With two days having elapsed since rioters disrupted Milo Yiannopoulos’s planned speech at UC Berkeley, using fire, pepper spray, sticks, fists, and feet in a successful effort to silence Milo, I’ve now got a bit of the distance I need to comment on the event. My conclusion is a simple and obvious one: While it was career agitators who committed the worst mayhem, there can be no doubt that Progressive ideology — which reached hysteric pitch when it became apparent that President Trump really would end 8 years of Obama’s hard Progressivism and the preceding 12 years of soft Progressivism — drove the entire disgraceful, tyrannical event.
To make this case about the inherent violence in today’s anti-Trump Progressive ideology, I’ll begin with Zombie’s photo and video record of the event. And while I’m sure you’ve seen other photos and videos, do check out Zombie’s page, as it contains unique images and footage that add to our understanding about what happened in Berkeley.
What’s clear from watching videos such as the following is that, while the professional anarchists in their black clothes and concealing face masks (they call themselves “Antifa,” ostensibly because they are anti-fascist) are the leading edge of the violence, the large assembled crowd is at all relevant times enthusiastically applauding and egging them on. The crowd is open in appreciating Antifa’s destructive, dangerous, and determined efforts to silence speech with which they disagree. That is, while some Berkeley students and citizens are now trying to distance themselves from Antifa, that was not the case when mob rule was on the streets and the Progressives hadn’t yet realized that the whole thing looked remarkably Kristallnacht-like in subsequent media reports:
The assembled crowds were also unperturbed when their pet jackbooted thugs set a fire so large the flames reached the second floor of the building in which Milo was to speak. Afterwards, the same mob, maddened with blood lust, hit Telegraph Avenue, with the unmasked attendees again cheering on or complacently watching Antifa as it acted as their violent proxy:
(Sara Noble, at The Independent Sentinel investigated and offers the happy news that the man whom the Antifa rioters beat to the ground with sticks is all right.)
Do I need to address here the irony of people labeling themselves as “Anti-Fascists” even as they engage in behavior associated entirely with fascists? No, I think that can go unsaid. What I want to focus on is the crowd’s ideology, an ideology that saw them being very comfortable aiding and abetting actual fascists masquerading under the Orwellian name of anti-fascists.
That tight relationship, between ideologues and actors, is perfectly apparent from the photographs Zombie took before the madness began. These show ordinary looking people carrying posters advocating ideas that ultimately justify violence. I urge you to look at Zombie’s comprehensive photo-essay yourself, but I have taken the liberty of inserting here three examples.
The first is one protester’s announcement that she no longer feels bound by the ordinary rules of civil discourse now that Donald Trump has done what multiple other presidents, including Barack Obama, have done before, which is to block temporarily immigration from nations that pose a dangerous to American citizens. (I would bet good money that she didn’t even get excited when Obama, in a last vindictive act, blocked Cubans — who have become excellent American citizens, from escaping repression at the hands of their own government):
The second photo shows a young women (who looks evil only because the photo gave her Satanic red eyes) holding a sign that announces to all and sundry that Milo and his supporters are Nazis. This bold statement tacitly gives people permission to physically assault or even kill Milo and those assembled to hear him. After all, America spent four years trying to kill Nazis, who are by definition inherently evil, so why should we stop now?
Lastly, here’s a photo showing the sheer joy a self-labeled anti-capitalist attendee and her friend felt as they watched the Antifa crowd use violence to prevent speech:
Can I again recommend that you check out Zombie’s post? It’s disturbing to see the images but informed citizens need to know that there is a substantial element in America that revels in a “burn it down” philosophy. Also, Zombie deserves props for being one of the brave people who went to the event, knowing it might be violent, and who then stayed when it did in fact become violent so that this kind of thing can be documented and, one hopes, ended.
You also must read this story (from MSN of all outlets!) about an MMA fighter who saw mob violence, Trump supporters being bloodied, and utterly passive police watching the violence, and who therefore stepped in and tried to save people from the mob. I’m guessing those police officers were like these D.C. police or this Texas judge. Things are very bad when people who are supposed to keep the peace or enforce the law impartially publicly take sides, especially when they’re on the job.
Lest you think those signs are aberrant, you’d be wrong. Minutes after I received Zombie’s email, one of my hard-core Progressive friends posted an article entitled “The Violence in Berkeley is a Very, Very Bad Idea For the Left.”
The article perfectly illustrates my point about Progressives giving groups such as Antifa permission to take rhetoric and turn it into action. In the very first paragraph, Shane Ryan, the author, confesses that he exulted when he saw his belief system made manifest — and that he was not alone:
I have to admit: When I heard that a group of anarchists called the Black Bloc had sent “150 masked agitators” to an otherwise peaceful protest in order to disrupt a planned speech at UC-Berkeley by alt-right shithead Milo Yiannopoulos, and that they’d succeeded in scaring the hell out of everyone and shutting the whole event down, I felt a visceral satisfaction. It was the same satisfaction I felt watching the media’s favorite dapper Nazi, Richard Spencer, take a punch in the face. Yes, I thought, fuck you. It was, in the moment of witnessing, a triumph. The deluge of gloating memes that followed proved I wasn’t alone.
The situation on the ground, for leftists, is ugly. We are utterly powerless, the opposition has the worst possible intentions, and nobody has our backs. History shows us that real change starts at the bottom, with a mass movement of people, but it’s a hard lesson to learn for Americans who have long lived with a mindset of modification—the belief that little tweaks can fix our problems, rather than total upheaval. But the new order ushered in by Trump has left us in shock, shattered our foundations, and made us feel the true extent of our impotence. So when someone strikes back violently, some of us—myself included—will experience that invigorating frisson that comes with vengeance, with seeing the other side hurt. I’ll be completely honest—even when I read about the woman in the MAGA hat being maced, I wasn’t able to muster much outrage. She supports a governing philosophy that will lead to the suffering and death of thousands, if not more, and the violence and cruelty of that philosophy seems to know no bounds. Who gives a shit if she takes some mace in her eyes? I thought. It’s no more than she deserves. This act, which would have shocked me a year ago, no longer registers in my gut as something abhorrent.
Ryan never does back off from the ideology that led to the violence. Instead, he suggests that Progressives stop exulting in and openly praising the violence because he is afraid that it makes Progressives look like Republicans . . . never mind that, if challenged, he’d be utterly incapable of identifying a single Tea Party or other conservative act of mob anarchy:
That being said, succumbing to the impulse for violence, either passively or actively, will absolutely destroy us. For one thing, it means sacrificing an ideal that separates us from them. We are committed to alleviating suffering, and though there are historical situations where violence was necessary in order to end a greater suffering, we are not there. At our precise moment, massive protests are unbelievably powerful, and violent protests will undermine them. You know that phrase, “holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die”? That applies here. We have to resist with a dream of the future in our hearts, not a vision of destruction.
Even worse than his fear that Progressives will come to resemble the imaginary straw men they relentlessly fight, Ryan fears that mob violence might justify an executive order to engage in the authoritarianism Progressive’s claim to fear. (At this point, incidentally, I’ve realized that it is impossible to impress upon Progressives that their goal — total government control — is authoritarian, while Trump’s goal — to shrink government and return more power to individuals — is the antithesis of authoritarianism, and that’s true despite Trump’s self-aggrandizing statements.)
There’s another angle here, too. If you were Steve Bannon, and you wanted to justify a transition to total authoritarianism, what opportunities would you be looking for? If you were a Republican in a state house, and you wanted popular support for a bill that criminalized protesting (such bills are already in circulation), how would you get the people on your side? The answer is obvious: When organized protest presents a danger to the American people, a counter-action becomes necessary, and stifling dissent no longer seems so outrageous.
Ryan looks with horror upon a government crackdown on the madness that excites him, because he recognizes that, once a real crackdown happens, the party is over. He also accidentally makes an important point, which is to highlight how a true civil government functions. One doesn’t need the necessity of the Steve Bannon straw man to know that a good government’s first responsibility is to protect law-abiding citizens from mob violence. Reagan certainly understood that notion.
Ryan presents this concept as entirely new and foreign. It does not seem to occur to him that ordinary citizens who are not marinated in Leftism understand that a normally passive, laissez faire government that becomes aroused to the point of police action only when mob violence threatens its citizens is not a tyrannical, dictatorial, or authoritarian beast. in the face of mob violence is not the scary tyrant in the passion play. It’s the mob that is the beat.
One more thing: I know nothing about Shane Ryan, but I suspect he’s too young to remember 1968. If he did remember it, he’d really appreciate that the Leftist violence on full display at the Democrat convention drove voters straight into Nixon’s waiting arms. He might also fear that the violence, rather than exciting all Progressives, is a turn-off to many. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I saw that a lot of today’s most stalwart Lefties — from David Horowitz, to Michael Medved, to the Power Line team, to my favorite Charles Martel who comments here — were part of the Left’s last huge violent outbreak in 20th century America and, appalled by what they saw, starting backing away until they ended up on the conservative side of the aisle.
Just as interesting as Ryan’s article were the comments that showed up on the friend’s Facebook feed that led me to the article in the first place. To preserve the privacy of those who commented (as well as my own privacy, lest anyone start playing detective), I’m paraphrasing the comments, although I give you my word I’m not manipulating their content in any way.
The person who posted the article asked for her friend’s opinions and she got them:
One person agreed with Ryan that she opposed of the violence, not because it was a bad thing in and of itself, but because she worried that violent Progressive riots will encourage Trump government authoritarianism.
Another guy’s response was to jettison the First Amendment entirely. In his mind, the problem is that, in America, unlike Europe, we allow hate speech. Anyone who says something that threatens others with violence and oppression should be illegal. It did not seem to occur to him that his is an authoritarian position.
Someone actually challenged this enemy of free speech, saying the government should not forbid people to speak. “Ah,” I thought to myself. “Finally, a Leftist who will defend free speech.” How could I have been so naive?
In fact, her proposal also advocated suppressing free speech. It was just that should thought it shouldn’t be the government doing that, it should be the mob. And the mob shouldn’t use physical violence, it should use volume (call it “sound violence”). In other words, the Triggly Puff model of fascism. She suggested the Progressive mobs should invade Milo’s speech and engage in loud chants that would make . . . wait for it . . . Milo look “like an ass,” thereby “delegitimatizing” him. This gal is so steeped in the Progressive protest mentality that it does not seem to occur to her that, because most Americans still believe in free speech, shouting someone down makes the shouter, not the speaker, look both stupid and tyrannical.
Another person said, “honestly, we’re trying to be loving and gentle,” but concluded that Trump is so evil we must act hard and violently “to effect change.”
Yet another person said that he’s totally in favor of peaceful protests. Indeed, he said, the best thing to do if you don’t like what someone says is just to walk away. Having thought this over, though, the guy was concerned that, if you walk away you don’t make your point. In his view of history, it was “violent resistance” that won the civil rights and feminist movements. (Martin Luther King, Jr., the American avatar of non-violent protests, who gave such extraordinary dignity to the Civil Rights Movement, thereby shaming ordinary Americans, would be surprised to hear this.)
Two people were certain the whole thing was a false flag operation that Milo mounted himself. I doubt they had the historic literacy to make the comparison but if they did, they would have analogized this to the Reichstag fire.
It’s noteworthy that these two people were not only in seeing a conspiracy here. Another person who asserted this evidence-free theory was that mental midget Robert Reich (whose midget status derives not from his body, which is not his fault, but from his mind, which is). Reich went on TV and loudly opined, without evidence, that the entire thing was a false flag operation:
Lastly, one of the Facebook linked without comment to an old Occupy article about the Black Bloc that rather routinely appeared at Occupy rallies. The article goes into the history, make-up, and tactics of the violent Black Bloc brigade. (It makes for rather interesting reading.) The one thing that the article does not do is disavow the Black Bloc or try to argue that it’s a government false-flag operation to discredit the Occupy movement.
Currently, the thugs don’t seem to have branched off into gun violence. I don’t think this is an antipathy to guns. I think that this reflects their visceral delight in delivering flesh-to-flesh pain. Guns are too distant and impersonal. Think of these guys like the ISIS thugs who enjoy amputating the hands of young children who refusing to shoot ISIS prisoners to death.
All of the above should convince anyone that violence is inherent in the Progressive ideology, especially in its current challenge to the Trump administration. Its adherents preach violence; even those who are ostensibly uncomfortable with violence believe it’s a useful, possibly necessary, tactic to achieve their goal of overthrowing the Trump administration; and Progressives in the presence of the violence their rhetoric unleashes cheer it on and exult in its effects. Anyone with an IQ higher than Robert Reich’s (that would be just about everyone) understands that groups such as Antifa or the Black Bloc are a subset of Progressive Ideology, acting as the attack dogs who bring the violent rhetoric to fruition.
If your Progressive friends have even bothered to address the riot in Berkeley (and most of my Progressive Facebook friends have pretended it never happened), don’t be misled if they disavow the rioting. I’m sure of course that there are true pacifists who foolishly believe in the Progressive agenda. It is these people who should be made aware that the Progressive playbook in its true form, not watered down for the useful foot soldiers in the clean, safe suburban neighborhoods surrounding big Blue cities, is one of violently repressive authoritarianism. And if they refuse to acknowledge that, you know that their touted pacifism is a sham.
In the Wizard of Oz, the violent, repressive Oz is the false front, while the peaceful, ineffectual Kansas balloon man is the real power (or lack thereof) hiding behind the curtain. When it comes to Progressive ideology, the same ideology that loved Obama and Hillary, loathes Trump, and marches through the streets wearing pink hats and vagina costumes, the opposite is true. While the face of the inherently violent Progressive ideology may be useful idiots in their pink hats and vagina costumes, the real power behind the movement is the black masked thug, armed with his brass knuckles, big sticks, and heavy boots.
Ironically enough, the best distillation of the points I made above comes from SF Gate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle, a hard-Left daily. Some flunky (who must have been mercilessly chastised after the fact) put Milo’s statement about Leftist violence into the headline of one of its stories. So it was that yesterday, when one opened SF Gate and saw the narrative made by stringing headlines together . . . well, see for yourself:
Yeah, Leftists are violent and they are violent because they hate freedom . . . especially free speech. So what does Reddit do? It bans free speech. You can’t make this kind of narrative up.