Charlottesville 2

This morning there is not much new to add to the news about the Charlottesville battle between white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers on the one hand, and Antifa adherents, Black Lives Matter people, religious figures, and progressive anti-racists on the other. Last night Heather Hastie wrote a good analysis of the situation, and I refer you to her post, which I agree with completely. I’ll add just a few comments here.

First, I don’t know enough to say who was responsible for most of the violence. Clearly both sides came loaded for bear and ready to fight, but the right-wingers were clearly carrying shields, weapons, and even garb that made them look like cops. Given the pugnacity of both sides, a fight was nearly inevitable. I’ll wait to see if the violence was initiated by only one side, but I doubt it. It seems as if both sides contributed, since some right wingers got clubbed, which means that their opponents came with clubs, and probably not for self-defense.

On the other hand, at least one death (the others were in a helicopter crash whose details are murky) is probably to be laid at the door of the white supremacists. Their rally, ostensibly to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, became a coming-together of the “basket of deplorables”—the racists, nativists, and white supremacists that have burgeoned since Trump’s election. Confederate flags were paraded next to Nazi flags. When a state of emergency was declared and the bigots were disbanded, their opponents were walking triumphantly down a street when they were rammed by a fast-moving car. It killed one person and injured 19.

The photo below, from the New York Times, is horrific, and shows the moment of impact. The driver, James Alex Fields, Jr. of Ohio, was 20, white, and has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and failing to stop at the scene of a crash at which someone was killed. Curiously, although he was arrested, the NYT says that “the authorities declined to say publicly that Mr. Fields was the driver of the car that plowed into the crowd.” If that was the case, why was he arrested? I suspect he wasn’t on the progressive side.

Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress, via Associated Press

I’ll add one thing here. Whoever drove that car was a reprehensible and violent person. And he may well have been motivated by racist and white supremacist ideology—an ideology I despise. But not all the demonstrators on the Right would have done that, so while I deplore their ideology and call them out as hateful bigots, we have to distinguish between those who commit and directly incite violence, and those who espouse sentiments that do not directly call for violence but could lead to violence as an unforseen consequence. That’s how the courts have interpreted the First Amendment: direct incitement is illegal, while speech that causes violence as a byproduct is not. (Do I have to repeat that I don’t like racist speech, either?) Remember that the American Civil Liberties Union, largely supported by Jews, went to court to support the rights of Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois—a Jewish suburb. That march could have caused violence (it didn’t), but was not a direct call for violence.

Still, if this driver was trying to kill those who protested a racist and white supremacist philosophy, I blame that philosophy and ideology as a causal factor. It would be hypocritical to deny that racism played a role in the car incident while denying that Islamic doctrine didn’t play a role in recent cases when Islamists committed murder by vehicle. These are all terrorist acts designed to intimidate.

As a former conscientious objector, I cannot abide people trying to hurt each other, especially in demonstrations. Hurt feelings are not the same thing as wounded bodies. Whoever struck out not in self-defense is contributing to the violence, and clearly that involves some people on both sides. I won’t apportion blame here, for the facts are still emerging.  But I will say that those on the progressive Left should never encourage violence—even against those whose ideology and ideas we deeply despise. Our methods are peaceful protests, counter-demonstrations, and public speeches and writings. I wouldn’t even go to a demonstration with a weapon; I’d rather be beaten, like the Civil Rights protestors of the Sixties who practiced civil disobedience, or flee. So those on the Left who have encouraged or countenanced violence, even against racists and white supremacists, are doing our values—and the Constitution—a disservice.

Some bloggers, like P. Z. Myers and Dan Arel, who call for “first-strike” violence against white supremacists, are deeply wrong. In a recent post, Myers, who is becoming increasingly unhinged and pugnacious, wrote this:

We can at least appreciate this moment of linguistic simplification: KKK, alt-right, white supremacist, and Nazi all refer to exactly the same thing, one united collection of deplorable bigots, and we should likewise unite to oppose them all. No more Nazis. Shun them, scorn them, punch them in the face. Tear down their monuments, trash their flags, fire them from their jobs.

While this may be bluster by someone comfortably ensconced behind a distant computer, it’s asking for a violation of the law that goes far beyond civil disobedience. It’s also nonproductive: do we really win sympathy for the Left by punching people and “trashing their flags” (that, too, is unconstitutional)? Finally, not all these people are equal: some of the Righters incite and practice violence, and should be arrested; others are practicing free speech and should be countered with speeches and demonstrations, but not attacked. Finally, to equate the “alt-right” with the KKK and Nazis is ridiculous. After all, Myers has, as I recall, placed people like Dave Rubin, Sam Harris, and Steven Pinker on the alt-right. Does he really want his followers to physically attack these peope? (Needless to say, most of the comments on that and other posts by Myers are in favor of punching and other violence). Please—let us not call for such behavior on this site.

Finally, I place the right-wing sentiments, the racism and anti-Semitism evinced by the protestors at the door of Trump. As one reader commented yesterday, Trump is slow to condemn this kind of bigotry, and will do so only if forced, in effect saying, “There—I’ve condemned them; are you happy now?” Trump’s election emboldened the racists, the Nazi sympathizers, and the white supremacists, for they recognized that he was a nativist, too. Remember when, at a rally before the election, he incited his followers to beat up a heckler? Trump did call for calming the situation in Charlottesville, but in a masterpiece of weaseltude failed to condemn the racists and bigots, saying the violence was due to “hatred, bigotry, and violence on all sides.” That is chickenshit, non-Presidential, and an explicit display of his unwillingness to call out bigotry. Condemning “violence” is okay, but doesn’t go far enough.

After all, Democrats and even some Republicans decried this bigotry. These include attorney general Jeff Sessions,  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, as well as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who posted these tw**ts:

Much as I dislike Ryan, I read this as a condemnation of anti-Semitism, nativism, and racism. Trump should have been the leader here, not a reluctant follower. As far as I know, he still hasn’t said a word about the Nazism, white supremacy, and bigotry on view in Charlottesville. That also goes for Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Mitt Romney

Finally, Matthew sent me this tweet, whose short clip, made in 1947, is eerily relevant today:

199 Comments

  1. sensorrhea
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    “We have to distinguish between those who commit and directly incite violence, and those who espouse sentiments that do not directly call for violence but could lead to violence as an unforseen consequence.”

    We can distinguish between them, but the not-yet-violent protestors create an atmosphere for the extremists to act, just like religion. They are culpable. This has been a pretty consistent and correct theme among atheists who argue against the “nothing to do with religion” trope.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Where does your line of reasoning end? Did the MAGA demonstrators in Berkeley create an atmosphere for Eric Cantor to act? Did writing The Bell Curve twenty-five years ago create an atmosphere for Middlebury brats to physically assault his chaperone? Do angry BLM marchers create an atmosphere? Westboro Baptist demonstrations?

      No. No violence in response to words.

      • sensorrhea
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        People will disagree on where the line “ends,” but it’s hard to argue against the concept of groupthink enabling and encouraging individual acts. As Jerry says:

        “It would be hypocritical to deny that racism played a role in the car incident while denying that Islamic doctrine didn’t play a role in recent cases when Islamists committed murder by vehicle.”

        • sensorrhea
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Although, reading it again, I think he meant the opposite. The hypocrisy would be to accept Islamism playing a role in terrorism while denying racism played a role in the vehicular homicide in Charlottesville.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        You’re straining at a false demarcation. There’s a world of difference between observing that certain speech may contribute to eventual violence and contending that such speech should be prohibited — just as there’s a world of difference between being free to engage in certain speech and evading all responsibility for what such speech may entail.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          +1.

        • Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          The legal demarcation of that is Brandenburg v. Ohio.

          I don’t know what “responsibility” would entail beyond a legal tortious context.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            I’m not talking about legal responsibility; I’m talking about the moral responsibility not to cast one’s hateful bread upon the waters, for fear it will return as violence.

    • pck
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      What kind of person shows up to a protest, finds out their fellow co-protestors are toting swastikas, AND IS JUST FINE WITH THAT??? Everyone who showed up for this nazi protest is culpable, because they were shielding their enforcers.

      And can you really call violence an unforseen consequence of marching around with Nazi flags?

      • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        I’ve made it clear to my union colleagues that I won’t march with people carrying the flag of the Soviet Union. Those arseholes always try to hijack our protests over office closures, attacks on our pensions, etc. Those issues mean a lot to me and the members of the union I am part of but I am fucked if I’ll endorse communism by marching alongside those nostalgic for a totalitarian creed.

        The same should apply to the Nazis. Whatever issue you think you are defending, if you find yourself marching alongside people who wear the swastika you are endorsing Nazism. Fuck that. Go home. Fight your battle another day.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          No one’s broken the news to your co-unionists that the Soviet Union disintegrated a quarter century ago — that its former main component is now a right-wing kleptocracy?

          At the least, they should lower the hammer & cycle and raise the flag of The Internationale (as dated and unpopular as that may be). 🙂

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            “hammer & sickle

          • Posted September 23, 2017 at 2:50 am | Permalink

            Folks populating the ends of the political spectrum are not known as fast learners :-).

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          I’m in he Maritime Union of Australia, I know the feeling.
          But most of the work is good.

        • Posted September 23, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink

          + 1

  2. sensorrhea
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Interesting report relevant to this:

    https://www.propublica.org/article/police-stood-by-as-mayhem-mounted-in-charlottesville

    “CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — There was nothing haphazard about the violence that erupted today in this bucolic town in Virginia’s heartland. At about 10 a.m. today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.”

  3. Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    There’s a full-length, 17-minute video too…

  4. Phil Rounds
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry, there is no way in hell i’m going to sympathize with racists and nazis. This shit isn’t free speech….it’s the worst of human behaviour. Showing up with assault rifles and military gear in order to express a racist agenda is taking it too far. These are the most vile and despicable people on the planet. Had they been Muslims you would have immediately condemned them without a second thought.

    There is no place in this country for nazis. This isn’t about free speech concerning ideology or religion…it’s about outright hatred of minorities. Pardon my German but, Fuck them!

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Nobody, much less me, has asked you to sympathize with racists and Nazis, so don’t imply we did.

      And sorry, but they have free speech, even if that involves expression of hatred for minorities. It’s legal free speech, and if you don’t understand that, I suggest you go join the mob at Pharygula.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      It’s a false dichotomy to have to choose between thugs on the left or thugs on the right.

      • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Quite. The choice shouldn’t be between thugs on the left and thugs on the right, it’s between thugs and non-thugs.

        Arguing over which thugs are the better thugs makes as much sense as trying to tackle football hooliganism by debating over which side supports the better team.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          Well said.

        • Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          “Quite. The choice shouldn’t be between thugs on the left and thugs on the right, it’s between thugs and non-thugs.”

          I expect this isn’t your intent, but that comment seems to imply that Trumps “many sides” comment is reasonable, since both sides have their thugs. In other words if both sides engage in violence, don’t support either. That to me, to use your football analogy is like saying you can’t support a team if it engages in hooliganism. I support the side that opposes nazim, and white supremacy, while condemning anyone who initiates violence.

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        I agree, though thugs with guns are a lot more “thuggy” than thugs with clubs. I would also argue that the percentage of thugs on the right who were armed was by far higher than those on the left; I don’t have any proof of this, but I’d bet a lot of dosh that I’m right.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        True. The dichotomy that matters is one of ideology — the distinction between liberty, fraternity, and equality (on the one hand) and bigotry, misogyny, and hatred (on the other).

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Had the situation been reversed (blacks protestors were marching, a few white anti’s) the would have definitely been called out by politicians/media for being black while protesting. When it’s white folks “marching for their heritage” we mostly condemn *generic* violence and hatred.

      But Trump’s far-right supporters are remarkably clear on why they are here. As one helmeted marcher said, he was there to support “white culture, the free market and killing jews.”

      The far-right was denied their “call-to-arms” when Trump won instead of Hillary. They are still itchin’ for that fight.

      • GM
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        As one helmeted marcher said, he was there to support “white culture, the free market and killing jews.”

        How is that different from “pigs in a blanket, fry’em like bacon”?

    • GM
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      There is no place in this country for nazis.

      The Constitution thinks otherwise

      And so did the government after WWII when it “adopted” many of them.

      So clearly there is a place for Nazis in this country.

      • Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        You need a better class of Nazis. The ones you took in after the war helped get man to the moon.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          🙂 Wernher von Braun got a moonshot outdoors at the ballpark. What do these clowns get? A one-way ticket to Palookaville.

    • Bruce Gorton
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Nobody is asking you to. The thing is their right to say what they want is everyone else’s right to disagree with it.

      And it is a right that has to be defended – because when it isn’t they or people very much like them end up in power.

      Africa as a continent has a long history of brutal dictatorships, a history that has largely continued long after the death of colonialism.

      A history that has maintained “freed” states in pretty much the same thrall they were as colonies – exporters of raw materials, importers of manufactured goods, the greatest transformation being of the hand that holds the lash, the masters remain pretty much the same.

      This history carries with it censorship, journalists being arrested for insulting the president, people being killed for supporting the opposition, and a bitter tribalism that has caused more then one genocide.

      And these dictators presented themselves as the liberators, the fighters against tyranny and racism – and their censorship has always been justified as such.

      Oh but of course in the hallowed halls of the American humanities where never a word has to be spoken about the real world one can play games where people punch up, not down, and never consider the consequences of such tolerance when the balance of power shifts.

      Those who use violence to win their freedom do not stop using it once their freedom is won. Those who would silence the wicked, would silence the critic to their wickedness.

      This is the lesson of Africa, that those who would take away your freedom are not your friends – whether they be on the far right or the left. Watch the one with the knobkerrie, because one day you will be the one getting hit.

      The most frightening thing about the fascist is that they are not alien monsters so very different to you or I, they have simply abandoned reason for the sake of identity.

      The far right will say “He doesn’t deserve rights, he’s a communist” – the far left will say “He doesn’t deserve rights, he’s a Nazi” – and both will forget that the only identity which is important in granting those rights is human.

      It is not defending the Nazi to say he has free speech, it is defending ourselves from becoming the Nazi.

      Much like with religious fundamentalists of every stripe – we do not grant them the right to peacefully believe as they would out of some great delusion that they will reciprocate, we grant it to them in the knowledge that they won’t.

      And that is what makes us superior to them. We do not fear their words, they fear ours.

  5. Randy schenck
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I will go over and read Heather’s article soon but just want to say – It is very important that Trump be called out for his lack of condemnation on this event. I also think Freedom of Speech and assembly must be realistically separated from this type of even. Just because people want to have demonstration does not mean they get to have it. To simply say, well, you have to let them do what they want to do is nonsense. Only after a large riot breaks out and many people are killed or wounded is not the time to then say, hey, the police did not do their job or should have done this.

    When the white national supremacist or the skin heads or the Nazis or any other known extremist group shows up and says we want to have a public demonstration of our rights. This should only be allowed with conditions and clear warning that if the conditions are not met, their demonstration will not be allowed. The officials then responsible for allowing such demonstrations are also responsible for having enough force available to control anything that comes up. What is so difficult about this to understand by our mayors and governors? I hear very little being said about this. We are often our own worst enemy.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Also you have to remember that during the election Trump was very reluctant to condemn David Duke and the various Nazi groups that endorsed him for president. I wonder what Bannon thought about this incident. Silence I imagine.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Yes, I agree with you on this. I think it is very proper for democrats and republicans to come out and demand that Trump speak up and also that he get Bannon and others out of the white house who are very much attached to these extreme groups. Trump and his crew are as much responsible for this event as any statue of Robert E. Lee. I do not see any problem with the statue remaining in the park. My problem is with allowing these demonstrators to march in with weapons and flags and shields and some with guns. That is not free speech….that is asking for exactly what happened. It never should have been allowed.

    • Simon
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      How do you define a known extremist group? By the pronouncements of the SPLC? By antifa smears? By CNN’s or MSNBC’s assessments. Is the possibility of antifa counter-protest to be allowed to shut down political movements.

      We see this in England where the police move on the victims of mob harassment rather than arrest the harassers.

      There is an alternative plausible reason for Trump’s reluctance that I haven’t seen entertained here. It is possible that he is just too stubborn and narcissistic to issue a condemnation that he feels pressured into, especially as he can legitimately feel aggrieved about the violent protests against him by the ‘side’ the victims represent. That would display a disturbing level of emotional immaturity, but it wouldn’t make him a Nazi sympathiser.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        I can’t agree with your theory because, far as I know he was not being pressured into saying anything yesterday when he made his first public announcement on the issue. He did purposely say, hate and bigotry on all sides, all sides. That sounds like someone specifically trying not to call out the nationals. So everyone is pronounced equally guilty, even the dead one.

  6. Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Trump also issued a very thinly-veiled exhortation to assassinate Hillary Clinton, and openly vowed to ‘throw her in jail.’ Yet hardly a murmur was heard in response.

    It’s hard to gain traction against the excesses of the far right, when so many on the far left, like Myers and Arel, are saying & doing much the same.

    • yazikus
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      The platforms of Myers & Arel are tiny, in context, however. Nothing at all comparable to Trump’s platform.

      • Richard Sanderson
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Fellow regressives and anti-liberals of Myers and Arel have influence in academia and the online media.

        Arel and Myers themselves don’t have a lot of reach…but people like them do.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          And progressives — like our host — regularly call them out in no uncertain terms when they do (unlike our president, who plays footsie with, indeed invites into his inner-circle, the worst elements of the alt-right).

      • Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Myers and Arel are just like two proglottids, but there’s a whole, long tapeworm up there.

  7. Pliny the in Between
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    There comes a point when speech become ideology and ideology becomes the person. A lot of the people in those videos seem to have undergone that transition.

    I fear that the time for words alone is passing us by.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I see. You want to start physically attacking these people? Or what are you suggesting? Ban their speech?

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I am one of those gray-haired counter protestors. I’ve been on one side of the street across from guys carrying assault rifles, clubs, nazi arm bands and confederate flags when the instigators came over from Vancouver Washington to protest in Portland streets. It looks very different at street level. I have not gotten the impression that they were here to talk. They are here to bully and cower the rest of us any way they can.

        • Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          That is not an answer.

        • Ken
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          Of course they wish to bully. The issue is how we respond to that and whether we add to the violence or not.

        • somer
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

          Similar to Randy Schenk’s view – let them demonstrate their views if they are peaceful. Have FBI and local cops monitoring their preparation/organisation in advance – if it looks violent make sure there are numerous cops – if they turn up with any weapons tell them they must disburse and go home or else. Disburse them before the event gets going even if they engage in violence with the cops. They have to learn malevolent forms of protest wont be tolerated. If Prez antipussy objects, then invoke *state’s rights* and don’t interfere and lean on the more responsible Republicans to keep calling Trump out.

          • tomh
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

            “if they turn up with any weapons tell them they must disburse and go home or else”

            Well, that’s a problem right there. Open carry of a handgun without a permit is legal in Virginia at age 18, so you can’t just see a gun and send someone home. In addition, a valid concealed handgun permit or license issued by another state is valid in Virginia. These kind of rallies may eventually end up in shootouts.

            • Brujo Feo
              Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

              Whether another state’s permit is recognized in VA depends…generally on reciprocity. California doesn’t recognize ANY other state’s permits; hence other states (at least AFAIK) don’t recognize California’s. (The most-recognized, in other states, permits are those from AZ and UT.)

              Further, at least here in CA, a CCW permit is NOT valid in the area of a public demonstration. (I’m unsure as to the rule in those places that allow open carry, but in CA that’s limited to a small number of rural jurisdictions.) Of course, one can always make the evidentiary argument that one didn’t KNOW that there was a public event planned, or in progress, but that’s a pretty weak argument…and do you really want to risk your permit by having THAT conversation with the police, or the D.A.’s office? Not me.

              Does anyone here know if VA has similar restrictions concerning public demonstrations?

              • tomh
                Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

                “Whether another state’s permit is recognized in VA depends…generally on reciprocity.”

                No. From July, 2016, “Although the new law requires Virginia to grant recognition to all states that issue permits, other states are not required to recognize or authorize Virginia permit holders to possess a firearm in their state,” a Virginia State Police spokesperson advised.

                Virginia has no laws prohibiting firearms in the following places: Parks, Hospitals, Sports arenas, Gambling facilities, or Polling places.

                Virginia does prohibit firearms in a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held, unless the person has a “good and sufficient reason.” (The AG of Virginia has opined that carrying a weapon for personal protection constitutes a “good and sufficient reason” under this law.)

              • Brujo Feo
                Posted August 14, 2017 at 2:39 am | Permalink

                Yes, you’re correct. I did a little reading myself since my post which you corrected, and I can see that my knowledge on the subject is woefully out of date. Thank you for the correction.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

            Have FBI and local cops monitoring their preparation/organisation in advance

            Not having spent any time on listening to the news today, has there been a wave of white supremacist “compounds”, terrorist training camps etc being bulldozed into by SWAT teams today? If not, then the USian police and FBI are being somewhere between incompetent and complicit.
            My money is on there being no crack-down.

    • GM
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      This is one of the biggest problems with the internet culture — people seem to lose all sense of history. I have repeatedly observed that in person in recent years, people around me unable to remember when certain things happened, in what order they happened, etc. And somehow I don’t recall that being the case 20 years ago…

      The reason this is happening is that the internet, and especially social media, conditions people to think in the here and now, and to surf on from one thing to another, without ever sitting down to reflect on what has happened/they have seen and place it in a coherent historical context.

      I have the feeling you are exhibiting the symptoms of the same affliction.

      There wasn’t really much direct tension of this sort during the Bush presidency. Then Obama was elected and the Tea Party appeared as a reaction, which featured quite a lot of open racism, and crazy conspiracy theories, but then it kind fizzled out by the time Obama was reelected. And I don’t think there was a direct link between that and the right-wing marches we’re seeing today. That movement developed more as a reaction to the ultra-liberal insanity that has been pushed onto people since the early 2010s. BTW, that is a question I still have hard time answering myself — why did the SJWism tsunami descend on us suddenly around that time? Sure, the crazies were out there on the fringes of academia, and had been for decades, and sure, we had people being silenced over what they said on several occasions before that on political correctness grounds (Larry Summers, Jim Watson, etc.), but somehow it wasn’t so massive and rampant as it became starting a few years ago, and one can’t help but wonder where that came from and why at that exact time…

      Anyway, it did present the kind of boogieman that right needed to consolidate around (and it isn’t even a boogieman in the conventional sense, it’s a very real problem). Combine that with the very real economic grievances of the working class, which were completely ignored by the Obama administration, and we are where we are.

      Please try to understand that historical context before you start promoting violence.

      • Pliny the in Between
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s a bit presumptuous to assume that my concerns are not deeply rooted in an appreciation for history.

      • tomh
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        “the ultra-liberal insanity that has been pushed onto people since the early 2010s.”

        Seriously? That’s how you see things?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I don’t think it’s P-t-i-B who’s lacking an adequate sense of history here.

      • Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        “why did the SJWism tsunami descend on us suddenly around that time?”

        1) the ‘writers’ (bloggers etc) are disproportionately affected by postmodernism.

        2) it influenced new media, spread through fandom, esp. Tumblr. They were the early adopters of social media.

        3) social media suddenly became central to the news cycle. ‘writers’ assumed opinion leadership, both as journalists but also as individuals with a large following.

        4) the opinion leadership confers a prerogative of interpretation. And …

        5) people socialiced differently, i.e. everyone not a Tumblrina or snowflake was then confronted with a pervasive (and racist) critical race theory ideology, that especially demonized “white men”, which then led to the forming of various(!) “other” factions, some of them a lose coalition of a New Right who thrived off the rejection. But there are also other Others, liberals, empirical leftists, certain conservatives (denounced as “cuckservatives”) etc.

        • GM
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          I am aware of all these things, it is still not satisfactory to me. The shift was quite sudden and did not coincide directly with these trends, which were gradual and not perfectly in sync temporally.

          • Bruce Gorton
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            I think it comes down to this: “Allies”.

            The groups the atheist movement has always been told to be good allies with, act more like enemies.

            And eventually, as a result of this, the atheist movement largely told the social justice movement to go fuck itself.

            And the result of that is… the social justice side has repeatedly lost a lot of its best and brightest. The most recent was Laci Green, but before her there were figures like Ophelia Benson.

            These figures played an important role in keeping the social justice movement skeptical, and thus grounded in reality. Unfortunately with them getting gatvol and leaving, the voices that have remained have been the more cliquey gatekeeper types.

            Which means right now social justice movements are more about who they can kick out than who they can win over. What we observe with atheism is being replicated in every other movement.

            The thing is all of this shit is more or less what happened in the run-up to GW Bush, back then it was “Political correctness” rather than “SJW” but nothing has really changed all that much.

            The upshot of this being, Trump will probably get two terms to royally fuck up in, in that time the skeptics and atheists will start coming out of the woodwork to point out how full of shit he is and present arguments which suit our “allies”.

            The alliance will reform much as it did in the Bush era, and then promptly collapse against after about five years of having somebody competent in office.

  8. Harrison
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Ugly as their views are, it’s hard to make a case against them showing up armed for self-defense when counter-protestors show up ALSO packing weapons.

    This is what escalation looks like, and it’s why “punch a Nazi” rhetoric doesn’t help. Now everyone has every incentive to arm themselves further until eventually we’re going to get a full-on bloodbath.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      They bring a bike lock, we bring a Dodge Challenger. It was only a matter of time before it escalated.

    • Randy Bessinger
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Armed for sef-defense or armed for offense against someone they diasgree with requires insight we may not have.

      My opinion is that like what could happen with North Korea…a series of escalating events with both sides armed. I like Jerrys view of not going with a weapon…but dangerous either way.

      • Harrison
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        If, as some have speculated, they were attempting to “bait” antifa, then if this was so obvious, why take the bait?

        Keep in mind that if these assholes ever get violent unprompted, we have the power and the authority of the state at our backs and they do not. But if we’re dumb enough to be the ones to get violent first, we lose this advantage.

        The Myers and Arels of the world don’t care. They’re openly contemptuous of police on a good day. They’re also chickenhawks who will never be on the ground themselves, just jeering from the sidelines as other people get hurt or killed.

        • Randy Bessinger
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          I agree that “taking the bait” is not a smart thing to do but do your emotions ever take over from your logic..I try to be a calm driver.

          • Randy Bessinger
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            Calm driver referring to general driver irritation NOT the incident in VA. My personal opinion is that these types of gatherings shuold be ignored. Media attention is what they want.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        Armed for sef-defense or armed for offense against someone they diasgree with requires insight we may not have.

        Cromwell had an answer to that. “Kill them all. Let God sort them out.”
        350 years later and there are signs that we might possibly have a chance of fixing that situation.

        • bric
          Posted August 14, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

          And Cromwell has a splendid statue outside Westminster Hall

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted August 14, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            Of course he does. History is written by the victors. Or survivors. (Wasn’t Cromwell dug up to be hung, drawn and quartered as a regicide?)

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted August 14, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            Cromwell was responsible for destroying Corfe Castle – a bit of vindictive thoroughgoing vandalism for which he should never be forgiven. OTOH, it does make a most magnificent ruin.

            The statue was controversial when it went up, but it seems nobody has yet thought it necessary to tear it down.

            cr

          • Posted August 15, 2017 at 3:23 am | Permalink

            Cromwell was a criminal. As much as I am not a royalist, Cromwell was far worse for the country and destroyed so much history and culture. Luckily Charles I’s son (Charles II) was asked back and Cromwell was regarded as a war criminal.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted August 15, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

              You could compare him with Stalin or Napoleon or whoever. The great reformer who let power go to his head and ended up as dictatorial as what he replaced.

              ‘Lord Protector’ – bah. Says it all, really.

              cr

    • Paul
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      +1

      I was about to write the same thing. How much more powerful would it be if thousands sat with linked arms crying shame?

      The anti-fascist protestors who condone or use violence might also alienate some people. Maybe the could also put lots of people who might choose to protest off.

  9. rickflick
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Besides the obvious influences on this suspect, Fields, if he is the perpetrator, I notice that he’s only 20 years old. I’m reading Sapolsky’s “Behavior”, and he reminds us that the brain is not completely wired until around the age of 25 and this explains why youth seem often to lack self control. Not in any way an excuse, clearly, but it puts more responsibility on the older members of a movement. Like, for example, someone who’s 71 and should know better.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      @rickflick QUOTE: **Fields […] only 20 years old. I’m reading Sapolsky’s “Behavior”, […] the brain is not completely wired until around the age of 25 and this explains why youth seem often to lack self-control**

      I think you mean *BEHAVE. The Biology of Humans at Our Best & Worst* & you’re referring to the fully developed Pre-Frontal Cortex [PFC] which isn’t very efficient in the under-30s [or some other age depending on the writer] it seems. With respect to Fields I speculate that it’s all down to various incidents of rejection during his life – the neo-Nazi club fulfilled his youthful PFC ‘tribalism’ drives. It would be interesting to know why he didn’t progress beyond army boot camp – though plenty decide the forces aren’t for them, was that Field’s story or something else?

      ####
      Anyway, for a bit of fun, I present Sapolsky on Benjamin the Bozo Baboon for you to enjoy!

      A BOZO OF A BABOON

      As a 20-year old [that is 40 years ago now that Sapolsky is 60] doing field research in Africa, my sense of manly competence was not terribly well-glued into shape. One baboon was there from the very first year, a wonderful guy I named Benjamin. A total Bozo of a baboon, he was my equivalent out there. He was not pulling off the male-male competition very effectively; he was not pulling off the male-female affiliation stuff very well. His hair was almost as disheveled and unkempt as mine, and he was the first baboon in the troop who ever interacted with me. For some bizarre reason he was interested in me, and I utterly bonded with him. Unfortunately in his prime adult years he spent about a year being a complete jerk, but he fell out of that soon enough. We even named our six year-old son after him, but he’s considerably more socially gifted than Benjamin, the baboon.

      Once in the middle of the open savannah, a troop of about a hundred baboons was foraging over a couple of square miles, where they would come together at the end of the day. When you’re foraging you get really hot, and so you sit under a bush and take a nap for awhile. I was doing a 30 minute observational sample on Benjamin, and during that time he fell asleep. As I sat there watching what was not one of the more riveting samples I’ve ever had, the rest of the troop wandered off.

      Benjamin eventually woke up, right around the time I was finishing the sample. I realized I had no idea where the other baboons were and he had no idea either. He climbed a tree and gave a loud vocalization call. It’s a two-syllable wahoo call, and you can hear it for a mile in any direction, and usually somebody yells back. But they were too far away to hear his wahoos. He was up in the top of the tree, and getting anxious, so I climbed on top of my vehicle with my binoculars and finally spotted the baboons three hills over, and moving away really fast. And we had one of those things—God help my Joe scientist credentials here—but we looked at each other, and I got into the car and started driving and he trotted alongside.

      I waited for him, and at one point he crossed a stream and I had to go a half mile up to another point to cross, and he waited for me. Together we found the baboons. As far as I could tell nobody gave a shit that he had been away, and they didn’t seem particularly pleased to see me either. But it was like in the Diane Fossey movie, when she touched fingers with Digit for the first time. I understand how intense it was for her. This was the nearest I had gotten to a baboon—a baboon is not a gorilla, unfortunately—that first instant when he waited for me to get back from crossing the stream. The unsentimental interpretation is Benjamin realized I knew where the troop was: this guys’s got more information than I do so I’d better stick with him, but I’m going to dump him first chance. The irresistible more sentimental interpretation was that Benjamin and I had bonded across the species.

      Years afterward, when I’d be sitting on a log, observing somebody else, Benjamin was always the most likely baboon in the troop to come over and sit down, not quite next to me, maybe four or five feet away. Being close enough to hear a baboon’s stomach rumbling is an amazing experience, but he was the only one that would do that consistently.

      https://www.edge.org/conversation/robert_sapolsky-a-bozo-of-a-baboon

      • rickflick
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        “Behave”, yes of course.

        I think your baboon has a true theory of mind which extends to a familiar human. Of course, why not? Tests on monkeys and chimps, if not baboons, does show they are aware of what others are thinking. Your story about your research days among the baboons is sweet. Maybe there’s the makings of a book? The rumbling stomach – and who knows what other digestive system noises there might be – suggests there’s a lot humans can identify with. 😎

        So you, like Sapolsky, are a baboon man. Very interesting. Have you two met – or are you friends? (Small word theory).

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          @rickflick It’s Sapolsky’s baboon anecdote: “Anyway, for a bit of fun, I present Sapolsky on Benjamin the Bozo Baboon for you to enjoy!”

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t started his book yet, but this small sample is a good enticement. Thanks.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I read too quickly. I see you were quoting Sapolsky with the baboon anecdotes. While you were…doing something else, elsewhere. 😎

  10. Randy Bessinger
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that Trump is loathe to say anything negative about any part of his base…even if they are racist biggots.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      It seems to me that Trump is loathe to say anything negative about any part of his base…even if they are racist biggots.

      Trump is probably struggling to get his head around the idea that being a racist bigot is in any way a negative thing. After all, it got him elected.

  11. Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks for pointing out that the alt-right does not equal KKK & Nazi’s, although I think those groups might rightfully claim to be the far right extreme of the alt-right. What links people who would consider themselves alt-right, I think, is a belief in defending white / European culture in this country against the attacks of liberals and hard leftists who are intent on destroying every last vestige of it.

    Certainly, there are many people and organizations in the black community who tout the very same ideology for their people, up to and including the creation of a black nation, devoid of whites, and they are pretty much just accepted without comment. But when whites do it, they are excoriated. Yes, I know the left has an argument to support that hypocrisy but white people on the right do not buy it.

    As usual, today, all the MSM are blaming the “white supremacists” for the violence but it seems to me that most of the political violence so far since Trump’s election has come from the far left — antifa. Did they not publicly say that they were going to attack the white demonstrators? Why would the rightists not have come prepared to defend themselves, especially since the police have generally been seen laying off the violent left and attacking the white demonstrators — as they did, apparently, yesterday. This time it is different from the ’60’s, the police are now being used in the service of the far left.

    What I have read so far indicates that the driver of the killer car was not one of the rightist demonstrators. He seems more likely to have been an onlooker, attacked by antifa, who got scared and hit the accelerator.

    Finally, I don’t know how you can ascribe this violence to the election of Trump — except for leftist violence which is almost all of what we have seen so far. Only now has the right started fighting back against them. (If the cops were doing their jobs, they would quell all violence every time before it got going, but they seem to always sit back and allow the violence to continue, as long as it comes from the left.)

    And there have been white nationalist organizations, supporters and believers around long before Trump. In fact, I think the right is very suspicious of Trump as they think that he probably doesn’t really have any opinions himself, beyond self -promotion. He will go whichever way he thinks makes him look best.

    • sensorrhea
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      You need to check your news filters. There are photos of the driver holding up a fascist shield with the rest of them.

      And there are many reports of the police doing nothing as the fascists, who came armed, attacked counter protestors.

      Or do you call the below a lie? If so what is your evidence?

      “CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — There was nothing haphazard about the violence that erupted today in this bucolic town in Virginia’s heartland. At about 10 a.m. today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.”

      https://www.propublica.org/article/police-stood-by-as-mayhem-mounted-in-charlottesville

      • Posted August 14, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Yes, the initial reports I read about the driver being a frightened non-participant were apparently wrong. He appears to have been a nutball with far-right ideas who showed up, probably got freaked out and reacted as nutballs sometimes do.

        Overall, though, the vast majority of violent actions since Trump’s election have come from the antifa left. And it has not been defensive. They take to the streets with premeditated plans to do violence to anyone who disagrees with them. Freedom of speech and assembly are laughable concepts to these antifa people. On the other hand, to this point, practically all violence from the right has been defensive.

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted August 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          garyaustintx: cite your sources, please.

          • Posted August 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            I, too, would like to know. Had a friend there working to keep things peaceful.

    • sensorrhea
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      And here’s specific information debunking your oddly convenient innocent onlooker theory:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/us/james-alex-fields-charlottesville-driver-.html?mtrref=whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I do not agree with your one-sided effort to balance the sides (“when whites do it, they are excoriated”), especially since this blog has been balanced. Nor do I agree with your insertions of politics. And of course US is not “European culture” aside from historical traces, it is modern US culture. (Say, West Europa are mostly pure democracies, US slid into a compromised democracy last year – Trump is a symptom.)

      And your blaming the victim game extremistsplaining terrorist actions is atrocious, please stop! It is inflammatory nonsense that no one wants to read.

      But as for the rest, some of my comment waiting-in-link-hell-for-approval is pertinent. So I paste the link to the BBC article on the rightish mess of extremism and terrorsi extremism re the different extremist sects, and the part on Trump where I agree:

      “That Trumpism is more of a symptom than a primary cause for the century long slide of US into a compromised democracy due to social change can be seen in the KKK sideshow [ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40915356 ] leader. Duke felt both encouraged before and discouraged after the event by Trump, as he wanted no criticism at all …”

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Are you a white supremacist?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        I think Honey might say, if it quacks like a duck …

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

          … it’s not getting any of MY meal worms!

    • tomh
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      “He seems more likely to have been an onlooker, attacked by antifa, who got scared and hit the accelerator.”

      Wow. Read the news.

    • Mark R.
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Finally, I don’t know how you can ascribe this violence to the election of Trump

      Willful ignorance?

  12. Laurian
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    “who espouse sentiments that do not directly call for violence but could lead to violence as an unforseen consequence.”

    But that wasn’t the case in C-Vill. The plan was to draw anti-fascists, i.e. All Good Americans, and attack them. There is free speech issue here. White men came to taunt, beat and kill whomever they could. And they did.

    • abear
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      White men did it. Punch white men.

  13. Laurian
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Oops: should read

    There is no free speech issue…

  14. rickflick
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    More info on Fields:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/us/james-alex-fields-charlottesville-driver-.html

  15. Fernando
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I predict this will be the post with more comments in the history of whyevolutionis true.

    • Fernando
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      most

      • John Taylor
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        One hundred of them from GM!

  16. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    That was a good video, and still relevant!

    But speaking about history, I did not know about the whole context of the Charlottesville repeated Confederate monument removal [ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/19/new-orleans-robert-e-lee-statue-removed-confederacy ]. I do not think changes in a city outline is problematic as such. But this was a political “correction” and not well researched on city development, I take it. Ironically going back to an older cycle of terrorism, and arguable in both areas. Apparently the monuments were fetishized by some, but such statues are still left standing here in Sweden (say, the XII statue in Stockholm).

    As for the rest I can paste the comment I made earlier today on the old thread:

    The energetic incompetence* of the current US president have him fueling fires domestically as well as abroad. It is of course his pattern to avoid criticizing right extremism and right extremist terrorism, while he regularly criticize islamism and islamist terrorism. And to combine commentary on tragic events with bragging about own achievements.

    That Trumpism is more of a symptom than a primary cause for the century long slide of US into a compromised democracy due to social change can be seen in the KKK sideshow [ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40915356 ] leader. Duke felt both encouraged before and discouraged after the event by Trump, as he wanted no criticism at all [ http://www.expressen.se/kronikorer/anne-sofie-naslund/har-donald-trump-gjort-rasistiskt-hat-rumsrent/ ]!

    *It was funny to first hear Trevor Noah on the Daily Show describe Trump’s behavior in a CNN interview after the leaked phone transcripts to foreign leaders; Trump admits he starts asking population figures. Then reading the European leadership complaining about that. (The one upshot for them is that Trump’s limited vocabulary has started a “Trump Word Bingo” tradition in order to endure his trivial excreta!)

  17. Leigh
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I guess that tweets from Republican politicians deploring the violence are better than nothing, but they still belong to a party that has fueled and taken advantage of racial prejudice since the 1960’s. It is time for them to do more than tweet. They all need to acknowledge their reprehensible history, then apologize and atone for their misdeeds.

    • Rita
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I thought Paul Ryan’s tweet was weasely, a white supremacist could easily read that and not feel Ryan was saying anything negative.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Since the political rise of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan’s photo can be found in the encyclopedia next to the entry for the the genus Mustela.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          An impressive case of taxonomic slipperiness. Started off in Rattus, a long slither through Vermes, and now into Mustela. Does no taxon want him?

    • rickflick
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      The 1960s…Nixon called it the Southern Strategy.

      “In American politics, the southern strategy was a Republican Party electoral strategy to increase political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against African Americans.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      “They all need to acknowledge their reprehensible history, then apologize and atone for their misdeeds.”

      Ain’t gonna happen. For the Republican Party to purge itself of these elements would consign it to permanent minority-party status, precluding it from ever winning another national election.

      In the 1950s, the rightwing was a very nasty place, populated by the John Birch Society and the ur-Limbaughs (like H.L. Hunt and Dan Smoot and Clarence Manion) who took to the radio waves during the McCarthy era. Then along came William F. Buckley, Jr., who tore the cords from the temple curtains and tried to purge the crazies from the conservative movement.

      Not long thereafter, however, following passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the GOP launched its vaunted “Southern Strategy” (as rickflick notes above), giving the bigots of Dixie a new home. They were followed into the GOP fold by the religious right, the Tea Party, the Birthers, and now the alt-right. This nut-job menagerie now constitutes approximately half the Republican Party — the half that still believes Barack Obama is a Kenyan Muslim, the half that recently told pollsters it would be cool by them if Donald Trump postpones the 2020 presidential election to ensure illegals don’t vote.

      Doesn’t take a math whiz to suss out the Republicans’ electoral dilemma.

  18. Historian
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    “This morning there is not much new to add to the news about the Charlottesville battle between white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers on the one hand, and Antifa adherents, Black Lives Matter people, religious figures, and progressive anti-racists on the other.”

    I have no idea as to what groups the protestors of the white supremacists were affiliated with and in what proportion. My guess is that the vast majority were simply ordinary Americans who wanted to stand in solidarity with others in peaceful protest to deliver a message that neo-Nazis, KKKers, and other white supremacists and anti-Semites have no place in the American democracy and had no intention of inciting violence. Of course, these haters have free speech, but they need to be marginalized to the outer most fringes of American society. This is something Trump is not willing to do. I wish I had been there with them. Just as the millions who protested the Vietnam War had no affiliation with any group (except perhaps a political party), particularly radical ones, most people who came out to condemn a movement of virulent hate did not do so to advocate for an agenda. They deserve the utmost praise.

  19. dabertini
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    “American Civil Liberties Union, largely supported by Jews, went to court to protest the rights of Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois—a Jewish suburb. That march could have caused violence (it didn’t), but was not a direct call for violence.”

    Sorry i may have misread your previous post on this topic. I thought the ACLU supported the rights of the nazis to march. I am confused.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Oy, I made a mistake if I said that. They were defending the Nazis. I’ll correct it if I said it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      For my money, it was one of the ACLU’s finest hours (especially for the Jewish ACLU lawyers who resisted community pressure, put aside ethnic and religious allegiances, and stood on principle).

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      The Chicago Tribune, March 10th 2017, [link at bottom], does not give the impression that the principle of free speech was “largely supported by Jews” when it came to the Skokie neo-Nazis. But perhaps other Chicago newspapers reported differently from the Tribune.

      This is a bit of the Tribune report:

      Jews are traditionally champions of free speech. They contribute generously to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that defends First Amendment rights on a non-partisan basis. But when the Chicago chapter took on Frank Collin [leader of the neo-Nazi group], Jewish members were outraged. “I feel strongly that the principle of free speech must be defended,” a woman wrote in a letter to the ACLU that was quoted in a Tribune column. “But in this case, please let a non-Jew do the defending.”

      A Jewish lawyer who served as a volunteer attorney for the ACLU resigned, the Tribune column went on. He wanted no part of an “organization that represents individuals whose ultimate goal is the destruction of us all.” Less than halfway through the 14-month controversy, the ACLU’s executive director told the Tribune the organization had lost between 700 and 1,000 members. “And the number is probably higher by now,” David Hamlin said.

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-neo-nazi-skokie-march-flashback-perspec-0312-20170310-story.html

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Many Jews resigned from the ACLU over the Skokie imbroglio; many others (including members of the team that defended the Nazis right to march) did not. That many did, makes those who didn’t all the more plucky and principled, to my thinking.

  20. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Bravo, Citizen Coyne, this is one of the most insightful socio-political pensées you’ve posted on this blo … er, website.

    One nit to pick: Pace whatever PZ may have claimed, no way can Harris or Pinker or Rubin be deemed part of the “alt-right.” That’s more of an umbrella term for the entire deplorable basket, for the ones who have cleaned up a bit and washed some of the stank off, for the Klansmen who’ve doffed their sheets and donned polo shirts and khakis.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      No, I don’t think they are part of the alt-right at all. I said this because Myers has called them alt-righters and then lumped alt-righters in with Nazis and the KKK as people who deserve bashing. Ergo, Sam Harris et al. should be punched.

    • Rich Sanderson
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      PZ now uses the term “alt right” in the same way he used to use the term “slyme pitter”.

      Anybody who disagrees with him was a “slyme pitter”, and now “alt right”. Oh, and “asshole”, of course.

      I suppose he will move on to “white supremacist”, next.

  21. Kevin
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    This feels so distant from my life. Violence in the street over a statue. The bar is very low with these people.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      It’s not about a statue.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, the statue was just the excuse.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        If thy didn’t have a statue to complain about, they’d have found a Chancellory to burn down.

  22. Rich Sanderson
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    No surprise that the usual suspects are coming out with their hateful, illiberal crap.

    Dan Arel is a racist bigot, who endorses violence against women, so why he should be taken seriously by anybody is a mystery.

    Even the likes of Peter Ferguson (Humanisticus) is morally confused, claiming this shows we “need Antifa” because the police did nothing. Well, by the logic, “we need” Britain First because police did nothing when Islamists held up hateful banners and incited violence, and moronic groups like the “Proud Boys”, because the police did nothing when Antifa rioted. Complete nonsense of course.

    The police should be stepping in straight away when things get violent, and it was the regressive left demanding the police stay out of it when Antifa rioted and physically assaulted people earlier this year. The Mayor of Berkeley even gave a “stand down” order to police when Antifa rioted. Now, the police have a “stand-offish” approach for Antifa and Nazis!

    The constant calls for violence from buffoons on the left, and the subsequent lack of action from the police, has emboldened Nazis and others on the far right.

    It turns out us liberal “centrists” were absolutely right, all along.

  23. Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    ” an unforseen consequence”

    What would it take to become a ‘forseen consequence’?

    One more occurrence?

    19/20 future occurrences?

    999/1000 future occurrences?

    Is it possible that there is no amount of violence at NeoNazi marches which would justify banning their right to assemble?

    Please remind me what the USA, unlike virtually every other civilized country in the world, finds so useful and compelling about the specific ideas of NeoNazi’s and NeoConfederates which makes their public large-scale expression more important than the life of Heather Heyer (the woman who lost her life by an act of terrorism inspired by the ideas of NeoNazi’s and neoConfederates at this very rally)?

    Was it that whites are being marginalized? Outbred by dirty races?

    Was it the truth that the Holocaust was a hoax? That dirty Jews control Congress, the banks, and Hollywood?

    Why can we not make an exception for heinous ideas, like the rest of world. Exactly what good came from allowing these despicable people a public platform?

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      As I’ve said, I believe Holocaust denialism is useful to hear because it forces everyone to think about why the Holocaust happened. How many of us can rebut the claim: “Hitler didn’t order it”? Or “there are no witnesses”? As John Stuart Mill said, it’s good to hear hateful opinions expressed because it forces us to construct our own ideas in rebuttal, and because each generation needs to do that for itself, lest things like “Of course the Holocaust happened” become widely accepted without people knowing the evidence.

      As for who decides which ideas are hateful, are you willing to be the Decider? Is it YOU who can determine what ideas are “heinous”? Remember, the idea of blacks mixing with whites, and having equal rights, was just as heinous to Southerners in the early part of the 20th century as what the white supremacists say now. That’s not to say that the latter are right, but, as Hitchens always emphasized, the big problem with saying that “some speech is so obviously hateful that it should be banned” is that someone has to make that decision.

      As for the rest of the world, I don’t like their ban on speech or on Holocaust denialism. Just because other democracies ban what they see as “hate speech” doesn’t mean we have to.

      • Tom
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps one of the problems is the way the term NAZI is bandied about.
        Does it actually have any real meaning anymore?
        We know that the NAZIS and their allies slaughtered millions of Jews and other innocent folk but is this a comparison we should make when describing a right wing rabble?
        It seems to me that the name is becoming dangerously separated from its history.

        • allison
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          >We know that the NAZIS and their allies slaughtered millions of Jews and other innocent folk but is this a comparison we should make when describing a right wing rabble?

          If they’re ***carrying Nazi flags*** (like the people in Charlotteville yesterday), then yes.

      • Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        The reason we need free speech is that any ‘decider’ will be someone invested with power to ‘decide’. Right now that’s going to be Trump and his supporters.

        Anyone arguing to extend censorship laws who thinks the power to decide will be invested in someone who shares their own ideology is an idiot.

      • Vaal
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        As John Stuart Mill said, it’s good to hear hateful opinions expressed because it forces us to construct our own ideas in rebuttal, and because each generation needs to do that for itself, lest things like “Of course the Holocaust happened” become widely accepted without people knowing the evidence.

        That is a very powerful argument for free speech!

      • Posted August 14, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Just to be specific here: Most of the countries in Europe have hate speech laws that would not have allowed the Charlottesville march. Many of these countries specifically name denial of the Holocaust, NeoNaziism as hate speech.

        This does not mean Europeans are not allowed to think about this stuff. Or talk about it. Or write about it. Or argue about it.

        What it means is that a person or group can not make public speeches which endorse these ideas. That the country does not tolerate giving a platform for this kind of speech, because it is corrosive to the society, that it leads to violence.

        And, to this observer, it is obvious that they are correct. Equally obvious to this observer is that Trump would never be elected in these countries in Europe, or would have been removed from office.

        So, we have dozens of European countries using hate speech laws for the better part of a century. Yet the commentators here seem to think that having hate speech laws are impossible because:

        1) They are a slippery slope.

        2) It’s impossible to decide what should be called hate speech.

        I would argue that both of these objections are proven false dozens of times over by Europe. We do not have to invent the wheel on this issue. The wheel has been in operation for decades.

        What bothers me the most is that when Europeans come here to explain their hate speech laws, they accept that America is trying a different way, having a different experiment. They don’t come here with “fire and fury” telling us that theirs is the only acceptable way, that another way is impossible, or too dangerous to implement. But Americans – yeah, we do that.

        And so here we are: A country with a President and an administration that are pro white supremacist. A president who reads Mein Kampf and refuses to directly and specifically criticise what happened in Charlottesville. We have neoNazis in ascension. Death at a Nazi rally.

        None of this would have happened in Germany. Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the civilized world is right, and we wrong. Anyone smell the coffee?

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted August 14, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          “None of this would have happened in Germany.”

          I can’t believe that you typed that with a straight face.

          Yes, I know that you mean “now,” that Germany has learned from its own history, etc. Still…there are nativist, even neo-Nazi or neo-fascist movements all over Europe, and not every one has been trashed convincingly in elections. Haters gonna hate–I’m not convinced that whether they get to talk about it in public or not creates some bright line for keeping a lid on things.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 14, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          Thing is, there are no absolutes in life. You cannot help but draw a line somewhere, unless you’re going to allow kiddieporn and direct incitement to violence and printing the names of all your spies and details of all your military secrets. And as soon as you draw a line, you’re on a ‘slippery slope’ and details of where the line is to be drawn are open to debate.

          cr

        • Posted September 23, 2017 at 3:13 am | Permalink

          I am afraid that currently European countries cannot be a shining example of anything and to anybody.

    • ALe
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Let’s suppose we do indeed ban all truly hateful speech. Do you think that the bad ideas behind such speech will simply go away? They will just fester, guaranteed.

      At some point, bad ideas need to be aired and then confronted and challenged with better ideas. What is our end game here? Do we want the holders of bad ideas to be convinced to abandon them and join our side? Or are we just trying to be vindictive toward them because we’re mad they even held these ideas in the first place? Assaulting the bad idea holders, banning their speech rights, barring them from ever holding down a job and basically being able to function in society is not going to get anyone to see the light on anything. It will probably make them angrier and more entrenched in their views.

      If someone spreads a bad idea, you spread a good counter idea. If someone spreads a lie, you spread the truth. If someone spreads anger and vitriol, you spread calm and cool. If someone spreads hate, you spread love.

      Our goal should be to change hearts, minds and culture, not beat people with the bludgeon of authoritarianism.

  24. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    A bit of irony re that clip in the tweet Matthew sent: it was recorded a full year before Harry Truman desegregated the US armed forces — but two years after ol’ Blue-eyes recorded his anti-bigotry video (avant la lettre), “The House I Live In”:

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      No Ken. The 18-minute United States War Department, “Don’t Be a Sucker” was first released on the 4th July 1943. It was re-released in 1946.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Which means five years before the US armed forces were desegregated, making it all the more ironic that Europe was liberated from fascists by a military in which non-whites were second-class Americans (and by which citizens of Japanese extraction were interned at home).

        Still, I’m kinda glad we won that one. 🙂

  25. Ken Phelps
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The Myers and Sarsours of the world deserve each other. The emotionally healthy deserve neither.

  26. sensorrhea
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    From “TheDailyStormer.com”

    “To those of you in Charlottesville, go out and enjoy yourselves.

    If you’re at a bar in a group, random girls will want to have sex with you. Because you’re the bad boys. The ultimate enemy of the state. Every girl on the planet wants your dick now.

    And to everyone, know this: we are now at war.

    And we are not going to back down.

    There will be more events. Soon. We are going to start doing this nonstop. Across the country. I’m going to arrange them myself. Others will too, I’m sure, but I’m telling you now: I am going to start arranging my own events. We are going to go bigger than Charlottesville. We are going to go huge.

    We are going to take over the country.

    This is what is going to happen, I am going to make sure it happens.

    We learned a lot today. And we are going to remember what we learned.

    This has only just begun.”

    https://www.dailystormer.com/unitetheright-charlottesville-live-updates/

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      @sensorrhea The anon author at Daily Stormer, writes this about the “crasher” [James Alex Fields Jr.] in an update at that page: “The tl;dr is that I think he’s Jewish”

    • bric
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      They were also really thrilled about P45’s lame response ‘He said he loves us all’

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      “random girls will want to have sex with you.”

      Hmm. Worth a try. Who do I complain to if it doesn’t work?

      cr

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 14, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        One of the defining features of the alt-right and these protesters in general is their utterly dysfunctional relationship with the opposite sex. Mostly frustrated, dimwitted white males who are either terrified of, or hate, women.

        And, in light of GM’s charming assertion that feminists are all so ugly they wouldn’t even be able to sell their bodies for sex, I note in passing that, from the evidence of the photographs and videos, the far-right probably shouldn’t throw stones on this subject.

        • Posted September 23, 2017 at 3:22 am | Permalink

          Yes, I am baffled by these racists who want to advance the white race by killing white women over differences in opinions.

  27. yazikus
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I am pondering today how we can disincentivize ideas like white-nationalism. I’ve been really struck by the photos of these protests, and the types of people participating in them. As I said elsewhere, here in the PNW our nazis sport the fresh-from-prison, face-tattoo aesthetic (often, at least). As in, they already sort of don’t give a shit about society judging them. But there in Charlottesville, we see fresh-faced, professionally dressed, hoodless racists with nary a care in the world about being identified. How is that? Are there no social repercussions in VA for heinous beliefs and actions?

    I agree that violence is not the answer. I remember back in the day when the skinheads would try to gain a foothold in the small town where I lived. The local punk scene would run them out of town. It seemed to work, but doesn’t seem to be something we can use on this much larger scale. What to do?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Our president could stop blowing dog-whistles to them, that would be a solid first step toward “disincentiviz[ing]” their ideas.

    • Zach
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      But there in Charlottesville, we see fresh-faced, professionally dressed, hoodless racists with nary a care in the world about being identified. How is that?

      Perhaps because the word “racist” no longer carries its sting? Because ever more people on the left, over the past decade, have been using its new definition—“less than 100% on board with multiculturalism”—to smear anyone and everyone who disagrees with them? Perhaps because once they established identity as the most salient political attribute, it was only a matter of time before “white identity” became a political force? Perhaps.

      None of this, of course, is meant to excuse these reactionaries and their reprehensible views. I just wanted to point out that, for quite some time now, progressivism has been becoming [congenital trait]-ism, and that if we truly want to “disincentivize ideas like white-nationalism,” we have to disincentivize all ideas like white-nationalism.

    • eric
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Peacefully protest against them.

      Politicians: speak out directly against them, don’t take their campaign contributions, don’t appoint them to government positions.

      Five ten years ago I’d have said society was on track to reduce the movement to pretty much nothing but a fringe. However in the last few years the left has failed at the first and the right has somewhat failed at the second (kudos to the GOP politicians who called out the racism for what it is; unfortunately, that doesn’t include our president).

  28. Brujo Feo
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    “[W]e have to distinguish between those who commit and directly incite violence, and those who espouse sentiments that do not directly call for violence but could lead to violence as an unforseen consequence.”

    In theory I have no disagreement with this statement. In practice, I suspect that the second group is nonexistent. It’s that pesky word “unfor[e]seen.” [Note spelling for future use…] I suspect that, if not all, at least the vast majority of those who “do not directly call for violence” not only foresee the violence but are quite happy when it foreseeably arrives.

    Please note that I am not calling for carte blanche for preëmptive strikes. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t be naïvely unaware of what these people want–and foresee.

  29. Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    It has become indisputable that Fields was on the side of the fascists and executed his attack with clear intent and premeditation. The problem is that the right-o-sphere has latched onto early internet gumshoe reports that the car was owned by a different person who was a “left” due to outdated DMV records, and the yeah-but-your-side-is-worsers have suddenly become digital imaging specialists and see all images of Fields in relation to the far-right as “clearly photoshopped for reasons”. It’s not so much that these people represent the average base, but they tend to be those followed and engaged in that base and more likely to reach that audience and stand as an example of reasonable doubt. No matter how many facts the main stream media or even reasonable small time media put out there, they can now be dismissed as biased or even fake news. And with their dear leader now choking on his dog whistle, they can go on believing any damned thing they want because he won’t admit that there is a problem within his base. “Trump said it, I believe it, that settles it!” He can disavow hatred and discrimination, because both sides feel both hated and discriminated against. It’s a fake palliative. I’d call it a brilliant bit of double-speak if it wasn’t so utterly spineless. More moderate Trump supporters can say “He said hate is bad, what more do you want?” And his neo-fascist boy’s club can say “Trump was really talking about our struggle!” At least David Duke is so ideologically saturated that he didn’t hear the whistle and came out to remind Trump, and the rest of the country, that it was whites who got him elected, as if he should be wearing a white hood to press conferences rather than tang-face and a dead guinea pig on his head. As horrible as these events are, the saddest thing about them is that they won’t change a thing and next time the body count will be larger. As soon as a single shot is fired, whether it be a firecracker or a hair-trigger, anyone packing heat at the next rally is going to draw and we will have a massacre and both sides will still be arguing for years about who shot first, regardless of any investigation. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened already. Freedom of speech and assembly is a right. Freedom for two opposing movements to assemble within close proximity and bring weaponry: not a right. How many gun related deaths occur as a result of arguments? Most of them? Maybe this event will wake City officials up to the current climate where “peaceful” protesters are often now intermingled with elements itching for violence, and yes, that does mean both sides. They should really keep opposing protesters separated by a reasonable distance and erect physical barriers between them and crack down when one side goes all Gangs of New York on the other. Because a massacre is coming if nothing changes. We aren’t a peaceful species.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Fields History teacher saw an early infatuation with Nazis, Hitler and some troubling ideas about race. He was also on anti-psychotics: http://www.wcpo.com/news/national/charlottesville-crash-suspect-idd-as-ohio-man
      The Vanguard folks he was hanging with are a piece of work as well.

      When you can’t tell the difference between your organization’s charter and the ravings of a lunatic, maybe it’s time for a new ideology.

    • Mark R.
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Well said. But now, whenever I see him, I’ll be thinking “hair of dead guinea pig”.

      And in regards to “[w]e aren’t a peaceful species”; it is especially relevant for gun-crazed, Fox-indoctrinated America.

  30. Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I saw no evidence that the antiracist counter-protesters came “loaded for bear” in the various news reporting I saw. Did I miss something? I did see video of rightwing militia arriving as a unit carrying firearms and arranging themselves around the park perimeter. I don’t doubt that there may have been a club-bearing antifa or three among the counter demonstrators, but that wasn’t the apparent mainstream. The “counters” seemed to be just regular local citizens. This seems like false equivalence to me.

    “Finally, to equate the “alt-right” with the KKK and Nazis is ridiculous.”

    No, not ridiculous at all. The alt-right is literally composed of various racists, KKK types, and neo-nazis, especially those centered around various rightwing websites. They just want better PR, so they dreamed up a different name for themselves, as they periodically have done in the past. Being a loud and proud racist doesn’t cut it anymore.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree; I don’t think it’s at all ridiculous, in the sense that equating Hizb’ut Tahrir with ISIS, or CAGE with Al Qaida, isn’t ridiculous either. One provides the ‘mood music’ for the other, as Maajid Nawaz says.

      I’d also point out, contra the creeping and utterly revolting attempts at drawing some kind of moral equivalence between both sides, that the counter-protesters consisted of women, men, blacks, whites, antifas, leftwingers, liberals, clergy…while the Unite The Righters were 99% male, armed and overwhelmingly fascists/Nazis/white supremacists.

  31. Michael
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    As much as I dislike Myers, one of his remedies — to fire them from their jobs — is not a bad idea. If there was way to identify the goons and out them to their employers and to the world in general, it might tend to dampen their enthusiasm for publicly displaying their nastiness. Or, maybe not.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      @Michael You recommend doxing & emailing/writing to their employers?

      • Michael
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Well, they’ve already outed themselves, haven’t they? Freedom of expression is not necessarily consequence-free.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          @Michael You didn’t answer my question.

          • Michael
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

            If you’re asking whether I would make a concerted effort to hunt for information regarding these idiots to use against them, the answer is “no”. However, if I lived in Charlottesville and recognized someone marching with Nazis, and I knew she worked at my local dry cleaners, I would not hesitate do mention to her employer that as long as she worked there, I would take my business elsewhere, and would ask my friends to do the same.

      • allison
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        I do, 100%. To hell with them.

        • Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          This kind of thinking, Michaels too, is the only sustenance good old fasioned 20th century fascism needs to survive. Right or left it’s starts this way.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted August 14, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

            Looking at history, it’s rather more reliably likely to start when actual fascists march through the streets and drive cars into people.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      It is debatable as to whether racist sentiments is grounds for firing, at least from many jobs.

      If you’re a restaurant waiter and you act racist towards minority customers, or you harass a minority co-worker on the job, that can be grounds for discipline or firing, but I’m not sure that racist opinions per se are grounds for dismissal.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        At-will employees can generally be fired for any reason not otherwise prohibited by statute (which are generally limited to race, religion, national-origin, sexual orientation, and the like). Racist attitudes are not protected, at least not by any statute I’m aware of.

        I’m not opining here on whether this constitutes wise policy, only on whether it’s the law.

      • allison
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Keep in mind that it’s legal to fire a person simply for being gay in most U.S. states.

        • Posted August 13, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          “What You Should Know About EEOC and the Enforcement Protections for LGBT Workers…..

          EEOC interprets and enforces Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. These protections apply regardless of any contrary state or local laws.

          https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/enforcement_protections_lgbt_workers.cfm

          FYI

          • tomh
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            Keep in mind that this is the current interpretation of the law by the EEOC, and that all Commission seats and the post of general counsel to the commission are filled by the President. That interpretation can be changed with the stroke of a pen. There have been several court decisions on the issue, most recently in April of this year, when the Seventh Circuit Court ruled that sexual orientation is a protected class under Title VII. However, just the month before, the Eleventh Circuit held that discrimination on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation is not prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

            Due to the split between the federal appellate courts, this issue will almost certainly be settled by the Supreme Court.

      • somer
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        If you sack someone for their political opinions regardless of context (e.g. they say it privately or occasionally to other colleagues of the same group and cause no significant harassment or deliberate personal insult) then that is a form of McCarthyism.

        • tomh
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Call it what you will, the point being made was that it is legal.

  32. Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    “This morning there is not much new to add to the news about the Charlottesville battle between white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers on the one hand, and Antifa adherents, Black Lives Matter people, religious figures, and progressive anti-racists on the other.”

    If the Nazi march had taken place in my home town I suspect many of my friends, and family would have been on the streets peacefully protesting the Nazi’s, and white supremacists to send the message that we’re a decent city full of decent people. I also suspect our group would have been the largest contingent. You seem to have left us out of your list.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      I apologize if I misunderstood, and you were specifically referring to those who engaged in violent clashes. If so I don’t think it was that clear.

  33. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    This is a stress test for liberal principles. And we will win.

    Re. the protests…in an ideal world every counter-protester would have sat down and protested peacefully. However, the fact that they didn’t, the fact that some of them were idiots, and a subset of them were ready for a ruck, doesn’t come within a billion light years of reducing them to the moral level of actual, real, dyed-in-the-wool Nazis.

  34. Lee
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I just watched the whole 17 minute film. War department propaganda film? It is wonderful! I wish everyone in the US could see this film. Everyone needs a refresher course in the fact that we’re all minorities, that we’re all in this struggle together. It’s not about “them”, it’s about “us”.

    • Lee
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Might add… I still follow Myers on pretty much a daily basis. He does good biology, or so it would seem to this non-biologist. But he clearly has some deep-seated blind spots, and certain triggers send him off the rails. I wish it were otherwise. I believe he is a good man and wish he could hear the contradictions in his own claims, and get outside his bubble.

      Getting outside one’s bubble- that seems to be one of the big challenges of the age. Don’t shout down your opponent, and certainly don’t punch him in the face, and certainly certainly don’t feel self righteous doing so. Hear him out, then give him ten reasons why he’s wrong. Exercise your first amendment rights.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        @Lee I agree about the occasional PZ good science post, I agree about Myers’ bubble, but I don’t see him as a good man

        The process by which the bubble happened is a measure of how poor an example of a good man he is. Namely.

        ** He permits the ‘dog piling’ of impure commenters in his chaotic comment threads.
        ** He doesn’t correct the inaccuracies & casual cruelties of pure commenters.

        In his role as Blog God this is passive bullying [standing by & letting it happen]. I haven’t been over there recently, but last time I looked I noticed how little there is to learn from the comments section – weirdly boring drivel remains.

  35. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    The trajectory over 10 years of my impressions of PZ Myers has gone in the opposite direction as that of my impressions of Christopher Hitchens over the same time-period.

  36. Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    As a former conscientious objector myself, I’m also slightly worried about the turn Myers’ language has taken.

    But I’m more worried about the rising Nazism. Needless to say, driving into random people is terrorism, no matter who does it.

  37. Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Antifa or the Left has no place in reporting on this situation, whatever their faults are. The only thing that can be said is that they were there to be mowed down. Even if you go at risk of ending up in a fight, nobody deserves serious injury or even death. Nobody has to expect that they will be run over by a car, or getting shot or anything even close. There’s always risk in any confrontation. Demonstrations are confrontations. If death is a potential risk, it is ultimately the abolishment of the right to protest.

    I am glad Trump is reluctant to say anything candid, for it makes it all the clearer where he stands. I don’t quite see the point anyway even if he did. Everyone would treat it as him paying lip service, as political speech that must be said but doesn’t mean anything. Leftists don’t believe a word anyway, and his followers would equally see it as him going through the motions. But maybe upholding a fiction is what the nation needs.

    Calling to violence is of course utterly stupid and undermines the vast majority of activism, which tells me that people like PZ Myers or Dan Arel have not the faintest idea how it is on the streets. I don’t believe they ever were to any demo. Typically, the peaceful protestors hate it when violent blocs steal attention away. In effect the news will report only about the violence and pay little attention to the cause. It typically it does not increase awareness in a good way. Bad news, in this case, is really bad news.

    Last but not least, it’s time to see the Alt Right as what it is. Their core feature is that they are not tatooed White Power social rejects. One key element of the New Right movement is that they are both far right, and yet want mainstream acceptance. In one part, they don’t see themselves as similar to more typical Neo Nazi youth movements (with a social outcast attitude). In another part, it is tactics, because they don’t want to be associated with such movements for it is obviously detrimental to their aims. This leads to a feature of bait and switch, trespassing and retreating, of “joking” for the sake of provocation and being serious at once.

    They could be characterized as a metamodernist movement, which is notoriously difficult to pin down, especially also because Dan Arel and such people are professionally crying wolf for too long. The real wolves have learned that when Dan is out crying again, it’s the best time to strike, because everyone in the village has put their earplugs in when he whines again. But make no mistake, there is a well-organized, well-connected (small but loud) movement now most commonly internationally identified as the “Identitarian Movement”. It’s of benefit if you can read french, or German, because there is much more material on them.

    And it is also, unpleasant as it might be, very well established within the (former) atheist-skeptics scene. If you have any doubt, ask yourself why Lauren Southern is someone. She’s apparently important enough that even Sam Harris considered leaving Patreon when her account was closed. To be fair here, Sam is also admirably persistent in his criticism against Trump, and should in no way be regarded as sympathetic to the Alt Right, but it also shows that he is still dangerously uninformed with the kind of socio-political landscape he finds himself in.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 1:07 am | Permalink

      Sam has suffered many slings and arrows from people on the left.
      I don’t think Sam is the one dangerously misinformed.

      It is a fact that youtube and google and some othewrs are marginilising certasin people due to their ideology.
      Sam was right to be worried about being cut of without recourse.

      What exactly is wrong with Lauren Southern?

      A Nazi is she?

  38. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    The White House issued another statement today saying “of course [Trump’s earlier statement] includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis and all extremist groups.”

    This statement was issued anonymously, without attribution to either Donald Trump or any particular spokesperson. More wanting-to-have-it-both-ways chickenshit.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Par for the course. His new man in the white house, Kelly should be telling him, now would be a good time to dump Bannon and Miller. Not going to happen but Kelly should press.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        My understanding is that the jihadist Bannon wing of the West Wing has issued a fatwa on national security advisor H.R. McMaster. He’s being traduced hourly on Bannon’s Breitbart site.

        Only one side will survive. I’m rooting for the guys with stars on their shoulders.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          Amen to that, although forget the amen crap.

        • somer
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          I suspect tho that Trump will be very reluctant to dump Bannon because his modus operandi is to have some antagonism amongst his senior staff so that he has maximum control. Same reason he has refused to fill many hundreds of important departmental positions.

        • Posted August 14, 2017 at 3:45 am | Permalink

          “Only one side will survive.”

          Now, if you mean sides in the White House, why would anyone root for either one?

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 14, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            Because Generals McMaster and Kelly (and Mattis and Dunford) are far better for the commonweal than Messrs. Bannon and Gorka and Miller.

    • somer
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Press releases from assorted Trump bum sniffers

  39. Alric
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    The two sides here can only be identified as Nazis, or decent people. There’s no symmetry between the two.

    It’s also not a free speech issue. It’s an issue of basic decency.

  40. Ken
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Great piece, Jerry.

  41. Tom
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    I rather think that the driver of the car when brought to trial will receive a certain amount of Rightist sympathy. It is less than six months ago that several states were thinking of passing legislation that would have meant drivers who “accidently” injured road blocking demonstrators were not to be held culpable.
    I wonder if the driver in this case had this in mind?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      For a sense of the level of “certain amount”, see some of the comments to esp the first four comments to this footage on YT of the attack.

      • Posted August 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Video has just been removed; was trying to read comments, and the “removed” sign came on.

    • Posted September 23, 2017 at 3:33 am | Permalink

      Thank you for bringing this. To me, it is most worrying aspect of the outrageous event in Charlottesville.

  42. Posted August 14, 2017 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    “trashing their flags”

    Although I agree with almost everything you say, I don’t think, technically, that is unconstitutional.

  43. Hempenstein
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Trump should have been the leader here, not a reluctant follower. As far as I know, he still hasn’t said a word about the Nazism, white supremacy, and bigotry on view in Charlottesville.

    If it isn’t in Slobodan Milosevic’s playbook, don’t expect it from Tr*mp.

  44. eric
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    A few random and somewhat ‘aside’ type points.

    #1 JAC:

    Curiously, although he was arrested, the NYT says that “the authorities declined to say publicly that Mr. Fields was the driver of the car that plowed into the crowd.” If that was the case, why was he arrested?

    I wouldn’t read too much into their refusal to say. That seems like standard operating procedure to me; the police talk publicly of the person as a suspect and let the prosecutor call them guilty.

    #2: Fully agree they have a right to march and speak their putrid ideology. Fully agree the counter-protestors can show up to protest and voice their opposition. I wouldn’t mind, however, if cities were allowed by the courts to prevent armed marches and counter-protests. That would seem to me a reasonably limited and narrow exception to the 1st and 2nd amendment. You can express. You can assemble. You can petition the government for redress. You can own a gun. But lots of angry people all assembling to fight each other figuratively, carrying guns, is a recipe for a disastrous literal fight.

    #3 If you have any conservative friends or associates who maintain that civil war regalia etc. is all about “states rights” and has nothing to do with racism, here’s another object lesson about how wrong they are. In case they needed one. A Robert E. Lee statue gets taken down, and who shows up in numbers to protest? Not principled states rights defenders. Not Virginians proud of a famous state general. Not historians. White supremacists show up. Klansmen.

    So yes Virginia, it is about slavery and racism.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 14, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      I would think the principled states rights defenders, Virginians proud of a famous state general, and historians are feeling pretty aggrieved right now that their bandwagon has been hijacked by gangsters.

      cr


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