Some interesting symmetry in Oakland and Austria this weekend. First, the former. As readers know, dozens of caricature liberals, cloistered in a cluttered hippy commune, slipped their surly privilege Friday night. The cause was a massive warehouse fire where many of them lived and “worked” in a sort of junk-heap honeycomb that appeared meticulously crafted to maximize fire fatalities. There were no sprinklers, smoke alarms, or (functioning) fire extinguishers; though Green Party tracts and hookah pipes are thought to have been comparatively abundant. Further, the city’s somber lesbian spokeswoman stated that the second floor stair-way was simply a ramp of stacked debris, while the main floor was a maze of discarded furniture and large animal husks (my speculation) that made locating the exit a thrilling competition against one’s own peeling flesh.
Though the proximate causes of this avoidable carnage are less interesting than the underlying meta. These artists and dreamers could have easily chosen to live in safe, permit-granted housing. If hundreds of thousands of the country’s most violent and bitter blacks can find housing with interior construction in Oakland, then certainly a claque of antifa can do the same.
But that would hardly have suited their aesthetic requirements. Secure, inspected, and safeguarded housing is much like a homogenous white country: boring at best, Hate most likely. For a certain mindset, there’s a formidable psychic frisson to sleeping on filthy rugs beside a Thai squatter. The core of that pleasure being partially in the expression of unrequited out-group camaraderie. But perhaps of equal emotional importance is the eternal lure of iconoclastic conformity.
There is little risk of loss in wagering that the tattooed, pierced, and painted parties at the Oakland warehouse viewed themselves as singularly thoughtful renegades from the suffocating sameness of heartland Bourgeoisie whiteness. Though the fact that you would actually find more variance of thought in a Nebraska cornfield than in the rigid orthodoxy of a leftist burrow is something very few THC-fueled discussions long linger upon. The point of iconoclastic conformity is to stand as a idealistic rebel from the traditions and interests of your in-group, while surrounding yourself in a cocoon of safe-space assurance. Few people are more conformist than those determined to prove they aren’t. And no courage of convictions is so conspicuous as that which goes uncontested.
By the way, the doomed building was known locally as the Oakland Ghost Ship.
I had a sense of ghost ship foreboding upon reading of yesterday’s Austrian election results. In them, the far-far-far right presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, was defeated by the Green Party’s Alexander Van der Bellen. Before continuing, an editorial note: given that this movement is quite a bit more red than green, we’ll (charitably) refer to it going forward as the Holidays Party.
And for its iconoclastically conformist members, it was a holiday indeed.
After an ugly and deeply polarising presidential campaign in normally tranquil Austria, whooping and relief on one side Sunday night was matched by disdain and anger on the other.
…artist Natalia Nadasma, 21, said that Brexit and Trump had motivated many activists to make sure that the Austrian election wasn’t yet another political shock.
“A lot of people from civil society decided to be active, to go onto the streets in order to convince people to vote for liberalism, to vote for openness, to vote for diversity,” Nadasma said.
To vote for no societal smoke alarms, stairways, or sprinklers, she is not quite self-aware enough to say. And her civil society countrymen agreed that cultivating their own dingy multi-cult commune was preferable to the stultifying and flame retardant Austrians-first alternative. If only fire or migrants could be coaxed to share our appreciation of liberal aesthetics many cheeks would remain dry.
Unfortunately neither appear at all inclined to spare liberals from their foolishness. As a month prior to the Oakland conflagration, one of Austria’s linguistic siblings met a similarly tragic fate.
Maria Ladenburger, the daughter of a high-ranking EU official, was returning from a party in the university city of Freiburg in Germany when she was assaulted on a cycle path.
She was raped and then drowned before her body was found in the River Dreisam.
The suspect, an Afghan migrant, was caught after police found DNA on a scarf near the path.
Ms Ladenburger reportedly worked in her spare time helping out in refugee homes in Freiburg.
The Diversity Ghost Ship claims another soul. What is obvious to bigots often requires reiteration for the unwary. Encroaching foreigners are no more interested in your pious morality than a flame is in your bohemian architecture. Building restrictions exist for much the same reason as border restrictions: to keep something important to you from turning to ash.
Those determined to never grasp this can count on one eventual embarkation.