July 04, 2023
I was gonna do a piece about Covid’s origin, as it’s been in the news again and readers have asked me to address it, but I’m putting it off for a week.
Because the Pedro Gonzalez thing is stuck in my craw.
Disclaimer: I have no idea where my “craw” is, but if it’s where I assume, it’s a highly uncomfortable location for a blockage.
Last week Breitbart.com doxxed a guy simply because he supports DeSantis. Pedro Gonzalez, politics editor at Chronicles and a former Trump supporter who switched his allegiance, saw his private messages splashed all over the internet in a hit piece authored by “Trump-über-alles” Breitbart editor Matt Boyle.
I’ll repeat that for readers who still think the Trump camp retains even the slightest shred of human decency: A conservative dude said “I like DeSantis,” so Breitbart.com outed his private messages as revenge.
Remember when a former classmate of Parkland student Kyle Kashuv leaked private messages in which he said the “N-word”? And remember how, as a result of that politically motivated hit, Kashuv’s Harvard admission was revoked?
Well, if that angered you but the Breitbart thing doesn’t, you’re too far gone.
I would never call Matt Boyle a piece of shit. That would be an unforgivable insult to pieces of shit. Rather, he’s the worm that makes you take your dog to the vet when you see it in a piece of shit. He’s the thing that makes pieces of shit worse than they already are.
Understand that there’s no depth to which the Trump camp won’t sink. Yes, they will dox you for your political opinions. Next time you get a pitch from Breitbart for some idiotic paywalled “change the culture” movie, know that your private info is not safe. If you’re caught being pro-DeSantis, your personal info might be leaked. Boyle straight-out told “Seb” Gorka last week that all private communications are fair game. That includes yours.
Of course, the Trumpers reading this right now are screaming, “But his emails! Address Gonzalez’s emails!”
Yes, Gonzalez’s private messages are ugly. That doesn’t matter to me. They were private. We should all have the right to act imperfectly in our private lives. Imperfectly and stupidly. If you were to tell me that you’ve never once said something in private that you regret, I’d call you a liar. And I’d be right.
A guy like Matt Assboyle, who claims to be against “Orwellian dystopias,” is the strongest ally of said dystopias. He exposes the private conversations of citizens to punish them for displeasing him politically.
That’s pretty damn Orwellian.
But back to Gonzalez. The simple truth is, he got caught up in the Trump-cult “Groyper” thing, the Nick Fuentes idiocy of “helicopter rides” and “ironybro” Jew-baiting.
Gonzalez was gripped by the Groyper stupidity at the exact time it was being egged on by Breitbart.com. By Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos. Oh, you forgot that Milo “Kanye and Fuentes sieg heil” Yiannopoulos was a Breitbart editor? Breitbart was pushing the Groyper bullshit when Gonzalez became entranced by it.
I warned about this at the time. In column after column, I cautioned how the Groyper “naughty boy” stuff was becoming a “secret handshake” among young Trumpists to prove their based-ness. And I counseled that it would come to no good. That it could lead to only two things: foolhardy young people, overtaken by exuberance and the intoxication of the moment, making ironybro posts that would forever haunt them, and extremism-prone young people growing beyond ironybro rhetoric into full-on Hitler worship and Holocaust denial.
I warned about this, publicly and privately, and some of you, and you know who y’are, were like, “Oh no, those Groypers are doing a good thing! We should support them.”
You were wrong. The Groyper/Fuentes mess was a cancer. It was tolerated, even celebrated, and now it stains people like Gonzalez—smart, worthy folks paying a hefty price for getting caught up in a mania that should’ve been killed in utero.
It’s the never-ending curse of Trump. He took that which used to be common sense (“illegal immigration is bad”) and made it wacky—via his roasts, his tweets, his “sick burns.” He made the normal abnormal, as leftists did the opposite, skillfully making the abnormal normal (trannyism, open borders, antiwhite race-hatred).
It can be argued that Trump’s wackiness was necessary to jolt the 2016 GOP from Bushism Chamber of Commerce business-as-usual politics. Fine. But once he was elected, it should’ve been reined in. Instead, Trump’s election only increased the cartoon frog insanity and the encouragement of the cartoon frog insanity.
You can justifiably blame a lot on villains like George Soros, but the cartoon frogs, the “helicopter rides,” the “cookie monsters” (Fuentes comparing murdered Jews to baked cookies), the “white ethnostate,” the 4chan “OK sign” troll (which people in the Trump White House intentionally did, and some of you were like, “Oh how precious! How NAUGHTY!”), is on you.
This cancer is on you.
Okay, what’s done is done. And we have to look at the right’s present reality, which is that a bunch of intelligent, decent young guys like Gonzalez got caught up in a mania encouraged by those who should’ve known better.
How do we deal with that?
Well, option No. 1 is that we torment them for the rest of their lives.
“Hooray! We’re sadists!!! We encouraged you to embrace the madness and now we’ll use it to extort your eternal allegiance to Trump!”
What heroes you are, Trump extortionists. Real inheritors of the Founding Fathers’ mantle. Where’s your tricorn? Go get your tricorn and stick it up your craw.
Option No. 2 is to not be sadists and not torment young people who privately sent memes during the Groyper period. Option 2 involves salvaging lives, not destroying them.
So of course a scumbag freak like Matt Boyle (who makes Brian Peppers look handsome) will forever reject that course of action.
Just a few weeks ago, Jay Johnston—a gifted comic—was arrested for his involvement in January 6th (a.k.a. the Titan submersible that Trump used to send 2,000 of his most loyal followers to a watery grave). Just like Gonzalez, Johnston—a kind, decent man I tangentially knew (he was fostering a kitten I nearly adopted some years ago)—got caught up in the mania of a madman.
And I’ll bet your response to the Jay Johnston story is, “Well horn-dangit why are they still comin’ after a guy who did a criminal trespass two and a half years ago? Can’t they just let it go?”
So how do you feel about Breitbart.com destroying Gonzalez’s life for memes he sent four years ago?
The right has to deal with the squandering of resources that occurred during the Trump years. Young people like Pedro Gonzalez lured into edgelord extremism because the adults in the room, trying to compensate for their lost youth (I’m so looking at you, Malkin), were like, “Hey, this Pepe frog stuff is cool and I’m cool for liking it!” And tremendous talents like Johnston—a guy with actual “edgy comedy” cred—sent on a suicide mission by a maniac who saw his loyal followers and decided, “The best way I can use this resource is to make them destroy themselves for me and then I’ll raise money for myself off their miserable fate.”
I’m not absolving anyone of their choices. Pedro Gonzalez is an adult; he wrote those private messages with full autonomy. Jay Johnston is an adult; Trump didn’t send him into the Capitol at gunpoint. But the right has to come to terms with the legacy of Trump’s madness. The mania that turned what used to be a commonsense position (“Illegal immigration is bad and even legal immigration should be based on how applicants might improve the nation”) into a circus of Stürmer cartoons, Capitol riots, and Holocaust denial.
In my own unique position as someone whose name is often wrongly invoked to promote Holocaust denial, I recognize my responsibility that things I said when I was 21 were said inartfully enough to allow for misinterpretation. So recognizing that responsibility, if I see someone going down the denial path, I don’t try to cancel them, I reach out to them. Sometimes successfully (I was able to talk Chuck Johnson down from the denier ledge), sometimes unsuccessfully (when I reached out to Fuentes, he responded by blocking me on social media), and sometimes to baffling effect (when I reached out to Ron Unz, he said, “I am not an animal, I’m a human being,” and I was like, “Okay, dude, but please keep that sack over your head because I just ate”).
I try to deal with these situations humanely. You know how many PMs I get from folks saying, “You taught me that the Holocaust was the HoloHOAX”? And instead of responding, “Ha! Now I’ll use your PM to get you fired,” which is the Matt Boyle method, I try to talk to these guys and explain why they’re wrong.
That’s not just the humane response, it’s also the one most likely to reduce extremism. Because if you destroy someone for “incorrect thoughts,” you’ll drive them even more vigorously toward extremism, because you’ve taken away their chance at a normal life.
But Team Trump and Breitbart have a different methodology. They use the mania they created to strong-arm people, to force them to retain allegiance to Trump or else.
You really want these dicks back in the White House?
From Pedro Gonzalez’s response to his doxxing:
Joking about taboos becomes a signifier of membership in a secret club while demonstrating supposedly esoteric knowledge indicates that one has ascended from the cave of “normie” conservatism. You’ve escaped the Matrix. (But) monomaniacal malding over Jews or any group as the collective source of your frustration is a trap and an acidic mind virus. It is a mind virus, like the 1619 Project is a mind virus, and like any such disease, it will envelope your mind in midnight and consume your life and destroy your relationships if you let it.
In 2019 I warned about the “secret handshake” of Groyper lunacy. Pedro Gonzalez got caught up in it, and he has a clearheaded understanding of what he got into, why it was bad, and he regrets it. And that should be the end of it. He wants out; let him be out. He’s a smart guy, a nice guy; tormenting him further is pure sadism.
But the Trumpers are sadists. They brought about this madness, and now they’re extorting young adherents of the madness they themselves wrought.
This stuff’s gonna get worse before it gets better.
Team Trump is telling you, “If you don’t support us, we’ll dox you. We’ll destroy you.”
You’re either okay with that or you’re not.
As a once-canceled guy who climbed out of the hole, lemme be clear: From this point on if you give as much as one dollar to Breitbart.com, you can go to hell.