Certain mechanisms dictate tactical choices in political interplay. A great deal of ink and trillions of pixels have been expended upon the rudeness and indecency of the tactics that currently prevail. The commentary from the Right has been disapproving: explicit denunciations of those tactics and of those who publicly employ them, and exhortations to conservatives’ to observe traditional standards of civility in discourse.
Those denunciations are wrong. Those who issue them are shortsighted, deluded, pink-glassed believers that we live a society that no longer exists. And I’m here to tell you why.
Progressives have found a rallying cry in their opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency. Whether in the New York Times, on the John Oliver Show, or in protests in the nations’ streets, they are insisting that Trump is “not normal.” News media and elected officials not considered critical enough of Trump are criticized for normalizing him and his ideas. Suddenly progressives, of all people, are deeply concerned about our culture’s long-held norms and traditions.
The irony in all of this is crystal clear. These are the same people who over the past few years have insisted that five-year-old boys becoming five-year-old girls is normal. They tell us that a guaranteed basic income and running for president as a Socialist is normal. Forcing Catholic hospitals to offer birth control, undocumented immigrants voting in our elections, and abolishing the police: normal, normal, and normal.
In Donald Trump, with his admittedly dangerous, devil-may-care attitude, progressives have stumbled upon the value of conserving norms and traditions. A president just doesn’t say these awful things about his opponents and the media. A president doesn’t tweet attacks at enemies late at night. A President doesn’t put a controversial figure like Steve Bannon a few doors down from the Oval Office.
But here’s the thing: it’s too late. We are way past that now. The Left let its freak flag fly. We all saw it. No normal is the new normal and there is no clear way back from that.
The sardonic tone is unconcealed. “Here’s what you’ve accomplished, Leftists. Now you’re reaping the consequences. Like ‘em?” It’s nothing out of the ordinary from a conservative; conservatives are aware that the reasons certain things are “not done” is because the norm protects everyone, and that everyone will suffer if it falls. You’d expect more of the same, and you’d get some of that...but here’s the capper:
A big part of what conservatives are meant to conserve is decency, decorum, and respect. We should oppose shouting expletives at those we disagree with. We should oppose public shaming and boycotts. We should oppose cruel mockery as a legitimate means to achieve our ends.
Those on the alt-right and their apologists tell us that we must use the Left’s tactics to defeat them. This is wrong. It’s wrong because there is no distinction between tactics and politics, you cannot defeat something by becoming it.
The complete vacuity of that passage took my breath away. Though Marcus is plainly aware of the value of norms of civility, he’s clueless about the mechanism that brings them into existence and restores them after a breach.
Next up is this pungent piece from Ace of Spades HQ:
There's a frustrating game that the left plays with conservatives. It's an Alinksy tactic called, "Make them live up to their values." Now, living up to one's values isn't a bad thing, but setting high standards ultimately means that you'll sometimes fall short.
The left loves to exploit these shortcomings--every Christian who falls short of perfection is a hypocrite; the social values candidate you voted for just got arrested for drunk driving. Haha, everything you believe and advocate is now discredited.
They got away with it for years, waving away the lies, hypocrisy, indiscretions, and criminal behavior from their own politicians while beating the right mercilessly with the missteps of their own. It's effective because the right always maintains a baseline of integrity not displayed by the left, as evidenced by comparing what happens to Republican politicians when they're caught in criminal behavior with what happens to Democrats. Republican voters and politicians reluctantly dump the malefactor while Democrats defend their guy and launch an offensive against those who demand accountability.
And then came along Trump, a guy just ripe for demonization by the left. I think it's fair to say that even his early supporters worried that the Democrats would successfully make him toxic to the general voting public with his boorish behavior, vulgarity, multiple bankruptcies and very public divorces.
But something strange happened. Not only did Donald Trump not care about attacks on his character, neither did anyone else. We saw this new paradigm assert itself over and over during the primary throughout repeated media predictions that this time he's gone to far and he's cooked.
The same sense of norms destroyed emanates from that passage as from the Marcus essay. But watch how the author concludes:
There aren't any rules anymore because the left only applies them one way. And in doing so, they've left what once was a civil compact between the two parties in smoldering ruins....
Further, I no longer have any investment in any particular political values, save one: The rules created by the left will be applied to the left as equally and punitively as they have applied them to the right. And when they beg for mercy, I'll begin to reconsider. Or maybe not. Because fuck these people.
This new philosophy has freed me of more emotional angst that I can describe. Literally nothing the left says or does matters to me anymore. I don't care about their tantrums. I don't care about their accusations. I don't care if they say Trump is lying. I don't care if Trump is lying.
They created this Frankenstein. They own it. I am free of all obligation. I will never play defense again. I will attack, attack, attack, attack using their own tactics against them until they learn their lesson.
What I will not do is let them play my values against me ever again. I don't need to prove that I'm better than them. I already know it.
The author has accurately delineated the emotional response of those of us who’ve had it with the Left’s ways: not their political postures, though they’re odious enough, but their public tactics. “You want to play rough? You think you can browbeat us but force us to be nice? Well, according to the language we speak, no rules means no rules. We have a Hulk, and he’s going to make you wish you’d never dared to try it.”
David Marcus would deplore this, as he did at the conclusion of the article I cited above. But he’s wrong to do so, even though the ugliness of what has begun, and what will surely follow, are themselves deplorable...as are we.
[I]t has been said more than once that you should choose enemies wisely, because you are going to become just, or at least, much like them. The corollary to this is that your enemies are also going to become very like you....
If I could speak now to our enemies, I would say: Do you kill innocent civilians for shock value? So will we learn to do, in time. Do you torture and murder prisoners? So will we. Are you composed of religious fanatics? Well, since humanistic secularism seems ill-suited to deal with you, don't be surprised if we turn to our churches and temples for the strength to defeat and destroy you. Do you randomly kill our loved ones to send us a message? Don't be surprised, then, when we begin to target your families, specifically, to send the message that our loved ones are not stationery.
[Tom Kratman, A Desert Called Peace, Afterword]
This theme has been on my mind since I viewed Cassie Jaye’s fine new documentary on the Men’s Rights movement. Much of that film is about the nature of the response from the feminist Left to the emergence of a Men’s Rights Activism. Feminists, particularly feminist activists, aren’t just opposed to the Men’s Rights community; they seek to silence and destroy it. That’s not the “dialogue” the Left has so often told us it seeks. Then again, the Left-organized street riots and widespread vandalism of Inauguration Weekend have made it plain that the Left’s notion of “dialogue” is “Shut up and do as we say or we’ll hurt you.”
“By their tactics shall ye know them,” as I would once have said. But we in the Right are steadily moving our tactics in an uncivil direction. We must; there’s no other path toward survival. More to the point, there’s no other way to restore the previous norms of public civility and decency.
People learn from consequences. Indeed, we learn in no other way. The consequences of remaining polite and restrained in the face of Leftist provocations have been terrible, as David Marcus observed above. The inexorable conclusion is that war has been forced upon us – and war of the most horrifying sort, at that: a war that knows no rules.
"What is combat, Christine?"
"What is combat? How does it differ from other kinds of human interaction?"
"Well, you're trying to hurt somebody."
Louis cocked an eyebrow. "You're never trying to hurt somebody under other circumstances?"
She thought it over. "Well, yeah."
"So what's the difference?"
"Well, you have to have an opponent."
He waited in silence.
"And he has to be trying to stop you."
"From doing what?"
"Whatever you're trying to do!" She was growing impatient.
"And what are the rules?"
"Um, do there have to be any?"
He shook his head. "There have to be none."
"You heard me. If it's combat, it has no rules, only objectives. That's really the defining characteristic."
He went to a wooden rack across from his punching bag and lifted a large, gently curved sword from it. She had never seen him handle the thing before, and had wondered why he had it.
"This is a medieval saber. A thousand years ago, it was one of the most potent weapons a man could carry. Moreover, possession was restricted by law. You had to be a member of the ruling class to own one legally."
He swung the sword in a complex pattern that defeated her attempt to track it.
"You can kill with one of these, if you have enough strength and skill. Of course, it's a little conspicuous, and it takes a lot more effort to use than most people would guess. Would you want to have to tote one around?"
"And why is that?" He laid the tip of the saber in his left hand and held out the sword as if offering it to her.
"Because there's better available. We have guns now."
He nodded. "Yes, we do. And for quite a wide range of combat situations, a gun is a better weapon than a sword. In fact, there are a number of cases where bare hands are better than a sword, but that's beside the point for now. If you were in a combat situation, where you had this and your opponent had a gun, what could you do about it?"
She looked hard at the old weapon. It had a certain antique beauty and simplicity, but she couldn't imagine ever wanting to wield it.
"Not a lot. Try to take the gun away from him, maybe?"
Louis snorted. "I hope you never have to do that, Chris. The odds are going to be on his side. But one thing you wouldn't do is to shout, 'Hey, that's not fair.' Right?"
She laughed. "Silly man!"
His face went dark. "I'm trying to make a very important point here, Chris. Combat means no rules. What he has is what you have to deal with, period. If you can't face his size, his skills, or his armament, you'd better be prepared to run. "
[From On Broken Wings.]
That is where we stand, socially and politically: locked in mortal combat with a community that knows no rules and no decency, whose battlefield is unbounded, and that admits no conception of “non-combatant.”
They cannot be reasoned with.
They cannot be seduced into emulating us.
And they cannot be defeated with milquetoast tactics.
Those are the only conclusions anyone determined to survive, prosper, and live once again in a decent society could possibly draw.
Are you horrified? I am. I detest what has been forced upon us. But I want my society and my nation back. We can’t get there by pretending that there’s no war in progress. If we don’t defeat our enemies, they will exterminate us; it’s their openly avowed intention.
So we must fight – and we must observe no more limits than our enemies.
The Left has embraced open warfare: street violence intended to intimidate those its “softer” tactics have not silenced. The implications are terrible; many cities are likely to become un-navigable if not utterly unlivable. But the war cannot be wished away merely because we’d rather it had never begun.
Think about it.