The Other McCain

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‘The Idea That People Are Going to Debate Their Ideas Is Outrageous’

Posted on | February 4, 2017 | 3 Comments


Thursday night, there was a near-riot at New York University when self-declared “anti-fascists” disrupted an event with Gavin McInnes hosted by the College Republicans. Although it was not as violent as the riot Wednesday in Berkeley that shut down Milo Yiannopoulos’s speech, the NYU event highlighted just how extreme the Left has become.

First, Gavin McInnes is not actually a “right-wing” figure, and he certainly is not a “fascist” in any meaningful sense of that word. He was co-founder of Vice magazine and is known as the “Godfather of Hipsterdom.” He is a comedian, really, a sort of “shock jock” a la Howard Stern, who appeals to a fan base of mostly Gen-X and Millennial guys. McInnes is a libertarian who despises political correctness. The idea that protesting his appearance at NYU was “anti-fascism” is absurd, reminiscent of George Orwell’s quote from Politics and the English Language, “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’.” Yet the fact that the accusation is absurd does not make it any less dangerous, because if people act as if it were true, what might they do to the person falsely labeled “fascist”? And what happens to our political discourse if substantial arguments can be disqualified by this kind of pejorative labeling? So even if you don’t like Gavin McInnnes, the fact that self-described “anti-fascists” are attacking him is cause for alarm.


Second, these protests were organized by Marxist-Leninist radicals. The pre-printed signs with slogans like “Smash Fascism & White Supremacy” were supplied by the Workers World Party, a notorious neo-Stalinist cult. These people are advocates of totalitarianism, and their presence in the anti-McInnes mob was not coincidental. One of the lessons of the 1960s, is that radical movements must either exclude Communists or else they will be controlled by Communists. The story of how the SDS was taken over and destroyed by Marxist revolutionaries, giving rise to the terrorist Weather Underground, is sufficient proof of this rule. (See David Horowitz, Radical Son, also Destructive Generation, by Horowitz and Peter Collier.) Communism is “The Worst Idea in the World,” and whenever I see Commie protesters, it makes me nostalgic for Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a man who knew how to deal with them effectively.

Third, the problems in academia are exacerbated by the kind of faculty Roger Kimball identified as Tenured Radicals. There was a woman who said she is a professor (although she has not yet been identified) who made a spectacle of herself during the NYU mob scene, screaming at the police: “How dare you, how dare you f–king a–holes protect neo-Nazis. F–k you, f–k you, f–k you. . . . F–k you, NYPD.” How could a professor be so intolerant? NYU Professor Michael Rectenwald, who defended McInnes’s right to speak, said this woman’s attitude represents “a political and historical illiteracy” that is “emblematic of a dogmatic SJW assertion that wants to shut down all expression that they fear.” The claim that McInnes and the College Republicans are “neo-Nazis” is so clearly false that no rational person could believe it, yet some allegedly “educated” people evidently do believe it, and indeed there are professors who act as if “Republican” and “Nazi” are synonyms. This is dangerous.

Finally, it is clear that the Democrat Party no longer believes in free speech or open debate, but are actively working to construct a totalitarian regime with the authority to repress dissent and opposition. For at least three decades, the academic Left has striven to exclude conservatives and libertarians from employment in faculty and administrative positions. Having achieved hegemonic control on campus, the Left is seeking to extend their authority throughout society and realize that they cannot do this if opposing viewpoints are allowed a fair hearing. It is especially important to the Left to defend its totalitarian control of our education system, which is why we see them staging riotous protests to prevent conservatives from speaking on university campuses.

This mood was expressed by protester Mark Phelam, who told Gothamist reporter Jake Offenhartz: “[T]his phenomenon has to be smashed — you can’t allow a mainstream platform for straight up fascists and Nazis, and the idea that people are going to debate their ideas is outrageous.”

What “phenomenon” does he mean? The Republican Party? Support for President Trump? Anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton? To describe Gavin McInnes and College Republicans as “straight up fascists and Nazis” is not merely false, but dangerous. These farfetched claims function as a pretext to justify political violence. Here you have protesters brandishing signs supplied by a genuine totalitarian organization while perversely claiming that anyone who disagrees with them is a fascist who should be denied the right to speak in public. The protester claims it is “outrageous” even to debate Republicans, as if there can be no valid reason to support President Trump. Yet if Gavin McInnes’s ideas are so self-evidently false, why is it necessary to silence him? That is to say, if someone’s arguments can be refuted by facts and logic, then there is no real harm in letting them speak. This is how I deal with feminists — give them enough rope and let them hang themselves. All you have to do is quote them, and anyone with a modicum of common sense can see what’s wrong with feminist ideology. If Gavin McInnes is so wrong, why isn’t the Left offering any actual arguments against him? Why are they trying to exercise a heckler’s veto? What are they afraid of?

“A hit dog will holler,” as folks say down home. Whatever it is that Gavin McInnes represents, the hysterical shrieking reaction of the Left tells you that McInnes hits them where it hurts. Robby Soave of Reason writes: “McInnes, it should be noted, routinely says obnoxious things that deserve criticism. He’s something of a Diet Milo.” This is a rather dismissive remark which, on the one hand, lends aid and comfort to the Left by implying McInnes might deserve exclusion from campus, while on the other hand underestimating the value of McInnes’s provocative style. If he wasn’t saying anything important, if he had no persuasive influence, would McInnes drive the Left into such a frothing rage?



3 Responses to “‘The Idea That People Are Going to Debate Their Ideas Is Outrageous’”

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    February 5th, 2017 @ 9:16 am

    […] The Other McCain notes that debating ideas is “outrageous” […]

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    February 5th, 2017 @ 10:34 am

    […] Consider the rhetoric, the meltdowns we are seeing. The Left is putting on a carnival of extremism. The Other McCain has some useful thoughts on just how deep in the Pit of Crazy the Left has dug now that they see the “fundamental changing of America” […]

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    February 5th, 2017 @ 12:28 pm

    […] highlight of Thursday’s protest against Gavin McInnes’s appearance at New York University was a woman who screeched at the […]