The normalization of violence as part of public discourse

After journalist Andy Ngo got beat up by antifa thugs while covering a demonstration in Portland, you could detect on certain websites a degree of Schadenfreude that Ngo (who writes for Quillette and calls out the excesses of the Left) had got what was coming to him. A few milkshakes thrown on him, it was argued, was only just deserts (or desserts?) for his political stance.

In fact, Ngo was physically attacked, sustained a brain hemorrhage, was hospitalized, and had his camera equipment stolen from him as well. Those bits aren’t usually mentioned by those who gloss over the violence he experienced. Here, for example, is a picture of Ngo after the assault, taken from an editorial in Quillette decrying the violence he experienced:

I see this expansion of the word “violence” spreading insidiously through the Left. First, words become violence, and even failure to speak is a form of that: “Silence is violence.” Microaggressions are construed as violence. Then there comes “institutionalized violence”, which is the subject of Luana Maroja’s op-ed in the Williams College newspaper, “Refuting claims of institutional violence: Analyzing evidence of racism at the College“.  In that case, although Williams College is about as anti-racist as colleges come, dissatisfied students, lacking an outlet for their dissatisfaction, took to accusing their college of “institutional racism.” No matter that this characterization is laughable: simply making the claim, if you’re an aggrieved student of color in today’s climate, guarantees that you’ll be seen sympathetically. In fact, even asking the question “Where is the racist violence at Williams?” was taken, according to Maroja, as a form of violence itself.

The next step in this creep is the transition to physical violence—both the kind that Ngo experienced and the sort of property damage that occurred at Berkeley when Milo Yiannopoulos was set to speak. What I expect to see next is some justification for these actions as well, beginning with mild violence like “milkshaking”, and then a beating like Ngo took, and then Lord knows what else will be excused and justified.

James Lindsay has an article on the roots of Leftist violence and the expansion of the meaning of the word, in the latest Quillette, which you can read by clicking on the screenshot below:

I won’t go into the academic part of Lindsay’s thesis, which is a discussion of the long-standing idea, present in Leftist literature, that violence is an appropriate response to some nonviolent societal conditions (I’m using “violence” in the conventional sense here—physical attacks on persons or things). Lindsay begins by citing one of several examples of people justifying Ngo’s injuries:

Responding to news that journalist Andy Ngo had been beaten by antifa protestors in Portland last month, a woman named Charlotte Clymer tweeted that “Ngo intentionally provokes people on the left to drive his content. Being attacked today on video taken by an actual journalist (because Ngo is definitely not) is the greatest thing that could have happened to his career. You know it. I know it. He knows it. We all know it. Violence is completely wrong, and I find it sad and weak to allow a sniveling weasel like Andy Ngo to get under one’s skin like this, but I’m also not going to pretend this wasn’t Ngo’s goal from the start. I mean, let’s cut the shit here. This is what they do.”

The tweets:

Lindsay continues:

Who is Charlotte Clymer? She is an activist who works at the Human Rights Campaign, America’s “largest LGBTQ civil rights organization,” which supposedly “envision[s] a world where LGBTQ people are ensured equality at home, at work [and] in every community.” Andy Ngo, who has written for Quillette, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and other publications, happens to be gay. So this is where we are right now: A staffer for a human-rights organization dedicated to helping gay people is publicly cheering the beating of a gay man. This should raise an eyebrow.

Indeed. Closer to home, you can find a call for “milkshaking” over at Pharyngula, arguing that the hurling of dairy products will cause “change for the better.” Really? On Greta Christina’s blog, she justifies milkshaking and even the punching of Nazis as an acceptable—indeed, a necessary—response to the dire conditions inflicted on America by the fascistic President and his minions (I’m not denying, though, that the adjective characterizes Trump!).

Given this expansion of the meaning of the word “violence”, and the inevitable justification of real violence as a response to the “violence” of words, it behooves us to remember why words cannot be violence—although they can lead to violence— but  why punching and physical assault are violence.

For one thing, you can cultivate techniques to immunize yourself against being injured by words, but you can’t cultivate techniques to immunize yourself against the pain of a punch or a kick. Immunization against “hurtful” words makes you stronger, but Andy Ngo is not physically stronger for having been used as a punching bag. More important, although some arguments construed as “hate speech” are seen as “violence” (I just read an article in which criticism of affirmative action is seen as hate speech), the prohibition of real physical violence does not conflict with any other principles that are good for society. In contrast, the prohibition of speech, some of which is construed as “violence”, does conflict with a principle good for society and very good for colleges: freedom of speech.

And there is no threshold I can see where “good” physical violence stops and injurious physical violence begins. Is it okay to throw milkshakes but not rocks? Is it okay to punch Nazis but not Republicans? In contrast, the courts have drawn a pretty bright line between acceptable speech and unacceptable speech (for example, individual harassment in the workplace, defamation, and incitement of immediate violence is not permitted under the First Amendment).

Just as antifa is fascistic in itself, so are those who justify the existence of those thugs and the violence they promulgate. The next time you hear someone say that “milkshaking” is okay, you know you’re dealing with an antifa manqué.

And needless to say, what goes for the Left goes for the Right as well. Regardless of your politics, there is never any excuse for violence against those on the other side—except in self defense.

 

92 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Am I wrong to expect a jury to decide on this assault and battery (?) in a court?

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      It would depend on whether or not Mr. Ngo presses charges. I don’t know if he did, but hopefully he did. We need some accountability for antifa violence from the courts.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        The amount of damage those guys are doing to the very cause they say they care about is enormous. Over and over again they hand the right talking points and PR victories.

        And then they attack an innocent journalist. He’s arguably a provocateur; but so what? You don’t lamp someone just because you find them annoying*, especially a journalist who’s just there to cover proceedings.
        Even if you don’t care about the fact that your attack caused a _brain haemorrhage_ surely you should care about the fact that you’re handing great chunks of political ammunition to the right? Right?

        What total dickheads, and I know none of them will bother voting for any Democrat candidate. They say they care about the rise of fascism, but the hard work of winning in 2020 and stemming the tide is just not interesting enough for these guys. It’s too moderate. They want to ‘shake things up’ etc. They’re morons. Anti-fascism is a noble cause and they’re doing a good job of turning it into something toxic.

        *I have a personal interest in this rule being upheld.

        • Mark R.
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, they’re a complete detriment to the cause of sending Trump down the river…not to mention an embarrassment.

        • Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          One thing that gets me is that the antifa are putting it onto themselves to oppose Nazis. Nazis. The lowest of the low. And yet the tactics they so readily resort to beyond milkshaking does nothing more than make the media chime in about how awful are the antifa.
          Up against Nazis… and they are managing to blow it.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          What Saul said! I wish I’d written this: it expresses everything I feel so well.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Don’t those perps wear invisibility masks? They are not likely to be apprehended.

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        The incident is well documented by cameras, I doubt it would be that difficult to get some names.

  2. EdwardM
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Hear, hear!

  3. Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Eloquently written. Hopefully posts like this will inspire people to think rather than allow emotions to control their actions.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I am about to dash between planes, and I won’t be able ro read Lindsay’s piece until tonight. On both the right and the left there has always been a tendency to romanticize violence, and it seems there are groups for whom general violence is the goal, because the breakdown of government will allow the revolution they want. Nevermind the fact that no one who starts a revolution gets the revolution they want. The point of government is to protect us from violence and allow us to pursue our boring lives. Advocating violence should be rejected by everyone who desires justice.

    • EdwardM
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The only sane revolution is a fun one;

      If you make a revolution, make it for fun,
      don’t make it in ghastly seriousness,
      don’t do it in deadly earnest,
      do it for fun.

      Don’t do it because you hate people,
      do it just to spit in their eye.

      Don’t do it for the money,
      do it and be damned to the money.

      Don’t do it for equality,
      do it because we’ve got too much equality
      and it would be fun to upset the apple-cart
      and see which way the apples would go a-rolling.

      ….

      D.H.Lawrence

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Horizontal and vertical or different planes of existence?

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I am about to dash between planes, and I won’t be able ro read Lindsay’s piece until tonight. On both the right and the left there has always been a tendency to romanticize violence, and it seems there are groups for whom general violence is the goal, because the breakdown of government will allow the revolution they want. Nevermind the fact that no one who starts a revolution gets the revolution they want. The point of government is to protect us from violence and allow us to pursue our boring lives. Advocating violence should be rejected by everyone who desires justice.

  6. Eric Grobler
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    It seems to me as “civilized apes” we love nothing more than joining a “just cause mob” and then beating the devil out of the infidels.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      It’s true. But it’s also true that we love nothing more than helping each other. And many other things. We are multifaceted.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Much easier and less time-consuming to get people to lamp each other than to help each other unfortunately.

  7. CoreyCroom
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Hear, Hear!

    Language can be used to clarify. But language can also be used to muddy the waters. Concept creep of “violence muddies.

    We can believe that hurtful words are traumatic to some people and still maintain that there is a distinction to be made concerning physical violence.

  8. Pelmon
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Milkshakes. No big deal, right?
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D7HFSYZUIAAP-Z-?format=jpg&name=900×900

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      Great photo. I remember those from my childhood. It would be interesting to know how many are still alive, and if they ever gained any empathy. The Fox/Trump demographic suggests many did not.

  9. C.
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    So if you are a female comedian like say, Jo Brand, and you make a “joke” about wishing people threw acid rather than a milkshake onto a conservative politician and then a whole slew of leftist comedians say well, it was only a “joke”…so, that would be wrong? Like, maybe even more wrong than a male comedian tweeting a silly chimpanzee photo after the birth of the most recent royal birth, for which he was relieved of his employment? Interesting notion.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Have you got a particularly blunt axe you want to grind C.?

      You compare two unrelated inappropriate celebrity comments – one male & one female & suggest the differing outcomes** are down to their sexes. A sample of two isn’t significant & you give no evidence to support your contention that it’s sexism in action.

      ** Danny Baker loses his BBC Radio 5 Live gig over a Tweet sharing a photograph featuring a chimpanzee alongside the caption: “Royal baby leaves hospital” [Meghan Markle’s newborn]

      Jo Brand doesn’t receive censure of any kind [AFAIK] from the BBC over her radio comment [as a guest panellist] saying she’d have preferred that acid had been thrown at Farage rather than a McD Milkshake.

  10. Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Closer to home, you can find a call for “milkshaking” over at Pharyngula, arguing that the hurling of dairy products will cause “change for the better.” Really? On Greta Christina’s blog, she justifies milkshaking and even the punching of Nazis as an acceptable—indeed, a necessary—response….

    Now that’s a blast from the past! Two washed-up, nearly-forgotten pariahs. Peez, the self-anointed “Fifth Horseman”, still channeling his impotent rage into violent fantasies, now shifting from murdering priests and tossing slymepitters off piers, to inflicting brain trauma on a mild-mannered gay asian man.

    And there’s Greta, Outrage! Queen, self-publisher of extreme kink porn, and frustrated revolutionary wannabe, with perhaps the first post in a year by anyone at The Orbit, the walking dead of blogs.

    Quo vadis, Atheism Plus?

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      I’d rather not derail this discussion into criticisms of the principals, as that turns the post into an ad hominem thing. Please refrain from this kind of stuff.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      And members of the same crew are saying similar things.
      Rebecca Watson has applauded it.
      Steve Shives has applauded it.

  11. Harrison
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I think Clymer’s right though. It’s not just the SJWs who are itching to play victim in the spotlight. The critical thing is she specifically rebukes the violence and the people who perpetrated it. She’s just also calling them stupid for helping to make soft martyrs of the other side.

    Myers and Christina do deserve to be called out for actively cheerleading violence, but they’re increasingly irrelevant figures who only speak for their only tiny and dwindling followings.

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      “If cats eat the raw meat you don’t blame the cats, you blame the meat.”

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Do you concur with Clymer that Ngo “intentionally provokes people on the left”,thus debasing his status as a journalist? And if so, provide some examples.

  12. Mark Cagnetta
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Heather Heyer. Enough said.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Eric Clanton. Nuf ‘ced.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        No, not really.

        • EdwardM
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          I had to googleate that one …. it seems Mr Clanton is on topic for this thread. He seems to be just the kind of ideologue disposed to the kind of violence Dr PCC(e) was talking about.

          So why “No, not really”?

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            Because he didn’t murder anyone with a car.

            The guy’s a thuggish dickhead, but the comparison does not hold.

            • abear
              Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

              Clanton was striking people in the head with a chunk of steel. He could have killed someone very easily and should have served jail time for a felony.
              It was a matter of luck that he didn’t kill someone, and a travesty of justice he didn’t go to jail for what he did.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

                And? I could say the same thing about the white supremacists and various assorted neo-Nazis who turn up to fight antifa. They turn up with guns and baseball bats, do exactly the same thing as antifa, but they don’t seem to get mentioned.
                Some people portray it as though antifa just fight thin air; they don’t, they fight actual fascists and nazis(as well as harmless journalists who just happen to get in the way).
                Now I happen to think that antifa are fucking idiots, and I despise their moronic politics, but this isn’t one-sided. And the idea that they ‘provoke’ the far-right, as though the far-right are just sat at home having tea, and have no option but to respond to antifa’s provocations by _driving hundreds of miles armed with guns and baseball bats to beat the shit out of them_… No I’m not on board with that.
                Both sides loathe each other and the far-right do more than their fair share of provocation.

                And the point remains that no-one among antifa has murdered anyone, thus the attempted comparison makes no sense. And the guy who killed Heather Heyer clearly aimed to kill a lot more people than just her.

                There’s a palpable desperation from the right and its apologists to make antifa and their fascist opponents exactly equivalent. Now I think antifa are genuinely toxic, but at the same time I won’t accept the idea that antifa are simply the far-right in different clothes.
                There are degrees of awfulness, and when antifa start sending their opponents pipe bombs, or slaughtering Jews with assault rifles, then the comparison will hold, but not until then.

            • Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

              At every of these clashes, it has been Antifa who’ve initiated the violence. Antifa believes they have the right to respond to speech they oppose with potentially lethal force.

              Clanton should’ve been sent away for attempted murder.

      • Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Just an inch from being able to say:
        Murder. The ultimate in virtue signalling.

  13. TJR
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I thought milkshaking was a euphemism for sex?

    • KiwiInOz
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Apparently it brings all the boys to the yard.

  14. Richard Sanderson
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    We all know PZ and ReGreta would start crying and evacuate their bowels as soon as they were confronted with any sort of situation on the street.

    Instead, like a lot of cowards in times past, they like to stir things up from behind their own keyboards (a very sticky and gooey one with regards to PZ) and let others do the dirty work.

    Given some of the stuff PZ has come out with, he would be deserving of a milkshake or to, but I wouldn’t endorse it, even though it would be hilarious.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Instead of carrying a shiv for those pesky christians who might pray for his soul, PZ can now just swing by DQ for a Blizzard™.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Again, I’d prefer to stick to the discussion of ideas and not keep going after people in this way. The comment on the keyboard is totally out of line. Do not do that again.

  15. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and one more thing.

    I have seen liberals, ex-Muslims, progressives, liberal Muslims, Jews, and even Democrats, being labelled as “Nazi”.

    They would be lined up if the likes of PZ and Greta got real, unlimited power, in the USA.

  16. Historian
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Fascism is one of several political terms that is used indiscriminately, often by people who direct it at opponents while not knowing what it means. Indeed, scholars debate what it means. Certainly, the use of physical violence is an element of it, but that behavior alone is not sufficient to define fascism. If that were the case, every street gang or organized crime organization could be labeled as such. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has written a book on fascism. I like her description of fascism as enunciated in this interview.

    —————-

    Well, first of all, I’m troubled by how thoughtlessly people throw around that term. At this point, anybody who disagrees with us is a fascist.

    In the book, I try to argue that fascism is not an ideology; it’s a process for taking and holding power. A fascist is somebody who identifies with one group — usually an aggrieved majority — in opposition to a smaller group. It’s about majority rule without any minority rights. Which is why fascists tend to single out the smaller group as being responsible for or the cause of their grievances.

    The important thing is that fascists aren’t actually trying to solve problems; they’re invested in exacerbating problems and deepening the divisions that result from them. They reject the free press and denounce the institutional structures within a society — like Congress or the judiciary.

    I’d also add that violence is a crucial element of fascism. Whatever else it is, fascism involves the endorsement and use of violence to achieve political goals and stay in power. It’s a bully with an army, really.

    [She goes on.]

    I think what differentiates fascism from other ideological movements is the use of violence and anger to achieve political ends. What you almost always see in fascist regimes is propaganda being used to set people against each other without any potential solutions to any of the problems.

    Fascism is always, in the end, about stirring people up and giving them someone to hate.

    ——————-
    So, is Antifa itself a fascist group? It’s a close call and I wouldn’t object to anyone describing it as such. It has fascistic tendencies as does Trump. The bigger picture is that the Antifa phenomenon is another indication of a society unraveling due to an aggrieved majority unable to handle change. Trump understands this and knows how to manipulate his cult’s inner fascist. Paul Waldman describes him as such: “Trump is a deeply stupid man in many ways, but he has one specific kind of genius: his preternatural ability to sense, locate, and stimulate what is worst in people. Perhaps it’s his decades as a celebrity, perhaps it’s the fact that he is himself burdened by no human virtues or morality, but when it comes to manipulating voters’ most repellent impulses, there’s never been a politician like him.”

    Trump arouses the cult, which stimulates the creation or growth of groups like Antifa, which in turn further angers the cult. The vicious cycle continues. When a society collapses, a strongman usually emerges, and democracy goes away. It can happen here.

    https://www.vox.com/world/2019/2/14/18221913/fascism-warning-madeleine-albright-book-trump

    https://prospect.org/article/not-who-we-are-or-it

    • darrelle
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Regarding that Paul Waldman quote, I couldn’t agree more. He said it far better than any of the attempts I’ve made.

      And my knew go-to definition of fascism, “It’s a bully with an army, really.”

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Yep. Why else did Trump claim ownership of the army? He’s a fascist down to his jellied bones.

        Or perhaps ‘dictator’ would be a better word, since he doesn’t seem to have the basic intellectual depth to have any kind of ideology, even one as simple and primal as fascism.

        Let’s just say that if he isn’t technically a fascist he certainly understands that mindset more instinctively than any politician I’ve ever seen.

  17. Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Sam Harris has a succinct analysis of the “Milk-shaking” phenomenon: It’s someone saying, “I can get to you; and you can’t stop me.”

    That is: Hey you! That milk shake could have been a brick, a bomb, or a bullet. Beware and be intimidated.

    • C.
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. Which is why I mentioned the Jo Brand acid instead of milkshake “joke” above in my post. Here’s a comedian just casually “joking” about throwing acid in the face of a politician. Now if a man had said anything like that, he would have been in all sorts of trouble by the leftists, there would have been an outcry, people pointing out the very real and horrifying harm done to women especially with acid being thrown in their faces, and to the murder of female Labour Party member Jo Cox and how it isn’t something to joke about…As I am certainly left of center and waaay left of what passes for Republicans these days I can understand the anger but not the desire to hurt people. I am so sick of the left’s hypocrisy but then it’s always been there. Most people don’t have the guts to stick to their principles like the non-violent protests under MLK, Medgar Evers, or Gandhi, flawed though they might have been individually.

    • cottontail
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Does that same reasoning apply to gay activists glitter bombing someone?

      When gay activists threw a cream pie in Anita Bryant’s face were they saying they could really have killed her if they wanted?

      I doubt it.

      This hysterical anti-regressive-left crusading is becoming a parody of itself.

      It plays into the right-wing extremists attempts to deflect.

      • C.
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Mr. Ngo ‘s face is exhibit A against your comment. And it’s not the anti-leftist, anti-regressivist, anti-antifa “crusading” that buttresses the right, it’s the leftist, regressivist, antifa that does so.

        • cottontail
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          How is it an exhibit against milkshaking? His injury was due to a punch, not the milkshakes or silly stringing?

          • Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

            So, if you are in public, making political speech, it sounds like you’d be fine with someone, who disagrees with you, lobbing a milkshake into your face or covering you with silly string?

            This is the level of political discourse you are calling for?

            Or is that only for people expressing political ideas that are “wrong”?

            Rather like Trump telling his minions to rough up journalists at his rallies?

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:02 am | Permalink

        Well, glitter has a political point and pies have a tradition and most things have context and exceptions but the observation is still valid.
        I don’t like reading minds as it is the ultimate fail from judgmental oafs, usually on the left, however watching people throw things and abuse Andy Ngo I bet some of those people wish they were throwing rocks or worse.

        And, seeing as Sam Harris does have significant security concerns and has put some thought into this and he is quite smart, I’ll listen to him.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      I am going to opine that milkshaking would seem ok, although admittedly it could backfire. It is a bit like silly-stringing Nazis. Or using a super-soaker (with water) on them. The idea here is that the Nazis want violence so they can respond in kind; and so they can bring up the violent anti-fa as a talking point.
      But it does not look so cool if their beards are full of silly string (which really sticks to hair), or if their fancy uniforms are stained by milkshakes.
      They antifa aren’t protesting against politicians. They are trying to deal with Nazis, remember.

    • harrync
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      I saw some reports that said some of the “milkshakes” were filled with quick-setting plaster. That is, they WERE bricks, not milkshakes.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Probably completely bullshit harrync, though who can know for sure? It looks like the back-and-forth of propaganda media wars to me. [though I can’t be certain of course & now the idea is out there it could easily become ahem concrete…]

        A guy described as an “alt-right troll”, Jack Posobiec retweeted a photo of a leftist group preparing veggie milkshakes at a street stand & Posobiec supposedly claimed they were making these cement milkshake weapons. The guy who took the photo says the picture is innocuous.

        There was also a Tweet from Portland PD requesting people come forward who had been hit by these things. Portland PD were acting on reports received from 3rd parties & not incidents they themselves had seen.

        The tweet in question:

        • rickflick
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for adding a bit of leavening to this bread. Seems to me cooler heads can make things better. Hotheads worse.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

            Exactly. Stirring up tensions & prejudice through misinformation whisper campaigns. Reminds me of the UK legend [probably] of the HARTLEPOOL MONKEY HANGING of the Napoleonic era.

            • rickflick
              Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

              Well, I never knew about this.

              “they concluded that the monkey must be a French spy. Being found guilty, the animal was duly sentenced to death and was summarily hanged on the beach.”

              “An alternative theory is that it was a young boy who was hanged (the term “powder-monkey” was commonly used at the time for children employed on naval warships to prime the cannon with gunpowder).”

              England (if I may use the term in this context) has such a deep history compared to the New World It does encompass much interesting yarn. Humanity tends to do very dreadful things from time to time which become legend and create great stories. I suppose a lot of human culture can be attributed to such craziness.

        • Steve Gerrard
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          Apparently the texture of the milkshakes was what triggered the claim they were cement. They were vegan milkshakes made with coconut, and they don’t look as smooth as a regular milkshake.
          No one reported being hit by cement, or having the stuff get on them and harden up. Some people were also seen drinking the vegan shakes.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted July 23, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Steve. It’s good that you are able to clear up a bit of internet bollocks. Only 973,996 items to go! 🙂

  18. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Those who think it’s amusing to give Ngo his “comeuppance” have to realize that they are on someone’s “take that” list too, based solely on their ideas. So if it’s okay to punch a Nazi, it’s okay for any number of other people to punch you because they don’t like how you think as well. Think about that and envision the kind of world that would be to live in. Remember that atheists aren’t so much liked in many parts of the world.

    • Pelmon
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      And it is incredibly, incredibly, foolish to imagine that “people like us” will prove more adept at political violence should it spread.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Well, it’s pretty self-evident that the liberal-left is not more ‘adept’ at political violence than the right. One look at the statistics in the US would tell you that.

        And I’m reminded regularly in online conversations with Trumpists and his apologists that they ‘have the guns’. Trump said something along those lines himself, just as he claimed ownership of the army and the police. It still staggers me that more was not made of that.

        • EdwardM
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          Yep. One thing for sure is the liberal left is NOT more adept at murder and terror. That kind of political violence seems to be the bailiwick of the right.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

            Nice use of ‘bailiwick’. Always sounded to me like a Dickens character of some kind.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

              Or a tool for playing cricket with.

              • Steve Pollard
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

                Oh please don’t. To some of us, cricket is just not something you can make jokes about. Even when Canadians are trying to play it!

              • rickflick
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

                As in, “He could pitch in the rain. For him a soft pitch was the ticket. A sticky wicket was his bailiwicket”.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

                Exactly.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted July 23, 2019 at 12:48 am | Permalink

                OH my Gawd.
                There I was at silly point but I think i’ll
                wander over to extra cover, then to deep long off and then a slow trek to deep fine leg, by then I could use a rest in slips.

                All the while watching that the bails retain their esteemed place atop the wickets

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      It is quite odd that this simple fact doesn’t get more attention, from them.
      But in their machinations struggle differentiate between ‘Nazi = person who may be punched and abused’ and person who has a different idea I am not holding out much hope.
      And sometimes it isn’t even people with different ideas merely that some people like to question ideas and listen to other viewpoints, even if you don’t agree with them.
      But that can make you punchable too.

      It really is just so odd the way things are at the moment.

  19. Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Who knows what attracts some younger men to hooligan street battles and vandalism but it certainly is not postmodern theory.

    It can be true all at once that reporters should be able to film in public; that journalists should be able to do their job; that there are dangerous situations due to conflict; that it can be outright dumb to not keep a distance to volatile and hostile situations. It can also be true all at once, that some postmodern-influenced writers find justification for the violence.

    I find the violence wrong. But I also got the impression that Ngo was being reckless. He says himself in the interview with Bret Weinstein that he was being “naive”. There is close-up footage from him showing masked protestors (I don’t know if this was from this event, or from another one).

    One can argue that anyone should be able to point your hand, middle finger erect in any direction, even at a bunch of drunken rockers. When you end up with a shiner and a broken nose, I am not applauding the violence, nor do I excuse it, I am merely pointing out that volatile situations exist and it’s not “victim blaming” when I point out some Common Sense, such as not getting too close, or provoke reaction.

    It’s also inconsistent of the Right Wingers to carp on about the violence of Antifa, even labeling them “terrorists”, but then act puzzled when they punch a political opponent who was getting in their hair.

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      “Who knows what attracts some younger men to hooligan street battles and vandalism but it certainly is not postmodern theory.”

      Evolution baby!

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      “I am not applauding the violence, nor do I excuse it”

      The point is that antifa regards violence as a legitimate and moral strategy, even against people who are not violent but holds “right wing” beliefs.

  20. CJColucci
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Antifa violence is a law enforcement problem. Not a large one as far as I can tell, but a real one. If any antifa members (is there a coherent enough organization to have actual “members”?) can be identified as having committed criminal assaults, they should be prosecuted. And if they can be identified, they will be, since they have no politically-consequential defenders. If they can’t be, there’s only so much anyone can do.

  21. cottontail
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    The ADL cautions against such a false equivalence between antifa and the white supremacist fascists.

    “All forms of antifa violence are problematic. Additionally, violence plays into the “victimhood” narrative of white supremacists and other right-wing extremists and can even be used for recruiting purposes. Images of these “free speech” protesters being beaten by black-clad and bandana-masked antifa provide right wing extremists with a powerful propaganda tool.

    “That said, it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose. The antifa reject racism but use unacceptable tactics. White supremacists use even more extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate, to intimidate ethnic minorities, and undermine democratic norms. Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years; they have murdered hundreds of people in this country over the last ten years alone. To date, there have not been any known antifa-related murders.”

    https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/who-are-the-antifa

    The ADL also insists on keeping a focus on where the bulk of the problem is. Right-wing terrorism and violence.

    https://www.adl.org/news/op-ed/right-wing-extremist-violence-is-our-biggest-threat-the-numbers-dont-lie

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if there are more Antifa members or Qanon members. I am much more fearful of the latter.

      • cottontail
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        There’s more to antifa than the fighting and doxing that both the right-wing white supremacist fascists and the anti-regressive-left warriors focus on.

        Caroline Orr is good to follow on Twitter. She gives the other side to the demonization of antifa by both right and left.

        “Apart from the other activities, antifa activists engage in mutual aid, such as disaster response in the case of Hurricane Harvey.[51][52][53] According to Natasha Lennard in The Nation, as of January 2017 antifa groups were working with interfaith groups and churches “to create a New Sanctuary Movement, continuing and expanding a 40-year-old practice of providing spaces for refugees and immigrants”.[54] Antifa activists also do research to monitor and track the “methods and movements of far-right leaders”, hold conferences and workshops on anti-fascist activism, and advocate ways of “fostering sustainable, peaceful communities”, such as “tending neighborhood gardens and setting up booths at book fairs and film festivals” where they provide printed materials.[55]

        “In June 2017, the antifa movement was linked to “anarchist extremism” by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.[56] This assessment was replaced with one in 2019 which states that “Antifa is a movement that focuses on issues involving racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism, as well as other perceived injustices. The majority of Antifa members do not promote or endorse violence; however, the movement consists of anarchist extremists and other individuals who seek to carry out acts of violence in order to forward their respective agendas.[57]”

        • EdwardM
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          WRT to Orr’s apologia for idiots…

          Hamas funds nursery schools and buys medical supplies for hospitals, among other charitable efforts. So you could say there’s more to them than just murderous louts.

          Antifa may do some things on the margins that, if not benign, are at least marginally helpful. But, like Hamas is still a bunch of terrorist thugs despite their charitable works, Antifa are a bunch of violent idiots not worthy of respect or tolerance, irrespective of “outreach with churches” and “research” (ha!) and other window dressings.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted July 23, 2019 at 1:22 am | Permalink

            Beat me to it.

            Maybe I’ll go down and check out all charming neighborly enlightened grooving going on down in hippy Antifa land.

            But I’ll take my full-face helmet, my thick protected motorcycle Jacket and reinforced gloves and boots, just in case some peacenik finds out that I once said Donald Trump didn’t say ALL Mexicans were racist, and I happen to like Quillette.

        • XCellKen
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

          After every recent flood in Houston, Texas, numerous friends of my Anarcho Communist Facebook friend said terrible things about Houstonians, such as we deserved to die in floods, Because we live in a Red State, Even tho Houstonians a very Blue city, and had a Lesbian mayor at the time.

          After Harvey, my friend was bemoaning the fact that many of her friends were once again saying terrible things about Houston after a flood. How we are all White rednecks, etc. I mentioned how diverse our city is, and how many different ethnicities live in my condo complex, both renters and owners. And then a lovely young lady responded with #deathtolandlords !!! I asked her if I deserved to die because I own real estate, and occasionally rent it out on favorable terms. Of course the answer was YES !!!

          I guess my neighbor from Venezuela, of whom I am quite fond, also deserves to die at the hands of this White radical because she is a landlord.

          So that is the type of response I have typically received from Leftists after natural disasters. So excuse me if I am NOT impressed by any Antifa Harvey related relief efforts

  22. Jenny Haniver
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Do we now look forward to blazing gun battles down the line? If so, I’m going to get a gun to defend myself against both groups.

  23. Eric Grobler
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    By that definition many 20th century “left wing” liberation movements could be described as fascist.

    • cottontail
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

      Gay activists glitter-bombing anti-gay bigots are signalling their fascist intentions of murdering their persecutors.

      That’s how ridiculous this anti-regressive-left virtue signalling is getting.

      • Tom B
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 12:58 am | Permalink

        Having grown up in the Deep South Bible Belt you should know that “Gay activists glitter-bombing anti-gay bigots…” is a far cry from the perception of the left that the right wing people I know have.
        Just as people above conflated alt-right, neo-nazi, anti-gay, terrorists a half dozen times with any/everyone whose views tend towards the conservative right, antifa, CAIR, SJW’s, and violent gangs (Bloods and Crips for example) are seen as representative of anyone whose views tend towards the progressive left.
        I am in no way excusing any of the violence perpetrated by any violent group, the violent groups themselves, or the group attributions. I find the vast majority of people to be quite reasonable in quiet discussions and feel group attributions/labels are a facile method of reducing people to labels (and thereby their humanity).
        My own preference is for the abhorrently violent zealots on all sides to get back to the irrelevant fringes where they belong (at least until they are imprisoned and/or die).
        Thank you to all those who recognize and point out how different the extremists are.

  24. phoffman56
    Posted July 23, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I agree 100% with this excellent post by Jerry.

    Not able to avoid thinking of a slightly peripheral matter again, here it is: Because of Antifa’s use of face coverings, it occurs to say again that, though most people with whom I agree on most things probably disagree with this, it is my firm belief that, as in France I believe, facial covering in public should be a minor crime, with just a few obvious exceptions, like scarves at -50 degrees hurricane winds, tiny tot’s costumes, … The claim for freedom, human rights, Xth amendment in US,.. is nonsense.

    So that would apply to a few muslim women and perhaps a few other ‘religious’ unfortunates, as well as Antifa thugs.

    Otherwise, leave people alone to dress and mostly undress as they wish in public.

    No problem then to recognize, then arrest, the thugs, if possible before they get started.

    The ‘freedom fighters’ in Hong Kong at present would sometimes then have a problem (perhaps face coverings are already a crime in China) but that is already a different, much bigger, human problem in parts of the world. I’m talking about ‘western democracies’ above, which hopefully will mean most of the world in a few generations.

    Different topic: I know for a fact that even throwing water at someone is an (occasionally prosecuted, such as against a man living near me) crime of assault here in Canada.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      I don’t know of any laws in the US that prohibit covering your face but it is not uncommon for places of business to have a rule against it. For example, last week I stopped at a convenience store to grab a drink on my way to the office and walked into the store without taking the extra time to doff my helmet. It was a full face helmet with a dark tinted visor. As soon as I cleared the doorway I was told by the clerk that I wasn’t allowed to wear a helmet in the store.

  25. KD
    Posted July 23, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Who doesn’t want to be a good guy?

    Everyone knows that the good guys only use violence in self defense, and violence in self defense is morally justified.

    So, how do “good guys” go on the offense?

    Well, define the Other as the “bad guy”.

    Redefine the ordinary conditions of life (which are inherently hierarchical) as some kind of structural violence against you by the Other, then assert your right to “self defense”.

    What is amazing is that this pretty clumsy political trick works, especially with some sympathetic people holding the megaphone. It worked for the Nazi’s, it worked for the Communists, if you’re the kind of person with ambitions of mass murder, it can work for you.

  26. Posted July 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    This article called “Discipline, Strategy, Morality: Or why beating unarmed writers is a poor way to advance left wing ideas” by Nathan J. Robinson is quite well written in my opinion. (I’m a fan of all of Robinson’s work, by and large):

    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/07/discipline-strategy-and-morality


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