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A Psychoanalysis of Antifa

March 10, 2017

 

The following is based on a conversation taken from an Antifa Facebook group. The full conversation (or the extent that we have archived) can be found here. For reasons of operational security and protecting our source, please do not contact any of the people listed below, for any reason.

 

The conversation is started by one Dave Nor-x:

 

"We'll pay a heavy price for trying to beat the right wing with violence." (133 likes)

 

The second primary participant, Michael Paradela, tersely responds:

 

"We hugged the Nazis and won WWII." (85 likes)

 

Off the bat, the like-ratio seems to optimistically favor Dave. Later on, this trend flips, though with significantly fewer participants. What this seems to indicate is that in the larger group of hard-left communists and progressives, about two-thirds disagree with using violence against fascists, or at least against right-wingers (the definition of fascism is a hot subject of debate, even amongst the Left), while about one-third agrees with the use of violence against Trump-supporters. Among the more intellectual, or the more involved members of this movement, as measured by those who stuck around to read through the whole conversation, about two-thirds supported the use of violence against Trump, while only about one-third opposed it.

 

There are a number of interesting observations we can make from this interaction, and employ to our benefit.

 

1. The Totalitarians are the Minority

 

A dominant minority, perhaps, but a minority nonetheless. Most of these leftists, even the more politically radical, don't like the perception that they're the black-shirts (which they quite literally are), and that they're initiating violence on potentially innocent people. The like-count of Dave Nor-x's initial post is never matched, let alone superseded, despite some pretty wacky generalizations getting 30-50 likes.

 

Interpretation: We can focus our message on opposing anti-liberal ideologies (especially Communism and Islam), and especially, against the use of political violence. Personally, I had a great deal of success in speaking with people on the Antifa-side by pointing out that people like them have acted as domestic terrorists, threatening people with violence for attending political events no matter the victim's own political beliefs. By refusing to let them define the conversation by justifying support of Trump, and focusing all interactions on the use of political violence and our willingness to protect ourselves and others, we can drive a wedge between the more radical elements of the Left and their nominal but tenuous, broader support base.

 

2. They Pride Themselves on Their Knowledge

 

Liberals by nature are low in conscientiousness and high in openness. Left-wing totalitarians are high in empathy, but low in verbal intelligence. This makes intelligence both a point of pride and of weakness. Both qualities are on full-display in the dialogue, particularly on the part of Michael Paradela, who is rather eloquent and articulate, but not actually intelligent. At no point does he make an actual argument responding to Dave Nor-x. Rather, he sticks to rhetoric, insinuating insults and a vast breadth of background knowledge that he is drawing upon (there is no reason to believe he has read most, or even any, of the lengthy book list he reels off). Emotion, rather than reason, are the thrust of his comments.

 

Interpretation: There are three points to take away. First, intellectual arguments will not convince them, but it will force them to respect us. More importantly than making intellectual arguments is carrying yourself with an intellectual posture (actual intellectual arguments will not be effective). Staying cool and calm, and making them the raving lunatics by comparison, will make them look ridiculous through the lens of their own side's standards of value.

 

Second, the general language deficiency (relative to others of a similar level of general intelligence) permits us to get away with prankish plays and using them for our own purposes, so long as we are sufficiently oblique and subtle about it. Printing high-quality signs in advance, with ambiguous messages, and then slipping them to protesters who show up to events, is a great way that we can hijack their presence and either make them look stupid (i.e., with minor grammar or spelling errors) or use them to our advantage. My favorite sign-idea is still "celebrate usefulness!", but some others might include "impeach corruption!"; "Government: Out of my Body, Out of my State!"; "Build a Wall Around Washington/D.C."; "No More Executive Orders!", etc.

 

Third, we can use the valuation of intelligence to divide them against each other. At the rally, I ended up primarily arguing with two different Antifa members, and I loudly, verbally labeled one (the more willing to talk) as "pretty sharp" and "smart," while similarly labeling the one who was walking up and down declaring us all to be Nazis as "dumb" and "retarded." The second time the blue-eyed, more extreme guy came through, and called us all tacit white-supremacists, I smiled and corrected him, asking him how he hadn't heard that we were all Nazis now, after PewDiePie. The first Antifa member saw what I was doing, and got visibly irritated and exasperated with his more radical comrade, and asked me "come on, don't do the Trump thing on us" (referring to my theory that Trump baited false allegations of racism with comments that sort of sounded racist without actually being racist). Losing the backing of his comrade, the second Antifa member sort of left. He knows, as well as everyone else, that if even the other black-clad communists are telling you to shut up, he's making the group look bad.

 

3. SJWs Always Project

 

All totalitarianism stems from delusions of omniscience. The delusions themselves come from a variety of sources; some of them from a need for control stemming from insufficient parenting (stability) during their childhood, or from too much parenting; some come from having had their identities built up from social validation later in their youth; some have read so much, and are so knowledgeable, that they think they can solve all the world's problems.

 

Regardless of the source, all left-wing totalitarian members possess a political certainty that is religious in nature. At the heart of this religion, however, is not a God, but themselves. They are quintessentially narcissistic, and from this self-centered world-view, project their own patterns of thought and behavior onto others.

 

Projection is something that every non-psychopathic human does to some degree: we can't know everything, so we tend to assume that without other contradicting information, others will behave and think roughly as we will (this often gets higher-IQ people into trouble). Most people, however, presume positive traits onto others, in this fashion. Pathological narcissists will project pathologies onto other people generally, to a degree that makes zero statistical sense.

 

The conversation is chock-full of projection, about violence, about reasonability, and about the authoritarianism of the opposition. One almost gets the impression that they think that they are the libertarians, fighting against people who would want to control their speech. A few literally assert that Donald Trump will do violence to them or to their family. This kind of delusion is obviously beyond the reach of reason, but not beyond the reach of emotional pain and shame, not just from our group, but from their own.

 

Interpretation: Thus, if someone who is a left-wing totalitarian accuses you of being a "murderer," or "supporting a murderer," it is a very good clue that homicide is something very much on their mind, or in their background. Are they a secret Stalin-supporter? Did they, or a close friend, have an abortion? If they accuse you of racism, perhaps they were raised in a racist household, and once held strongly racist views themselves. Perhaps they still do.

 

If such lines of questioning make them annoyed or dismissive, perhaps not. If it makes them incredulous, wide-eyed, indignant, or furious, you may have hit a nerve.

 

The evidence for this psychoanalysis is best documented in Vox Day's excellent book SJWs Always Lie. SJW's Always Lie is the first of three laws, the second being SJWs Always Double Down. The third, of course, is SJWs Always Project.

 

***

 

It will be interesting to see how these character qualities pan out, and how the details crystalize over time. Any tactic we employ against their psychological weaknesses will, eventually, be countered, but that doesn't mean it can't be effective for some period of time. The weaknesses themselves don't go away; only the methods and weaponry for attacking them changes. I'm not a clinical psychologist, and I'm merely analyzing a single conversation. Still, this one conversation illustrates a zeitgeist in the radical Left, one that I think we're all generally aware of. Most of the people who don't like Trump don't think anarchism and communism are viable solutions. Pointing this out, along with the pathologies of those who think that these are valid solutions, as well as the fact that these pathological individuals are the ones leading the spirited and diverse anti-Trump community, can be strategically advantageous to ourselves, and in the long-run, to our nation.

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