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Everyone is speculating on the recent spate of mass murders and the motives of the murderers. So, I figure you have the right to my opinion, too. My title is a bit of an exaggeration, but only a bit. The Left has had murderous intent toward Judeo-Christian Western civilization for decades.
“Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go!” If you’re of age, you remember this piece of (un)wisdom from the 1987 student protest at Stanford, but the sentiment is much older. In fact, it goes right back to The Beginning and rejection of a transcendent moral authority by Adam and Eve and, before them, Satan himself. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. How can we explain people who hold ostensibly “liberal” principles acting so illiberally as leftists do?
Quillette had an excellent explanation of Neutralization Theory using the case of Andy Ngo’s assault by “anti”-fa as an example in the article: Neutralizing Ngo: The Apologetics of Antifascist Street Violence. Some excerpts:
1. Denial of Responsibility: The Offender as Faultless for their (sic) Actions
… ‘ “It’s not a surprise a conservative writer was bloodied in a street brawl in Portland,” explains the standfirst to a piece at HuffPost, “far-right extremists have been freely hosting skirmishes there for years.” Implicit here is the idea that, because a skirmish has been “hosted,” the other side must participate, and that attacking a journalist somehow necessarily follows. Thus, it might safely be disregarded as mere distraction from what “really” went on.’
2. Denial of Injury: The Offense as Harmless
… ‘Others downplayed the assaults by emphasizing the milkshake and silly string elements, while reducing the rest to “a few punches” that “didn’t even knock him down,” or omitting it altogether. Some reduced Ngo’s injuries to “a few scratches and bruises,” while others speculated that the brain injury was a fabrication, based on as little as, for example, Ngo’s ability to send a tweet…’
3. Denial of Victimhood: Blaming the Victim
…’Others reached further back in time to characterize Ngo as a “doxxer” of Antifa members, an “Islamophobe” and “eugenicist,” who is responsible for a “kill list” of left-wing journalists, and so on. And, of course, some rationalized that he got what he deserved for being a “fascist”—a somewhat necessary connection to draw at some point, one supposes, when attempting to justify “antifascist” violence. However, its rhetorical utility runs deeper than simply drawing semantic congruence between the action and the target…’
[Speaking of “fascism”] ‘It is the (fittingly Orwellian) notion of “preemptive self-defense,” endlessly interpretable and applicable without the limitations of conventional language or logic, distilled down to a single epithet: “fascist.”’
4. Appeal to Higher Loyalties: A Wrongful Action Excused in the Service of a Greater Good
‘If antifascism can be vague—even deliberately so—about what it is against, it is murkier still about what it for. It is difficult to frame Ngo’s assault as just a broken egg for the sake of an omelet, when it isn’t clear what’s on the menu. However, as a creature of the Left and of modern society, it is important that antifascist actions are not framed as antagonistic to the values of the mainstream.
We might call this rationalization by demonization; or, moral dissonance resolution by delusion and denial. Lefties who proclaim the evils of “white privilege” and extol the virtues of Michael Brown (Ferguson’s “gentle giant”) will brutalize people of color for wearing a MAGA hat (ask Jahangir “John” Turan of Manhattan). Neutralization of that still small voice — a.k.a., conscience — is a necessary precondition for behaving so directly in opposition to one’s stated principles.
I’m attempting a psycho-social accounting and it’s difficult to express, but I’ll confess I hold the Left almost entirely responsible for our current condition. I give leftists more credit than some do. The lefties I know personally are highly intelligent, capable people. But, they’ve rejected the wisdom of the ages passed down through our Judeo-Christian cultural heritage and have embraced multiculturalism, identity politics, moral relativism, queer theory… whatever the demands of the latest lefty fad. Because they have no Yardstick by which to measure the good, the true, and the beautiful, and the inverse of those things, they’ve become their own, fully atomized moral arbiters. Moral chaos rules and isolation and disaffection are its handmaidens.
Everyone’s favorite atheist (now that Hitchens is dead), Sam Harris, goes so far as to argue that morality is grounded in science. He believes there is objective truth and natural moral laws which science affirms in observing the evidence of human and animal flourishing. But, who’s to say human flourishing is a good? Certainly not global warming alarmists who believe people are pollution — especially if they’re flourishing in advanced societies! Is it possible to be coherent, let alone objective, if you believe men and women are not only equal — they’re the same! Unless one is transgender, and then he’s totally a woman as distinct from a man.
The killers of El Paso and Dayton (and too many other locales) are living in a society which demonizes white males as racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, intolerant, transphobic, and bigoted… until the next victim group comes along we can tag on. Should we be surprised some young men choose to live down to such standards? To become the despised and deplorable?
“Disaffection” may be my new favorite word to describe the phenomena. These mass killers show no affection for the people they’re living among. The semiautomatic rifles they use are a distraction from the moral rot at the heart of their actions. The Dayton shooter was the more obviously morally depraved of the two. He shot his best friend and his sister in the car they’d used to drive him to the scene. Is it any wonder he signed his emails #HailSatan? The El Paso shooter appears to break the outright demonic mold in that he feared outliving his murder spree because he cared that his family would despise him for it. He heard a whisper from that still small voice. And then he ignored it.Published in