What the MAGA Right Got Wrong at Berkeley

April 17, 2017
April 17, 2017 Josh Carter

What the MAGA Right Got Wrong at Berkeley

Well folks, we had a great run but it’s looking like Giant Meteor 2020 is the candidate of choice!

Yet another clash happened at Berkeley over the weekend as Nationalists brawled with Communists in the streets and police stood by doing nothing. This particular fight, however, lacked the elements that that usually characterize Antifa presence at political events, chief among these elements was the portrayal of victims being victimized in the videos and pictures following the event.

This event was nothing like that and was, instead, more akin to an episode of Jerry Springer on steroids.

Make no mistake, this brawl was a deliberate provocation by the Right who are fed up with the Antifa antics throughout the past two years, and are justified in their frustrations in my mind. I have written two pieces prior to this about the nature of Antifa (here and here), and I am no fan of theirs by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve been severely critical of them on Twitter as well. However, this recent riot at Berkeley was, in my mind, provoked by the Right and there are a few reasons I believe this.

When Winning Isn’t Enough

The organizers of the Berkeley rally maintain that the focus of the rally was “free speech”, a cause I wholeheartedly support and can get behind, but the choice of venue was suspect in my mind. Several months ago Milo Yiannopolous made national news when his speaking event was shut down by the very same Antifa who were rioting yesterday. In that situation as well the police were ordered to stand down and allow Antifa thugs to wreak havoc.

You can’t tell me that the organizers of the Berkeley event didn’t know about this. They knew it all too well, some might say that was their “reason” for going, to valiantly defend the banner of free speech against the evil leftists…to me it felt more like an attempt at payback. The opportunity to throw some punches right back at those who’ve been mercilessly harassing the pro-Trump crowd for quite awhile now, with little to no repercussions, must’ve been quite an alluring prospect. As events unfolded, this was actually the case for many who fought at Berkeley, very few actual arrests were made.

This, of course, was a ridiculous reason to go into Leftist-ville, but it makes sense. This was a place they were guaranteed a fight with very limited police presence.

I kept asking right-wingers in the aftermath what this violence actually accomplished, and the only reason I was given was that they “revealed those who oppose free speech”. That was it. That’s literally the only outcome any pro-Trumper has told me resulted from this. Here’s the problem with that…

We already knew.

People already knew Antifa, despite their delusional, grandiose self-styling as champions for freedom, were nothing but a bunch of punks who implement totalitarian tactics to control this with whom they disagree. Much of the Antifa action against Trump supporters actually galvanized sympathy for the pro-Trump movement during the election season. One could probably argue that the election itself was a rejection of the Left in its totality.

Trump supporters endured, took the high road and didn’t react in kind and were rewarded electorally. We can argue just how much of a mandate the Republicans were given in 2016 based on voter turnout as opposed to those who stayed home, but the fact remains that Trump won a resounding victory against the media, Democrats, and the “anti-Fascists”. This is the way America is supposed to work or, rather, this is the design of the civil society. Government and its institutions were intended to be the arbiter of disputes so that violence was not the recourse to settling conflicts.

Going to Berkeley was an extracurricular for Trump supporters who had a chip on their shoulder.

Let’s Not Forget The Media 

I consume my fair share of right-wing alt-media. I’ve had tremendous respect for journalists like Lauren Southern who’ve exposed the dogma, censoring and violent nature of the Left’s social justice warriors. I’ve been astounded by her restraint and poise as she was harassed by extreme activists. She has done wonders for counterbalancing the corporate media bias and silence on free speech issues and forcing their hand in covering these matters.

I was very disappointed to see that she partook in and, in my mind, helped escalate the Berkeley riot.

It’s very important to remember that, no matter how principled, admirable and groundbreaking those we look up to in media are, at the end of the day they’re still human beings like you and me. They are still subject to be sucked into drama, and to get lost in their own agendas and narratives. At the end of the day, those in media have to get “the scoop” to get paid, and no journalist (no matter how independent) can escape the need to play to their audience.

In the aftermath of the event Southern glowingly described the “Battle of Berkeley” in a dreamy fashion, almost as if she’d just come back from an awesome concert because, you know, riots are entertainment these days. The point was further reinforced with a clip from that same video (around 3:13) which features Southern cheering giddily as the “battle” turns in favor of the virtuous MAGA knights.

Her other descriptions of the event, of course, confirm the bias of her audience:

The pro-Trumpers were just minding their own business, and were assembling peacefully in Berkeley when, out of nowhere, Antifa showed up and started attacking them! Naturally, the MAGA Right had to defend themselves! I know that very well is how it could’ve happened in Lauren’s head but, again, this unnecessary slugfest never had to happen in the first place. The same happened as she related the story to Stefan Molyneux claiming it was “open season on Trump supporters” all the while claiming victory of the “patriots”. The most telling moment of that interview being when she said of the Free Speech rally itself, “I felt really bad for the event organizers…we did get to speak, but it was briefly.” So much for a rally about free speech.

To her credit Southern has admitted that victim culture is a problem for both the Left and Right, which is why I still give her more currency than the average journalist. I genuinely believe that it wasn’t her intention to get swept up in her narrative, but hearing her relate the story of the Berkeley conflict was not unlike something I’d hear from a member of Antifa, heavily biased in favor of her side, claiming ultimate victory for their side, convinced that a definitive statement was actually made for their cause.

The reality is much further from the truth.

Deja Vu?

History is valuable for many reasons, one of these reasons is that it displays and instructs us about the nature of humanity. The annals of history show that we as a species have found ourselves in these situations before.

Sargon of Akkad made an interesting point in his explanation of political violence and it’s dangers (19:20), paralleling the rise in recent political violence to the precedent set by Sulla in Ancient Rome. Likewise, factional violence in post World War I Germany paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power. The National Socialists not only offered law and order, economic revival, but also promised to make Germany great again…a very popular sentiment at the time.

We’ve been here before friends and history is explicitly clear on this matter.

Dave Cullen said it well when he noted that: “Civil war is inevitable when police refuse to do their jobs and intervene…” which was exactly what was witnessed at Berkeley. The people who should’ve handled Antifa were the law enforcement. We are a society of laws, and the enforcement of those laws falls upon those who we commission to execute those laws. In ancient Rome and the Weimar Republic alike we see the breakdown of law and order, and the weakness of the government to preform it’s functions as well as large scale corruption at the higher echelons of politics.

This is the situation America finds itself in today.

Journalist Stefanie MacWilliams puts it aptly in her analysis of the Berkeley Riot when she states that,

“These street fights are an idiotic tribal turf war, and they have to stop…

To me that is what all of this comes down to. This “new right” is acting exactly like the SJW’s we used to oppose. You can justify all you want that they started it (true)… but when it comes right down to it… You’re social justice warriors, and you’re taking the low road.”.

I’d highly recommend reading her entire thoughts on the matter here.

By and large, most of the American people watched this spectacle with, very likely, a mix of emotions.

Indifference.

Annoyance.

Amusement.

Because most Americans don’t buy the bullshit either camp is selling. They know that Trump isn’t a fascist, but they also don’t worship at his altar like the MAGA fanboys do. At the end of the day most Americans were annoyed with both candidates they were given during the election cycle and either sat it out, or held their noses and voted for the “lesser evil”. Most Americans go to work everyday and do their job and don’t go looking for a fight with their neighbors.

However…

It’s my opinion that the Berkeley Riot was far more dangerous to our culture than most Americans realize. I believe that this first use of retaliatory violence used, and defended by right-wingers will only further poison the well. Now, instead of one violent, leftist gang communities will have to worry about during political events, they also have to worry about whether or not the Nationalists will begin to throw punches and wreck things.

I don’t know if we can close the lid on the Pandora’s Box we just opened in our society, but I know when it comes to the Berkeley Riot there’s no doubt in my mind that the MAGA Right was clearly in the wrong, and it’s up to us to watch carefully for the repercussions of this watershed event.

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