wall Street loves wokeness. Beyond the misdirection, there is also a lot of money to be made catering to the woke. This has nothing to do with what “most people” in America want or need. Rather, it has to do with catering to those on the coasts and within bigger cities in the interior of our nation.

Almost all of the income growth in America over the last ten years has been concentrated in cities in Southern California, Silicon Valley, and the Pacific Northwest, hotbeds of leftism in general, and wokism in particular. However, even places outside of these regions that have seen income growth tend to be far left-leaning. Examples include Austin, TX, Denver, CO and Nashville, TN.

What this means is that the larger companies in America, including the big banks in New Yorkthe tech companies in Silicon Valley, the entertainment industry in southern California and the cable news companies that cover the goings-on in Washington, D.C., are all interested in chasing after the dollar of urban wokes. Increased wealth concentration, including the massive transfer of wealth that happened under the COVID-19 panic and subsequent lockdown, has made big companies increasingly the only game in town, with smaller, more responsive Main Street American businesses becoming more and more marginalized where they continue to exist at all.

It’s not that big companies think they’re too good for your money – they just know that you don’t have anywhere else to go.

The Colin Kaepernick sneaker incident is an excellent example of woke capitalism in action. In times past, companies generally avoided wading into controversial social issues. After all, in the words of Michael Jordan, “Republicans buy shoes too.” But in an attempt to appeal to Generation Z (also known as “Zoomers”), many companies are deciding that it’s worth alienating rural and exurban flyover people in favor of courting the woke dollar.

For Nike and many other companies, this commitment to “social justice” doesn’t run much deeper than marketing. Nike knows it has a disproportionately black customer base. But only 8 percent of their vice presidents are black. What’s more, the company is notorious for using sweatshop labor in the third world to produce its expensive sneakers.

Some other quick notes on the purchasing power of the woke left: While there is certainly no direct overlap between a college education and being a radical wokist, the woke are certainly clustered around America’s college campuses and the cities that they move to after graduation. (The average college graduate is going to earn over $1 million more than their less-educated counterpart over the course of their life.)

There is also the specter of the unmarried and the childless: these people will also have significantly greater disposable income than married couples with children living in smaller flyover cities.

All of this adds up to a very lucrative market, both for catering to the woke and pillorying the unwoke. There is no shortage of examples of either on your television during commercials.

Wokeism’s Radical Evangelism: Diversity Training Seminars

One of the most disturbing elements of wokism is its evangelistic quality. As we saw during the riots of 2020, it was not enough simply to not be racist. One was now required to be an active “anti-racist” under the definition and terms established by the woke. Those who failed to comply were often attacked in a way that went far beyond simply being hassled online. People’s jobs and livelihoods were attacked in a manner befitting a Communist dictatorship.

The very notion of dialogue and civil debate isn’t just missing. There’s deep hostility to the notion that there is any point of view other than the most woke possible. There is a line in the sand: On one side, there are the people who believe that America is a profoundly racist country and that this colors every aspect of our history. On the other side, there’s anyone who is even mildly skeptical of this – and the people on this side are “white supremacists.” By the logic of wokism, these people deserve anything that happens to them (including being “canceled”).

What this means is that wokism does not simply operate in the background of the rest of society. You cannot simply ignore the cringe-inducing woke commercials on your television and not click the frankly hateful and racist articles of the woke online. Your compliance is a required aspect of wokism. Think back to the social media phenomenon of large companies denouncing alleged “white supremacy” with a black square. Compliance with this was required as if one were painting blood over their threshold to avoid the plague of the firstborn in ancient Egypt.

Corporations have begun echoing this rhetoric on social media, but there is a far more insidious element of wokism’s radical evangelism: the “diversity training seminars” that are now de rigueur in the workplace. While often positioned as some kind of politically neutral gathering to increase workplace cohesion, these are in fact little more than Maoist struggle sessions – for all employees. We categorically reject the assumption that these are any more comfortable for non-white employees than they are for the white ones.

So what goes on at these seminars? There was a taxpayer-funded seminar in Seattle that acts as an excellent exemplar of such.

It was called “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness.” This has nothing to do with eliminating racism as is commonly understood. If we’re being frank, we can probably agree that individual racism has largely been eradicated in America, especially among educated people. This seminar and others like it are about pillorying whites and eroding workplace solidarity – and also about cushy little gigs for those giving the seminars, which aren’t cheap.

The seminar includes instruction in qualities that allegedly represent “white supremacy.” These include objectivity, perfectionism, and comfort. They also ascribe some rather insidious qualities to whites in toto: arrogance, violence, and anti-blackness. These are the exact words used by the seminar.

Employees are urged to engage in “self-talk” that “affirms complicity in racism.”

As is often the case, there is not really a “right” answer for whites taking the seminar. Talk too much at one of these events and you’re imposing yourself and dominating the conversation. Talk too little and “silence is violence.”

The Seattle seminar was only for white employees. So to be clear, the City of Seattle used taxpayer dollars to propagandize at and pillory white employees in a segregated forum. While investigating the seminar using public records requests, City Journal editor Christopher F. Rufo was unable to find any information about who ran the seminar or how much it cost the taxpayers.

While the seminar might sound extreme, it’s not. In fact, these are happening all across the country in America’s workplaces and on our college campuses – and many times even in elementary schools. They are totalitarian in nature but are increasingly a requirement of continued employment. Employees who push back against them can expect disciplinary measures up to and including termination of their employment. There is also the specter of “racism” hanging above anyone with even the slightest opposition or skepticism: they must be secret racists or else they’d be as gung ho as everyone else.

Many have noted the religious aspects of wokism that go beyond its evangelical zeal. This includes a concept of “original sin” (whiteness), holds blacks and (to a lesser degree) indigenous peoples as a sort of “holy” race, and has a process for confession. However, one aspect of religious thought is missing – there is no process for redemption in the world of the woke. One may “do the work” as the saying goes, but there is no way to complete it and be redeemed. The fallen are simply fallen and constantly repaying their debt in a sort of state of karmic bankruptcy.

White Fragility: The Communist Manifesto of Woke Capitalism

Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political RadicalismEvery ideology and movement has its foundational text. In the case of woke capitalism, this is White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. She earns a whopping $12,000 a day to lecture white people on their alleged racism. That doesn’t include travel expenses, meals, or accommodations. Good work if you can get it and she does: DiAngelo has worked with companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Nike, Facebook, Under Armour, CVS, Goldman Sachs, and American Express.

DiAngelo’s critics are not restricted to the right. Socialist journalist and podcaster Matt Taibbi has described her writing as espousing a “Hitlerian race theory.” Others have criticized the book for robbing black people of agency or condescending to them in other ways.

The term “white fragility” itself works a kind of magic for DiAngelo and the proponents of this theory. It is, for them, axiomatic that all white people are racist simply for existing. Any words or actions whites take in their defense are de facto evidence of white fragility.

While $12,000 a day might sound like a lot of money, we should compare the corporate cost of a DiAngelo seminar to increasing wages for workers, or offering additional benefits, or providing mentoring programs for new employees or literally anything that might benefit employees in the long term. Such programs would be extremely costly in comparison to the piddling cost associated with a day of lost productivity spent on indoctrination, which also has the important side benefits of eroding worker solidarity and providing a cheap and easy PR win for woke consumers.

Woke Capitalism and Governance

It hardly seems worth explaining how much power large corporations have over the United States. However, we should take a moment to examine the power that woke capitalism wields over public policy.

Consider the proposition, totally uncontroversial within living memory, that biological séx is a real thing. Note that this does not require some rigid enforcement of social expression of gender: one does not need to believe that “boys wear blue and girls wear pink” to accept the existence of biological séx. But states have been targeted by large businesses for the crime of codifying this belief, again, totally uncontroversial in recent times. North Carolina was brought to heel by a coordinated corporate boycott of the state after it passed a law barring trans-identified men from women’s bathrooms. All told, the boycotts cost the state nearly $4 billion.

The 2017 boycott of North Carolina is hardly the only example of woke corporations bringing state governments to heel. For example, when Georgia passed a law defending the rights of the unborn, Hollywood leaped to action. Because a lot of television shows and movies are filmed in Georgia – for the cheap labor and tax incentives – the entertainment industry quickly declared that it would boycott Georgia if it passed a law restricting abortion.

Even state flags aren’t safe from the attack of woke capitalism. The SEC and the NCAA publicly discussed a boycott of the state of Mississippi, as did other companies. This was during the moral panic about “racism” that followed the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

One political entity that woke capitalism does not see fit to challenge? The People’s Republic of China. Indeed, the NBA brought a general manager to heel over his support of Hong Kong democracy protesters. The normally outspoken coach Steve Kerr was strangely silent on the topic. And while the NBA has now approved political statements on jerseys, “Free the Uighurs” isn’t one of them.

The Woke Corporate Stasi

If the only problem were state governments being undermined, woke capitalism would still be a serious problem. However, there are numerous examples of private individuals being targeted by woke mobs with quick compliance from their corporate overlords. Indeed, socialist podcaster Aimee Terese has likened the woke mob to a sort of HR department vigilantism. The language of these totalitarian mobs is often remarkably similar to that which is used by HR departments, particularly when they roll out diversity training seminars.

A graphic designer at the Washington Post was fired after it was revealed that she attended a 2018 party in blackface. She was confronted at the party, left in tears, and apologized to her hosts the very next day. None of this was enough for the woke mob. The designer was fired after a large – and largely manufactured by the Post itself – outrage. Many editors at the Post found themselves deeply uncomfortable with the decision to run an article outing the woman. Around the same time, a 62-year-old communications chief at Boeing was fired for comments he made in 1987 at the age of 29. The man was very clear that these were not his opinions today. For reference, Barack Obama opposed same-séx marriage until 2015, which means he opposed it during both of his presidential campaigns.

In what is perhaps the most outrageous example of woke mobs getting a man fired, a truck driver was terminated after he flashed an “OK” hand sign, which is claimed by many to now be a symbol of white supremacy. Even after an investigation into the matter by his employer, he was fired.

Why Woke Capitalism?

Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political RadicalismIf all of this has you wondering “why,” you’re not alone. Many have pondered the question of why corporations want to take a stake in politics. It goes without saying that there is a massive political advantage to corporations being able to throw their weight around in this way and that there is little reason for them to not attempt to claim power whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself. What’s more, diversity training seminars and woke mobs make it much easier to fire – and thus control – employees.

The best part is that this kind of progressive posturing comes at absolutely no cost to the company. They don’t have to pay their younger workers in expensive cities higher wages, thus opening up the possibility of employment to those whose parents cannot subsidize the first few years of their careers. They don’t have to offer onsite childcare or other tangible – and expensive – benefits that might actually address some of the issues that these corporations feign concern about. Instead, they can pay the relatively inexpensive annual fee for a diversity training seminar, throw out some woke branding on social media, and be done with the matter.

But don’t expect the Washington Post to demand that Amazon start paying taxes anytime soon.

There is a sort of cliche online about corporate wokeness: “get woke, go broke.” But the Quillette did some research into this and found it to not be true: In fact, all metrics point toward wokeness having absolutely no impact on the company’s bottom line either way. So why do they do it?

We’ve hinted at the reason for woke capitalism throughout this article. It is a form of misdirection whereby huge companies can avoid dealing with thorny labor relations issues by throwing a bone to leftist cultural interests. Remember that the left and the Democratic Party are formerly fixated on issues of economics and class rather than social issues and race. The former is a much more expensive position for large corporations than the latter.

But we should also mention that there are potentially toxic unintended consequences of woke capitalism. It’s not our contention that whites in America are an oppressed class, but it’s clear that anti-white racism is socially acceptable: You’re not going to get banned from Twitter for tweeting out “I hate white people.” What’s more, whites believe that they are increasingly the target of racism.

Whether or not this is true is entirely beside the point. The perception is far more important than the reality when discussing this topic. Inflaming racial animosity between whites and everyone else will have dire consequences for the nation as a whole, especially during a time of declining wages, increased political instability, and eroding social solidarity. The end result of goading the American public into viewing their problems as largely stemming from race, rather than economics, might well have profoundly dire consequences for both the social fabric and for the individuals that constitute it.

Finally, it’s worth noting that woke capitalism is very much the free market in action. There is a benefit to the erosion of certain social values that have maintained Western civilization for hundreds of years. Woke capitalism is an attack on the nuclear family and Western civilization while providing nothing in its place. After all, who makes for better consumers than childless automatons whose only values are the prevailing cultural diktats of the day?