The Reality Of Charlottesville

The Reality Of Charlottesville

Neither the extreme left nor the extreme right is representative of any significant constituency in American politics.

The tragedy of deadly violence that happened in Charlottesville will be used by the elite left to call for the further destruction of monuments to problematic figures from the past. The elite right will concede this battle – they’ve already indicated their utter concession to it, because they have no recognition where this path will end up, just as the elite right has always lacked perspective on the true aims of the left.

Last night in Washington, D.C., a Black Lives Matter rally populated overwhelmingly by white people took to the field in front of the White House and then marched to the Trump hotel to chant and rally against the existence of any confederate or slaveowner statues in D.C. This is what they want: to eradicate history and appreciations of American history because they judge all of it to be vile, and they believe – as many members of the media do – that deep down, American conservatives are all the same as those 300 or so would-be Nazis in Charlottesville. (Of course, they are pathetic would-be Nazis – they don’t have the discipline or the personal physiques to fit into Hugo Boss). That’s why they have been so eager to make such comparisons – remember when Seth MacFarlane said Nazis would love McCain-Palin? I do.

The list of protests which turned violent – which, when I shared it, triggered numerous accusations that I was defending Nazis, a white supremacist, and caused a reporter for one magazine where I used to be a columnist to describe me as “alt-right” – includes: Oakland 2009, Akron 2009, Pittsburgh 2009, Santa Cruz 2010, Oakland 2010, Los Angeles 2010, Oakland 2011, Chicago 2012, Anaheim 2012, Brooklyn 2013, Ferguson 2014, New York City 2014, Baltimore 2015, Anaheim 2016, Chicago 2016, St Paul 2016, Milwaukee 2016, Charlotte 2016, Standing Rock 2016, Oakland 2016, Portland 2016, Washington DC 2017, Berkeley 2017, Anaheim 2017, Berkeley (again) 2017, Berkeley (again again) 2017, Olympia 2017, and Portland 2017. This is a list of overwhelmingly leftist protests. But those have a different standard in the press.

Protest and assembly are the rights of all. Violent extremism is the enemy of all. There is no “winning” in such a clash, only loss. Their enemy is civilized society and the public square. But apparently listing such protests is all it takes to be considered an anti-Semite Nazi shill. Facts are not what people want at a time like this. They would prefer fiction.

John Davidson has more:

The Left’s damnatio memoriae campaign to tear down Confederate statues shares something in common with the white supremacist impulse to stage tiki-torch rallies in defense of those statues: the ultimate goal isn’t to re-litigate the Civil War but to polarize the American body politic, to force the mainstream into a kind of crude tribalism.

Political violence and street fights of the kind we saw over the weekend in Charlottesville aren’t altogether new in America. We have seen such clashes — albeit less deadly ones — nearly every year for almost a decade. In nearly every case, they have been sought out and instigated by the extreme left.

But Richard Spencer and his sparse band of J. Crew Nazis chose the Lee statue for the site of their rally on Saturday for the simple reason that it was the best location for attracting attention and provoking a violent counter-protest from armed cadres of left-wing street fighters, which it did. They came to town, apparently from all over the country, looking for a fight that would be televised.

That strategy follows a certain logic, especially if your movement is small (estimates of white supremacist attendees were in the hundreds). For the left-wing counterprotesters, showing up en masse to attack such a gathering follows the same logic. The point is to put on a spectacle.

The fact is, neither the extreme left or the extreme right are representative of any significant constituencies in American politics. They do not wield actual power, but they have realized a way to exert out-sized influence through the instigation of publicly staged violence.

John Robb, author of a book on terrorism and social disruption called “Brave New War,” wrote an insightful blog post about how Charlottesville wasn’t really a protest so much as an “open invitation to a public fist fight between left and right.” It was a perfect example of “malicious social disruption” that “widened fault lines and damaged social cohesion at every level” — by design.

What will divide the country even more, though, is the fact that the right’s elites in media and politics are rushing to concede this battle before it is even joined, without thinking about where it inevitably leads. They are willing to trash the history of a portion of the nation in order to satisfy the American leftist elite, and they will run eagerly to fulfill that task in order to demonstrate how civilized they are. Along the way, they will run rampant over a portion of history that includes recognizable relatives for the World War II generation, toxifying the entire discussion. The direction this leads is much worse than where we currently are – it is the open conflict of a nation at war with itself over its own character. This war will end badly, no matter how it plays out. And the way this story ends is in demolishing Monticello brick by brick.

Ben Domenech is the publisher of The Federalist. Sign up for a free trial of his daily newsletter, The Transom.
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