In my last post, I mentioned that in forthcoming posts I was going to attempt to lay out some distinctions between the kinds of leftists that are out there. This post is the first of these, and I’ve decided to use a book by Mark Bray called Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook as my jumping off point. This post isn’t a ‘review,’ per se, but meant to provide a concrete example to use as a sustained illustration of my concerns about what dangers the ‘Left’, in part, and in whole, poses to the United States, if not the entire world.
I prefer to spend the bulk of my time reading ‘primary sources.’ It prevents people from telling me that things aren’t a certain way, because all I have to do is believe my own eyes, and their own words. Almost ten years ago, I reviewed Saul Alinksy’s book, Rules for Radicals, in the same spirit.
I expected to be as annoyed by Bray’s book as I was by Alinsky’s. Perhaps I was so jolted by Alinsky’s book because I was only recently emerged from my naive view that the people I disagreed with actually had genuine arguments for their views, and weren’t merely trying to manipulate me. (Edward Bernays was the first to rattle me on this score.) In contrast, Bray basically spoke from a perspective that more or less spews forth from every liberal website I frequent, from The Democrat Underground to Common Dreams, or Salon and the New Republic, as well as the Washington Post and the New York Times… all of them united in their characterization that I, as a conservative white Christian male, am, by definition, a racist, bigoted, misogynist, etc, etc, etc, etc. And what does one do to a racist, bigoted, misogynist? Anything the hell you want, because I am, by definition, EVIL.
Well, anything you can get away with doing, I should say.
On the other hand, there was much in Bray’s book to like. After all, given his orientation to hate all things Nazi, and I really hate Nazis, its hard not to feel a little warm inside when he describes the history of organized reactions, often violent, to Nazis. What’s not to like about people standing up to fascists?
Ah, but there is the rub. To Bray, I am a fascist. To him, if I’m not already a Nazi, as someone who voted for Trump, I am well on the way, which is quite enough to justify treating me as though I were a Nazi in the meantime. Of course, there were clues all along that he would regard me as such, but it wasn’t until nearly the last page (204) that I discovered I was what he would call an ‘every day fascist.’
Which, by the by, seems to be the general position of the entire Democrat party, as well. In a forthcoming post, we’ll chat about that. Ironically, and very unfortunately, like almost the entire Democrat party, Bray hasn’t a clue what fascism really entails, which is probably why he doesn’t bother to extensively describe it. On page 134 he writes:
It is essential for anti-fascists to develop a clear and precise understanding of fascism.
That seems reasonable to me, even self-evidently so. Yet, this quote here exhausts his explanation of what fascism is:
I agree with Angelo Tasca’s argument that “to understand Fascism we must write its history.” Yet, since that history will not be written here, a definition will have to suffice. Paxton defines fascism as:
…. a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursue with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. (pg xiii)
I had to read this definition three times before I could figure out how this was a definition of fascism and not a definition of anti-fascism. It seems to describe Antifa perfectly. Ah, but then I found the difference: ‘nationalist.’ Delete the word ‘nationalist,’ and perhaps tweak the bit about ‘community decline,’ and you pretty well have Antifa in a nutshell.
When I said that this quote exhaust his explanation of what ‘fascism’ is, I wasn’t exaggerating. This is literally all there is.
One of the most obvious problems with this ambiguous definition without any further demarcations is that it pretty well leaves up to the reader to bring his own conception of ‘fascism’ to the book. Thus, any time the word ‘fascist’ is mentioned, the reader will do 2 things: assume that Bray is talking about the same thing that they believe and secondly, by extension, add to that conception whatever it was that Bray was referring to at the time.
By the time we get to the end of the book, its pretty clear that he regards everyone who is not a liberal as a de facto fascist. This is a logical fallacy called ‘equivocation,’ but let’s not let reason and logic enter the equation, shall we?
One of the other obvious problems is that by not understanding and recognizing what fascism really was, and is, the very thing he says he and Antifa are trying to oppose, may actually surface and succeed, undetected. Since, as Paxton (rightly, I think) notes, that ‘fascism … is a form of political behavior,‘ if Antifa behaves like fascists–and they succeed–it very well could be they themselves that usher in a fascistic society.
What Bray and his ilk do not understand is that, historically speaking, the most dangerous people of all are those who believe they are good people, when in fact they are very bad.
And, Bray and his ilk, are very bad. I do not mean their unflinching willingness to use violence against their political foes. I refer to the fact that they believe they are good and right to use violence against their political foes.
Now, counter-intuitively, a bad person who knows he is bad is not actually as dangerous (historically) as the one who thinks he is good, but is not. A bad person who knows he is bad is held somewhat in check by the constraints of society, knowing that if he was explicit with his badness, he would be quickly locked up or shot. They tend to limit themselves to small-scale evils because of the practical fact that the large-scale evils require coordination with other people who would be quickly locked up or shot if they were explicit about their badness.
The very worst of the bad people who know they are bad understand that in order to carry out their most devilish desires, on a large scale, they will need to enlist the support of people who think they are good and/or pursuing a ‘good’ cause.
Hitler was unquestionably a bad man of the very worst sort. Having actually read his speeches and Mein Kampf (as opposed to reading about them), two things are clear: 1., he understood the need to rope in ‘good’ people but 2., he himself considered himself above and beyond such considerations. Think Nietzsche and the Ubermensch, or Nietzsche’s appropriately named book Beyond Good and Evil. Hitler knew full well that he was ‘bad’ when seen against the rest of civilization.
But Hitler could not have done what he did without the help of ‘good people.’
Bray and his Antifa allies do not need clever ruses, long cons, or pretexts. They have the blessing of their own consciences, and since they are convinced that their cause is right, there is literally nothing to stop them from acting according to their consciences. Except the rest of us, of course–conveniently grouped together under the label ‘fascist.’ Thus, it is the case that for neither Bray or for Hitler, one’s own conscience does not provide the necessary check against engaging in exceedingly harmful behavior.
Just what kind of harmful behavior could I be referring to? Surely it could not possibly be anything that could rise to the level of what Hitler did? Right?
This is where it gets interesting.
On Bray’s telling, there are only 3 basic categories. There is the Left, the Militant Left, and the Right. His book, in many respects, is an extended argument against the ‘mainstream elite Left.’ He chafes at their rejection of Antifa’s tactics.
On the other hand, I saw no attempt to ‘reason’ with the ‘right.’ The ‘right’ appeared to be basically all of the same sort of thing, with the term ‘Right,’ interchangeably swapped in with the phrases ‘Far Right’ or ‘Right Wing’ and ‘Right’ and, yes, of course, ‘Fascists.’ (see pg xxiii “…alarming lurch to the right….”) The Fascist Right (pardon the redundancy!) is not to be argued with. Oh sure, in narrow instances you can try (eg, first full paragraph, pg 130), but at bottom, fascism is to be resisted by “any means necessary.” (pg xix)
Thus, the hasty equivocation that identifies ‘the Right’ with ‘Fascists’ means, at bottom, that there are no limits one won’t go to to defeat ‘the Right.’
As I alluded to above, one could almost get behind Bray’s bravado if it really was directed at actual fascists, and not just everyone on the ‘right.’ However, since he spends only a few lines defining fascism, and no lines explaining ‘the Right’ from the ‘Far Right’ or from ‘conservatives’ etc, are to be distinguished from each other, let alone from ‘fascism,’ we are left wondering if there isn’t anyone–on the Right–that Bray wouldn’t be opposed to assassinating in their beds, if they had the opportunity and/or thought they could get away with it.
Since Bray mentions times that ‘anti-fascists’ over the course of history killed them some fascists, never with a hint of condemnation (eg, pg 102), the intrinsic danger that this lazy equivocation poses to half of America’s population, whom he regards as fascists, seems more than plausible. (Naturally, Bray also talks about the times when anti-fascists were killed by fascists. In those cases, he calls it ‘murder,’ and memorials to the victims are highlighted. See pg 66 , 101, and 125. I should like to express sympathy for these deaths myself, but apparently, as a fascist, I don’t get to. And it doesn’t help my cause, I’m sure, that I would regard the anti-fascist killing of alleged fascists also as murder.) Maybe I’ll be lucky and just get ‘punched out’ until I learn my lesson properly. (see pg 168.)
The existential threat that Antifa theoretically poses to tens of millions of Americans due to its conflation of ‘the Right’ with fascism is only the tip of the ice berg. For one thing, as I will address more in a later post, Antifa is not by any means the only people who make this conflation. As Bray rightly points out, the main stream left actually shares this view, happily engaging in the same logical equivocation. (see page 115, and page 204, where the accusation is ‘toned’ down a bit, with the Left ‘merely’ considering the ‘Right’ to be racist.)
But the fact that even mainstream liberalism believes its political foes to be racist, fascist, bigoted, etcs, is still very near the tip of the ice berg. The real problem is the massive, galactic size blind spot in the ideology of darn near every single liberal, whether mainstream or ‘revolutionary.’ This blind spot is well illustrated by Bray’s passionate exposition on the ‘stakes’ involved in letting fascism ‘rise’ again.
The Second World War erupted after the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939 (though combat in the Pacific Theater had begun earlier). Over the next half decade, the Nazis and their allies killed roughly two hundred thousand Roma, about two hundred thousand “disabled” people [kudos to Bray for remembering the disabled people, these are often forgotten in such lists], and thousands of homosexuals, leftists, and other dissidents , while Hitler’s “final solution” murdered six million Jews in gas chambers, with firing squads, through hunger and lack of medical treatment in squalid camps and ghettoes [sic], with beatings by working them to death, and through suicidal despair. Approximately two out of every three Jews on the continent were killed, including some of my relatives.
These, then, are the stakes of the conversation. When we speak about fascism, we must not drift too far away from thinking about the people who collected the hair, the gold teeth, the shoes of those they exterminated. When we speak about anti-fascism, we must not forget that, for many, survival was the physical embodiment of anti-fascism. (pg 36-37)
Indeed, these are very high stakes.
We’re talking about roughly 10 million people who were executed at the hands of the fascists. But, can we think of any other large, mass murders?
I don’t know, like, say, what the Marxists did? Between all of them, they outright murdered 100,000,000 or so, and if you include the people who were starved to death, worked to death, etc, as Bray does, the number is probably more than double that, a solid 200 million or so. In other words, TWENTY TIMES the number that the fascists killed.
What about THOSE stakes, Mr. Bray?
His book is almost completely silent about THOSE deaths, even though he expresses some awareness of them literally not more than 2 pages before telling us the stakes of letting the fascists take power. On page 35, we hear about the purges of the Soviets, without, of course, reference to the overt and explicit LEFT WING nature of communism.
Well, but who cares about that, right? Its a book about anti-fascism, not Marxism!
Uh, well, except for the fact that Bray explicitly describes anti-fascism as ‘revolutionary’ in nature, and by ‘revolutionary,’ yes, absolutely yes, he means ‘Marxist.’ See, for example, page 132, where he talks about why Antifa has a ‘Marxist focus’ because ‘centrist observers’ failed to anticipate the “potential danger that fascism could pose.” Hello, McFly? Anybody home? What about the potential dangers that MARXISM could pose?
Comments about Antifa’s Marxist proclivities abound throughout the book, with Bray seemingly completely oblivious to the rivers of blood shed by MARXISTS of various stripes throughout the 20th century. For example, he says that “Anti-fascism is pan-revolutionary left politics applied to fighting the Far Right.” (pg 148) Or, how about this excerpt:
This does not mean that antifa groups necessarily intend to apply the exact same tactics to larger and larger segments of the political landscape but that anti-fascists are, simply, revolutionaries. It’s surreal to watch liberal pundits lambast anti-fascists for disrupting a fascist speech, when their [I’m not sure if Bray means the ‘liberal pundits’ or Antifa itself here] revolutionary socialist ideology advocates the global expropriation of the capitalistic ruling class and the destruction (or capture) of all existing states by means of an international popular uprising that most believe will necessitate violent confrontation with state forces.
If they are critical of “no platform[ing]”, wait ’til they hear about class war.
Did that send shivers down your spine like it did mine? You have to ask yourself what is wrong with someone who sets himself up as aggressively against one form of ideology, while simultaneously endorsing an ideology that led to 10-20 times more millions than the one you are against.
This is what I mean about bad men who think they are good men. Bray aligns himself with people who ‘simply’ want to expropriate the ‘capitalistic’ ruling class, destroying or capturing “all existing states”, knowing full well that this will “necessitate violent confrontation.” Well, I should say it does necessitate violent confrontation!
Bray is talking about the a global, violent take over of all of the states in the world, which almost certainly would take the lives of millions of people in the attempt, and tens if not hundreds of millions more at the hands of our new, omnipotent, and of course, omnibenovolent masters. Bad. Bad. Bad. He’s not a good guy. He’s a bad guy. He seems friendly and likable enough. And yet he welcomes, as part of the plan, what he knows will mean the murder and subjugation of millions of people. Good grief.
It will be said that he represents a ‘minority’ position, but Bray himself tells us how to regard minority positions. I will return to that shortly. For now, I would like to call attention to the fact that he–correctly, I think–believes that liberals want the same basic outcomes that Antifa does. He scoffs at how naive they are when it comes to what is necessary to obtaining those outcomes. In a later post, I will put my own spin on that question. These liberals are indeed naive, and they are not bad guys who think they are good guys, but they won’t be helpful in the slightest if the Antifa ‘minority’ is catapulted into power via the same kinds of mechanisms that Bray describes when talking about how the ‘fascists’ gained power. Indeed, it is almost certain that if anything, they will help this ‘minority’ take power. But more on that in a later post.
We need to take just a moment to talk about this bizarre historical development through which the Left has come to the belief that Nazism is a creature of the Right. This is nothing more than self-congratulating claptrap. For what its worth, National SOCIALISM, is a creature of the ‘left.’ But let’s sum up how it came to be thought of as otherwise.
For the liberal, it is a very simple equation:
Hitler = ‘authoritarian.’ Authoritarianism = ‘the right.’ Republicans and/or conservatives = ‘the right.’ Therefore, as a basic application of logic… eg, If A = B and B = C, then A = C. To continue the logic, “Trump” = “Republican,” and “Republicans = Authoritarians” so therefore “Trump” = “Authoritarian.” The liberal makes the next step with ease: “Trump” = “Hitler.”
But why should it be the case that ‘authoritarianism’ should be on the ‘right’ side of the scale? Bray himself distinguishes between authoritarians and anti-authoritarians on the left (pg 148), firmly declaring his allegiance to the anti-authoritarians. (I find myself strangely uncomforted by this declaration.)
If you want to see a BSOD look come across a leftist’s face, just ask them if Chavez or Castro (two people I’ve seen leftists literally applaud) are right wing authoritarians. After their OS reboots, it will (possibly) dawn on them that in point of fact, its really silly to equate ‘authoritarianism’ with the right. Chavez and Castro were undeniably authoritarians and their countries undeniably left-wing. So, if authoritarianism is not necessarily ‘right’ or necessarily ‘left,’ what’s the real difference? Why does Bray, and pretty much every liberal with him, elide over these realities and place authoritarianism firmly on the ‘right?’
Well, its really simple. If its an authoritarian that a leftist likes, say no more about it! A leftist authoritarian? That’s like a square circle! Chavez did what he did FOR THE PEOPLE! Power to the people!
If it is an authoritarian that a leftist doesn’t like, then the authoritarian is automatically a RIGHT WING FASCIST, to be given all vitriol on hand, and contempt. Then, viola! A miracle happens! Anyone who, FOR COMPLETELY OTHER REASONS, is described as being ‘on the right’, magically ALSO becomes a fascist.
Whether or not the given authoritarian is right wing or left wing is not relevant at all. What matters is how a leftist feels about the authoritarian. The whole process is greased by the deep need of your average liberal to feel like they are the great protector of the weak and the oppressed. And that’s all well and good. I’d like to be a great protector of the weak and the oppressed, too. Except, there is a problem. This feeling is felt most enjoyably, warming the heart of the big-hearted liberal as if the sun itself rose in their belly, by contrast: they are opposed by NAZIS. The worst of the worst! (What? Gulags? We know nothing of these! Go away, fascist!)
Unfortunately, what is real does not depend on how one feels about it. A more honest understanding of National SOCIALISM recognizes that it was competing for the VERY SAME territory that the various leftist stripes were fighting for, in both Germany and Hitler. If you look at the original party platform of the Nazis, it becomes obvious and undeniable just how much of it was, genuinely, socialistic. It compares favorably in many respects with the Communist Manifesto, in fact.
The chief difference between the Marxists and the National Socialists was that what the National Socialists wanted to do only in their own country, the Marxists wanted to do EVERYWHERE. Revisit the definition of fascism reproduced above and swap out the word ‘international’ for ‘national’ and you basically have a workable definition of Marxism.
So, I ask you, which is more evil? A regime which wishes to ‘purify’ just their own country, or a regime which wishes to ‘purify’ the entire world? I would say that they are both pretty evil, but that appears to be just me.
Bray himself recognizes these ‘socialistic’ aspects of the fascists. On page 132, he alludes to the fascist’s “flirtation with socialism.” In his chapter on “Five historical lessons for anti-fascists” one of the sub-headings is “Fascism Steals from Left Ideology, Strategy, Imagery, and Culture.” (On page 138)
This is cognitive dissonance of the highest order. The fascists did not steal from the Left. The fascists WERE part of the Left. Bray himself takes several pages explaining some of the ways that the Nazis behaved like socialists. But don’t you worry, they may have looked like socialists and acted like socialists, but they weren’t socialists! You know how we know? Because Bray does not like the Nazis. Oh, and he thinks he’s a mighty fine fellow. That’s all it comes down to. Objectively speaking–at least, as objectively as anything in history can be shown–the Nazis were leftists. Sorry.
In another place (I’ll have to find it again), Bray notes the socialistic framework that the Nazis used to win over the masses was dropped once they got in power. Well, there is truth to that, but that’s not something unique to the Nazis. Its a fairly normal leftist behavior, in fact. It is actually one of the things the Marxists were known for. Lenin and Stalin both radically altered the party line of ‘communism’, first condemning this and then affirming that, back and forth, etc. Mao did it, and the Chinese communists as a whole did it, when they realized that they had about destroyed their country and realized they had to resort to *gulp* capitalism (of some sort) to remain in power at all. The behavior was so identifiable with the various communist regimes that George Orwell basically wrote a famous book in which he described this very behavior among the collectivists. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It is called 1984.
The fact that the Nazis played fast and loose with their goals and aims doesn’t at all distinguish them from Marxists, or bad people in general. Indeed, that last sentence could stand in as a rough summary of Saul Alinksy’s entire philosophy. True, such deception is not explicitly a ‘leftist’ phenomena, but rather something all tyrannies do, but it only shows that Marxism, when applied, is just like all the other tyrannies. This criteria puts no distance between Nazism and ‘the Left.’
The cognitive dissonance that permeated Bray’s book hurt my head. If he had carefully defined fascism and explained what he meant by the ‘right,’ perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad. The identification of authoritarianism with ‘the right’, even after acknowledging it as occurring (and even being advocated by some) on the left, was just goofy.
For example, I would be considered to be ‘right wing.’ On liberal logic, that means I am an authoritarian, by definition. Pure rubbish. I describe myself as being a ‘constitutional libertarian,’ and advocate as often as I can for a radically scaled back government. If I am pushing hard for a MUCH SMALLER GOVERNMENT how can I POSSIBLY be an authoritarian? Eh? Fascism was only possible for the same reason that Communism was possible: BIG FRICKIN’ GOVERNMENT.
Bray seems to be aware of people like me. On pager 120, he talks about an Antifa recruiting technique where they go to gun shows. A fellow Antifa leader says, “People at gun shows generally hate the government more than me…” Quite.
And, having been to a fair number of gun shows myself, let me tell you that they are chock full of people whose grandfathers fought the Nazis, and are frankly pissed that people keep calling them the fascists. And by the way, while we’re on the topic, my own grandfather fought the Nazis. He joined the Normandy invasion after the beachhead was secured and would later help liberate some of the concentration camps. My hatred for the Nazis is second to no man’s, but to my hatred for the Nazis, I add that other group of mass murderers: the Marxists.
I ask again, how can someone like myself, who believes the government should be radically scaled back in size, be considered a fascist authoritarian? It makes no sense. And yet…
And yet, we have a pretty good idea that Bray and his ilk would include me. Bray frequently cites his buddy ‘Chepe’ (pg 115 and 174) who was recently ‘doxxed’ and revealed to be the one in charge of the Antifa group known as SmashRacism DC (and, incidentally, a consultant to Democrat politicians). In that capacity, Chepe, or shall, I use his real name, Joseph “Jose” Alcoff and his friends stormed the restaurant where Ted Cruz and his wife were having dinner and also tried to barge their way into the home of Tucker Carlson, reminiscent, I think, of Antifa breaking into homes of (we are told) fascists with axes. (Page 92. Note to Antifa: busting into homes might be a workable tactic in Europe, but you take your life in your hands if you attempt it in the U.S.A. Naturally, the protestors deny ‘barging.’ For evidence, they submit a 1:30 minute edited clip. Bless their hearts.)
Both Cruz and Carlson are advocates for a radically scaled back government. It is absurd to associate them with fascism at all. How can they be authoritarians if in fact they want to strip the government of much of its authority? And yet, Bray considers ‘Chepe’ as one providing insight into Antifa’s outlook and aims. In fact, Cruz, Carlson, and myself, would probably all be considered “Far Right” by the MSM, even though we hate the government more than Antifa does! What is this madness?!?!?!?
(In point of fact, as a constitutional libertarian, I don’t hate government so much as think it should be much, much smaller, and given much less influence and control over our daily lives. ‘Government’ has its proper role. Beyond that role, you’re just asking for trouble. You can search this blog for more discussion on it).
The ‘madness’ is fairly easily explained from Bray’s own book. On the one hand, he tries to defend the size and scope of Antifa’s operations by saying that it disbands when the fascist threat diminishes (page 157). Given his numerous remarks about the overall revolutionary basis of the movement, that seems pretty far fetched. But just two pages later (page 159) he frankly asserts that:
Many antifa groups organize not only against fascism, but aim to combat all forms of oppression such as homophobia, capitalism, patriarchy, and so on. In that way, they see fascism as only the most acute version of larger systemic threats.
The galactic-size blind spot I referred to above is extended into every nook and cranny of whatever it is that some groups of leftists consider to be ‘oppression.’ Their inability to see how their anti-capitalism is already on record as causing mass bloodshed extends to other areas. In fact, I’m beginning to doubt that your average liberal would recognize real tyranny if it bit him in the ass. Along with Marxism and fascism, we can add any number of horrible events in 20th century, none of which limited government constitutional advocates such as myself are even remotely associated with, whether by ideology or however else you wish to connect us. And they are, perhaps not incidentally, unconnected even to ‘homophobia, capitalism, patriarchy, and so on.’
Saddam Hussein, Assad, the Rwandan genocide, and Pol Pot, are some that leap immediately to mind as having nothing to do with those things. But hey, you all just keep your eye on those ‘larger systemic threats’ (eg, white Christian male conservatives) while real tyrants take power and murder loads of people. I could now rattle off about 20 other tyrannical regimes that all caused a lot of hurt, but perhaps, if we strained real hard, were connected to ‘capitalism.’ In light of this, why the focus on the fascists?
It is, as I said, necessary in order to puff up the self-righteousness of the ‘revolutionaries’ and liberals in general, who feel best about themselves when contrasting themselves against actual Nazis. Contrasting yourself against people who have differences of opinions on policy just doesn’t have the same punch as contrasting yourself against Evil Incarnate.
As ought to be clear, I scoff at your self-characterization. If you’re looking to contrast yourself against Evil Incarnate, the chances are you stand a good chance at catching a glimpse if I hand you a mirror. The trick is that you have to recognize that intentions alone are not the standard by which ‘goodness’ is measured.
Interestingly, Bray has this pretty well nailed. He just doesn’t apply it to himself. He criticizes Liberals for examining issues of “sexism or racism in terms of the question of belief or what is ‘in one’s heart.'” (pg 204) I agree with him that the actions are important, too.
Here, the plot thickens.
If it is a matter of what is “in one’s heart,” then actually, the ‘right wing’ in America aren’t racists. And if its a matter of results, conservatives are convinced that the black community would be much better off if they adopted ‘conservative principles.’ The fact is, most non-liberal Americans hardly think about race at all. This is a big problem for liberals in general and Antifa in particular, because they need there to be race so they can justify themselves. Thus, the invention of ‘white privilege,’ which has the sole purpose of being a weapon with which to convince people who are not racists to believe that maybe they are racists, at least long enough to give the self-appointed anti-racists (them) what they want (ultimately, a classless, one world government). Don’t laugh. That’s their stated end game, repeated multiple times in various ways in Bray’s book.
In other words, their anti-racism is just a pretext, a ploy to get what they want. Just like Saul Alinsky and his ‘rules.’ Guess what? The alleged fascism is also just a pretext. Not a pretext for them, mind you. Its a pretext to use against us. They are true believers.
Bray seems to know this full well. On page 112, he says that Trump’s “victory emboldened explicit and implicit white supremacy, energizing racism beyond the polls.” (emphasis mine) I have repeatedly flogged this outright lie that Trump emboldened any such thing on this blog. Why ‘implicit’? Because he can’t find enough real racism to maintain his movement, that’s why. He let the cat out of the bag when he admits that Trump got the same share of the white vote as Romney. (page 112). How can both things be true? And, why not mention that Trump also edged out Romney in his share of votes by minorities? Perhaps it was Romney that emboldened the racists. I dunno. I’m so confused.
Bray understand that the same thing is true about fascism. He is actually pretty honest about how little real fascism played into Trump’s election, even as he admits that many liberals believe Trump was a ‘literal fascist.’ Bray writes:
Despite all the hand-wringing about “Trump the fascist” from center-left commentators and enraged Clinton supporters, very few really believe that there is any serious chance of a fascistic regime ever materializing in America. (pg 171)
So, why the constant refrain? Because they are liars, that’s why. Like Alinksy, they will say anything in order to achieve their goals. Its all just a pretext intended to cow moderates and fair minded people into believing that there is a problem, and Antifa in particular and liberalism in general is the solution. I concede that the ones they are really lying to might only be themselves, but for all practical intents and purposes, I don’t know if that helps. It is deception or self-deception, but the result is the same: deliberately ascribing to your political foes ownership of one of the most odious ideologies to have graced the face of the earth, knowing full well it isn’t true.
Why does it all matter? Who cares what a tiny minority of American society says and believes? Especially, if you hear Bray talk, Antifa cannot get ‘mainstream liberals’ to come on board, so just how much damage can be done?
Well, I can tell you one damn thing: if you keep calling people fascists who are not fascists, racists who are not racists, sexists who are not sexists, etc, etc, just to move the ball forward on your agenda, you should not be surprised–nay, you should fully expect–that there will eventually be a reaction. Its not just a matter of people not liking it, its a matter of people being accused of something that is so radically false by people who are promoting something so radically dangerous, that there will be a breaking point.
This is the battle with the ‘reactionaries’ that the revolutionaries are so looking forward to, but let me tell you, friend, that may very well go your way in Europe, but it ain’t happening in the U.S. Take a lesson from the Weather Underground. You can ride the waves of your chaos only so long before it crashes upon the rocks of the ‘silent majority.’ I say that as one who is actually very cynical about how sturdy the ‘knees’ are of that majority. Liberal Democrats have been ready to dismiss the fact that, in reality, democratically and demographically speaking, America is ‘center-right.’ (Eg, Libs love to validate their policies by pointing to opinion polls, and yet all opinion polls and 4 consecutive elections made it clear that they hated nationalized health care; liberals never felt that they were treading over the ‘will of the people’ then.) Thus, their position is that slightly more than half of the country are racist fascists. If they act on that position, they will rue the day.
To put it more succinctly, at least in the near term, if you call people racists when they are not actually racists, and this is your default perspective, and you proceed to treat them as though they are racists, something is gonna blow.
This raises the important observation from history that none of these groups were innocent. They all fueled the escalations. Bray allows that hundreds of Nazis were murdered in street violence (but that’s ok), without taking into account that the ‘tit for tat’ was, itself, one reason why the ‘fascists’ succeeded. They realized before their foes did that unless they ingratiate themselves with the State, they would remain just one of many rival gangs. In other words, the fascists were bad, but the violence of the communists actually helped them migrate into the state apparatus. This is a lesson that Antifa clearly has not yet learned. They love the ‘tit for tat.’
But how about that bit about Antifa being a small minority? One of Bray’s most compelling arguments is that we should not dismiss small minorities. (See pages 140-141: It doesn’t take that many Fascists to make Fascism.”) Only, it doesn’t occur to him that the same warning applies to him. He points out that Mussolini originally had just a 100 members, and Hitler 54–which, combined, is about all Richard Spencer’s ‘national’ group has. Of course, Antifa has at least a hundred times that. If fascism starting with just 150 and managed to slay 10 million, what kind of damage can we expect from 10,000 Antifa, should they gain power?
I say 10,000 but the real problem is this: while the MSM hyperventilates about the alleged number of avowed ‘white nationalists’ ’emboldened’ to run as Republicans (8!) , the raw fact is that not a single one of them won a municipal, state, or Federal election. NONE. (Bizarrely, this doesn’t count as credit for Republicans at all. Nope, they’re still racists!) But now let me put it the other way: how many avowed social justice warriors occupy municipal, state, or Federal positions? Oooooooh….. I bet you already know, without looking, that its a God-awful lot. You can’t even throw a rock in California without hitting one, and that’s just California.
In other words, the Republicans have roundly repudiated their putative extremists. The Democrats have roundly embraced their extremists. With the MSM’s blessing.
If it is indeed the case that Antifa are just inverted fascists, and we cannot discount the dangers that ‘small beginnings’ can have, then vigilance against their hateful behaviors and attitudes is indeed necessary. Constant vigilance!
One final note.
I can easily see liberals and moderates saying, “Well, ok. But surely we can be allies, standing against genuine racists and extremists on all sides, including Antifa.”
That depends. Is your starting position that the ‘right’ are, by definition, authoritarians? Is your default position that the ‘right’ are racists? If your initial posture towards me is the ideological equivalent of “When did you stop beating your wife?’, we will never be allies.
In later posts, I’ll flesh that out further.