^ we’ve all seen this picture of hoodless ugliness in the cause of totally imaginary grievanaces
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This was a bullshit event, of a college prank mentality, garbed in ignorance and driven by malice. Any comparison of what was done by idiots to the tactics of anti-fascists subverts itself. Let me explain:
These racists well knew what they were doing, taking their torch march to a major university. They could have held their flag and flesh rally somewhere in a Tennessee field, and the First Amendment would have protected their right to do so: but no, they went to where they knew they’d incite passionate opposition, and maybe — so they hoped — acts of violence against them. They wanted a fight, they longed for it, and they got it.
I cut these punks no slack at all. They invited it, they own it. All of it.
Of course every politician, Republican and Democrat, should condemn these jerks, be they KKK, neo-nazi, white nationalist, or whatever bullshit hallucination they shout and march for. That’s the easy part, the condemnation. I would hope that all politicians would take the next step: to call out the absurdity of these noises and the danger they pose to a society that thinks that the louder and uglier a shout, the more basis. This is a lie.
I also reject entirely any attempt to make equivalence between the idiocy at Charlottesville and any other political violence these past many decades in America.
Some may recall the violence of protests in the streets during the Viet Nam War, some 50 years ago. As much as I abhorred those protests and the often cockeyed ideologies embedded in some of them, at least the stated aim of those protesters was legitimately political: end the war. The same cannot be accorded the baseless hatreds screamed and marched by the white-shirted, khaki-uniformed kooks who disturbed the peace of Charlottesville. There’s no politics in their hatreds, nothing American about their borrowed naziism, nothing useful in their gun brandish hobby.
They have put themselves beyond the pale, and that is exactly how they want it to be. They do not want to be us. They do not want to be American. They want to replace America with an hallucinated storm trooper circus in which they can feel importantly ugly. Is that not the message their hollering faces express in the disgusting photographs we’ve seen of them torturing by torchlight a Virginia summer night ?
There will be a time and place for critiquing the tactics of anti-fascist groups and their co-actors on the left. That time is not now, and that place is not Charlottesville. What happened there was entirely unlike anything the left has shown even at its most ridiculous. You can talk to me, if you want, about the BLM movement blocking traffic: I would agree with your outrage about it: but the issue raised by BLM, however off-putting many of their actions be, is a real one: the evil results of persistent racism against people of color. Critiquing BLM and the anti-fascists is a matter of tactics and objective. That is NOT the case with the imagined grievances irresponsibly thrust upon Charlottesville.
These grievances do not exist except in the vicious street theater that weans them. It must end. If not, it must be smacked down. The boys who advance it must be spanked, woodshedded, shamed. Their nonsense must have consequences for them, because at bottom it is all about them. Isn’t it ?
— Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere