Do not for one instant construe this blog post as in any way a defense of white (or any race) supremacy. This is a post about intellectual honesty and the ideological blindness of current WEIRD Western Culture.
Bigotry – hatred of out-group “others” – is bigotry, period, irrespective of the underlying quality or trait that defines the out-group.
Antifa are every bit as bigoted, heinous, murderous, and evil, as are Nazis or white (or any race) supremacists.
This fact is as self-evident as the nose on your face, yet it seems invisible to the current sensibilities of WEIRD Western culture.
The response to Charlottesville and to Trump’s comments about it are Exhibit A
Our WEIRD rationalist (here and here) Western culture is so fixated on the trees of present-day events and circumstances that it is blind to the forest of human nature that causes them.
But if we step back and look at the arc of human history it becomes crystal clear that antifa is merely the present-day instance of the psychological profile variously known as the unconstrained vision, and/or the rationalist delusion, and/or the three-moral-foundation righteous mind. This way of seeing the world stretches all the way back to the time of Plato, and “has the worst track record in the history of ideas.” (at 1:03:48 of this lecture by liberal social scientists Jonathan Haidt; transcript with time stamps here.)
But Haidt is wrong, I suggest, when he says in the lecture that the French Revolution was “one of the few places on earth where the rationalists got control of an entire country and were able to do with it what they wanted.” That’s simply not true. Other instances include Russian, Chinese, and Cambodian communism, Italian Fascism, and German Nazism.
The problem is, in today’s WEIRD Western culture, just as there are dominant sacred values – untouchable third-rail virtues about which even jokes are considered blasphemous and the people who tell them are shunned – so too are there dominant sacred sins.
And bigotry in is not one of them.
Only a very specific sub-type of bigotry is a sacred sin; the type based on race. Race bigotry elicits high holy irrational hysterical dudgeon; weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; people lose their minds and “go postal.” They riot, smash windows, burn cars, and tear down statues (of anti-racists, no less). But other types of bigotry, not so much.
But the fact is that other types of bigotry, specifically ideological bigotry, are empirically just as bad, if not worse, than race-based bigotry. From the guillotines of Paris to the killing fields of Cambodia and everywhere in between hundreds of millions of people have been murdered, genocides have been committed, in the name of the ideological bigotry of the Platonic-thinking unconstrained collectivist vision that “Imagines” “things that never were and asks why not”; dreams of the “new man” and the “good society” and, because it believes itself to be more “enlightened” than any other vision, and thus is drenched in moral and epistemic certainty, tries to create its version of heaven on earth through the coercive power of the state, and feels not merely justified but also morally obligated to do so.
THAT is who antifa really are. Antifa is a hate group of domestic terrorists of the highest order. Their mini Kristallnachts and their vicious thuggery against peaceful, permitted, speakers and protests, irrispective of the views of those speakers and protesters, are hate crimes. Antifa are the real fascists, plain and simple.
And yet, since ideological bigotry is not a culturally approved sacred sin, it goes largely unnoticed. It flies under the radar of the sensibilities of the behavioral auto-pilot of current WEIRD Western culture. Fascist antifa bigots are seen merely as “protesters.” For the most part they get a pass. They’re dismissed with the shrug of “Meh, they’re just upset. They mean well” and “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” nothing to see here, move along.
So when Trump calls out BOTH types of racism he is absolutely right. But in today’s WEIRD Western culture only the sacred sin race-based bigotry counts as bigotry. And so for NOT calling it out specifically, and for NOT giving a pass to the historically worse bigotry of antifa, he is vilified..
This is a direct result of the small minded, short sighted, moral myopia and frankly infantile cognitive style of Platonic idealism of the leftist righteous mind and the “reasoning” (sic) of The Coddled American Mind. It is this mentality that is the greatest single threat to Western Culture that exists in the world today, more so even than extremist Islamic terrorism because it is a cancer that is destroying the culture from within, and becuase we’re so “enlightened” by our “tolerance” that we’re blind to it.
You had me with the headline – bigotry is indeed bigotry, and I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, but… I’m extremely disappointed in you after reading this:
“Antifa are every bit as bigoted, heinous, murderous, and evil, as are Nazis or white (or any race) supremacists.”
The ignorance on display in that statements is beyond the pale shameful… the left enjoys the fake defense of pretending people who point out bigotry wherever they see it are spreading false equivalence, but that actually applies here. What you say is a blatant, and rather disgusting, false equivalence.
The closest group of any significance to Antifa on the right would be the Tea Party.
No group with any significant following is “every bit as bigoted, heinous, murderous, and evil” as Nazis. None. Not. Even. Close.
Like the Tea Party, most Antifa are harmless ideological extremists who might show up at a rally or bark loudly online, but that’s all they’ll ever do. The worst elements of Tea Party types overlap with the fringe bigots of the alt-right, same as the worst elements of Antifa overlap with violent fringe groups who do call for things that put them in the neighborhood of white nationalists.
Not Nazis. Violent fringe leftist types that are in the neighborhood of Nazis do exist, but they’ve never rallied around a identity and banner like Nazis have.
This is just really sad to see you say this…
I stand by all of it.
Your moral equivalence with the Tea Party is unmoored from reality and helps to prove my point about sacred sins.
Many of your assertions a flat out wrong.
Antifa absolute does rally around an identity banner exactly like Nazis do.
Antifa does many things Tea Party does not do:
Smash people on the head with bike locks
Punch people in the face for their opinions.
Dress in black like a paramilitary militia
Cover their faces because they know they’re breaking the law.
Riot in the streets, smashing windows and burning automobiles
Shout down, shut down, and physically assault speakers it dislikes.
The Tea Party doesn’t advocate killing cops as Antifa does.
You are actually the one who is guilty of false equivalence.
I love it. Short, sweet, and to the point. You made my day. Not because you agree (which I won’t lie I do appreciate very much), but because of your witty brevity that speaks volumes.