Where I stand on Charlottesville and Confederate monuments

At Charlottesville, Antifa and Neo-Nazis proved to be birds of a feather; and blacks are right to want to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces.

Charlottesville protestI’ve been rather conspicuously silent about events in the South. As you know, I like to wait until the hysteria settles and facts emerge to throw in my two cents. Here are those two cents, in no particular order:

1. This needn’t have happened. The Charlottesville police stood down, which is a common tactic in Democrat-run cities when the loony Left is on the prowl.

2. Trump is correct that there were good people attending the event on both sides. The young woman who died, Heather Heyer, was one such person — and one, moreover, who had a truly moral, decent mother. I’ve read that there were others there who were not Richard Spencer supporters, but who were supporting free speech against Antifa’s thugs. Still, it was a stupid thing to say.

3. There were innumerable bad people at Charlottesville, both fascist Antifa thugs and fascist White Supremacist thugs. They’re all foul thinks and the Left is genuinely evil in its efforts to paint Trump and his supporters as fellow travelers of those White Supremacists. As a wise teen I know asked, “If you support me, and I hate you and everything you stand for, does that mean that the media gets to say that I support you just because you support me? I don’t think so.” The same teen, incidentally, said “extremism creates opposite extremists.” He hadn’t even read the Daniel Greenfield article from which I quote below when he said that.

4. There is nothing that Trump could have said about Charlottesville that would have assuaged the media. Nothing. And in talking with his supporters, I see them say that, no matter how inartfully Trump phrased things at his press conference, he was correct in the substance of what he said and they continue to applaud his bold frontal attacks against the media.

5. The media has a consistent double standard: Antifa, which is a burgeoning movement and can be seen as the militant arm of the campus Left (just as the KKK was the militant arm of the Democrat Party), is designated as a freedom fighting movement. White Supremacists, who are a teeny fraction of the American population, far less than the KKK was during its ascendancy in the 1920s and probably less than the Antifa mob, whether on campus or off, is treated not only as evil (which it is) but as representative of all conservatives.

6. When Antifa runs out of White Supremacists to attack (and it will, given the latter’s small numbers), the ground will have been laid for Antifa to attack all conservatives on the ground that they too are White Supremacists.

7. Antifa and the White Supremacists have a few things in common: They’re violent and they hate Jews. IowaHawk nailed it:

Antifa purports to be pro-black, but it advocates political policies that have seen the destruction of black communities, everything from generational welfare (rather than help for those who can’t help themselves), to affirmative action (which makes all black achievements suspect), to constant apologies for violent, destructive behavior (which relieves blacks from the responsibility to heal their own communities), to keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens (something that leaves them at the mercy of armed thugs). For Antifa and the Left to claim to be not-racist, even as they relentlessly push policies that destroy a community makes Antifa no better than the White Supremacists.

8. Given their similarities, I loath all who showed up at Charlottesville spoiling for a fight and would cheerfully consign both types of fascists to the pits of Hell. (And when I use the word “fascist,” I use it in the accurate sense of groups that rely upon violent tactics to silence speech, intimidate opponents, and create a government to carry out their totalitarian goals, goals that empower the state while dis-empowering individuals.)

9. Muslims or others on the Left who commit terrorist acts are always mentally ill; white schizophrenics who commit terrorist acts are always evil racists. The media is consistent every time. Ann Coulter says it well.

10. The media’s decision to give both these bottom dwellers so much air time is fertilizer for extremism. Daniel Greenfield says it best:

The left killed civil rights and replaced it with black nationalism. The racial supremacism of black nationalism that killed those officers is everywhere. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ibram X. Kendi are lionized as brilliant thinkers instead of hateful racists, Amazon has ordered a black nationalist secessionist fantasy from Aaron McGruder and Showtime aired ‘Guerilla,’ a miniseries glamorizing Black Panther terrorism.

But racism is a two-way street. So is violence. Extremists feed into each other.

You can’t legitimize one form of racism without legitimizing all of them. The media may advance this hypocritical position. Obama used the shameful “reverse racism” euphemism that distinguishes between black and white racism. But propaganda and spin don’t change the physics of human nature.

Either all racism is bad. Or all racism is acceptable.

Charlottesville is what happens when you normalize racism and street violence. Every normalization of extremism equally normalizes the extremism of the opposite side.

A civil society depends on a consensus. ‘Racism is bad’ is an example of such a consensus. If you normalize black nationalism, you will get more white nationalism. If you normalize leftist street violence against Trump supporters, you will also get more street violence against leftists.

Extremists want to eliminate the consensus of civil society. They want to destroy the idea that there’s any solution except violence through confrontations that show the helplessness of civil society.

That’s true of black nationalists and white nationalists, of Communists and Nazis, of Antifa and Vanguard, of the tankies and hipster Nazis of the Alt-Left and the Alt-Right. They’re a set of evil twins and when you unleash one, you unleash the other. Their real enemies aren’t each other, but everyone in the middle. The bourgeois normies who don’t want to replace society with their totalitarian nightmare.

Street violence raises the bar so that only the violent will participate in protests. If you “no platform” campus speakers, then the only speakers you get will be those willing to face bomb threats, arson, and physical assaults. If you fire people for their views, political activism becomes the province of anonymous trolls and unemployed street thugs. Extremism limits political discourse to extremists.

If Democrats really want to stop the rise of Neo-Nazi violence, there’s a very easy way. Stop normalizing black nationalism and the Alt-Left. End the racist witch hunts for white privilege. Make it clear that street violence is unacceptable and that racism is bad no matter who it comes from. Allow people you disagree with to express their views without trying to destroy their lives.

(Read the rest here.)

11. Up to a certain point, I agree with those who want to tear down the statues in the South. Immediately after the Civil War, the North imposed its political will on the South, treating the South like a defeated enemy. Defeated enemies don’t get to glorify their political and military leaders. Instead, they need to learn a whole new game.

However, thanks to Lincoln’s assassination, which placed Democrat Andrew Johnson in the White House, Reconstruction ended almost as soon as it began.

Although the Constitution now forbade slavery, the South was able to do its best to reconstitute its antebellum ways. The South once again subordinated blacks; it created a dreamy, romantic myth about its pre-war past (a myth supported by such bestsellers as The Klansmen, which D.W. Griffith turned into Birth of a Nation, a film much beloved by Democrat Woodrow Wilson, and Gone With The Wind, a fantastic, epic romance wrapped in a mantle of reverence for the antebellum South and its Confederate soldiers); and it erected monuments all over the place as if it had actually won the war. One of the most common representations is of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a brilliant general, an unspeakably cruel man, and an ardent racist who was one of the Founders of the KKK.

For over 100 years, right up until the Civil Rights movement, both to buy Democrat votes and to stitch our riven country back together, political class in D.C. allowed the South to wrap itself in the trappings of victory. Imagine if you will that we had pulled out of Germany in 1945, and the Germans had consoled themselves by constantly returning to the glories of the Third Reich, including blatant discrimination against Jews and the flagrant display of swastikas, along with plaques and statues commemorating Hitler and Goering. Jews, gypsies, gays, etc., would have felt insulted and alienated, and I think the same holds true for blacks.

I am not advocating erasing the images of and honors to all American slaveholders. Things have to be taken in context. Some of the Founding Fathers were indeed slaveholders, but it was legal at the time and they are remembered, not for owning slaves, but for providing an incredible framework for a nation conceived in liberty. We can continue to honor Washington, Jefferson, and Madison for these accomplishments, even while acknowledging that they were flawed men whom history eventually proved wrong.

The Confederacy, however, was on the wrong side of history in its own time. Its values were rejected in bloody fury in real time. Southerners ought never to have been allowed to build monuments to an institution that was righteously destroyed, nor to honor with conspicuous public displays the men that aggressively and violently advanced an inherently immoral system.

The anarchic destruction now raging through the South is wrong because it violates the civil contract of a nation governed by law, not by mobs. Having said that, though, the law, not the mobs, should get rid of public homages to those who fought and lost a war to defend slavery and to those who, long after they lost the war, continued in those discriminatory ways. Amongst the latter, I highly recommend removing from public property anything that honors Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, both of whom were fantastically racist.

I also suggest looking askance at LBJ, who trapped blacks on welfare as securely as blacks were trapped in slavery one hundred years before Johnson’s time. After all, Johnson didn’t act out of the good of his heart. He acted because, as he said, with the passage of his Great Society laws, ““I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”

And those are my thoughts.

Photo credit: Punch 2, Charlottesville, August 12, 2017, by Evan Nesterak. Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.