An enduring challenge for conservatives is the constant campaign of disinformation from the Left regarding our organizations, tactics, and beliefs. Conservatives are limited to a few bastions of barely-tolerated resistance: the Republican Party, the Cato Institute, National Review, etc., organizations that fastidiously hold to an ever-more-narrow range of acceptable discourse.
That, of course, is a huge source of President Trump’s appeal—he smashed through the barriers the Right’s enemies imposed upon it, and it won him the presidency. You could feel Americans breathing a nearly-audible sigh of relief that, finally, someone was saying the things we were all told we weren’t supposed to say.
It was in the heady days of 2016, then, that edgy, fun-loving dissidents like Milo Yiannopoulos and Gavin McInnes rose to prominence in the conservative movement. McInnes tells some sordid stories about his wild, punk rock past, but largely his advice would have been deemed commonsensical just sixty years ago: get married, have kids, work hard, love God, love Western civilization and the freedom it brings.
Now, uttering some of those same tenants gets you sent to the cultural gulags. Take, for instance, McInnes’s fraternal organization, the cheekily-named Proud Boys. The organization has come under fire lately as an allegedly sexist, racist, xenophobic order (it allows men, women, immigrants, and all races to join), and because it is proudly “Western chauvinist,” meaning it champions Western civilization as the best civilization. Given Western civilization’s inherently universalist claims to human rights and liberty, it’s clearly open to all peoples of all backgrounds who accept its basic premises.
Primarily, however, it’s been criticized for engaging in self-defense. Instead of taking beatings from radical, violent Antifa terrorists, the Proud Boys fight back. Their whole maxim is that they don’t start fights, but they will fight back in self-defense.
Not surprisingly, noodle-wristed hand-wringers of the NR persuasion foppishly bemoan this completely reasonable response to unwarranted assaults with their usual appeals to decorum (the comments on that linked piece are instructive of how out-of-touch NR has become even with its own readers). “Just take the beating” is apparently the primary admonishment.
While we could certainly have some discussion about Christ’s famous instruction to “turn the other cheek,” it seems completely permissible to strike back at the masked hooligan waving a piece of rebar at you.
At the risk of breaking my general injunction against telling people to watch lengthy videos twice in one month, I’d refer you to this excellent explanation from McInnes himself:
To alleviate the unnecessary legal suffering of some of the group’s members, McInnes reluctantly but decisively backs out of the organization.
For further reading, here is Milo’s piece about the libelous death of the Proud Boys: https://www.dangerous.com/50463/i-too-must-bid-adieu-to-the-proud-boys-a-spunky-pro-western-mens-club-defamed-to-death/