It was 1969 and the far-left Weather Underground believed they were on the cusp of a revolution. Determined to overthrow the United States government, they fanned out across the country and began to organize under a common delusion. “The general idea was that working-class youth outside the colleges would be more revolutionary than the students at the colleges,” the radical Mark Rudd later told documentarians Sam Green and Bill Siegel. Alas, flyover country resisted Rudd’s juvenile ideas and the Weather Underground dwindled into a small collective of hardened militants who bombed several public locations before turning themselves in a decade later.
Pity the extreme radical. He’s got a flawless blueprint to rebuild society yet the damned hoi polloi never seem to sign on to his designs, too busy with their piddling distractions to see the utopian light. When Winston Smith in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” goes out among the proles and discovers they’re too occupied with the lottery and alcohol to revolt against the Party, Orwell means it as condemnation. But there’s a certain ballast provided by those diversions. Sure we could take up arms and fight for some dime-store philosopher’s better tomorrow, but football season is almost here, Sam Adams is on sale, and, really, our fellow man isn’t so bad after all.
That’s the dilemma facing the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville. Five days ago, they were snarling that their side was ascendant. With Donald Trump whatabouting in the White House and recruitment efforts surging, the ethnostate they’d long hallucinated about was becoming reality. Yet Americans are persistent in their cuckishness, are they not? Instead of being welcomed into cities by choirs of Stormfront commenters and talking frogs and reanimated Confederate generals?the real majority?the master race has been at best ignored and at worst stigmatized.
Richard Spencer was turned away from both the University of Florida and Texas A&M. He and his compatriots have had their Airbnb accounts canceled, their PayPal services dropped, and some have been fired from their jobs. GoDaddy, a web hosting company that airs commercials showing models pole-dancing on speed limit signs, has decided the racist Daily Stormer website is too immoral and dropped it. Charlottesville protesters are being shamed on Twitter.
At some point you amass too much blowback for it all to be the fault of “The Jew.” Yet the most pathetic post-Charlottesville episode comes courtesy of Christopher Cantwell, mincing skinhead and fascist provocateur. Following the mayhem that left Heather Heyer dead, Pulitzer-destined journalist Elle Reeve of Vice interviewed an unrepentant Cantwell in his hotel room. After he tossed several guns he’d been carrying onto a bed in a scene that would have given Freud a field day, Cantwell pronounced, “We showed our rivals that we won’t be cowed.”
“I think that a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here, frankly,” he mused. Why? “People die violent deaths all the time.”
Cut to three days later when Cantwell released a video showing himself on the brink of tears. He’s apparently still holed up in Charlottesville somewhere, afraid to leave, pining for protection. “I?m watching CNN talk about this as a violent, white nationalist protest,” he sniffled. “We have done everything in our power to keep this peaceful!” It’s a mystery why everyone’s ignored the Nazis’ Gandhi-like overtures, such as explicitly telling journalists people will die and murdering a woman with a car. Not to lionize CNN and GoDaddy, but this is how most of us respond in America, writing columns and putting away our wallets, eschewing violence in favor of sober rejection. The Patriots play this Saturday, after all. We’ve got better things to do than deign to throw rocks at evil losers.
If you think, as I do, that much of what drives the white nationalists is Freudian, then Cantwell’s dreams really have failed to come true. You’re never going to get laid if you keep blubbering on YouTube like an Untermensch. Still, this story is ultimately about violence, not sex, and there’s a disturbing omen underlying the racists’ recent woes. A series of alt-right marches scheduled for this weekend, dubbed the “March on Google” in protest of the controversy around the so-called Google memo, has been canceled after organizers alleged they received credible and dangerous threats from the “alt-left.” That presumably means black-masked Antifa militants who have started riots in Portland and elsewhere.
So while most Americans shun neo-Nazis, a small yet growing minority prefer to respond with force. I wish Charlottesville could end here, in weepy farce, but I fear it won’t.