Most of the news bulletins I'm exposed to are on the radio, as I'm tootling around hither and yon. So it took me a while to discover that what the media call "peace activists", "anti-racists" and "anti-Nazis" are, in fact, men and women garbed in black from head to toe, including face masks. Thus, as I pointed out on the radio last month, the violence on American streets derives from today's paramilitary wing of the Democrat Party - antifa - working itself up over yesterday's paramilitary wing of the Democrat Party - the Ku Klux Klan. Both have stupid pseudo-exotic self-romanticizing names and, as many commentators have observed, both have strict dress codes intended to conceal their identities. From white sheets to black bandanas is a mere fashion evolution: the purpose is the same - to do ugly things one could not confidently do with one's face known to all.
Yet, as disturbing as antifa is, its romanticization by the respectable classes is even worse. My swaggeringly obtuse compatriot Warren "Catsmeat" Kinsella tweeted:
'Antifa' is short for anti-fascist. The only ones who should oppose antifa are fascists.
To which Charles C W Cooke responded:
Exactly. This is why I don't understand anyone who is critical of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
But you'd be surprised how far a name can take you. Why, only a fascist would be anti-antifa! As Todd Gitlin explains in The New York Times:
Despite the spurious rhetoric of equivalency, supporters of antifa have, to date, killed no one.
Click below to see Mr Gitlin's finely calibrated distinction in action on the streets of Berkeley last weekend:
Or as a CNN headline unironically cooed:
Activists Seek Peace Through Violence
So violent thugs who "have, to date, killed no one" are peace activists, and peaceful citizens who made the mistake of voting for Trump are the real violent threat. From Todd Gitlin's New York Times colleague Nicholas Kristof:
We're Journalists, Mr Trump, Not the Enemy
Mr Kristof is worried that the President's contempt for the American media may egg on his supporters:
I've lost reporter and photographer friends in war zones all over the world, and have had other friends kidnapped and tortured. When Trump galvanizes crowds against reporters in the room, I worry that we may lose journalists in the line of duty not only in places like Syria but also right here at home. Trump will get people hurt.
In fact, it's Kristof, Gitlin, CNN et al who are getting people hurt, right now - including reporters and photographers. Their willingness to cover for brute thuggery has incentivized antifa, who, entirely reasonably, have concluded they're free to punch the lights out of any fascist who gets in their way. And, happily, if you're deluded enough to believe that the principal threat to the United States in the year 2017 is "fascism", why then everyone and his l'il old spinster auntie looks like a "fascist". In that video up above, that's a cameraman getting beaten up by antifa. Here's a female journalist for The Hill getting punched in the face by an "anti-fascist". Oh, and here's a CBS reporter antifa put in the hospital. What's your problem? In America today, Democrat state senators urge the assassination of the President and pay no price. To be fair, Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal was at pains to point out that she had no plans to kill Trump herself, merely that she wouldn't be averse to some John Wilkes Booth type volunteering his services - like that Bernie Sanders supporter who pumped those bullets into House Majority Whip Steve Scalise the other week and left him with injuries that will afflict him for the rest of his days. And without Nicholas Kristof fretting that "Bernie will get people hurt". After all, Scalise is out of intensive care, so, as Mr Gitlin would point out, his shooter has "to date killed no one".
This then is the good violence - the violence that brings peace. Mark Bray, author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, says that "antifa isn't concerned with free speech or other liberal democratic values" - because "fascism cannot be defeated through speech".
One reason "fascism cannot be defeated through speech" is because the desiccated plaints of the left so hollow out speech that they render it so meaningless a graduate of "journalism school" can find himself typing up the headline "Peace Through Violence" and never stop to think, "Hang on a minute..." That CBS reporter antifa beat up? Who cares? He was "perpetuating rape culture":
He intentionally ignored the denial of consent, still without identifying himself (though we still wouldn't care), which was a threat to safety and should be considered in a context of perpetuating rape culture. Denial of consent by the media is still a denial of consent and is disgusting and parasitic behavior.
If the "rape culture" shtick doesn't do it for you, well, he's a white man with a telephone:
Due to the intensity and context of this time people are very scared of white men running full speed at them with iPhones as this is the exact behavior of a white supremacist trying to out identity of people of color and anti fascists in order to invoke fear.
I don't know what that last bit means, but, if that Liberty Bell is named after Alexander Graham, the sooner they blow it up the better. White men with telephones cannot be defeated through speech!
Whether or not "fascism" can be defeated through speech, Donald Trump surely can: All you have to do is make better arguments at stump speeches and TV debates and campaign rallies and county fairs, and he'll lose. That's how it works in systems of self-government. But, as part of its general disdain for "speech", the left now brands anyone it doesn't like as "fascist", and therefore illegitimate, and ripe for a bloody good hiding: Trump, Scalise, Ann Coulter, Charles Murray, the liberal Middlebury professor who made the mistake of inviting Murray and so had to be put in hospital pour encourager les autres, reporters with cellphones, cameramen whose cameras are carelessly pointed towards antifa's energetic efforts to kill no one "to date".
Meanwhile, the police stand around and watch. Administrators of publicly funded colleges dislike having to pay lip service to free speech, and are happy to have antifa's shock troops on hand to send the message loud and clear. Municipal governments cannot, yet, be as openly hostile to dissent as college campuses are, but in Charlottesville the authorities were plainly resentful at a judge's order commanding them to re-instate the neo-Nazis' rally permit, and they determined to circumvent it. So they surrendered the streets to the "anti-fascists", and then drove the "fascists" into their path: The good cops in effect decided to leave it to some informally deputized bad cops. The selective rule of law is one of the most unsettling features of contemporary America, and there will be a lot more of it in the years ahead.
Charlottesville did, however, provoke CNN to one of its more inventive flights of fancy. A few days later, normality had sufficiently reasserted itself that Muslims were once again going full Allahua Akbar on the Continentals. Covering the Barcelona bombings, Wolf Blitzer suggested that it was a "copycat" attack modeled on Charlottesville. In Barcelona, the van drove into the pedestrianized area (as Muslim motorists have done in Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, London, etc); in Charlottesville, the police had abandoned the streets and so the pedestrians were swarming all over the roadway. In Barcelona, the driver was part of a twelve-man cell that had spent the previous days stockpiling their house with TATP; in Charlottesville, the driver was a diagnosed schizophrenic, but apparently such a murderous mastermind that within days he'd inspired that twelve-man cell all the way over in Spain to get their motor running and head out on the sidewalk. I'd be very surprised if a schizophrenic panicking at finding his vehicle surrounded by a mob of protesters could be convicted of anything more than involuntary manslaughter, but, as I said, the rule of law is increasingly capricious. And, as Professor Bray would explain, schizophrenic fascists cannot be defeated through speech.
The media agree. And the Democrats mostly agree with the media - because the party's moderates are a bust, and such energy as remains among the Dems belongs all but entirely to the hardcore left. And their donors in Hollywood agree with the Dems and the media. So George Clooney gives bazillions to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which salts it away in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and other outposts of colonialism it supposedly reviles, and in return issues lists of "hate groups", by which they mean people who disagree with the SPLC by, say, keeping their money in American banks. If you make your living denouncing hatey-hatey haters all week long, it seems reasonable to conclude that you are, in fact, the hater. But instead "progressive" groups write to Google, Facebook, PayPal et al pointing out that, say, Jihad Watch has been "identified" by the SPLC as a hate group, and the panicked de facto Internet monopolies clutch their pearls and dump the haters. And pretty soon there's no news out there except from moderate, responsible, impartial sources like Wolf Blitzer arguing that Trump and his tiki torches are to blame for European jihadism.
Which makes so much sense that it provoked much of the American right to displays of virtue-signaling even more flaccid than usual. Mitt Romney:
One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.
Different universes, but would Mitt want to live in either of them? Antifa, says Mark Bray, "have no allegiance to liberal democracy, which they believe has failed the marginalized communities they're defending." Professor Bray is a lecturer in history at GRID, the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth, which is the usual social engineering flimflam masquerading as a field of scholarship, but it's Ivy League so it'll cost you an arm and a leg (metaphorically, I mean; not literally, like, say, attending a Charles Murray speech at Middlebury). Dartmouth College is in the town of Hanover (median family income $129,000), in the state of New Hampshire (93.9 per cent white, 1.1 per cent black). So, when it comes to "marginalizing" communities, Professor Bray knows whereof he speaks. It's so much more rewarding, don't you find, to defend marginalized communities from a safe distance: They look a lot more marginalized when they're on the far horizon, somewhere south of the Massachusetts line.
Does Professor Bray want antifa rampaging down his pretty little Main Street and hurling bricks through Hanover's upscale boutiques and bistros and its delightful designer gelato emporium? One would think not. But maybe he does. "White privilege" of the kind Mark Bray and Todd Gitlin and Wolf Blitzer enjoy is comfortable and lucrative, but kind of boring. The heady, seductive glamour of violence is one of the oldest siren songs on earth - which is why so many of antifa's revolting masses are, in fact, upper-middle-class white students enjoying a leisurely, pampering, undemanding varsity, and for whom taking a truncheon to an Ann Coulter fan is far more satisfying than dozing through Transgender and Colonialism Studies at GRID. From pseudo-scholarship to pseudo-grievances to pseudo-heroism is an easy progress - easier than, say, volunteering to help out in Texas. Because it's always easier to destroy than to build - and certainly much easier to destroy than to re-build:
Almost every word painstakingly engraved on that obelisk has been obliterated. It stood for 225 years, and it was destroyed in the blink of an eye.
When the statues are gone, what or who will be next? My humdrum observation, after time in Belfast, Mostar, Tikrit, the West Bank and elsewhere, is that violence is intoxicating - and, once you've picked up the habit, kicking it is awfully difficult.
More or less exactly 224 years ago, Bertrand Bar√®re, a moneyed journalist, lawyer and intellectual and member of France's Committee of Public Safety, told his fellow revolutionaries:
Pla√ßons la terreur √† l'ordre du jour!
Let us make terror the order of the day! It will be, if this fever keeps up. I go back to those radio reports I first heard about "peace activists", and my consequent surprise at then seeing the pictures thereof. But all the best lies are brazen: Peace through violence; the jihad is all the fault of Virginia schizophrenics; a white man with a phone perpetuates rape culture; all these reporters being beaten up by antifa are really worried about Trump's rhetoric...
And when every last word in the English language has been stripped entirely of rational meaning, all that will remain is violence, and terror.