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Conservative Sympathy for Russia in Ukraine War an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance

How one of the greatest examples of why a populace should own military weapons is getting ignored by some on the right.

Conservative Sympathy for Russia in Ukraine War an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance

(Photo illustration credits: Elnur, Zoart Studio and MyImages – Micha all of ShutterStock.com)

It’s almost three weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as this is being written, although, according to The Irish Times, to hear the United Nations tell it, it’s neither an "invasion" nor a "war." 

“Use 'conflict' or ‘military offensive' and NOT 'war' or 'invasion' when referring to the situation in Ukraine,” the director of the UN Regional Information Centre instructed staffers via email. “Do NOT add the Ukrainian flag to personal or official social media accounts or websites.”

At first, the UN Spokesperson Twitter account tweeted that report was fake. Then they deleted the tweet. Another UN official said the email was real but not official policy. A later email "suggests the language policy regarding Ukraine was updated to reverse the initial guidance and allow for the use of 'war' and 'invasion'."

Now that we’ve got that settled...


The above example is a microcosm of the state of information (misinformation, disinformation, and real information) coming from both sides of the wa... uh ... conflict, compounded by the same quality of information coming from observer countries with their own agendas. From this, Americans are deriving their assessments of credibility colored by their own confirmation biases, and in some cases, we’re seeing examples of cognitive dissonance that flat-out conflict with positions they’ve taken before.


That includes from the "right" as well as the "left," and what that’s doing is diverting attention away from the one now-undeniable truth that destroys the "gun control" narrative: An armed populace is essential to a nation’s security. Citizen disarmament works to the advantage of a nation’s enemies.

So, instead of relentlessly hammering that point to where it cannot be ignored by that part of the electorate still receptive to reason, some “conservatives” are dividing into camps and descending into squabbles, with no small amount of name-calling, accusations, and vitriol.

But First, A Word From the Gun Prohibitionists

The power of the Second Amendment argument is there for all to see, or more like it, not see if you limit your sources to "progressive" venues. The gun-grab groups are still keeping a low profile on Ukraine’s decision to throw its disarmament laws aside and arm citizens with real "weapons of war." About the closest they've come is a statement by Peter Ambler,  executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, who told Reuters it is "'deeply irresponsible' for gun rights advocates to tie their 'more guns everywhere' advocacy to the Ukraine crisis."

Instead, he wants to talk "background checks and funding for community violence intervention programs," spoken like someone desperately trying to change the subject. When you have no real rebuttal, throwing a ball and hoping the weak-minded will chase after it distracts some, but does nothing to derail the observable truths about an armed populace.




Conservative Sympathy for Russia in Ukraine War an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance
(Photo by panuwat phimpha/Shutterstock)

Enter the Doubt Spreaders

Leave that to Russian apologist and Ukraine government critic Gonzalo Lira, a past contributor to the popular "conservative" website Zero Hedge, and a prolific YouTuber apparently financially sustained through Patreon subscribers (with who else a fair question), with over 300K subscribers on his "Coach Red Pill" channel. This is a guy many claiming to be "on the right" listen to and ardently defend, which is curious when you consider five months ago he advised "If you live in any of the democracies of the West, you should leave now while you still can." That’s because, he says, they’re all becoming totalitarian, and the COVID vaccination pushes will ensure things only get worse. Leftist totalitarians will "take over and crush all opposition."

Forget the Second Amendment, he asserts. "The American military will crush any...kind of armed resistance in the United States." 

Drones, you see.

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What did Star Trek’s Borg say? "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated." 

They had drones in Afghanistan too. And purges or not, the military is still not a monolith. Resistance will be asymmetric and unpredictable, every family will be touched and per Clausewitz, a war cannot be won if public will does not support it. That, and many political leaders are cowards. But do go on and tell millions of gun-owning Americans proficient in the use of arms they stand no chance. 

"If I’m wrong," he ventures, "then in a few months, you know,  you will have left the West, and in a few months, this whole nightmare totalitarian fever dream will have broken, and everybody will be, like, snapping out of it, saying 'What the hell did we do?’ and they’ll wake up, and in a few months' time you’ll be able to return to the West and continue on because everybody came to their senses."

"But if I’m right ... where should you go?" he asks. "You should go to a poor, underdeveloped country."

Go to Mexico or Central America with cartels. Go to Africa with Marxist warlords! Go to the Middle East with Isis and Al Qaeda! Go to a totally alien area of operation where you will have resources but no gun and no support network, and surround yourself with have-not hostiles. Do it because they don’t have the infrastructure to implement totalitarianism, which should come as great comfort to those being hacked to death, beheaded or hanged with chains from overpasses.

It’s already been "a few months," so I guess he’s not all-knowing and infallible. 

You’ve got to wonder why so many give this guy their money and attention, let alone the time of day, and it’s not all that hard to figure out. He touches on enough things that are true to where “closing the deal” works on those susceptible to classic sales pitch techniques. 

After all, globalist "reset" desires, growing tyranny, corrupt, controlled, and treasonous politicians, propagandizing media, “woke” corporations, brutalizing police, repressive laws, COVID mandates, leftist tech control, race mongers in government, youth indoctrination in schools, the threat of annihilation and the seemingly impossible-to-stop Long March progression of communism are all real things. Running away sure seems a lot easier than staying and defending our place in the world. If that’s got you ready to fold, knock off the anonymous "Molon Labe!" comments, because you obviously don’t mean it.

But here’s a question for those of you inclined to put the hate on anyone suggesting Coach Red Pill or anyone like him has the answers: If you really believe him, what the hell are you still doing here? Why haven’t you bugged out to Guatemala or Ghana yet? If war with China does come (and he predicted it was “perhaps days away” five months ago), name a safer place to be. And show your work.

Continuing with his trademark defeatist negativity, "Coach" did another video, this one walking the streets of Kyiv (yeah, this is after all about the Ukraine “conflict”) condemning the government for passing out arms to citizens.

"The problem that we’re having is because of the weapons that the Zelenskyy regime handed out willy-nilly in the last few days, a lot of criminals have these military-grade weapons." Lira  told viewers in a video posted and widely shared on social media. "And so, there's been robberies, there’s been looting, there’s been rapes, there’s been all kinds of havoc because of these criminals. It’s known for a fact that a lot of the shooting that went on last night in Kyiv had nothing to do with Russians; the Russians were 10 km away from these shootings, so it’s clearly probably gang-related, gangs settling scores and shooting one another,  and that’s something the Western media is not talking about, of how the Zelenskyy regime, by handing out weapons, has basically given weapons to all the criminal element in the city, and the criminal elements in the city are first of all figuring out their dominance hierarchy in this anarchy that the government has created, and soon enough, once that’s settled, they’ll start targeting the civilians. That’s what the Zelenskyy regime has done, OK? So, let’s not pretend otherwise. These people ... are creating chaos in Ukraine in the name of the people fighting against the Russians, it’s absurd, it’s irresponsible and it will only hurt the Ukrainian people, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the Zelenskyy regime is evil..."

EDITOR'S NOTE: There have been many inaccurate reports that President Zelenskyy gave Ukraine a 2nd Amendment and just ordered the military pass out machine guns to the public, this is not the case. Any citizen who wants to join the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces must show a passport and/or other form of Ukrainian identification, take an oath, and immediately undergo military training. At that time, they will be issued a firearm (registered to them) which is most likely an AK-74 rifle. These Ukrainian citizens are then considered to be Ukrainian military. There have been no changes to Ukrainian gun laws since the invasion at the time of this writing.

Understand that per best estimates, in this case GunPolicy.org, “Unregistered and unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Ukraine there are estimated to be (2017) 3,596,000.” Some of the criminals (along with untold Ukrainians who refused to surrender firearms they acquired on the black market) were already armed. Others very well may be exploiting this, but the rest of the rant is classic gun-grab speak, presuming the bad overshadows the good done with guns in overwhelmingly non-criminal private hands. We can see from resistance “success” incidents that is simply not true. And the chaos belongs to the invaders.

Then ask yourself, were your homeland invaded, would you prefer to heed this character’s cowardly defeatism that “justifies” the aggressors and attacks the defenders? Why do Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally come to mind? And why are some ostensibly “on the right” treating his as a voice to be heeded and amplified?

Case in point is lawyer and foreign policy analyst Clint Ehrlich, “a Visiting Researcher at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, who is known for being one of the only Westerners in Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to Foreign Policy, Ehrlich is embedded at the highest level of Moscow's national-security brain trust.” 

Ehrlich interviewed Lira on YouTube and accepted his assertions unquestioningly when he condemned the arming of citizens and attributed the motive to the “Zelenskyy regime” wanting the Russians to commit “atrocities” (he never seems to say “Putin regime”). “This is clear,” he asserts as Ehrlich nods in agreement, “You don’t hand out weapons to civilians unless you want them to get killed.”

Conservative Sympathy for Russia in Ukraine War an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance
Kyiv, Ukraine. Feb. 06, 2022: Training for civilians who signed up in the Territorial Defense units. (Photo by Drop of Light/Shutterstock)

Like Lira, Ehrlich has a penchant for being an apologist for Russia and its stated motivations on Twitter, while never missing an opportunity to point out things the Ukraine government does wrong. The reason that’s noteworthy is because he’s become Tucker Carlson’s go-to guy on Russia, and Carlson enjoys formidable ratings and tremendous influence among “conservatives.” Also noteworthy, Mother Jones, a “leaked Kremlin memo to the Russian media instructs it is ‘Essential’ to Feature Tucker Carlson ... who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally.”

“Russian T-72B3 tanks fire on Ukrainian troops holed up in an apartment building in Mariupol,” Ehrlich noted in one tweet. “This footage illustrates why damaged or destroyed residential buildings are not automatic proof of Russian war crimes. Every building can become cover/concealment in Urban warfare.”

“What the hell are the Russians doing there in the first place?” is something he’s loath to challenge, because he’s from a faction finding justification for it.

What the Hell ARE the Russians Doing There in the First Place? And the U.S.?

We hear their side, being unacceptably hemmed in by NATO, needing sea access, Russian people in “breakaway” regions needing their protection, biolabs, “denazification”, the West and the U.S. lie, the Ukrainian government lies... We can stipulate they have points and they have grievances. We can also stipulate that Vladimir Putin is a ruthless “former” KGB operative who in his career has reportedly used communist terrorists like the Red Army Faction/Baader-Meinhof Gang, along with the “neo-Nazi” National Resistance Dresden, playing either “side” as it served Soviet purposes to destabilize West Germany.

And yeah, we know “our side” lies, too. Anyone who’s ever fought against citizen disarmament (or questioned the 2020 election results, the whole COVID narrative, the destruction of historic monuments, the cultural terraforming of the Republic through deliberate “immigration” subversion, or worried about the globalist-endorsed “Great Reset,” international bankers, and George Soros, and seen it all thrown back in their faces by gaslighting propagandists using Alinsky Rule 5 ridicule to dismiss all concerns as “baseless conspiracy theories” advanced by racist domestic terrorists) knows that.

That doesn’t mean we turn around and believe the Russians. They’ve invaded a neighbor who hasn’t joined NATO, and whose admission, were they to try, is certainly opposable with measures short of invasion. And while there’s a lot of back-and-forth on the purpose of the “biolabs,” even Ehrlich admits, at least up until this writing, “Once again, I'm NOT endorsing [Russia’s claim that Americans are developing bioweapons in Ukraine]. There are a number of implausible aspects, from my perspective. Why would Ukraine be complicit in the development of gene weapons that would kill its own Slavic population?”

There’s an even more implausible claim: How would such a weapon be delivered and how would it not result in the annihilation of Ukraine and potentially a Russian nuclear response against the U.S.? Yes, our side has hardly been forthcoming and has changed its story. So has theirs.

Yes, the Ukraine government is saying whatever it can to induce the West to give it more fighter jets, and other military hardware, so that they can close the skies themselves, but some of what they’re asking for could well prompt “the Putin regime” to consider a state of war with the United States to exist (which some say already does).

As an aside, it’s curious that, per Fox News, “U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., says he supports imposing a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, despite the risks involved with the U.S. shooting down Russian aircraft and escalating the conflict.” It’s curious because, after receiving NRA’s endorsement and getting elected, Mast broke his pledge to its members and told CNN “he supports banning AR-15-style weapons because he believes it is a chance to save a life.” That means he agrees with Coach Red Pill and wants Americans to be in the same position as hapless Ukrainians before the Russian invasion, by diktat.

Conservative Sympathy for Russia in Ukraine War an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance
(Photo by Feng Yu/Shutterstock)

But What About Nazis...?

"The purpose of this operation is to protect people who for eight years now have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime," Putin claimed in a televised address shared on Twitter by the Russian Mission in Geneva. "To this end, we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation."

Remember who’s talking here. And then note that Putin’s “denazification” meme is being used by communists to portray communist insurgents as freedom fighters.

Think of them as Antifa on steroids, with Russian handlers and military supplies with the one real goal being what communists always want: Power over everyone. 

Meet Russell Bentley, a self-proclaimed communist and transplanted Texan often seen wearing a cowboy hat with a red star, the son of a wealthy businessman now actively fighting with Stalinist communist rebels and parroting the Putin line.

“This is Tejas [“Texas’ ] on the frontline with the De-Nazifiers and the Liberators of Ukraine,” he proclaims. “We’re gettin’ ready to bring the hammer down. These guys are going to save and liberate all the good people of Ukraine. And the bad people? BOOM! Kick their ass.”

YouTuber and publisher of The Trends Journal Gerald Celente, an alternative patriot radio favorite and frequent guest (and guest host) on Alex Jones’ Infowars (which has been posting RT News content for over a decade), had a cordial interview with Bentley that asked no challenging questions and presumed for the viewers that every Putin talking point claim he made was Gospel. 

During the interview, Bentley related how he ran for the U.S. Senate as an “independent,” but was “glad” to see “the greatest U.S. senator of modern history,” the late Paul Wellstone (a doctrinaire gun-grabber) win. In other words, Bentley supports citizen disarmament when those citizens don’t support him. So naturally he parroted the same line as Coach Red Pill, bad-mouthing Ukraine arming its citizens, saying “it’s been the Wild West and Mad Max ever since” in Kyiv. Celente nodded in concerned agreement.

Bentley’s message: Western media reports of civilian casualties are flat-out lies. The Ukrainians are using civilians as human shields. Western weapons going to Ukraine are futile. The Azov Battalion is “the  genuine ‘Heil Hitler’ neo-nazi hardcore super-special forces.” Right Sector is a “Nazi group.” The Russians are basically acting in defense of themselves and against “cleansing operations.” They don’t want to occupy Ukraine; they just want to change the government (figure that bit of doubletalk out). This is “a liberation.” The biolabs were weapons labs “collecting the DNA samples of Russian people.” This is the same thing as D-Day against the Nazis.

“Well, thank you very much, and I really appreciate what you’re doing and the information you’re giving us,” Celente replied. “My heart and soul are with you and the people, and I wish you all the best.”

For more info on Russell Bentley’s work to promote communism, Texas Monthly ran “War of Words: Meet the Texan Trolling for Putin,” the BBC published “The Communist Soldier Using Charity Sites to Fund His War,” and Medium posted “A Serb, a Texan, and a Colombian Walk Into a War…” which shows Russell, in the “separatist” war zone, proudly holding up an Antifa flag complete with hammer and sickle. Very strange how so-called patriot conservative talk show host celebrities get away with promoting a man like this to their conservative audiences. As far as Bentley’s quest to rid Ukraine of Nazis, he should have started in his beloved “Donetsk Republic” where, in 2014, Ukrainian Jews were forced to identify themselves and register with the government.

Conservative Sympathy for Russia in Ukraine War an Exercise in Cognitive Dissonance
Kyiv, Ukraine Feb. 06, 2022: A new member of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense with his personally-owner AR-15. MSRs have been legal to own in Ukraine for decades, although handguns remain banned. (Photo by Drop of Light/Shutterstock)

Bringing up things like Washington’s “beware foreign entanglements” admonition, or Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler’s War is a Racket push all the right buttons for American patriots to agree with. Weaving some truths in to a narrative is an old trick. And significantly, not once did Celente mention to his viewers that Bentley is a communist whose every assertion tracks with the official Russian state position. Why?

And why is the default assumption that because one side’s hands have dirt on them, the other side’s are clean? And what about these Ukrainian Nazis Bentley (and evidently Celente) blame it all on?

“He referenced the Azov Battalion, a part of the Ukrainian National Guard known for its inclusion of Neo-Nazis, and falsely said that Nazis control Ukraine's political and military administration in its entirety,” Business Insider reports

Ukraine is the only country outside of Israel to have a Jewish president and a Jewish Prime Minister serving at the same time. There are Jewish leaders in Azov battalion. 

“Now part of the national guard, the battalion of 900 to 1,500 members publicly claims to eschew all Nazi ideology,” The Times of Israel reports.

And let's not forget the even more “right-wing” Right Sector: One of the leaders is Jewish and was interviewed by the Jewish publication Tablet in 2014.

“Jewish Ukrainians gear up for fierce Russia fight, alongside the ‘neo-Nazis’ they say Putin is lying about,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports, putting the exclamation point on the rebuttals.

The Takeaway From All This

None of us has a crystal ball. By the time this article is published in print, who knows where we’ll all be on this story: Will Russia crush and replace the Ukrainian government? Will insurgencies do to the Russians in Ukraine what they did to them in Afghanistan? Will the U.S. and NATO call Putin’s bluff, and what happens if he’s not bluffing? Will China enter the picture and if so, what will they do (send “military aid” to the Russians? Use the West’s preoccupation to invade Taiwan?) and what will “our” response be?

Will economic sanctions and a boycott on Russian oil and gas work, or will they backfire and cause greater hardships in the West? To my way of thinking, they ought to cause pain here, because how else are “we the people” going to keep the government in line unless we feel the effects of our votes? 

Maybe a nice big smack of reality will be what it takes to send the “environ-mental-cases” packing, start drilling again, and becoming truly energy independent. Fox News reports that Russia funds and provides disinformation to such groups to steer European countries away from energy independence and to purchase Russian oil, so it’s past time the motives of those exploiting useful idiots got called into question.

“As the world witnesses what is happening to Ukraine, Americans were asked what they would do if they were in the same position as Ukrainians are now: stay and fight or leave the country?” a Quinnipiac poll reveals. “A majority (55 percent) say they would stay and fight, while 38 percent say they would leave the country. Republicans say 68 – 25 percent and independents say 57 – 36 percent they would stay and fight, while Democrats say 52 – 40 percent they would leave the country.”

That kind of figures, especially noting who’s most adamant about banning “weapons of war,” but truthfully, my guess is those numbers are way high. The problem is, where the hell would the cowards (who would nonetheless disarm you and me if they could) go?

But it does illustrate the cognitive dissonance disconnect between self-identified “conservative” gun owners giving credence to Russian propaganda over the American brand, where at least we have the capability of accessing other sources than those parroting a narrative. And as we can see for ourselves if you want to believe the Coach Red Pills and Russell Bentleys of the world – and those giving them credence and helping spread Russian apologia – then don’t pretend to value the Second Amendment, because the “advice” from those quarters is to cut and run because resistance is sure suicide. And don’t forget, the domestic commies here call you Nazis, too. 

They’re going to believe the very people some of them get a laugh over “helicopter rides” memes about?

A fear expressed about the 11th-hour arming of Ukrainians was that it was too little, too late. That won’t prove the Russian megaphones of doom and gloom were right about the futility of armed resistance, instead it speaks to the wisdom of the Founders when they told their Posterity what was “necessary to the security of a free State.” Rather than undermining that Americans need to recognize how imperiled that security is and redouble their efforts to arm, to organize, and to train.

“All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth ... in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years,” Abraham Lincoln asserted in his “Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois,” January 27, 1838.

“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves,” Winston Churchill reminded any who would listen in The Gathering Storm.


About the Author: David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. In addition to being a regular featured contributor for Firearms News he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.


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