Protest Cults

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of left-wing protests. The first I recall was on the Mall in Washington in the 80’s. I no longer recall what they were protesting, but I recall a stubby old women with a bullhorn hanging off her hip. She was screaming something rhythmic, but the audio was unintelligible. The whole scene was just a freak show for no other purpose than for the freaks to be seen. Tourists took pictures and everyone else just ignored it. It was just a part of the rich pageantry of American democracy.

With some exceptions, that’s the model for all lefty protests. At American Renaissance last year, Antifa and a local women’s group put on an all day freak show for the conference attendees. Some were there to “protests the Nazis”, but most were there for reasons that ran from the obscure to the mysterious. Some appeared to be having some sort of hallucinatory break with reality, rhythmically screaming and twirling around or just making crazy faces at people. Again, the point was to put on a show for onlookers.

This year, the authorities penned them up so passersby could not see them. The only way to get a clean look at the protesters was from the top floor of the conference center and you needed binoculars. I counted maybe 40 people in the protest pen at the peak and at least ten were “media.”  The rules against masks and weapons scared off many of the Antifa, but the rest stayed away knowing they would not be able to put on a show. If a protests happens in the woods and no one sees it, did it really happen?

The general consensus on these groups is that outside of the ones financed by Soros and the Democrats, they are just fringe loonies looking for a reason to protest. The guy with the boot on his head shows up at all sorts of events. There’s an enormously obese black guy, who gets wheeled into protests around the country. He usually just sits in a beach chair so people can take pics of him. Then there are the anarchist that just want to smash things and rumble in the streets. Again, it is just a performance that means nothing.

For the last month or so I have been monitoring a bunch of social media accounts of prominent protesters. Mostly it was in preparation for AmRen, but when you scan a lot of them you can’t help but notice the patterns. These people define themselves within their movement by their association with specific events. There’s no normal human back and forth, just trading links and pics from the events they attended. The other type of post is sympathy for some fringe action, as if they get credit by proxy, for the action.

An example of what I mean is this HuffPo piece. Christopher Mathias is actually just an Antifa member they pay to submit field reports for them. Like everyone in these protest movements, he struggles with his sanity. His “report” is actually just a testament to the fact he was there. The protest was a flop as hardly anyone showed up and they were sequestered in a holding pen away from everyone. That left little social credit to be gained from the action, other than tweets and selfies from those who bothered to attend.

I recently had some interaction with a local group affiliated with Antifa, at least that’s what they said. They may have been boasting, but they were definitely into the protest life. That was the thing. All they talked about was where they had been and the “actions” they had done. It was what got me thinking about these protest groups functioning like a cult, where the events are social credits within the subculture. If all you talk about and all you focus on in your life is the events you attended, the attendance has a lot of value to you.

What it brought to mind is people who get into narrow hobbies like model trains or some sort of collecting. They get together not to trade information about their hobby, but to display what they have or what they know. Their events are peacocking festivals so they can display their social capital. Oddly, prisons work on a similar dynamic. Prison ink is about advertising your history in the system and your violence capital. That suggests the protest culture is entirely inward looking and not really about getting our attention.

This would explain why they have started to fight with one another. The alt-right has retreated from the real world and has stopped fighting with Antifa on-line. The affiliated actors like TWP have evaporated. If your thing is to protest other fringe groups and those fringe groups have left the field, you end up protesting yourself. Or in the case of some, like Lacy MacAuley, they start jump from one momentary issue to the next. It’s the old gag. Question: What are you rebelling against? Answer: What have you got?

None of this may seem all that interesting, but it raises questions about modernity. This phenomenon did not exist in the 19th century or the 15th century. These subcultures rooted in vague and shifting causes did not exist in our grandparents age. A major reason is the splintering of society on the rocks of diversity. There’s also the collapse of mainstream Christianity and the related collapse of traditional social arrangements. These sorts of subcultures were denied oxygen in a thriving and dominant mainstream culture.

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Andrew
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Andrew

Not only have cultural norms broken down but basic economics too. In the past most of these people would have been embarrassed to do what they are doing.
Another thing to consider. We are no longer a society of needs but wants. In times past there wasn’t time for such foolishness because one had to work to survive. Now with government handouts and certain groups funding this stuff one doesn’t have to have an honest job. These characters can act like Peter Pan and never have to grow up.

joey junger
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joey junger

As the writer William Wharton once said, “There’s no end to the absurd things people will do trying to make life mean something.” If you read the early diaries of political fanatics, one of the things they seem to have in common (regardless of how different and hostile to each other they are) is that they are adrift, searching for meaning, and miserable with their insignificant lives, the drudgery of their jobs, and their empty relationships. Read Goebbels’ early Gauleiter journals and he sounds uncannily like an angry barista who is a frustrated screenwriter by night or something like that.… Read more »

fodderwing
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fodderwing

“…subcultures were denied oxygen in a thriving and dominant mainstream culture.” A great point, and it got me wondering — when and where was the genesis of this sort of agitation? Deep down, I feel badly for these pathetic people.

Whiskey
Guest

View the late Medieval period was filled with cults and weirdos. Some like Francis were brought int o the Church as organized street preachers. Others were suppressed

james wilson
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james wilson

Yeah, the Anabaptist movement and the siege of Munster were Branch Dravidians times 10,000. People streamed in from all over Germany to get in the action. The Catholic shackles had been broken by the Lutherans and lordy lordy look what all came out.

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

Being technically descended from Shakers on one side (yes, possible) can tell you we did have plenty of our own domestically produced weirdos.

fredcdobbs
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fredcdobbs

True. But they more or less kept to themselves. “More”, actually. The modern versions are attention whores.

Saml Adams
Guest
Saml Adams

The advantage of once having a frontier

fredcdobbs
Guest
fredcdobbs

Lacy, Lacy, Lacy….And to think you could have used that hotness for good, instead of eeeevil. LOL

Quite literally a professional protester……Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, several events in her DMV home……..just so far this year. Goodness gracious…..what a mental case…..Spending one’s entire life protesting must take its toll.

Herman Snerd
Member

Ten years from now Lacy, if she isn’t deceased or in a Supermax, will disavow her theatrics, clean up her act, and enter the yuppie track as most of the 60s radicals eventually did. Not “history” for me. I was there.

Member

I blame the parents – most specifically the fathers. These are rudderless people who have been failed by the people who should have given them guidance in the formative periods of their upbringing. For young men especially there’s a problem. You can’t go off and attack the other tribe to blood yourself as a rite of passage these days… except as a gang member. The gangs are doing something right that has been lost from the larger society. Everyone is too hooked on words: symbols rule the world.

Saml Adams
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Saml Adams

Well, in the good old days no one would have fed these miscreants, so they would have starved.

Drake
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Drake

This. When food and physical security are serious issues, the mind tends to focus on more important stuff than virtue signalling hobbies.

Member

It’s annoying isn’t it. I don’t really want to end my comfy little life but I want to see theirs end. But I’m afraid they will all have to go together

Lineman
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Lineman

Probably one of the main reasons it hasn’t popped off yet…

dearieme
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dearieme

They remind me of sundry Christian oddities over the past couple of thousand years.

dearieme
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dearieme

Let me take that further. What did the conventional Jewish ruling class in Jerusalem think of Jesus and his backcountry followers when they showed up? They, the ruling priesthood, couldn’t have known to begin with that he was bent on suicide by cop. Did they at first assume that he was just another fraudulent magician? Suspect that he might be just another apocalyptic loonie? Did it need his interrogation to persuade them that he was sane, deadly serious, and a potential menace to public order in their crowded city?

james wilson
Guest
james wilson

When mom swears to the neighbors she’s a virgin the kid is the one left to deal with that. They say kids can be cruel.

Member

In Citizen Kane the main character is asked by his childhood authority figure what he wants to be and Kane replies, “Whatever you hate.”
Pretty well sums up the relationship between left and right.

Member

Truly. And if I had the power, I would shove everything the left hates and fears right into their faces.

Member

“What are you rebelling against?”

That line came from the 1953 Marlon Brando film “The Wild One”. The answer, “Whadya have?” was delivered by the Brando character.

Member

The lower classes and bikers don’t say “have”. They say “got”. The line is “whadya got?” Big difference.

John Smith
Member

As something of a geek hobbyist myself (RC aircraft) I dislike being compared to nutters that walk around with boots on their heads or street thugs. Our events are peacocking? We most certainly do trade info, socialize, and try to get the noobs started off on the right foot. Is The Hater’s Ball about “peacocking”? I think that is exactly the problem here – people just don’t have anything better to do, so they make a hobby out of annoying other people. The authorities responded correctly too, unlike last time when they set the stage for a brawl. Stupid people… Read more »

Ron
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Ron

Agreed. Protests and public parading takes no skill, no effort, and the payoff is gaining attention like a hyperactive 2-year-old any which way he can. Even negative attention is better than being ignored.

Member

Seems like Grateful Dead fans only hate filled. They are just disturbed people , nothing really political about most of them.

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

What did the Deadhead say when the drugs wore off? “This music sucks!”

Thucydides
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Thucydides

Protest is a phenomenon of our times and symptomatic of our problems. In the aftermath of the breakdown of moral community, there is no rational means of resolving moral argument because there is no longer sufficient agreement on moral basics. Protest may have some influence on public opinion, but it cannot be a rational influence. It is not argument, but rather the display of emotional affirmation for that which cannot be rationally established.

The phenomenon is discussed in Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, which is highly recommended.

Member

I’m reading that right now

TomA
Guest
TomA

Protest culture is yet another side-effect of our modern day affluence and the demise of survival-of-the-fittest. When you no longer have to excel at survival skills (because of welfarism), then you are driven to substitute a pseudo-form of artificial competition. These people are empty inside because they are dependent and therefore worthless to themselves and others. In order to suppress this nagging self-hatred, they pitch a fit and hope someone notices.

Rich Whiteman
Guest
Rich Whiteman

Yup. Idle hands, pointless lives, idiot parents and commie teachers – and a full larder. Nothin’ else to do!

4kx3
Guest

Zman A truly great phrase: splintering of society on the rocks of diversity. On a historical note, it seems that some segment of humanity has always had a desire to be seen in public. In the days before television and before there was substantial business to be disrupted, communities had parades of all sorts usually three or four a year. Any significant involvement by the military always included some sort of parade, and parading was part of military training. Remember the military bands? Many parades involved some sort of speech. The people got entertained and the politicians had a vehicle… Read more »

Spud Boy
Guest
Spud Boy

Fox News web site top story: “South Korean president backs Trump for Nobel Prize for helping thaw peninsula”

CNN’s web site top story: “ANALYSIS The 57 most outlandish lines from Trump’s Michigan rally” No mention on the page at all concerning improved relations with North Korea.

I find it comical that each side now has its own news.

Member

Yeah, Comical. I can’t stop laughing.

steveaz
Guest
steveaz

Here in Arizona we just endured the ridiculous spectacle of “Teachers” protests. I put scare quotes around teachers because their main beef seems to be that administrative personnel like bus drivers, counselors and the rest of the circus that attends to the government’s education monopoly are entitled to fat raises on the tax payers’ dime, not just the teachers. Notable among the attendees in these rank displays were lots of children, too. They are used as props to give the whole affair a patina of innocence. And if that benevolent glint doesn’t distract the eye, then the parading of non-voting… Read more »

Herrman
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Herrman

As usual, I disagree this is something new or unusual. It did indeed exist in past centuries: in most societies there’s always been a mob-in-waiting, ready to be called up for a good old-fashioned witch burning or heretic stoning. Most often these mobs were being cynically manipulated by some local behind-the-scenes puppet-master for his own nefarious ends (e.g. want that land, want that woman, want that gold). The difference now is the ease of communication and transportation western civ has brought to the world. Now the rent-a-mobs can be coordinated across vast distances then shuttled around like so much mail… Read more »

Anonymous White Male
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Anonymous White Male

“All they talked about was where they had been and the “actions” they had done.” You commented on the Grateful Dead phenomenon. I knew a couple of Dead Heads that traveled around following the band. There are also “Parrot Heads”, followers of Jimmy Buffett. I think the entire music thing expresses this type of event driven focus quite well. If you talk to a Dead Head, you will hear where they saw the Dead, what year it was, how they played a certain song that night, and, if they had the equipment, you might be forced to listen their recording,… Read more »

bad guest
Guest
bad guest

A major reason is the splintering of society on the rocks of diversity Other reasons are the Student Loan program, SSI, Social Security for the ‘disabled’, etc. And much of this largesse is permitted because we do not have sound money. If the U.S. government could not print money to fund all manner of fools, in addition to all manner of foolishness and international intrigue, we would live in a much different world. You know what I mean by sound money. Money backed by gold – or other valuable commodities a la Keynes and the Bancor. But lacking any current… Read more »

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Across the street from my place of work is the local office of one of the Congressional critters, ensconced in a larger office building. Every few weeks, the same new air-conditioned bus shows up, and out comes a bus load of protesters. They always have coordinators with bullhorns, helium inflated globes, and a couple of people to pass out “homemade” signs. Always different issues, but mostly the same people. They are carefully coached and march around in orderly and noisy fashion, until the local TV news crews show up. About 30 seconds after the last news crew leaves, they are… Read more »

Member

Kind of reminds me of Ralph Wolf and Sam the Sheepdog.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kerUbfOQTW0

Abelard Lindsey
Guest
Abelard Lindsey

“These subcultures rooted in vague and shifting causes did not exist in our grandparents age. A major reason is the splintering of society on the rocks of diversity. There’s also the collapse of mainstream Christianity and the related collapse of traditional social arrangements. These sorts of subcultures were denied oxygen in a thriving and dominant mainstream culture.” No, no, and again no. The reason why we have this crap today and not in the past is that there is enough physical surplus in society, due to industrialization, technology, and economic growth, that people now have the time to engage in… Read more »

Member

I get the gist. But I can’t fully commit against protests/protesters as a concept. Seems to me that the Right is unconsciously against Protests simply because the protesters are on the opposite team. If the paradigm were switched, and the One-Worlders were the minority trying to grow their movement, I’d be part of the protesters trying to snuff it out before it got a foothold. I’d be the Alt-Right Antifa. And so would you.

LineInTheSand
Guest
LineInTheSand

The “enormously obese black guy” is Daryle Lamont Jenkins and he maintains an online database of right wing crimethinkers, http://onepeoplesproject.com/. Z Man, If you apply yourself, you may end up on this database yourself someday.

Member

Wow, that’s a pretty lame list. He’s not even trying. It’s woefully incomplete and his entry on John Derbyshire doesn’t even include “The Talk: Nonblack Version.” I’m offended on John’s behalf!

(Ironically, “The Talk: Nonblack Version” is mentioned in James O’Keefe’s entry)

Joseph Suber
Guest
Joseph Suber

I owned a hobby/game store for 15 years where people painted up tabletop armies for Warhammer 40,000 and other games. The value proposition I offered was a heartfelt connection to a bit of plastic, chosen and hand painted by the collector, and brought to glorious battles with other patrons on tabletops filled with miniature scenery and obstacles.

Thanks to your post, I now see how this worked as a way to develop identity in an otherwise barren and fractured full-scale suburban landscape. Antifa as bauble collectors – makes sense!

Member

This phenomenon did not exist in the 19th century or the 15th century. These subcultures rooted in vague and shifting causes did not exist in our grandparents age.

Welfare. They’re not hungry. If you’re hungry then that’s all you have time for.

gramsci
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gramsci

Lol I knew I recognized Lacy MacAuley’s name from somewhere: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/antifa-chick-goes-turkey-muslim-loverboy-gets-raped-beaten/

Good post on the dynamics of the activist identitarian movement. They’ve been marching through the institutions so long, they can’t remember why they were marching in the first place. At this point, it’s just what they do.

Anonymous Reactionary
Guest

The left didn’t march through the institutions as much as the right marched out of the cities, leaving behind the left by default.

Member

In that famous 1957 Little Rock protest photo, I always suspected that the white lady screaming at the black student, was a plant or prop. I guess I was wrong. She was a real protester. She called the black lady years later to apologize.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history_lesson/2011/10/elizabeth_and_hazel_what_happened_to_the_two_girls_in_the_most_f.html

Anonymous Reactionary
Guest

The left does protest well because it’s the aftermath of pornocracy. With automobiles, the right abandoned the cities to elites at the top and those attracted to population density for sexuality at the bottom. Over time, the two merged and the conservative commuter suburbanites became the literal outer party. But even before cars, I don’t think there has been a serious “republic of letters” attempt since the 18th century. This kind of enlightenment ended in the French Revolution. Paris only became stabilized by Napoleon III’s redesign of the city, but by then the left had triumphed anyway so it was… Read more »

UKer
Guest
UKer

I know someone who, when briefly working in Moscow, was ‘press-ganged’ into carrying a pro-Putin banner.

The thing is she is a lefty with all the correct British SJW credentials and having heard there was a demonstration taking place was, like an insect to honey, attracted to it. She may or may not have sympathies with one or other side but chances are she just loves crowds, chants and banners. At least she was able to add ‘foreign demo’ to her list of exciting events attended, other than merely the standard act of protesting some aspect of Tory government.

Zeroth Tollrants
Guest
Zeroth Tollrants

This is good news, to hear that the tactical retreat from public eye by the alt-right is working on their psyches. I was a big supporter of this idea last year, and it took a while to happen, and I’m just hoping it holds.
Let them chase Conservatives and eventually go full Ouroboros. We need to continue to stay MIA.

Zeroth Tollrants
Guest
Zeroth Tollrants

I don’t know if it’s because I am an older GenXer like Zman and hated everything associated w/the whole Baby Boomer “Revolution,” or if it’s just my general personal make up, but I hate protesters and protesting.
If I was in charge, it would be illegal.
They always come off as public displays of narcissism by disgruntled adult children who need to be beaten w/billy clubs, to me.

SgtBob
Guest

Ah, for the old days. Was a time in uniform when I looked at protestors as cowards afraid of drill sergeants and too lazy to sneak off to Canada. Dudes linking arms with chicks in jeans or miniskirts, everybody chanting “Hooray for our side,” and if the dudes were good little boys and had enough pot, maybe they could talk the chicks out of their jeans or miniskirts? I mean, what’s college for, anyway?