Politics, Regressive Left, Security

The Berkeley Riots and the Tyranny of the Righteous Minority

This is what happened, for the uninitiated. Donald Trump’s Brit cheerleader, self proclaimed supervillain and “dangerous faggot,” agent provocateur Milo had a talk scheduled in Berkeley, the once proud bastion of liberal thought and free speech, the place where the free speech movement and the Anti-Vietnam movement started in 1968. His speech was cancelled after volatile rioting broke out.

Arguably, the last eight years under Obama, as I mentioned in an earlier column, have been the most divisive since late Nixon’s Presidency. The President’s office has not been neutral, they have actively put fuel on the fire, with absurd demands of universities to uphold Title IX over and above other considerations, such the First Amendment. What has been unfolding on U.S. campuses — no platforming, race baiting, and outright censorship — has been left to spiral out of control while all the adults in these situations seem to have completely abdicated all responsibility.

Unfortunately for these radicals, however, Trump has come along and shattered their sense of power. And he has support in actual working-class America. What you see now is the fury of the privileged, petulant few, who are used to getting their way including censoring “others” for their “problematic” world views. The people who opposed Trump, the broadly liberal media, the Hollywood celebrities, the pundit and Twitter experts didn’t expect him to win, and their resultant convulsive shock, threat inflation and hysteria promotion, may actually lead to them to having blood on their hands, sooner that they can imagine.

There’s no point in dwelling on the irony of supposed “anti-fascists” pepper spraying a young woman for wearing MAGA hat, or beating a free speech activist with metal poles to a pulp, or random acts of arson and vandalism, all to censor a sassy gay Conservative, who once openly stated that his biggest fear is Islamists in the West trying to kill homosexuals. The shocking absurdity of rioting against someone speaking with a different viewpoint, and claiming oneself to be an anti-fascist, is qualitatively comparable only to a Women’s March led by a pro-Hijab, Saudi apologist, or a Science March led by gender studies advocates. They are all almost comically baffling, but true nonetheless.

The rage against Milo bears the hallmark of impotence that comes from the loss of a narrative. The entire narrative of the Western left is one of structural, systemic exploitation by the forces of patriarchy, economics, and social-conservatism. Milo, regardless of how odious and abhorrent some of his views may be, is a living antithesis to this narrative. He is a charismatic gay icon, with a tremendous ultra macho conservative/libertarian male follower base. His followers, contrary to conventional wisdom, include leftists as well as right wingers, classical liberals and neocons, both men and women, joined by a common cause of defending free speech and opposing Islamism.

Milo Yiannopoulos

Milo is not necessarily a good author, in fact his prose is often painfully mediocre. He is a much better speaker, which has a lot to do with his Gordon Gekko charm. But Milo is successful, and the left hates success. How on earth can a gay man, conservative, and have an independent brain of his own and not have solidarity with the only other notable class of post-modern designated victims, the Muslims of the Middle East? It’s not bafflingly complicated, in fact it is quite obvious why, given the prevalent view about homosexuality in Islamic world. But the Western left remains willfully obtuse.

The success of Milo lies in his carefully constructed persona, and his provocative almost borderline crusader zeal to take up causes, which are actually quite in tune with a significant majority of the Western population. For example, it is a persistent myth that the gender pay gap exists, and is repeatedly disproved by economists. But the media and the postmodern left still feeds that narrative, so Milo took it upon himself to point out the facts. The questionable wisdom of giving asylum to scores of male South Asian economic migrants with repressive sexual tendencies and violently orthodox social views, all in the name of saving refugee children from warzones, was left untouched by many. But Milo took up the cause. According to a latest poll, a majority of Americans support Trump’s clumsy but legal Executive Order of extreme vetting. But you won’t get that from the news or media — Milo, on the other hand, will take it up.

When the common public observe that someone like Milo reflects their ideas, rather than just spouting the established gatekeeper story-lines, they naturally flock around him. All Milo has to do is speak the truth and reflect the public opinion. Something which is essentially the job of everyone in the media — but which is is something that the media repeatedly fails to do.

If liberalism is fundamentally about freedom of expression against any sort of ideological orthodoxy, Milo is by definition the truest living classical liberal of them all. And the rioters are determined to prove him right, with his fundamental point that the left is terrified of free speech. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not right wing violence that is the greatest threat facing Western society but it the increasing, home-grown ultra leftwing authoritarianism. After all, no Tea Partier went and smashed businesses with placards like “Kill Trump”. As Molly Hemingway has written, resistance against a democratically elected leader is in essence resistance against the people. By definition, these rioters are the tyrannical minority.

To be fair, those who rioted are not liberals, nor are they working class. They are anarchists and Marxists, having an adrenaline rush and taking photos with their iPhone, led on by the masturbatory fantasies of Madonna blowing up the white house (no pun). But it is liberals who have allowed this to happen. The rioters against Milo, a handful of modern day puritans, who have taken it upon themselves to decide what’s best for the rest of the society, are a manifestation of what Pierre Pasolini once referred to as the revolution of the anthropologically middle class bourgeoisie.

One of the signs in the riots was “Become Ungovernable”, a slogan of the French students from the 1960s. Well, we all know what happened after that. Every revolution begs for a reaction, and human societies are by nature conservative and prefer order over chaos. Perhaps the current followers of Robespierre should read some Rousseau, or Auden or Solzhenitsyn. Order will be restored with brutal force, if necessary, as societal anarchy never stays for long. Unfortunately, those calling for war, might just get one in return.

 

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK. His research is in Great power politics and Neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

Filed under: Politics, Regressive Left, Security

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Sumantra Maitra is Doctoral Researcher on Great power politics and Neo-Realism, with a special focus on Russia at the University of Nottingham, UK. He writes for War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and is a regular analyst for The Centre for Land Warfare Studies, India. He holds a Masters of Journalism and Mass Communication, and a Masters of International Studies, both with distinctions.

21 Comments

  1. Rioters deserve to be treated with the full force of the law. That said, to prattle on and on about the liberals this and the liberals that, and THEN get to the bottom of the article and say “To be fair…..” and state they really aren’t liberals…how does that square?

    The idiots out breaking glass don’t represent the general opinions of liberals anymore than the Klan represents all of conservative thought. Tarring the other side based on the actions of the extremes is wrong on both sides. Unfortunately, the charge regarding the students and their “hurt feelings” is all too true.

    • Maneesh Singh says

      Then why do they hate the superrich and blame all their miseries on them .

      • Simon says

        They don’t. They simply point out that under capitalism, capital begats capital (I’ll leave you to figure out the longterm downside of this fact).

  2. “The rioters against Milo, a handful of modern day puritans, who have taken it upon themselves to decide what’s best for the rest of the society”…? Yes just a tad off here.

  3. You want to know the real reason the Leftists are more hysterical about this election result and THIS inauguration? Much more than after previous Republican victories? I’ll tell you.

    It’s not because Trump is in any way worse than any Republican President before him, it’s because his win robbed them of the ONE chance they had of a TOTAL victory, not just for the Presidency, but for America in perpetuity.

    If Hillary won as everyone on the Left expected, anticipated, believed, America would have effectively become a ONE PARTY state. The Democrats would be the PRI del Norte.

    With Hillary to complete Obama’s goal of transforming America into a Socialist Progressive Cosmonik “paradise”, they would have total control of the Supreme Court, and Hillary’s Executive Orders would ensure that regardless of a majority in both houses of Congress, the frogmarch to deviancy would continue.

    Trump spoiled what they fully expected to be their finest moment in more than 50 years. Everything from 1960s Flower Power onward has been, for a certain section of Left, an “inevitable” journey to absolute dominance of the American political scene.

    And, the most — the absolutely MOST infuriating thing about it is if the Republicans had nominated Jeb like they were supposed to — and as everyone had expected them to — it would have happened.

    • The frogmarch to deviancy apparently incudes the non-prosecution of the megabank and corporate CEO’s responsible for the Great Recession and countless fraud scandals since then. What’s so conservative about that?

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  5. SSCat says

    What happened in the 1960s in France?

    I honestly don’t know, can someone fill me in please?

  6. Jonathan says

    “To be fair, those who rioted are not liberals, nor are they working class. They are anarchists and Marxists… But it is liberals who have allowed this to happen.”

    Author reflecting on how to get past this rough patch: “I know perfectly well that uber-liberal Berkeley’s administration forcefully defended Yiannopoulos’s right to speak and that the vast majority of people protesting that night did so responsibly. But it would be pedestrian simply to denounce the tiny, indefensible group of idiots who actually committed this violence. So in a single sentence lacking evidence or argument, I’ll assert that it was within the power of the liberals to keep this from happening, but that they ‘allowed it to happen’ anyway. After that I’ll blow a little smoke about the revolution of the anthropologically middle class bourgeoisie and close with some condescending reading recommendations. Job done!”

    PS: “To be fair” is priceless.

  7. I defy you to know with certainty what was in the minds of the folks who committed the violence at Berkley – none were arrested, so no interviews of any kind. Might have been ‘regressive leftists’ might be ‘paid provocateurs’ as charged by trump. Could have been a ‘black flag’ op as speculated by Robert Reich. In the absence of knowledge of their motives it is impossible to draw much of a conclusion of any kind. They were NOT the ‘normal’ protesters – they came armed, and clothed for a fight, entirely different from the chanting, sign carrying body made up of mostly students. Reports of folks on the street claimed the violent folks were more or less indescriminate about whom they abused, but seemed just bent on disruption for it’s own sake. This also pretty disconnected from the ‘main stream’ protests of the last 2 weeks at which there have been a very low incidence of violence (the DC inauguration violence was also a small band of black-clad and masked individuals that might fairly be called ‘anarchists’ – can not pin them to left or right (though many were arrested – it’s murky what the motives were – especially after officers admitted arresting a bunch of journalists in the net – then charging all with felony riot (10 yr prison)…might be good reason to be rowdy.
    I’m old enough to recall Kent state – and the movement against Viet Nam that sprang from NYU, Columbia, Ann Arbor, Madison and Eugene. Paranoid republican president violating rights all over the joint, and cops busting any head that dared to grow long hair. I am desperately hoping the current situation does not devolve to that again.
    Part of the ‘disillusionment of the left’ is that we are fighting these struggles 50 years after they seemed to have been won – to have knowledge and education not viewed as ‘elite’, but rather as the principal way forward – decency and transparency in government – women’s rights – environmental sanity – the ascendancy of evidence based medicine and general science. Now, in one very illegitimate election it’s 1964 all over again. This is NOT the destiny my generation was working toward. You bet we are pissed. And we are not dead yet. We have a LOT of power to push this right-wing racist mess back under the rocks from which it emerged – the only place it can expect to reside for long.

    • The DNC did nothing wrong! Hillary is not corrupt! Everything I do not like is the fault of RUSSIA!

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