Through history, terrified but fascinated citizens of whatever country it happens to be have wound up with front-row seats, to watch when things become feral. In our age, everywhere is that country because all things are connected by the Internet. Through Twitter, we watch the rival gangs of Publius Clodius Pulcher and Titus Annius Milo tangle on the streets of Rome. We get to watch the Brownshirts fight their Communist opponents in Weimar Germany, in the back-alleyways of Berlin.
Mensheviks and Bolsheviks in Russia, Muslims and Christians in Damascus, and now left and right in the United States and nearly everywhere else in the Western world.
Twitter and other social media lets you back onto the front lines. It’s a free ride back in time to antiquity, when these things used to just happen on the streets. Everyone knew about them then, because, after all, there were only so many streets and only so many people.
Today, technology brings billions together to watch these events. Like, for example, the clash which took place in Berkeley yesterday. At a Free Speech event hosted by an on-campus group, Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern), Brittany Pettibone (@BrittPettibone), and other right-wing enthusiasts and Internet icons were present to give talks on the value of free speech in Western society.
Other personalities present included Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) who has sprang into national relevance following his interview on 60 Minutes and with his anti-establishment activism. Needless to say, the Free Speech at Berkeley event included a litany of names and personalities which have been roundly criticised as pro-Trump.
Just as needless to say, the event erupted into violence almost immediately. As per Lauren Southern’s interview with Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) immediately after her arrival and given only a few minutes to speak, ANTIFA (Anti-Fascist) agitants began to cluster and attack the Free Speech activists and speakers in a rather ironic twist which leftists seem immune to acknowledging.
After a prolonged struggle involving chemical attacks, masonry, and disorderly mob violence, the free speech activists appear to have prevailed. The encounter gave birth to a meme depicting a single female ANTIFA operative being felled in one shot by an opponent. It was her ill-luck to be caught on camera, but it can be stated with relative certainty that this happened quite a bit at the event—people in fights don’t work like people who are not in fights. There is a lot of adrenal chemistry, dehumanisation, and other like tricks that humans probably evolved while they were killing one another with their hands over fresh water and food in prior eras.
The young woman became an overnight martyr for one side, and a serious ethical question for the other side. Naturally, the hitting of a woman brought a lot of slovenly “white knight” types out of their oversized computer chairs, flinging their fedoras onto the ground in quite a violent, aggressive manner.
However, equality is what it says, and anyone who believes in feminism or civil liberty (yes that’s right or left) believes any single person has the right to be anywhere they like, and do whatever they want, conditional to the law.
That means a woman can put herself on the battle-line as an active combatant, and can be treated as such. All real left-wingers believe this. For more, go read up on the Night Witches and other female combatants (all Russian) in the USSR during Nazi Germany’s war on the Eastern Front.
On the right, naturally, the ethical question arose: can we condone hitting a woman? The correct answer is: “If she’s in the way.”
Asymmetrical and modern warfare no longer has gender lines. It hasn’t had gender lines since the Vietcong and USSR were using housewives as suicide bombers and snipers, and female involvement in war has only gotten worse since then. Some Muslim groups use four-year-old girls as suicide bombers, today, and that mostly means that gender conventions are already extinct.
If you don’t want to fight or kill women, or see women fight or die, then the principle is a simple one: do not go to war.
It’s not a war, we’re just punching Nazis, an ANTIFA operative might say. Go back and read the intro to this passage. You are not special. You are not alone. Your fight is not going to end here, and nor did it start here. Your fight is historic. Empires rise and fall on these questions, very often literally.
Free speech has rarely ever been the trigger, historically, simply because free speech hasn’t existed in many places until Western constitutional republics. Freedom of speech continues not to exist in much of our world today, and is under severe threat currently in those places where it has managed to exist.
Rather, the right and left’s Always War has, (as I wrote there) been about finite resources and the unwitting dominoes of state oppression—and yes, only the state can actually oppress anyone where it has the monopoly on legitimate force. In our era, it’s free speech. Historically, though, Clodius Pulcher and Annius Milo were fighting over policy involving Roman citizenship extending outside of Rome itself, and a free grain-dole for the poor.
The Brownshirts fought their Communist opponents on the streets of Berlin over monetary policy as the Weimar Republic slowly collapsed into a mismanaged heap of social termites.
So on, and so forth, are bloody chapters written into the Always War.
What can we take from the Fourth Battle of Berkeley, as it is coming to be called?
Well, as Lauren Southern reports in the interview linked above, artillery in the form of huge chunks of masonry were being flung. Smoke, teargas, M-80 firecrackers, pepper spray and bear mace were all aerosolized to deploy into enemy lines, and sources indicate most of these measures were undertaken by the ANTIFA operatives on the field.
I don’t say that because I am trying to cover up any illegal violence on the part of the free speech activists; I’m certain there was plenty. What I know is that I haven’t heard anyone credible testifying that such methods were used there.
It is also, of course, entirely reasonable to ignore the majority of what someone who doesn’t value free speech has to say. In terms of a viable principle, you can only deride free speech if you don’t, yourself, have anything noteworthy to say and can’t imagine that you ever will. This indicates total conformity to exist narrative, or a total lack of mental activity.
Sorry about that, any left-leaning readers; the Grey Layer is aware that no description fits a totality of a given membership.
What we’re seeing is escalation. In ancient Rome, Clodius Pulcher himself, the leader of the left in the street gang war between himself and patrician-aligned forces under Annius Milo was killed in a regular patrol gone wrong. He became an instant martyr overnight, and his funeral pyre and reaction to his death culminated in a wide swath of destruction and violent carved out of central Rome. That’s why the Senate building you visit today is not the one largely used in the Republican period.
In our age, where technology and weaponry has become so readily available, the first death as a result of a clash such as this could define society for decades.
My personal belief is that this will spark a mild civil war between right- and left-leaning populations, which will eventually draw in government activity. In other words, someone will have to lead the Legions across the Rubicon and into Rome just to keep order.
That time, a man named Julius Caesar managed to appoint himself dictator for life, and Rome entered its death throes. More recently, civil strife has led to Hitler and Stalin assuming command of two massive superpowers in their era. Another led to Mao Zedong.
The difference is that today, the right and left aren’t divided respectively between a small, elite group of nobles and the masses as has been the case in nearly every previous such event. Today, the entire population of the West is divided roughly down the middle as a result of the inculcation of right-wing values in the constitutional documents which give the various nations their shape.
Today, any emergent civil war will be massively destructively, and potentially irrevocably damaging to national coherence. We can only hope that it never comes to that.
But, it feels like it will, doesn’t it?