Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys aren’t White Supremacists Part 1
I think that it is important to get people right; that is, properly characterize their positions when writing or speaking about them. A democratic socialist, or a social democrat, for example, is not the same as a Marxist/Leninist or Stalinist.
(Calling anybody on the left a “commie”, if there is no strong evidence that they happen to be that particular thing, can be indicative of a certain intellectual insecurity; much easier to expand the meaning of a stigmatized label – without, somehow, diluting the stigma – and slap it on the people with whom you disagree politically, than to offer up arguments which take on their actual positions. The label is meant to act as a silver bullet, discrediting the one who it pierces instantly. The McCarthyite labelling of people as extremist – particularly if they are not – can be authoritarianism in disguise; having labelled your political opponents as the worst possible thing – an evil that is a threat to society and a force that drove world wars and resulted in the death of millions – you are justifying action, preemptive war against them. If people don’t listen past the labels, they don’t refine their understanding of the various positions, and the reasons that one might hold them. Lost, then, is a nuanced sense of what motivates a person in their convictions; they merely become bad people supporting wrong ideas for what must surely be malevolent reasons.)
Likewise, being a nationalist does not necessarily mean that one is a white nationalist. Increasingly, merely being “on the right” at all can get you casually accused of racism; once the r-bomb has been hurled, people tend to shrink away from voicing objections on behalf of the unfairly accused, lest they fall under suspicion of being racist themselves. Gavin McInnes and his group the Proud Boys are certainly nationalists (they also declare themselves “western chauvinists), however, run a google search on them, and you will find them accused of “white nationalism”, “white supremacy”, being in the “alt-right”, and, according to NBC, a “far right hate group”. Look at these pictures of the Proud Boys. The nighttime group photo is from the evening of the New York scuffle with Antifa that thrust them into the news:
If an organization is accused of white supremacy and they can make it plain that many of their members are not, in fact, white, then they have struck a pretty good blow against the accusation. Also, people who aren’t white probably aren’t white supremacists.
Alternatively, the Proud Boys are just really, really, really bad at white supremacy.
Or maybe I’m slow. Maybe there is some sort of conspiracy on the part of these right wing groups to draw in people of colour, and then, when they have enough of them within their ranks and have gained their trust, to ambush them, Red Wedding style. I’m open to wonky theories (with evidence), so if someone would like to explain to me that this (or something like it) is the case, I’m all ears. Whatever your explanation, it will have to include how someone can be a white supremacist and marry someone who is not white and then have non-white children with that person. While it is one thing to feign tolerance of non-white associates for PR purposes, it is quite another for the dedicated white supremacist to sully his own bloodline.
Either Gavin McInnes is not a white supremacist, or he is a martyr to the 4D Chess Racist Master Plan.
If one of the members goes off the rails – as individuals sometimes do, much to the chagrin of their associates – and tweets something racist, or is found to have done/said something racist in the past, it will still need to be weighed against the multi-racial membership and interracial families. As well, if someone can be shown to have flirted with dark, racist elements of the right prior to joining the Proud Boys, isn’t it a good thing that they are now part of an organization in which working with people from different backgrounds is a mandatory part of membership? When McInnes saw who was going to be at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, he pulled his group out, and urged conservatives not to attend.
Doesn’t it seem a bit insulting (on top of nonsensical) to the non-whites in this organization, to suggest that they are working on behalf of white supremacy?
Or does the social justice left simply not see non-social justice-aligned people of colour? Perhaps it is because the social justice left only wants racial harmony on their terms; people from different backgrounds cooperating together to further a political agenda that is not their own delights them not. Perhaps racial harmony is a secondary consideration to them, and – like a neocon who prefers chaos over non-cooperative order – they will sew racial animus whenever they see it developing on someone else’s terms. Better to have a problem that you can present yourself as the solution to than to fade into irrelevance, and – with a recent study demonstrating that that people of all races overwhelmingly (over 70% and in some cases nearly 90%) believe that political correctness is a problem – that is exactly what would happen to the social justice left were they less adept at making spectacles of themselves and offering high-pressure ultimatums on behalf of people who don’t want their “help”.
Another label the Proud Boys get hit with is “homophobic”, and yet they have gay members. I’m gay, and yet, were I to encounter Gavin McGinnes in the street, I would feel in no way threatened by him. I’ll make up my own mind about who I can trust, and find it irritating when social justice progressives run around acting like they are trying to protect me. Dear SJ activists: If you want to call someone a Nazi, leave me out of it. Stop forcing an association between yourselves and the various groups you purport to protect. When you evoke entire races and genders of people – many of whom don’t want your help – to bolster your arguments, you are dragging them onto one side of a polarizing, unhelpful, and dangerous argument; in short, you may very well be making the world more dangerous for them.
The Media is a Poor Custodian of the Public Dialogue
Whether for ratings, or because they are servants of power, much of the media can not be relied upon to responsibly and accurately report the news.
Calling someone a nazi or racist is, as they say, “fightin’ words”, and the falsely accused are likely to develop a hate for those flinging the accusation that they never had before.
Mislabelling people (by, say, calling them Nazis or racists) is contributing to the polarization purity feedback loop that we see in play today in which people, feeling threatened by the “other side”, hunker down ideologically, latching on to harsh battle rhetoric and more extreme ideas like a person who hears a sound in the middle of the night reaching for their gun; in a time of danger, solidifying a sense of in-group solidarity, and carefully delineating the “enemy” is only natural.
It is important to document this mislabelling as it happens, in order that, at some future time, there will be copious and diverse sources to draw from when attempting to determine what went wrong. The vast establishment media apparatus is dedicated to lying about the past as well as the present, and their ability to shape the narrative going into the future must be continually challenged. Which brings me to my final point, which may be a conspiratorial bridge-too-far for some people, but the need to be conjectural has been thrust upon us by the continuous lies of the powerful and their subservient media outlets.
Continued in “Gavin McGinnes and the Proud Boys aren’t White Supremacists Part 2