Victor Davis Hanson outlines below the “psychodramatic foolery” that took place last weekend in Washington, D.C. involving the MAGA hat-wearing Covington teens and Nathan Phillips, tribal “elder.”
Progressives, NeverTrumpers, identity politics activists and associated social justice warriors all rivaled each other to see who might be the first and the most venomous to indict, try, and metaphorically execute the cookie-cutter whites and privileged. In our new race and gender morality, a teenager when confronted by an activist adult must play the adult as the activist adult plays the role of teenager. The idea that an adolescent has a right to stand still when confronted by an agitator in his face, beating a drum is, well, racist. As David Azerrad dryly put it, the Covington teen was guilty of nothing more than “smirking while white.”
The key in these Internet lynchings is to get in first and worst—and keep at it. Yet, in French Revolutionary street style, the initial outraged tweeters and posters were almost automatically seen as passe in a nanosecond: Dox the boys. No, write their school to abort their careers. No, go to their schools and protest at their homes. No, punch them. No, burn them alive. No, stuff them into wood chippers.
We may have iPhones instead of rope, but human nature has not changed. The competition to appear tough, cruel, defiant—and morally superior—is fed by crowds of anonymous laptop and smartphone shock troops. But what has altered is that we now have no sheriff. Or rather, our town marshal—Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc.—are on the mob’s side, as if the bulwark between civilization and savagery has left the porch, joined the mob, and handed them the keys to the jail.
… almost everything Nathan Phillips alleged was untrue: he crossed the street to instigate the confrontation, not the boys. He got into the faces of the boys, not they into his. He banged his drum, not merely stared. His group yelled inflammatory taunts—and served as an intermission between the racist and homophobic slurs leveled at the kids from the unhinged Black Hebrew Israelites, who were not victims but racist provocateurs.
Read more from VDH here.