The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse epitomizes the cultural conflict that is raging in every part of American society. Despite the media's best efforts to convince the public otherwise, this conflict isn't another example of our historical struggle with race. It's not even about Democrats and Republicans.
At its core, the fight we're in is between destroyers and defenders.
The first group sees America as a country infected to its core by the sins of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia. That is why they are committed to abolishing and dismantling any systems or institutions that enforce traditional norms, sustain order, or stand in the way of their political goals.
The second group sees America as a country worth defending. They acknowledge its imperfections and celebrate signs of societal progress. That is why they are willing to risk bodily harm, financial ruin, and social censure to protect traditional norms and support values that help people flourish. Defenders want to prune branches that produce bad fruit. Destroyers want to burn down the entire forest.
Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for shooting and killing two men and injuring a third in the riots that engulfed Kenosha, Wisconsin. The defendant's future will be decided by a jury tasked with weighing evidence and rendering a verdict, but the reaction to his actions that night and subsequent trial says a lot about the future of our country.
Corporate media's position in the battle between destroyers and defenders has been clear since George Floyd's death sparked months of marches and peaceful protests as well as riots and looting across the country. Ideologues masquerading as journalists spent much of 2020 informing the public that rioting is the "voice of the unheard" and that destroying private property is a form of political speech. They also stood in front of burning buildings and characterized the people doing the torching as "mostly peaceful." Local officials like Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan indulged anarchists who took over part of her city and declared it an autonomous zone.
Cable news personalities have called Rittenhouse everything from a vigilante to a terrorist. Joy Reid even read the name of the convicted sex offender Rittenhouse claimed he fatally shot in self-defense. That type of veneration is typically reserved for black people killed by the police, but to the left, even a white child molester is worth defending if he advances a political goal.
This isn't just about physical possessions and property. The same destructive impulses can be seen in the left's attempts to smear parents concerned about what their children are being taught in school. Michael Steele, a Republican and former lieutenant governor of Maryland, joined with Joy Reid to mock parents who object to schools assigning sexually explicit books to their children. Destroyers have a difficult time understanding parents like this because the only thing they feel duty-bound to defend is their political ideology.
This attack on defenders is also a proxy war on men. Every society requires men to be protectors — both physically and financially. American society is crumbling because we have convinced ourselves that impulse to defend the vulnerable is toxic. That is why the left attacks men who oppose abortion or champion the importance of the nuclear family. They prefer their men weak and docile, with just enough testosterone to serve as male "allies" but not enough to challenge the cultural zeitgeist. The left loves the type of dads who take their children to Drag Queen Story Hour and then post about it on social media. They hate the ones who see the coming decline of a society that celebrates grown men dressed as women teaching young children to twerk.
Our institutions have failed to protect the country from destroyers. The vacuum created by elected officials and cultural influencers who refuse to lead provides the void that citizens invariably end up filling. That is the case whether we're talking about New York subway passenger Bernard Goetz in 1984, Kyle Rittenhouse in 2020, or David Dorn, a retired police captain killed in 2020 while trying to defend a store from being looted.
Building, sustaining, and defending values and norms takes time and dedication. It takes no skill to destroy.
A sane country would promote and defend the people who want to protect their communities and condemn the people who want to destroy them. Unfortunately, the American ruling class does the complete opposite. It justifies destruction — only when carried out by the "right" types of people — and criticizes people whose first instinct is protection. With those incentives, it's no wonder people in many cities feel like they are trapped in environments marked by lawlessness and disorder.