The Corner

Culture

‘The Poisonous Allure of Right-Wing Violence’

I wrote for Politico today about Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys:

. . . in keeping with his stance that the Proud Boys simply represent a return to groups that used to play a large role in American civil society (you know, like the Shriners), [McInnes] declared the Proud Boys “normal.” All they want to do is have kids, live in the suburbs, and love America.

But patriotic suburban dads have better things to do than roam the streets of Manhattan getting into brawls with black-clad left-wingers, nor is this an activity conducive to meeting a nice girl and settling down. The atavistic impulse of the Proud Boys is straight from the movie Fight Club, in which a violent men’s group represents a revolt against banal, overly feminized modern society.

In his great book on soccer hooliganism, Among the Thugs, Bill Buford writes of how he started out believing that there must be some underlying economic or social cause to the thuggery. Then, he came to realize, no, the mayhem itself was the point.

“Violence is one of the most intensely lived experiences and, for those capable of giving themselves over to it, is one of the most intense pleasures,” Buford writes. By McInnes’ account, his Proud Boys heartily agree.

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