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Saturday August 19th 2017Tim Candler9

 

     Don't mean sound as though I've great experience of these things but take for example skinheads, young men and boys who in their attempts to understand their sense of frustration and powerlessness explore violence as a solution to impurity, find a home in Valhalla rather than a boxing ring. If there's no one to fight, they test each other by fighting amongst themselves, which isn't quite as satisfying in terms of unit cohesion as finding another group of mostly strangers to fight. Imagine the ugly joy a skinhead clan would take from the knowledge of a violent confrontation with say for example Antifa. It's a chance at justification, self worth, there are battle honors in a cause that can be expressed in words. Indeed, a call to unity between skinhead clans was "We're all white, right!" And off they'd go to find black, or brown, or a gentle hitch-hiker minding his own business, or another town to beat up. These days of course it's about memes, massaging, tweets, donate, cable news and likes on facebook.

 

Past

       More than likely the young men of Antifa have developed a similar sense of themselves, an idea of glory, and those of us who wonder at how peaceful and calm and understanding we can be in the face of well armed and angry white nationalists chanting hate in the streets of our towns, we have a sympathy for anyone with the courage to confront the outrage. It's visceral, it's dirty work, it's frightening and easy to pretend that you won't, but stuff happens and you'll get sucked into the whirlwind. There's a story from Socrates' soldiering days. He was a Hoplite, a foot soldier. Classically enough Plato was a horse soldier, he could easily gallop off. Following the Athenian route at the Battle of Delium, the enemy saw blood, spoils and victory. The Athenians in retreat ran hell for leather to escape and many of those running were cut down. Instead of running, Socrates chose to walk away. While his comrades were slaughtered he was left alone. There's a chance the wisest of men was just very un-athletic, he might have had a sore toe, or possible he was just musty and very grumpy. He was forty eight at the time of the battle.

 

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