It wouldn't do any harm for some of our loyalists with memories of the early period of the Troubles to go and talk to the militias which are preparing for war in the US.
The two movements have a lot in common, not least the grandiose sense of themselves that seems common to all paramilitary organisations. Paramilitaries on both sides in Northern Ireland believed that the rightness of their cause was pre-established. It did not rest on the political mood of the times.
Only with such conviction could any movement believe that it could recruit from the streets and build an army that could take on a modern state.
Both Ulster loyalists and the US militias have responded to a trouble-stirring narcissist. Both, in doing so, landed many of their members in jail.
This is bad news for those people individually. It also marks out their movement as amateurish, but it hardly bothers those who urged them on.
Loyalists had a nickname for Ian Paisley snr. They called him the "Grand Old Duke of York". He was the one who marched his men to the top of the hill and marched them down again.
The same jibe could be levelled at Donald Trump, who said that he would be with his patriotic followers as they marched to the Capitol, but stayed behind to watch the siege on television.
Both movements took too seriously the word of a charismatic orator who ultimately preferred the show to showtime.
And if I was one of those who had listened to the Doc back then, who got all fired up with the urge to defend Ulster and landed myself in jail for 20 years, I would say to them, "Look, we know the type. He'll get your passions inflamed, but he won't be there to cover for you."
Paisley snr called in the Eighties for the restoration of capital punishment. Not only was he content to see loyalists go to jail, he'd have been happy to see them hanged.
Trump likes the death penalty, too. There are other similarities between traditional loyalism and the militias which are threatening insurrection in the US.
As the militias identify with the Republican party, the loyalists identified with unionism, thought they were on the same track as politicians in suits, were encouraged to believe as much and discovered they weren't.
The two movements are similarly religious. There is a video on the New Yorker website which shows some of the protesters praying when they occupied the chamber. The twerp with the horns in his hat led prayer to Almighty God and the rabble around him raised their hands to Heaven trusting that they were sanctifying their cause.
And it wasn't just for show. It was enthusiastic - spirited. In the Catholic tradition, a spontaneous prayer was called an ejaculation. Prayer for these guys was almost a little frenzied.
They were Protestants, but also with an almost Catholic sense of pilgrimage. They believed they were in a sacred space. Many of them used that word.
The militias regard the US constitution and the Capitol much as many loyalists regard the Crown. They are not cynics. They have a reverence for the holy places of historic America, a land which they seem to regard essentially as Christendom.
And Christendom is defiled. They sneer at black people, gays and the media, which they see as the vanguard of a corrupting liberal culture. So, they regard themselves as people of a refined and more mannered culture.
When some of the more loutish were posing for selfies, others rebuked them for defiling the chair that was reserved for Mike Pence's bottom.
They were planning to hang Pence, but they wanted to respect the chair that preceded him and will outlast him.
At another rally, when a supporter turned up in drag identifying as Lady Maga, the speaker from the platform scowled, "We don't want that sort of thing here."
The religious attitude of both early loyalists and the patriots extends to a conviction that God is on their side.
Ian Paisley snr believed that he was preserving Ulster for the Protestant faith. It wasn't just a matter of telling people that if they prayed God would help them. They saw themselves as doing God's work. And, as we have seen in the respect for Trump among the evangelicals and the Catholic Church, it is irrelevant that Trump is a sinner. We are all sinners.
But the Lord moves in mysterious ways and if he sends a preening lecher to do his work, why question that?
Paisley and his followers believed, as do the US militias, that they are challenged by a conspiracy of secret forces ranged against them.
For the older Paisley, that force was the Catholic Church. The Vatican and the IRA were on the same side, by his assessment. Indeed, the Vatican was pulling the strings.
This all sounds absurd now, but go back to the beginnings of militant loyalism in Belfast, to the time that parallels what is happening now in the US, the emergence of an armed protest against the erosion of the old order and that is exactly what Paisley and the Orange Order and even some unionist politicians were saying.
The loyalists and the militias in the US both believed that they were fighting to restore the proper order of things, for one a Protestant, British Ulster, for the other a white America in which a free man holds a gun.
Both movements regarded the assault rifle as an icon when, in reality, they have had little practical use for them. They are a badge, not a tool.
The movements share a paradoxical attitude to the forces of the state, believing that they were on the same side and yet fearful that the police and army would turn against them. Both dress up to masquerade as soldiers modelled on the state's army, as did the Provos.
Many of those arrested for the invasion of the Capitol, and the woman killed there, were members, or former members, of the armed forces, the police and the fire service.
The organic intermingling of security forces and loyalist paramilitaries here echoes what is apparent in the US, too. This is a dangerous mix and raises worries about how firmly the forces of the state will stand against the militias when required.
Paramilitaries here have been through what is only starting out in the US. I'd like to see some of them on American TV sharing their experience, telling the so-called "patriots" that they know how the story ends.