I get sorta annoyed with Steyn sometimes, I truly do. I mean, every third week or so I pronounce his latest column one of his best ever, and then…he goes and does another one.
So this time I ain’t even gonna say it.
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.
Good rejoinder, I guess, but it ain’t as if a “liberal” like Kinsella would ever really BE all that critical of any Worker’s Paradise, now would he?
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.
Operative qualifier, of course, being that very slippery “to date.” Not through any lack of trying, either.
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.
There’s gonna be a lot more of other types of unpleasantness in the years ahead, too—a good many of them types that the fascist Left and their black-clad and hooded goon squads ain’t gonna like much. But what the hell; they called this tune, so it’s only right that they end up dancing to it too.