The civic-nationalist counterpunch: More winning
By Daniel M. Ryan
You may have heard that Richard Spencer delivered a speech at Auburn University last Tuesday, which made the national news. Perhaps because Auburn hosts the venerable Ludwig von Mises Institute, Mr. Spencer made a big deal about he not being a libertarian. â€œ[L]ibertarian bull----â€?, â€œ[i]ndividualism is for fagsâ€?, â€œI am a collectivist.â€? If you think Iâ€™m pulling a drive-by hit-piece jobbie, feel free to watch his entire speech and the Q-&As. Youâ€™ll find, amongst other gems, he deploying the quote: â€œ[T]he strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.â€?
Mr. Spencer does have a fair claim to be radical. As Jeffrey Tucker has explained, Mr. Spencerâ€™s political vision draws on a strain of political philosophy that has been dormant for decades. But in his activism, his tactics, Mr. Spencer is the opposite of radical. These days, the radical option is Rod Dreherâ€™s Benedict Option, perhaps retooled: forming a small tight-knit community well under the radar, in a small town or the proverbial woods, that acts as a reverse quarantine against a disease-ridden culture.
Evidently, the radical tactic is the most unpopular tactic.
Instead of heading to the proverbial hills, the New Right is instead fighting back. In Mr. Spencerâ€™s case, he teamed up with lawyer Sam Dickson; they got a judge to issue an injunction against Auburnâ€™s cancellation of Spencerâ€™s already-arranged speech. Ann Coulterâ€™s own speech at Berkeley was cancelled on the same day Mr. Spencerâ€™s was; two days after he sued and won, Ms. Coulter was offered a slot for a later day - albeit under restrictive conditions.
More famously, Saturday-before-lastâ€™s Battle of Berkeley saw New Rightists and free-speech supporters go up against antifa â€“ and win. The antifaâ€™ers ran away, routed. April 15thâ€™s protest, organized by Liberty Revival Alliance's Rich Black, was flooded with New-Right types. Lauren Southern was there, just like she promised on Youtube. And of course, so was Based Stick Man.
Some old-school conservatives are squeamish about the New Rightâ€™s vigour, as it does go against the old-standard â€œDonâ€™t fall to their level.â€? Unfortunately, in an increasingly partisanized time wherein leftists are becoming violent, the civic-nationalist option becomes more and more attractive.
Falling To Their Level â€“ And Winning
In a nutshell, the civic-nationalist option is to fight back using all the legal tools you can get ahold of; it eschews apparently principled daintiness. Instead of disdaining the hate-crime laws as illegitimate, this option means pushing hard to get racist blacks charged with hate crimes against whites when the evidence is overwhelming. If their side doxxes the likes of us, instead of decrying doxxing we dox them. (The identity of the professor who used a bike lock to assault four free-speechers, Eric Clanton, was unearthed by a 4Chan /pol/ack dox squad.) If Obama uses his pen and phone, President Trump uses his own.
In a nutshell, the civic-nationalist option makes the progs eat their own cooking.
True: itâ€™s not as granular as (say) obliging uber-lib suburbs to take in some vibrant diversity, or obliging city councillors who vote for low income housing to have some built in their own wards, but it does go there. Thereâ€™s a fitting, if rough, â€œWrath of the Awakened Saxonâ€? justice to it.
Thereâ€™s increasing evidence that itâ€™s working.
â€œAuntie Fascistâ€?: Genuine Bully
You may have heard of a certain character whom itâ€™s dangerous to laugh at in his presence. This type of fellow, especially when drunk, has a tendency to react to lulz in his face with a haymaker or chair to the skull. Antifa â€“ Auntie Fascist â€“ does share that...characteristic. As Gateway Pundit explains, they became violent after they became laughingstocks.
Bullies do not let loose unless theyâ€™re sure some authority has their backs. We all know that the Mean Girl is one of the popular girls: popular amongst the teachers and administrators, too. As the above-referenced article explains, the authorities in question are left-wing professors. Itâ€™s not confined to them. The otherwise-odd stand-down of the Berkeley police force becomes quite comprehensible when you learn that the Mayor of Berkeley is a member of â€œBy All Means Necessaryâ€? Facebook group. Contrast Auntie Fascistâ€™s militancy in Berkeley with the much more muted response in Auburn. In the latter, there were only three arrests â€“ for disorderly conduct. Thatâ€™s a lot better assaults with deadly weapons.
Do you see why Auntie Fascist being routed was not just pleasing but vital?
Fighting Back Works
Outside of street rumbles, the civic-nationalist fight-back option works just as well: works in places that may surprise, even shock. Through vigorous and skilled lawfare, True the Vote defeated an IRS motion to quash discovery in True the Vote v. IRS. They won a favourable ruling from Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This victory gives True the Vote access to potentially revealing â€“ very revealing - IRS internal docs and communications.
More blessedly, and surprisingly, Drexel University has slammed down on its notorious professor George Ciccariello-Maher. We know how it usually works: the uni issues a smoothly-crafted non-apology, combined with the term â€œacademic freedom,â€? and the miscreant gets off scot-free. Given this usual routine, itâ€™s not surprising why Auntie Fascist acts with impunity in those safe spaces.
But with the case of Prof. Ciccariello-Maher, the script lurched into a different outcome. After Prof. Tenure-Lifetime sent out a tweet encouraging violence against Charles Murray, Drexel started investigating him:
In his most recent letter, [Drexel's Provost Brian] Blake asserts that while social media communications are "protected speech" under the university's academic freedom policy, the policy also imposes a "special obligation" on professors to "act responsibly, particularly where the speech has the potential to affect community safety and the right of all our community members to live, work, and learn in an environment free of undue harassment, hostility, or danger."Remember the not-so-good days when "the nearly unmanageable volume of venomous calls" resulted in those folks playing the victim and complain-bragging about â€œhate mailâ€?? The times, they are definitely changing.
And not just at Drexel. Mizzou, the former employer of Melissa Click, has had to shutter seven dorms because first-year-student enrolment has gone down twenty-five percent. True, these two consequences are only minor cracks in the wall of impunity. But it wasnâ€™t all that long ago when the wall of impunity was adamantine.
Seriously: when was the last decade that you read a provost saying that â€˜the [academic-freedom] policy also imposes a "special obligation" on professors to "act responsibly, particularly where the speech has the potential to affect community safety...â€™ when a left-wing professor crossed the line? Have you ever?
Although itâ€™s not that easy a pill to swallow, the heartening results from full-bore stand-up to Auntie Fascist does show that standing-up-and-toughing-through does work. The following is risible when applied to ideologies, but the facts do show that conservativesâ€™ standing up failed because it hadnâ€™t really been tried: itâ€™s only been tried half-heartedly. One of the depressing implications of the hard-pill is that conservative half-heartedness has not been reasonable or civil: itâ€™s been placatory.
True, there are good reasons not to go full-bore. Some people canâ€™t stand being slandered all over the place; thatâ€™s true. Moreover, the Auntie Fascist goons have cost people their jobs. The latest shaftee was Marius Roodt, the fellow who got the better of the Huffington Post by writing as â€œShelley Garland.â€? If you canâ€™t afford the risk, it is foolhardy to join in.
But if we canâ€™t afford the risk, it threatens nothing but our vanities to stand aside and let the ones who can take the risk do their thing. Theyâ€™re the ones who are showing that stand-fast does work. There is a place for high principle, but the place is not on the field. In the arena, there is a blurred line between being principled and being a ball hog.
Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project.Â He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.