I’m not a huge fan of the Proud Boys, the conservative men’s movement started by fellow Canadian Gavin McInnes, but as long as they aren’t breaking the law, I believe they have a right to their opinions. The Aussie site news.com.au has a new hit piece on them titled Whining men: ‘We’re blamed for everything’. Even the title is a smear.
THE Proud Boys like to drink beer and talk politics. Which isn’t that remarkable, until you take a look at their particular brand of politics, and the fact they’re not living in tiny rural towns.
So conservatives only live in tiny rural towns? What a bigoted opinion. Sure, they are less common in large cities, but not all conservatives are redneck hicks.
Mostly pro-Trump, they believe in closing the borders, legalising all drugs, abolishing prison and giving everyone a gun. They also feel that society would be better if women just dropped out of the workforce, and went back to their homes.
Their full platform is:
- abolish prison
- give everyone a gun
- legalize drugs
- end welfare
- close the borders
- venerate the housewife
- glorify the entrepreneur
- shut down the government
If this was in a small town in Colorado, it’d probably be called extreme libertarianism — but they’re based in New York, New Jersey and Texas, and their views in an urban context are unusual.
Libertarians are unusual in cities? Not that unusual, surely.
I’m in the States for my next assignment for Dateline, and I know that even if we achieve the most balanced version of the story we’re about to tell, some people will hate it. It’s a strange feeling to start filming with, and it gets stranger throughout the process.
Don’t worry. From the title of your hit piece, it’s clear you won’t be balanced. The fact that you think you are is hilarious.
At a location in Jersey that I’ve been told to keep undisclosed, I meet Proud Boy media man Pawl Bazile. Pawl has gotten flack for being in this group, and for being a vocal conservative living in an environment where blue-collar Democrats and big-city liberals call the shots. Pawl is a punk rock guy, who tells it like ‘it’ is. He believes people are still listening to his band — and he’s right. Sixty-three million people voted for Donald Trump in 2016, which is almost half the electorate that bothered to vote. Pawl reminds me that it’s easy to underestimate those numbers if you live overseas or in the big, liberal cities. These ideas aren’t going away.
We go to drink some beer. I’ve been to 17 states in these “United” States since the beginning of the 2016 electoral race, so the Proud Boy rhetoric is pretty run-of-the-mill. These men feel downtrodden and unlistened to — and they blame feminism and political correctness for it.
This is a big part of why Trump won. He listened to the disenfranchised.
On a sunset cruise overlooking the New York skyline, where a number of Proud Boys are getting together for a meet-up, one guy tells me, “If you look around here, this boat, these structures are built on the sweat of men’s backs. And now we’re getting blamed for everything. So we sweat and bleed and then we get called out for bleeding on the floor.”
Men did build the modern world and men are being blamed for the world’s problems.
It’s a common theme. A war on men and manhood, being waged against simple, honest “Western” guys. I asked several Proud Boys for specific examples of this gender war in action — but I didn’t get any particular incident or moment that led them to feel this way. It’s more of a “vibe,” as The Office’s David Brent would say.
The examples are everywhere. For one, the New York Times just hired a writer who has made anti-male tweets:
One of the other Proud Boy tenets is “venerate the housewife”. The idea is that men and women are “equal but different”, and that those differences should be celebrated. The end result of this celebration, is that men go out to work, and women stay at home.
And assuming that this is what their women want to do, and they are both happy, this seems worthy of celebrating.
Down in Montgomery, Alabama, I meet Ryan Lenz from the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), who says the Proud Boy rhetoric is a slippery slope. “Gavin might suggest it’s funny, you know, they’re actually attacking an entire class of people, the entire Muslim world, and vilifying them as a result of their faith.” Hate speech is hate speech, no matter how much comedy or entertainment is wrapped around it, Ryan says.
The SPLC smears Muslims. See my post Vice Smears Men’s Rights Activists for details. Can Lenz give an example of an attack by Proud Boys on the Muslim world, or are they merely criticizing Islam? Without specifics, I give the SPLC zero credibility.
Gavin McInnes has been accused of conflating hate speech with comedy, and many of the rank-and-file members of the group often take this further online, and among the growing trend of violent political protests and rallies in the US. Of course, this brings controversy, media attention, and constantly updated quotes on the Proud Boys SPLC hate group page.
Has McInnes incited violence? If not, his speech is covered by the first amendment. As long as they aren’t instigating violence, the Proud Boys have every right to demonstrate.
My “Proud Boy” Google alert goes off faithfully every morning. It’s generally something Gavin has said that has outraged some form of media. So the battle continues — and the controversy buoys the group. It makes them more attractive to those who might even consider this sort of value system, and undoubtedly swells Proud Boy membership.
Media hypocrisy undoubtedly swells their membership.
Ultimately, it’s the same kind of free and compelling media attention that propelled Donald Trump to power. So if you really disagree with the Proud Boys, it’s probably best to ignore them. Move on, there’s nothing to see here. People’s outrage only makes them stronger.
I would agree. I can argue against some of their positions, which could be productive, but if you scream outrage, they will simply laugh at you. As in the gym, resistance makes you stronger.