The internet is ablaze with posts and reports on the so-called Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. The emphasis in the news, of course, is the presence of Nazis, White Nationalists, and KKKers, though to the extent to which these are actually dominating the rally is unknown– never trust the media and their vague phraseology.
The rally was concocted by Jason Kessler, a blogger. It was in response to a recent decision by Charlottesville to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. Fascinatingly, the blogger who organized the rally is being represented by the libertarian Rutherford Institute (headed by John Whitehead, a friend of Ron Paul who publishes at FEE, Lew Rockwell, etc.) and the left-leaning ACLU! The rally has broken out in violence and even a death.
Let’s say, for the sake of the argument, that this rally is 100% filled with actual white nationalists and white supremacists and so on. For the record, this is not the actual case. But let’s just say.
Does this small uprising surprise anyone? The last 5 years especially we’ve seen a doubling down on the “American history is racist” narrative. We’ve seen increased spotlight on the idea that certain aspects of history are just too offensive to tolerate, that certain ideas associated with the past (such as secession, nullification, private property) are therefore also offensive.
Robert E. Lee, who for a hundred years after the Civil War was revered as a man by both the North and the South, is now being re-characterized as a symbol of racism. This rally isn’t about Lee himself, it’s merely a single stimulus in a great set of government and media-driven attempts to undermine certain cultures that are deemed unacceptable. This set included the removal of Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill.
Eventually, people are going to react. Baiting members of a certain culture tends to bring out the extreme in them. Isn’t that what we have learned with the American interventionism in the Muslim Middle East? We poke and prod and —bam!– Islamic extremist reactionaries. Why would this be any different in the American South?
The lesson here is not that racists are bad (sure they are– but this is hardly the lesson here) or that, see! white nationalism is violent and unconfined! No, the lesson is that when you throw rocks at hornet nests, you get stung. Of course, I am not going to assume that every attender of the rally is a white nationalist (that is, not everyone is a hornet), but the analogy should be understood.
Maybe people don’t like when governments and PC-professionals piously and arrogantly preach at them. When some individuals overreact, we are supposed to take this as proof of the culture’s degeneracy. The cycle goes on. This is part and parcel of the Progressive’s poke-and-prod method of cultural revolution (since neoconservatives are Progressives, the method is entirely consistent with Middle East foreign relations analysis).
I’m not one for rallies, preferring instead the comfort of the couch, but the motivation behind this rally is generally understandable. Of course, we ought to always oppose the wrongdoers who decide to show up and cause a mess at these things, even if we have the insight to explain why they are acting this way.