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.

66 thoughts on “Protest Cults

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 just a victory of the bourgeois left over the far left Marxists and anarchists.

    I don’t think people realize how much brute force local control accounts for the swamp people domination. Even military dictatorships are de facto more democratic than unrestricted capital city rule simply because their use of force is universal instead of a local phenomenon imposed on a universal nation.

    The right has to have a ground game, an urban base, to be taken seriously, or else it needs to abolish the concept of capital cities (and much of the concept of cities at all) outright and decentralize all critical institutions out into the sprawl. As of now, having cities and having the left dominate them means they de facto get to run the place even when Republicans formally control all branches of government.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

        • Lennon said it was, “And I’m very bored”. Of course, that is what you would expect him to say, seeing as how Paul had died, nobody noticed it, and his replacement was apparently as good at writing melodies, singing, and playing instruments as he was.

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

    • 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)

  9. 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.

    • Well, we have a century of real world data that says you are wrong. The only time we see anything resembling a “right-wing protest” is when the Left has pushed their agenda too far. Otherwise, conservative people are happy to mind their own business and that’s the problem.

      • It seems you misunderstood me, because I wasn’t clear. I meant that the Right (and you in your post today) wrongly disparages protests/protesters, but only because they’re Leftists. You shouldn’t have a problem with the idea of protests.

        Moving on. Zman: ” Otherwise, conservative people are happy to mind their own business AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM.” Exactly my point. As I said, if there was a Dissident Right Antifa, you’d be cheering them on, instead of painting them as clowns with nothing better to do with their time.

        Yep, our side should have been on the streets starting in the early 60’s. But we were too nice/guilt ridden, and fell asleep at the wheel.

        • We had “both sides” out in force in Charlottesville. I don’t think any normal person with a functioning brain found anything good to say about it.

          • If you weren’t at Cville, then what you know about it is probably what the media showed you. While some of the right wing participants at Cville were freaks, the majority, say 75%, were the sort of guys you would like to hire or hang out with. For example, the hundreds of smart and fit guys in the polos and khakis.

          • The only trouble makers were Nazi types whom the Right assumed could be managed and nade into worthwhile allies since they both share a desire to save the White race

            This was well intentioned but very stupid, the Nazis one and all are a thing of the Left and nothing named “National Socialist” or “Workers Party” in any form can possibly be of the Right .

            They lack the Rights discipline and ethos

            That said while the press is at war with decent America , I suspect many people know that and as such they authority and influence they had back when Walter “Red Agent” Cronkite was America’s voice is fast waning

            I’d seen a Quinnipac poll that said ,more than half of Republicans see the current press as Enemies of the People !

            The shit birds at Salon even covered it and this if true suggests that big changes are coming

          • Utter nonsense. Every act of violence was started by the Left, including the ‘Dodge Charger of Peace.’ Some Leftist had been brandishing a firearm at him seconds before & he was trying to flee. The guy with the gun admitted to it in a public forum. All video shows that antifa started the violence, and the police allowed even facilitated its happening.

      • “Happy to mind their own business”

        That’s how we ended up losing the culture war and Left hijacking most of our institutions and Congress being a tool for the elite.

        We lost big time. We lost our country to these mofos.

        All these people know there is no downside to beating us like whipped dogs. Do you see a bunch of angry whites protesting outside of McConnell’s home every night or the homes of the leaders of the Business Round Table, Chambers of Commerce? No.

        We are not the men who stood up to corrupt officials as these men did in Athens TN after WW II.

  10. “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 this kind of frivolity. People had to work all the time to survive in past times that they simply did not have the time or inclination to engage in such frivolity.

  11. 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 on the bus and out of there. Soros money, no doubt. Looks like an easy 20 bucks and a free bottle of water for people with nothing better to do.

  12. 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 limit to the creation of money – and debt – we can keep traipsing down this path to the exploration of ever deeper and stranger crevices and caverns of the idle human mind for a while longer.

    And we will. I would argue that progressivism itself is the product of this decision to first spend other people’s money, and then, encountering resistance from these people, to spend money “we”, i.e. our governmental handlers, do not have by borrowing it.

    Lots of people like to speculate that this all ends in a big crash of some sort when everybody figures out that we’re just circle jerking each other and ripping off the productive societies in the world to fund this insanity. I don’t think it goes down that way. I think we just continue to slowly devolve and drift into irrelevance, uselessness, and solipsistic perversion, with increasing wealth redistribution until we transform into a totalitarian socialist state. Demography and culture practically insure it within a decade or less at this point

  13. “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, which they will have to find in their catalogued tapes. Although I like a few Dead songs, I was never a fan. I thought they cheated. I mean, if you have a subpopulation that brings drugs to sell to the crowd, particularly psychedelic drugs, you are going to be in a chemically induced state of awareness that would make taking a dump on stage into a cosmically significant event. Parrot Heads may be slightly less religious in their adoration of their hero, but it is still another form of idolatry.

    I think these people’s lives are insignificant and they have to glom on to something larger than themselves. I don’t think the quality of the music matters at all to them. It is just being part of a crowd of fellow travelers that gives their lives meaning. It is an escape from the mundane 9 to 5 existence they have, or will have after mommy and daddy won’t support them anymore. There is something about being in a large group, with loud music, especially a throbbing bass line, and being chemically altered with your drug of choice that makes these events memorable for people. The unfortunate thing is that these are the high points of their lives. They never accomplish anything significant so they can’t take any pride in the trials that forged their self-awareness. They have nothing to be proud of because they have never been on the battlefield of life. So, instead of saying “I Am”, they have to say “We are”.

    There is also an adrenaline driven rush in opposing the Man. It doesn’t matter that there are thousands of version of the Man, each one with a particular focus. Just like a religion. And, just like religions, these subgroups splinter off from something else. In the absence of God, you have to choose your gods. Because most younger people and females lack the wisdom to differentiate BS from Truth, they are the populations that are selected for discipleship. The people at the top of the local “churches” have just found a niche that provides them with a source of income. But, to protect their fiefdom, they will ruthlessly cull anyone that deviates from the group’s agreed upon dogma. Of course, they might lose some cultists when said useful idiots notice that the group is no longer at war with Eastasia and apparently is, and has always been at war with Eurasia.

  14. 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 to whatever venue Soros and his minions chose. The fallacy is believing these are spontaneous events that are locally instigated. The purpose, besides the ever popular “just want to watch it burn”, is to demoralize the folk so they wont fight for their land when it comes to it.

    • A mob in waiting *is* a fixture of human society. A gypsy caravan of people opposed to a shifting collection of issues, living outside of the main of society is a *different* thing than a mob. The angry mob as specific present time motivations based in present reality. Antifa is exists as an esoteric cult fighting largely imaginary enemies. The primary group at AmRen the last two years has been a local women’s group that started back in the Bush years as an anti-war thing. It just keeps evolving as it creates new bogeymen.

      No one in an angry mob is wearing a chest full of pins, displaying the other angry mobs they were a part of around the country.

      • Yep, it’s the gypsy mob that’s different this time. And I feel it’s primarily made possible by technology, both to find them and transport them. Perhaps that’s also their weakness…get them chasing social-media ghosts hither and there to expose and weaken them. Kind of like trolling on a larger scale. Kinda like Trump.

  15. 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 minors on Arizona’s street corners serves as a grim reminder to the state’s citizens that their children are unwitting hostages to the government workers’ unions that orchestrated this spectacle.

    My prediction is, it ain’t gonna work! Americans are sick and tired of protest theater in late April of 2018, and this fatigue will manifest as a popular rejection of the union’s latest quest for more free money.

    Watch for this movement to follow the Pussy Hat protests and the Parkland Survivors’ media show, and go nowhere fast. It’s reliance on extra parliamentary actions like this when its political patrons could simply propose bills in state legislatures for citizens’ representatives to debate is condemning its cause in the public eye and highlighting its complete lack of grass-roots approval.

    If these silly charades are how the Democrat party thinks it’s going to “turn Arizona blue,” they’ve got another thing coming.

  16. 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.

  17. 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 to be in public. There was a burst of parade activity following WW II, but by 1965 parades were pretty much done with. My recollection is that WW I started with a bomb thrown by an anarchist at a parade. Also note the hours and hours of movies of Hitler and his parades. This was not unique for the times, though maybe a bit excessive. There still are a few on July 4th or Memorial day.

  18. 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.

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

  19. 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.

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

    • That’s not bad analogy. I remember when the Dead would do their shows at the Boston Garden. The people camping in the city were obviously not of this world. They were essentially gypsies, but smoked a lot of weed and worshiped a band.

  21. 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 were given the right to peacefully assemble … where they wouldn’t be a nuisance and where they could be controlled. This is all good news for us, and kudos to you and your haters for doing the legwork and heavy lifting.

    • 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.

  22. “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.

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

  23. 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.

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

    • 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?

      • 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.

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

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

      • 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

    • 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.

  27. 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

    • 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.

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

  28. “…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.

  29. 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. The name assumed by the Russian mass murderer Iosif Dzhugashvili, “Stalin,” even means “Man of Steel,” which reminds me of the weird superhero fantasies of Ta Nehesi Coates and the rest of these Wakandan Kangz. These are small sad people, but at the same time they’re dangerous, so my sympathy (or pity) for them is a bit like that of the humans in “Dawn of the Dead” watching the zombies pressing against the glass and trying to get inside the mall.

  30. 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.

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