Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Waiting for the Counterrevolution

Victor Davis Hanson

We are in the midst of a revolution, a cultural and racial one, that seeks to refute the past, damn the present, and hijack the future. So far, however, we have only heard from one side, the revolutionaries and their enablers themselves.
Those trying to reject and then reboot America are small as a percentage of the population, but their tactics are diverse, and their frightened abettors and closet appeasers numerous. The result for now is that, as with most cultural revolutions, a tiny percentage of the population seems to be ascending, given that there is no real organized resistance other than isolated and disgusted individuals.
The cultural revolutionaries are a tripartite group.
On the front lines are the shock troops. For the most part, middle-class urban and suburban white kids, many of them in college, graduated, or dropped out, make up Antifa and its affiliates. They seem to organize the statue toppling, graffiti, and vandalism, as well as the violence at the demonstrations. They show up in ridiculous black-clad Road Warrior outfits, fitted out with cobbled-together hoodies, bicycle helmets, knee pads, and various sports-equipment armor, and occasionally with testudo-like umbrellas and assorted fireworks, rocks, bottle, and bats. All that is a psychodrama far more interesting than showing up at Starbucks at 5 a.m. to start the day’s machinery.
They are the new superfluous elite, in that their college investments brought them neither prestige nor money, but only debt and sloganeering memorized from the sermons of their tenured and comfortable lounge professors. History shows that when would-be, self-important elites have are in surfeit and extraneous, they grow volatile. They wake up to learn that their vaunted education and training were not appreciated and properly compensated by society.
And so they often can turn to violence and indeed revolution if it comes their way. In the profiles of the Jacobin, Bolshevik, and Arab Spring second-stage revolutions, the common denominators are frustration and the feeling that the agitators deserved honor, money, and influence that either never was forthcoming or went to undeserving others.
Antifa’s aim is to cause chaos and anarchy, in hopes of eliciting a police response that will fuel nonstop street brawling, akin to Germany’s in the 1920s, and a general sense of pandemonium that will leave the democratic capitalist state weak, directionless, and without a reply.
Then the more unhinged among them believe that they can carve out “autonomous” zones of “resistance” in places such as Portland and Seattle and gradually spread their revolution through threats and intimidation — and perhaps more formally hijack the Democratic Party and come to power. Cellphones, selfies, networking, and childish coloring-book graffiti make the whole thing a sort of carnival where the like-minded frustrated agitators can vent about the unfairness of the world.
Many of these self-righteous are indeed racist, as we see from the sheer joy they show at yelling in the face of black policemen and orchestrating the demonstrations while avoiding the televised looting. The more they scream “Racism!” the more one concludes that in their own lives they were pretty sheltered and separate by design. They show special venom for any blacks who wave American flags or resist their groupthink, as if to say, “You ingrate! Don’t you appreciate what I’m doing for you?”
Nonetheless, in their effort to achieve medieval exemption and penance, they partner with or more often even seek to hijack the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM leaders are self-avowed Marxists, but their real agenda is racist: to reduce the U.S. into two camps, one of victimized noble nonwhites and the other of victimizing white people who should accept their proper reparatory role given the sins of their ancestors and the racist and evil country they maintain and perpetuate.
BLM offers amnesties to the victimizing white people if they kneel and apologize, or join their ranks, or hit the street. BLMers encourage looting, arson, takeovers of stores and streets, and they generally send the message that life will be too intolerable to continue as usual for the proverbial average American citizen, unless he grants all sorts of demands: restructuring the government, the media, entertainment, and the university to focus mostly on black issues, hiring “diversity” staff on the basis of race, and recalibrating promotions, admissions, grading, and graduation by race. Asymmetry is their religion. Random urban violence against whites is contextualized; substitute the noun “black” for “white” in most of the sloganeering, and the speaker would be ostracized for racist drivel.
One immediate goal is ending meritocracy as racist and replacing it with quotas that inflate proportional black representation as reparations. Defunding some police, the emptying of many jails and prisons, and releasing the arrested without bail are already proof of BLM’s success.
So BLM seeks to exercise a veto power over America’s past, present, and future, from the manner in which national sports are conducted, universities are run, and corporations merchandise and advertise, to how government functions.

If you are a subscriber to National Review Plus, you can view the entire column here.
If not, I've made it available in pdf format here.

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