Punching a Girl in Berkeley Isn’t Heroic

When the left are calling me a fascist, and the right are calling me a Marxist, I must be doing something right.

Punching a girl, without provocation, even from Antifa, isn’t at all heroic. This is apparently an unpopular opinion in some circles, but one must stick to one’s principles even when, especially when they’re unpopular, if they’re to be worth anything at all.

There has been jubilation for some that the so-called “Battle of Berkeley” apparently ended in a rout of Antifa, the violent far-left/anarchist group who have routinely attacked political rallies and other public events. Particular online glee has greeted footage of a burly, crew-cut Trump supporter, fist cocked, charging up to a dreadlocked Antifa girl and punching her hard in the face.

Well, I don’t find it funny, or heroic, or in the least justified at all.

If this is what those who claim to be defending liberty and freedom of speech – the point, after all, of the Berkeley rally – have descended to, then they should hang their heads in shame. They have become no better than Antifa, whom they claim to oppose. In fighting monsters, they have become monsters.

A breakdown of the common arguments peddled in defense of this unjustifiable action quickly lays bare just how threadbare they really are.

He was defending himself – she attacked him

This argument is so ludicrous it barely deserves addressing. Anyone who was watched the video and seriously tries to make this argument is on the same level of self-delusion as those who peddled the “Hands up, don’t shoot” lie about Mike Brown.

The video is unequivocal: A small woman stands on the edge of a group of brawling people. A large man deliberately pushes through them, targets someone much smaller than him, who has posed absolutely no threat to him. He punches her hard in the face. Then he runs away.

The claim that she made contact first is ludicrous: At the last moment, she saw him coming, and put up her hands to fend him off. Not only was the contact – at most – simultaneous, hers was purely defensive.

She did not attack him.

It’s equal rights

This is as pathetic a misrepresentation of feminism as the lunatic third-wave feminists. This has nothing to do with equal rights, and everything to do with not deliberately seeking out opponents who are smaller and weaker than you. As Steve Crowder showed, even a relatively small man still has a natural advantage of strength over a physically powerful woman. Hollywood action movies aren’t real.

Remember that old saying, pick on someone your own size.  She was a small woman, he was a big man – there was nothing equal about it. It’s all about proportionality: like the “self defense” claim. Self-defense should be proportional: you don’t hit someone else until they attack you. When you defend yourself, it’s in proportion to the threat. He could have done the old holding-her-at-arm’s-length gag, and she could have swung at him all day without landing a blow.

Self-defense or equal rights had nothing to do with it: he chose to punch as hard as he could, someone much smaller him – and then run away.

She was looking for a fight

This is probably true, but – so what? The same is true of probably nearly everyone there, on both sides. Stewart Rhodes from the Oath Keepers: “I don’t mind hitting … In fact, I would kind of enjoy it”. I’ve seen video of Trump supporters showing off their “preparedness”, including not just sticks and armour, but also spiked rings. These were also people who were clearly not just looking for a fight, but planning on inflicting serious injuries on their opponents.

So, by that argument, everyone at the Berkeley rally was fair game to beaten up. But this is the same argument that Antifa uses: punch Nazis!

And there’s the problem: once you set the bar that low, the genie really is out of the bottle. They’re not just looking for a fight, you’re looking for a fight. You’re as much a legitimate target as they are, and what right do you have to complain when someone beats the shit out of you just for being at a rally?

She posted on Facebook that she wanted “100 Nazi scalps”

Again – so what? So fucking what?

What was the Berkeley rally for again, anyone? Anyone?

Oh, yes: FREE SPEECH.

What that girl, if it was her (I’ll deal with backgrounds next), wrote on Facebook is her free speech, and if the very people who are rallying for free speech are going to attack someone for speaking freely, then they’re stinking hypocrites. As Churchill said, some people’s idea of [free speech] is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage. You or I may not like what she said, but so what? That’s how free speech works – if you don’t defend the free speech of people you don’t like, you don’t defend it at all.

Despite what some have claimed, it wasn’t incitement, either. As both Steve Crowder and John Stuart Mill make clear, for free speech to cross the line into incitement, it must include a call to action, where that call is likely to be imminently heeded. An opinion that corndealers are starvers of the poor, or that private property is robbery, ought to be unmolested when simply circulated through the press, but may justly incur punishment when delivered orally to an excited mob assembled before the house of a corn-dealer, or when handed about among the same mob in the form of a placard.

She does porn

This argument is beneath contempt. Doxxing is a practice that particularly sickens me: it’s one of the lowest forms of harassment in the online activists’ toolkit. It’s also one that’s been almost exclusively used by the regressive left to bully their opponents. That the right are stooping to the same lowest-of-the-low tactics is not a sign of progress.

It’s not even a sound argument. It’s the logical fallacy of Poisoning the Well, itself a special case of the ad hominem fallacy. It’s also a particularly odious example of victim-blaming. Indeed, many people have not only referred to her alleged past, but openly commented on how she looked and dressed, and even used the infamous phrase, she was asking for it.

It’s also stunningly hypocritical. Not a few attacking her are from the religious right: even in the video, one brawler is wearing a jacket with a Jesus slogan. Well, one might remind them of John 8:7, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her; or Matthew 7:1, Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Finally, if people defending this incident are going to start doxxing, it’s a gambit they’re going to lose. The identity of the man has also supposedly been confirmed, and what’s emerged does not look good. Convicted felon. White supremacist. And so on.

The thing is, either person’s background is irrelevant to the matter at hand: what matters are the facts of what occurred, and they seem plain. A man deliberately punched someone much smaller and weaker than him, with no justification.

The simple fact is, this nonsense has to stop before it gets out of hand. Political discourse has long been spiralling into a very dark valley, and this is no victory, either moral or tactical.

Morally, it brings those who have been defending free speech down to the same level as violent authoritarians like Antifa. The Berkeley rally, let’s be honest, was a deliberate invitation to Antifa to come and fight. That Antifa have been allowed to get away with extraordinary violence for too long is undisputed, but being prepared to defend yourself is one thing; going openly armed to inflict maximum carnage, and provoking street brawls is another. Remember the outrage when the left were trying to justify punching Nazis? This is no different, except that the script has been flipped to punching Commies.

Tactically it’s also a monumentally boneheaded own goal. The regressive left will play the victim at every opportunity, and this is handing it to them on a silver plate. The more the left tried to maintain their denial while Antifa were escalating their violence, the worse they made themselves look. Trying to defend the indefensible like this is only going to look as bad.

Probably this article won’t win me a lot of popularity. It seems too many are too eager to go with the groupthink on this one. But, as Mark Twain said, whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.

Final words go to Mister Senor Love Daddy. Old school, but still relevant:

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5 thoughts on “Punching a Girl in Berkeley Isn’t Heroic

  1. Thank you for being the voice of reason Lushy. There is no justification for what was done to that young woman. She was seriously assaulted and then bullied on social media is a frenzy of victim blaming. It is so important that we do not become our enemy. By some members of the right glorifying in the assault on this woman, they have revealed themselves to be no different to ANTIFA.

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    1. My gut response was the same as when I saw Richard Spencer get punched in the face: this is just wrong. And then, of course, the left tried to justify it.

      In both cases, they’re people who I think are idiots, and whose politics I utterly despise – but that’s beside the point.

      What we’re seeing here is naked tribalism, and it’s as ugly when it’s done by one side as when it’s done by the other.

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  2. If she’s a liberal attacking you from behind, maybe you should. That’s the only thing that can hold her from hitting you then maybe it’s your only option. Not saying I would.. just depends on the situation

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    1. Absolutely, that’s a perfectly valid point. And, as you say, it depends on the situation – which is what I’ve tried to address: it must be remembered that the doctrine of self-defense rests on several principles, including imminence and proportionality.

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  3. Pingback: Of Curmudgeonly Interest This Week – 22 April 2017 – A Devil's Curmudgeon

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