Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
Let me begin this missive with a quote:
“No one hates better than a hater hating haters!”
Who said that? I DID! I’ve said it for several years now. At least as long as “hater” has been a slur flung about with abandon only rivaled by the other slur that’s used as an indiscriminate progressive weapon—“racist.”
During his debate with Joe Biden President, Trump was asked if he would condemn white supremacist groups and militias. His response was, “Give me a name.” Biden leaned over and said, “Proud Boys.” Trump's immediate reaction was to say, “Proud Boys stand back and stand by!” I knew what he meant. He was pointing out an example of the so-called left singling out something for specific negative attention—in this case, identifying a group they had determined was their enemy.
It’s interesting how the media has adopted Hegelian dialectics, isn’t it? A great example was seen and heard by most all only a day or so after the debate when a reporter got in President Trump’s face and demanded that he condemn “white racist groups.” He did so, but the reporter pressed on and demanded he specifically condemn the Proud Boys. His response was, “I condemn them all. I don’t really know who the Proud Boys are, but I condemn them.” I truly groaned when I heard President Trump say that. He fell into a dialectic trap. And he did it more than once in the span of three days. Usually, he’s good about side-stepping those traps, but this time he walked right into it. No one should ever condemn anyone or any group they know nothing of. It’s almost always a mistake to do so. It’s likely one in this case.
Do you know of the Proud Boys? I do. I researched them about three years ago when I heard the Proud Boy movement was going global. If I remember right, my attention was drawn to an article written about an Australian Proud Boys chapter. I went on line and found their web site. I learned that Gavin McInnes was one of the founders, which flipped a few switches in my head. I read on and saw they were a group that was organized to celebrate “men being men.” I read their philosophy statements, some of which amused me and others that made me go “HHHhhhhhhmmmm.” They were certainly a bold group. What I remembered about McInnes was his many TV appearances, mostly on Fox programs. He made no bones about his opinions regarding political correctness and the leftist culture that appeared to take aim at people exactly like him—white, European-descended, and male. He made comments about the newest iteration of radical feminism—the #Me Too! movement, and how the presentations by that group were anti-male in a forceful way. I recall him discussing a group he was forming as a counter to the #Me Too! movement, but hadn’t taken the time to dig into it.
The Proud Boy webpage intrigued me. I found myself studying it intently. Why? Because I thought I might want to join—just for the heck of it. I’ve been truly irritated by the anti-male tangent of the new feminists. As a male-type person of white European descent, and a Southerner to boot, I know their venom is directed at me and others just like me. I don’t recall doing anything to deserve that. It’s evidently not about what I do, but what I am—my heritage. What can I do about that? It’s not like I can erase who I am; the historical facts of me. I’m tired of the notion that anyone would expect me to apologize for any fact of my birth. Am I supposed to apologize for being born, or am I supposed to offer endless supplications on behalf of any and all who are like me? No one should ever offer an apology for any fact of birth. I’m not confused by any of the new feminist’s tripe, I’m just disgusted, appalled, and, yes, a bit angry. Why is such nonsense allowed to go on in America? It’s completely and totally un-American!
Because the Proud Boys seemed to be a group where I could be me without offering any apologies at all, I toyed with the idea of joining. I definitely meet their membership criteria. But, I’m just not a joiner, and I knew I’d never dedicate a single moment of my ever-shortening life in any bar or other venue just to prove my “maleness.” No, after studying the site and reflecting on my own personality, I realized that, while I liked the fact that the Proud Boys exist, I could never be a member. I gave that thought up.
The Proud Boys are attacked in the media as many things—mostly negative things. They’re called a white supremacist group, even though the U.S. president of the group is Afro-Cuban, and the membership is roughly 20% minority. The international president is black. So … white supremacist? No, I don’t think so. They’ve been called pro-fascist and pro-Nazi, but there’s nothing about them that should infer either accusation. What they are is pro-American. Then, they’re attacked as anti-immigrant. It’s easy to make that statement, but it also is incorrect. The Proud Boys are avowedly anti-illegal immigration. I know that’s too fine a difference for the media to grasp. They’ve been attacked as being anti-Semites, though their membership rules make no mention of any religion and there are Jews among their number. They’ve been called an anti-gay group, though their membership rules do not mention anything about sexual orientation at all. There are gay men in the group. The main criteria for membership is … being male, so …. they qualify if they meet all the other requirements, none of which, as previously stated, have anything to do with sexual orientation at all. They’re often described in terms that might infer they are a domestic terror group, though their own statements indicate they will only fight if attacked; they will not back down from fighting if another party starts it. Their own rules prohibit them from unprovoked actions against individuals, and attacking property is absolutely forbidden. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Proud Boys as a domestic hate group under the category of “General Hate,” but then they list the David Horowitz Freedom Center as one too, so….
Among the many criticisms of the Proud Boys you will find truth. The organization is often criticized for allowing certain people to be members. It appears true that some members are also members of organized militia groups. It’s also true that there is a smattering of men among them who were affiliated at one time or another with white supremacy groups. Because such memberships are constantly monitored, it’s not that hard for the FBI to know who they are. But, that leads to some other questions. Should someone who was once a member of a group monitored by the FBI be tarred for life? People do grow tired of such groups and move on. Circumstances of life and maybe just growing a bit older make something once attractive seem stale or confining. I can’t think of any white supremacy movement I’ve ever studied that seemed to have any element of fun about it. The Proud Boys do seem to emphasize a sort of primitive version of “guy fun.” That, and their own lack of discriminatory rules would not make for a very happy home for a dedicated white supremacist.
You may wonder what the hullabaloo regarding the Proud Boys is about. What sets off the media and all the so-called leftist activist groups? It’s two things—and two things only. The Proud Boys are an avowedly pro-male group, and they are also avowedly and sometimes a bit aggressively patriotic. You might call them nationalists. That might be fair. Their good press often refers to them as little more than a rowdy drinking club; a group that seems intent on resurrecting the ancient “boys will be boys” cultural reference. They absolutely reject most aspects of modern American culture that might criticize them and their various activities. They’re sort of in-your-face about that. They promote anything they see as a predominantly male activity. Yes, sometimes that does include fighting. Their ethos is to fight for their rights, and if that means to brawl a bit, they’re certainly willing to accommodate any other group that might want to take them on.
The patriotism aspect of the Proud Boys is where that right-wing attribution comes from. The Proud Boys carry and wear the American Flag. They stand for the National Anthem and put their hand over their hearts. They sing along as the Star Spangled Banner is played. They promote prayer. They promote traditional values of all kinds. That naturally puts them at odds with anarchist groups like Antifa and BLM, whose own ethos seems more anti- than pro-American. The Proud Boys are Donald Trump supporters. He may not have known who they are, but they definitely know who he is—and they approve. In more recent months, Proud Boys members have been seen at Trump rallies and various pro-Trump demonstrations. They don’t characterize themselves in political terms, other than as patriots. That seems enough for them. In their view, Donald Trump is also a patriot and Joe Biden and the entire progressive Democratic Party isn’t. It’s sort of that simple.
The Proud Boys seem to be offering something of a challenge to those who are perpetuating violence in the street. They seem willing to pitch in and help law enforcement in their efforts to protect lives and property. Do you consider that a bad thing? I admit—I don’t.
I don’t want anyone to think I’m giving blanket approval of the Proud Boys and all they do. I’m not. I see them for what they are. I like the fact they’re there, serving as a counterbalance to the wild excesses of progressive extremist groups. I admit they can be obnoxious, and I admit they sometimes tend to not be the smartest group when it comes to making political allies. Overall, I think they’re a group that might need to be watched to ensure they don’t go overboard, but are generally harmless. They certainly aren’t the villains the media portrays them to be. But, because they align themselves along philosophic lines attributed as “rightist” the group is attacked, maligned, and vilified in the media.
What is that about, really? It’s a prime example of haters hating haters. In this case, as in many others, the media gets to decide who the haters are. But we know who the real haters are, don’t we?
Steve A. Stone© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.