The Truth About The Proud Boys

The first presidential debate of 2020 was more schoolyard squabble than respectable exchange of ideas. Motormouth Donald Trump interrupted both his opponent, Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and the debate's moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, so often and so vehemently that the former ended up exasperatedly pleading, "Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential." The president's constant mendacious rambling also irked Wallace, who got fed up with trying to control him, saying, "I hate to raise my voice, but why shouldn't I be different than the two of you?"

As GQ reported, Biden's phrase has already been turned into a T-shirt, and The Wall Street Journal predicted that it was "likely to be the only thing anyone remembers from the first of three presidential debates." (You read that right. We've still got two more to go. Brace yourselves.) However, as sensational as the outburst was, a different statement — and the notable absence of another — is what stuck in the minds of those worried about the role of violent extremist groups in the current American political landscape.

As Vanity Fair reported the day after the debate, when Wallace asked President Trump if he would explicitly condemn "white supremacists and militia groups," and Biden gave the ultra-violent Proud Boys as an example, Trump once again refused to denounce the scourge of white supremacy in the country. But, who are the Proud Boys, and where did they come from?

The Proud Boys are a hate group of violent white supremacists

"Proud Boys," Trump said when the group's name was mentioned. "Stand back and stand by." Alex Kaplan, a senior researcher of online extremism for Media Matters, revealed in a series of tweets how the Proud Boys took the president's remark as an explicit sign of his approval of their support for his campaign and the violent tactics they use to promote their asinine principles of white supremacy.

The Proud Boys themselves are too spineless to admit that they're a bunch of filthy, thickheaded racists. According to USA Today, they hide behind rhetoric and politics, publicly eschewing the term "white supremacy" and claiming that they're "a counterbalancing force" to the loosely organized far-left anti-fascist movement called Antifa. As despicable and detrimental as the KKK is to democracy, at least its members have the guts to admit the mindless beliefs that motivate them.

The Proud Boys, on the other hand, state that they are a group of chauvinists (but not male chauvinists, despite not letting icky girls come into the clubhouse) who feel that men and Western ideals are under attack by people simply trying to get the United States of America to live up to its purported ideals of equality and justice. (And they call leftists "snowflakes.") But the group is merely one of a number of cells that have splintered off the hollow ideals of white supremacy that have always been present in America.

The Proud Boys got their name from a song written by a gay Jew

The Proud Boys began in September 2016 when Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes (who left Vice in 2008 due to "creative differences," according to Gawker) had finally had enough of people not propping up his ego. In an article on the website for the far-right publication Taki's Magazine, McInnes wrote about the New York City chapter's second-ever meetup at the pertinently chosen Gaslight Bar in Tribeca. The gathering drew "about fifty men" who passed the time "drinking, fighting, and reading aloud from Pat Buchanan's Death of the West." Also, "no women because women are not allowed." Nothing homoerotic about that at all.

In a speech detailing how he came up with the infantile name of the group, McInnes called France "a nation of homos" and mocked a little boy for growing up without a father. Classy guy. That child was singing a song from the stage production of Disney's Aladdin called "Proud of Your Boy," and singing just isn't manly, according to the hipster-turned-bro who founded a frat-boy empire based on a song that Forward reported was written by a gay Jew.

After McInnes left Vice, he went on to champion such worthy Western ideals as making fun of people and posting "Instaboners" on his website Street Carnage, which went belly-up in 2018. Hopefully for democracy, his Proud Boys project will have the same kind of success.