The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Bad Causes Attract Bad People: On the ‘Dirtbag Left’ of Chapo Trap House

Posted on | March 3, 2020 | 2 Comments


Perhaps the easiest (if not the most accurate) way to explain my politics is to call me a straight-up partisan: Whatever inflicts the maximum damage on the Democratic Party is what I want to happen. A more nuanced explanation is possible, but not necessary to understanding why I’m totally cheerleading the Bernie Bros in their kamikaze mission against the “moderate” Democratic Party establishment. Even though, as a conservative, I should probably want Democrats to be more moderate (i.e., amenable to compromising with Republicans on policy issues), the fact is that Democrats have a way of using “moderate” candidates to win majorities with which they then implement radical far-left policies. By contrast, when Democrats campaign openly as radicals, they lose elections and then Republicans have an opportunity to ram a right-wing agenda down their throats. So, yeah, go Bernie Bros, go!

Purging “moderates” from the Democratic Party helps to clarify the policy differences, and is therefore good, but this does not mean that the enemy of my enemy is actually my friend. Many of the Bernie Bros are the most selfish, scummy, irresponsible, amoral nihilst you could imagine, and this brings us to the subject of Chapo Trap House, a Bernie Bro podcast that is popular because its hosts defy “woke” political correctness and engage in vulgar mockery of establishment Democrats. It’s socialism for the Millennial hipster crew — and the New York Times is on it:

The fivesome of “Chapo Trap House” are not the only bards of the new American left . . . but they have led the way for a movement that together generates millions of dollars a year. They are on their way to becoming the socialist’s answer to right-wing shock jock radio. . . .
In blurring occasionally violent humor, jovial community meetups and radical politics, they are the Tea Party reborn for progressives, and for their fans the appeal is in a bawdy offensive balance to cautious mainstream liberal politics.

(Notice the comparison here — “right-wing shock jock radio” and “the Tea Party reborn for progressives” — even though the most popular talk-radio hosts, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, never engage in obscenity, and the Tea Party movement was always family-friendly, attracting middle-class suburbanites. But continue . . .)

They are known collectively as the Dirtbag Left, a shorthand they embrace that winkingly dispenses with any notion of liberal purity or inclusion, a defense mechanism that doubles as a nickname. . . .
“Chapo Trap House,” which started in 2016, typically runs between 60 and 90 minutes. Two episodes are released every week, one for free and one for the nearly 38,000 people who pay $5 a month through the crowdfunding site Patreon. It leads to a financial windfall for the self-professed socialists who are harnessing this rage: $168,800 a month from those subscribers alone. . . .
The Chapo co-host Virgil Texas (he lives and works under that pseudonym) went to a nearby bar for a beer.
“It’s a common experience to be someone with a crappy job who does not have an outlet for your set of beliefs and you feel insane because you’re surrounded by liberals or Evangelicals or whatever stultifying milieu,” he said. “And one day you find a piece of media with some folks who are articulating what you always believed: You’re not crazy, you’re right, this is exactly how the world works, and you’re getting screwed.” . . .
“Educating a generation and saddling them with debt and then not giving them jobs where they have the wage that they presume they should receive based on the amount of time they spent on education,” Virgil said. “That’s a pretty good way to turn them into radicals.”
He is a good example of his own target audience: He graduated with $100,000 of debt from Cornell and after college took freelance gigs from Craigslist, hoping to write.
While the Chapo hosts rail against the media establishment, they are also deeply entwined with it and largely beloved by it. ([co-host Will] Menaker, for example, grew up on the Upper West Side, the son of a New York Times editor and a New Yorker editor.)

Nobody forced you to go to Cornell, sir.

There are many excellent public universities in America which, if you had the grades and SAT scores to get into Cornell, would certainly have given you an academic scholarship, and yet you borrowed $100,000 to attend an Ivy League school, so you could be . . . a freelance writer?

As for Will Menaker, his grandfather was a Stalinist agent who may have been an accomplice to the assassination of Leon Trotsky, so I suppose he gets his Communist anti-American belief system honestly.

The fact that feminists (including Amanda Marcotte) hate the Chapo Trap House crew would normally be a recommendation in their favor, but what they are trying to do — what the whole Bernie Bro phenomenon is about — is to sell a brand of “progressivism” that white males can believe in. And that’s precisely what’s wrong with Chapo Trap House: Democrats have sold their soul for identity politics which is anti-white and anti-male, and they should be allowed to suffer the consequences. Why is Donald Trump president, after all? Have we forgotten Hillary Clinton’s shout-out to #BlackLivesMatter, endorsing the cop-hating race mobs that considered “social justice” a license for arson and looting? Have we forgotten the “campus rape epidemic” hysteria that inspired false accusations while depriving college boys of due-process rights?

Democrats have sown the wind and deserve to reap the whirlwind, and these hipsters trying to make socialism cool, to recruit young white guys to the Sanders campaign, are an obstacle to the kind of brutal electoral payback we need to collect from Democrats in November.

The Thrill of Playing Political ‘Bad Boy’

A Philadelphia feminist did a long Twitter takedown on Chapo Trap House, connecting the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon to the 2011 “Occupy” movement, and pointing out this curious coincidence: “Weev of Daily Stormer was an Occupier. Jason Kessler, the organizer of Unite the Right, traces his organizing career back to Occupy.” Some of the despicable radical scum of “Occupy” eventually became neo-Nazis, and it makes sense, really. Angry protest movements attract angry people, and ideological consistency is scarcely to be expected. Recall that Benito Mussolini had been the most prominent Communist in Italy before he created Fascism. What the radical wants (Ludwig von Mises explained this) is destruction — he despises the existing social order, asserting that nothing could be worse than a continuation of the hated status quo. The radical craves excitement, and wishes to possess greater influence than he can obtain within the existing bourgeois society, and his advocacy of revolution gives him, at the very least, the thrill of an outlaw identity.

The deliberate vulgarity of the Chapo Trap House crew can be viewed, from a psychological perspective, as part of an adolescent “bad boy” posture expressing the antisocial outlaw impulse of the would-be revolutionary. The Bernie Bros are disrespectful of what is considered “acceptable” norms of behavior within the milieu of college-educated liberals. Not everybody who mocks feminism does so for the right reasons, just as not everybody who rejects liberal ideology about “diversity” and “inclusion” does so for the right reasons. Honestly, I was shocked to discover that former Daily Caller staffer Katie McHugh had become part of a neo-Nazi subculture within the “alt right,” where some young people were cosplaying Norse paganism (“Wolves of Vinland”) and generally pursuing dangerous extremism. Anyone who has spent time among young political activists can recognize the tendency involved in that subculture, the effort to obtain status by being “more conservative than thou.” Follow that tendency far enough and pretty soon you’ll find yourself hanging out with people who speak of “ZOG,” at which point you ought to sit down and contemplate where you went wrong.

Now, I am deeply sympathetic to those who despise “Conservatism, Inc.,” the establishmentarian tendencies which my paleoconservative comrades have long criticized. As someone who counted myself a friend of the late Sam Francis, and who has been hate-listed by the SPLC, I cannot be accused of being afraid of political incorrectness. It has taken a lot of behind-the-scenes effort by a lot of people to move the Overton Window far enough that the Republican Party has a chance to escape the orbit of the corporate open-borders lobby. Some of the people who helped make this populist (or perhaps nationalist) shift possible could fairly be called “alt right,” in the sinister sense of that phrase, and this somewhat concerns me. Yet when we behold the legacy of Bushism — Bill Kristol, Rick Wilson, John Weaver, Max Boot, and the rest of the #NeverTrump crowd — we realize the conservative movement has jettisoned useless ballast that hindered its effectiveness. But I digress . . .

‘It Is History That Teaches Us to Hope’

There is no shortcut to an ideal society, whatever our ideals might be. Within a democratic polity, we are forced to work within the limits of the political system, to suffer setbacks and betrayals, and are apt to become discouraged whenever we contemplate the distance between what we have actually achieved and what we ideally would wish. It is from a mood of despair that radicalism arises, and we should never despair.

“My experience of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them nor indisposed me to serve them; nor, in spite of failures which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge, or of the present aspect of affairs, do I despair of the future. The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”

So wrote Robert E. Lee, in an 1870 letter to his former aide, Col. Charles Marshall, and if Lee could see hope even amid the wreckage of all his dreams, why should we today despair of the future?

Yet this is what drives the socialists of the “Dirtbag Left.” Things are so bad, they insist, that our existing civilization must be destroyed in order to create a socialist future. The observable fact that socialism only leads to tyranny and suffering is dismissed by the Left, which can always find some circumstance in the status quo — racist police, predatory lending, environmental damage, etc. — which they claim justifies their destructive agenda, no matter the historical proof of the evils of socialism. Consider this observation made by Ludwig von Mises nearly a century ago:

Socialism derives its strength from two different sources. On the one hand it is an ethical, political, and economico-political challenge. The socialist order of society, fulfilling the claims of higher morality, is to replace the “immoral” capitalist economy; the “economic rule” of the few over the many is to give way to a co-operative order which alone can make true democracy possible; planned economy, the only rational system working according to uniform principles, is to sweep away the irrational private economic order, the anarchical production for profit. Socialism thus appears as a goal towards which we ought to strive because it is morally and rationally desirable. The task therefore of men of good will is to defeat the resistance to it which is inspired by misunderstanding and prejudice. This is the basic idea of that Socialism which Marx and his school call Utopian.
On the other hand, however, Socialism is made to appear as the inevitable goal and end of historical evolution. An obscure force from which we cannot escape leads humanity step by step to higher planes of social and moral being. History is a progressive process of purification, with perfection, in the form of Socialism, at the end. This train of thought does not run counter to the ideas of Utopian Socialism. Rather it includes them, for it presupposes, as obviously self-evident, that the socialist condition would be better, nobler, and more beautiful than the non-socialist. But it goes farther; it sees the change to Socialism — envisioned as progress, an evolution to a higher stage — as something independent of human will. A necessity of Nature, Socialism is the inevitable outcome of the forces underlying social life: this is the fundamental idea of evolutionary socialism, which, in its Marxist form, has taken the proud name of “Scientific” Socialism.

Argued both as “higher morality” and as the “inevitable goal” of historical evolution, socialism is a nearly irresistible temptation, and the only argument against it is, it won’t work. After the Communists had spent a couple of decades proving Mises right (and after totalitarian parties had seized power in Italy and Germany), the defenders of socialism argued that what went wrong with the Bolshevik “experiment” was that the wrong people were in charge. This argument was debunked by Mises’ protégé Friedrich Hayek in a chapter of The Road to Serfdom entitled “Why the Worst Get on Top”:

There are strong reasons for believing that what to us appear the worst features of the existing totalitarian systems are not accidental byproducts, but phenomena which totalitarianism is certain sooner or later to produce. Just as the democratic statesman who sets out to plan economic life will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the totalitarian dictator would soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure. It is for this reason that the unscrupulous and uninhibited are likely to be more successful in a society tending towards totalitarianism. . . .
The positions in a totalitarian society in which it is necessary to practice cruelty and intimidation, deliberate deception and spying, are numerous.
Neither the Gestapo nor the administration of a concentration camp, neither the Ministry of Propaganda nor the SA or SS (or their Italian or Russian counterparts) are suitable places for the exercise of humanitarian feelings. Yet it is through positions like these that the road to the highest positions in the totalitarian state leads.

As I have said in other contexts, bad causes attract bad people. If you join a political movement and notice that you are surrounded by degenerates and hoodlums, you have joined a bad movement.

If the Bernie Bros manage to wreck the Democratic Party, this is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean the Bernie Bros are good people.



2 Responses to “Bad Causes Attract Bad People: On the ‘Dirtbag Left’ of Chapo Trap House”

  1. Friday hawt chicks & links – The Family Court hero edition. – Adam Piggott
    March 6th, 2020 @ 12:51 am

    […] there is a dude bro socialist podcast that worships Bernie Sanders. The feminists don’t like them, but that doesn’t mean anything as those gals […]

  2. Socialism: The Dream of Omnipotent Government | 357 Magnum
    March 6th, 2020 @ 9:58 am

    […] hat tip (in a sense) goes to The Other McCain and Bad Causes Attract Bad People: On the ‘Dirtbag Left’ of Chapo Trap House, who sent me looking for a quote. (I found the one above […]