Proud Boys: Why Factionalism Shouldn’t Be Celebrated

proud boys

Several weeks ago one of my fellow writers penned a piece on the “Proud Boys”,  an organization which is the manifestation of Gavin McInnes’ desire for an organized fraternity of people who believe that “West is best” when it comes to civilizations. The Proud Boys have essentially emerged as the Right’s muscle at free speech and pro-Trump rallies staged by the Right across the nation, and which prior had been repeatedly disrupted by the militant Left faction, Antifa.

My intent in writing this is not to belittle my colleague’s enthusiasm and love for her country. I believe that she is, in fact, very genuine and sincere in her beliefs, and her desire to restore our country’s former greatness. If anything, I share that desire although my vision of how that is to be accomplish would differ from hers. This piece is moreso geared toward inspiring caution in those who lean to the Right in their political affiliations. It’s empirically evident that you and I live in a incredibly divided society, and it is my personal belief that further division will serve to hasten the destruction of our nation, not restore it.

While the initial piece sought to explain the way in which the Proud Boys had been misrepresented in the main stream media, I would like to elaborate on why the emergence of the organization is troubling in and of itself.

In his work, The Psychology of Revolution, social psychologist Gustave Le Bon noted that:

“To the contrary of what might be supposed, the very conservative peoples are addicted to the most violent revolutions. Being conservative, they are not able to evolve slowly, or to adapt themselves to variations of environment, so that when the discrepancy becomes too extreme they are bound to adapt themselves suddenly. This sudden evolution constitutes a revolution.”

For decades our society has been rapidly changing, from the “Progressive Era” to our present epoch, the American citizenry witnessed the immense growth of the Federal government and it’s jurisdiction. There’s been an increasing push to standardize the populace socially even in areas, many would argue, there should be license for diversity at the state levels. We’ve seen recession, the purchasing power of the dollar destroyed, a constant state of war with a nameless, faceless adversary leading to justifications to strip our citizenry of civil liberties at home. The relentless power grab by those in the upper echelons of power creeps forward regardless of the people’s protests.

People are angry, and understandably so. Today America stands at a crossroads. In the last political cycle, political violence and intimidation were introduced to our public discourse, and it was the Left who introduced it. You can only push certain groups of people so far before they snap, and begin to lash out in retaliation. This is where the Right finds itself at the present. The Right’s conservative instincts are kicking in and they’re feeling threatened, like a wounded animal being approached baring their teeth and ready to draw blood if necessary.

Augustus Invictus, who was recently on the podcast, isn’t the only member of this new, emerging, organized Right to speak of revolution as an inevitability. Both the Left and the Right are gearing up for a major fight. Both are talking of revolution to create the country which suits their worldview best. Both will destroy America in the process.

The reason that the emergence of the Proud Boys as a right wing “security force” of sorts is troubling. It denotes a tangible shift away from the desire to submit to the rule of law, which is a hallmark of the American experiment. In fairness, society has been trending this way for decades, however what makes the formation of this new “fraternal, excessively nationalist” faction a watershed moment in our culture is that the Right is now showing a willingness to play the game the militant Leftists have been all too willing to engage in. A game where the ends justify the means. I don’t buy the line that they’re simply banding together to “protect” right wingers who assemble in peaceful protest from the violent Left.

As a testosterone-driven, self-proclaimed alpha male organization, it is a virtual certitude that they’re looking to pick fights. The goal of the alpha male in any tribe is to assert dominance, I see this faction as no different, and regardless of cool branding and marketing the very last thing America needs right now is another militarized faction looking to brawl. This is why I don’t believe we should celebrate the emergence of the Proud Boys but should, instead, examine the breakdowns in rule of law that have led to citizens forming their own pseudo-paramilitaries to bring to political events.

This isn’t a time for further radicalization. This is a time to find the middle ground and to win the war of ideas. The war for the soul of America won’t be won by self-styled “Patriots” or “Antifascists” who have no capacity for examining the weaknesses in their own worldview, the war for the soul of America will be won by those who bridge the gaps between Americans, and meet in the middle.

Without the ability to find common ground, and consensus then it is certain that those who think our country requires revolution as a remedy will get the civil war they’ve been virtually begging for, and god help us if they do.

 

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About the Author

Josh Carter
Josh Carter is the host of The Resistance Podcast, an independent, Wisconsin-based media project. He is a working class husband, father of two and a student of history and political and revolutionary theory.