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Charlottesville Milepost

Earlier this weekend, thousands of white men gathered in a city that within living memory was racially segregated, for the ostensible purpose of protesting the planned removal of a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

They carried torches when they marched at night. The kind of torches they selected lent a touch of the ridiculous to an otherwise fearful event.

Some who were not carrying torches carried the flags: mostly the Confederate battle standard but there were also a few actual Nazi flags carried and displayed.

They chanted a Nazi slogan.

Some of the marchers carried shields and other regalia of a white nationalist group named Vanguard America.

Others found ways to display sympathies and admiration for Adolf Hitler.

Some of the protestors came in military-style dress openly carrying guns.

There was hate.

There was violence.

There was death.

President Trump — usually quick to express anger and condemn violence perpetrated by other kinds of people — was slow to respond and when he did, I found his statement … tepid.

I was not the only one unimpressed by the President’s statement.

This is not going away.

In some ways, this is not new. There have been white supremacy groups and hateful activism since Reconstruction. Such people have long incited or initiated violence, and used provocative theatrics to magnify their cultural impact beyond their relatively small numbers.

Nevertheless, this feels like these awful events in Charlottesville show that as a nation, we’ve moved past a grim cultural milepost. Not just because an innocent woman is dead, though that is surely awful enough all on its own to give all of us both fright and sorrow. But now we see that the President winks at this dangerous, violent, anti-American white nationalism. Though he can readily find ample venom for comedians and prosecutors and Muslims, he refuses to issue a full-throated condemnation of armed crowds chanting Nazi slogans and carrying the flags of two of our nation’s most formidable historic wartime enemies.

Perhaps the total number of tiki torch Nazis who converged on Charlottesville this weekend was relatively small. Leaving aside the matter that one is too many, they drew the blood of one of our fellow Americans who spoke up against them. They gathered for the purpose of advancing hate and fear, reviving the ugliest parts of our past, celebrating those who committed treason in defense of slavery, and who explicitly call for our nation to transform itself into a recapitulation of possibly the most vile and malicious regime the world has yet seen. And though we may not see hundreds of thousands of tiki torch Nazis just yet, what is different now is that for the first time in our history, the White House is run by men who wink and dog whistle their barely-concealed approval of this sort of thing.

It’s not a hard moral call to at least condemn actual Nazis. Somehow, the President can’t make himself do it. You should be livid about that.

There will be rallies and marches in communities all over the country in the coming days, events where people will gather to reclaim our national ideals of equality, inclusion, and freedom for all. I hope you go to them, as I shall. I hope fervently that they are all peaceful.

Not that I enjoy being dramatic, but these particular demonstrations are important. It is imperative that we show the world what we are really made of, that a mealy-mouthed, half-hearted “violence is bad” is not representative of the American people as a whole. The world is watching. The people who hold political power are watching. Since they will not lead us, it is incumbent upon we the citizens to make manifest our great shared moral aspirations and insist that our leaders not give in to our worst moral impulses.

See you on the streets.


UPDATE: 8/14/17

Here’s a statement made by President Trump today, two days after the violence and murder. I’m satisfied with its content and tone. I wish it had come from him spontaneously rather than as a result of political pressure, but I can and will have to live with the chain of events that actually happened. Better this than nothing at all, so, thank you for finally doing what was morally necessary, Mr. President.

President Trump: "Racism is evil…" (C-SPAN)


UPDATE: 8/15/17

And now, we’re back to a place not far where we started. It’s been made clear that Trump’s remarks above were insincere all along, and he got back to being who he really is today. Here’s the complete transcript of today’s utterly bizarre press conference. Once again, we have a President who glides over condemning Nazis, provides moral cover for those allied with them, and goes out of his way to find things of questionable veracity to criticize about the counter-protestors.

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512 thoughts on “Charlottesville Milepost

  1. The President can’t make an actual call about Nazis because he is largely sympathetic to racism and is racist himself:


    Here’s the passage …

    Above all else, we must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our God. We love our flag. We’re proud of our country. We’re proud of who we are. So we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country, where things like this can happen.

    My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.

    I spent the better part of a decade training as an historian. I’m definitely pro-history. But in context, this is an explicit call-out to the white supremacist and neo-Confederate forces at the march whose calling card is celebrating Southern ‘heritage’ and America’s history as a white country. Zero ambiguity or question about that. And they heard the message. White supremacist leaders cheered Trump’s refusal to denounce them and his valorization of their movement.

    Trump’s entire history in the public eye has been associated with bigotry in one way or another. He first came to attention when Nixon sued Trump and his father for refusing to rent apartments to blacks, he called for the lynching of the later to be exonerated Central Park 5, and he jumped on the Birther train early, hard, and long. Even though Ivanka Trump married a Jewish guy, his comments on Jews are scantly better when he talks about little guys in yarmulkes counting his money.

    But we are seemingly never allowed to call Trump or his supporters racist or white supremacists because that just makes them feel bad. This is the pernicious power of racism and white supremacy. It exists. It exists wildly and through out American history in very brutal ways but it is such a horrible sin to call people on it or bring it up as a kind of tone-policing.

    Yes Stephen Miller is Jewish but he also seems to be a strange bird who decided that far-right politics was the perfect way to rebel against his liberal family and schoolmates. He is the worst kind of worm.

    The reason Trump can’t denounce it is because he supports it.


          • Not bothering to call out white supremacy as more awful than one among equal malefactors, when its adherents are literally marching through a town with torches and breaking out of police shields meant to protect them, would be a pretty strong indicator, yes.


            • The national socialists had a permit to march. The international socialists did not. They showed up to fight the national socialists, and boy, there was some fighting!

              What kind of person, upon finding out that an obscure event is being sponsored by armed national socialists in league with the Klan, says “As a person of color, I want to be in the middle of that!”

              Both groups were looking for things to get violent.


              • “What kind of person, upon finding out that an obscure event is being sponsored by armed national socialists in league with the Klan, says “As a person of color, I want to be in the middle of that!””

                A brave one.

                And whether or not both groups were prepared for things to get violent, they are not morally equivalent and should not be treated as such.


                  • The Nazi protesters had a court injunction, backed by the ACLU, supporting their right to rally at the park that had the statue of Lee. That rally was a follow up to a prior KKK rally that drew 50 Klansmen and 1000 counter-protesters. That Nazis say they’re rallying to fight against a totalitarian communist crackdown by the city, and to fight persecution. In response, communists united with black nationalists to counter the Nazi march.

                    Charlottesville’s decision to erase Civil War history has turned it into Poland. Have all the locals evacuate and nuke it from orbit, wiping out both the Nazis and the communists. Then rebuild the city.


                    • Sorry, but the losers of a civil war don’t usually get to put up monuments to their heroes or fly the flag of the lost cause (in this case preserving their right to enslave black people). History isn’t erased by taking down a statue. Pretty sure all statutes of Stalin have been removed from the former Soviet Union, but his acts haven’t been forgotten or removed from history.


                      • General Lee wasn’t like Hitler. He wasn’t like Stalin. He wasn’t like Saddam. Lincoln even asked him to head the Union army.

                        Washington and Lee University is named after him.

                        He wasn’t as racist as Woodrow Wilson, who rebirthed the KKK, or FDR (who stuffed Washington with people who didn’t like Jews), or JFK (who said Hitler would be remembered as a great man), or Lyndon Johnson (who opposed every Civil Rights Act but the final one), or Robert Byrd, who was a Grand Kleagle, or Hillary Clinton (who referred to black superpredators when she spoke in support of the Violent Crime Control Act).

                        Lee freed the slaves at Arlington in 1862, and the National Park Service maintains Arlington House as the Robert E Lee Memorial. They say “The Robert E. Lee Memorial honors Lee’s military and public leadership in pre- and post-Civil War America. Congress designated the memorial to recognize that ‘the desire and hope of Robert E. Lee for peace and unity within our Nation has come to pass.'”

                        One of our WW-II tanks was named after him. One of our ballistic missile submarines was named after him. Countless counties, schools, and roads are named after him.


                          • Lee didn’t become a traitor, he stayed loyal to Virginia. Back then that’s how it worked.

                            Traitors were those Virginian’s who turned their backs on their state and served in the Union, or who worked as spies for the union.

                            One of the most prominent traitors was Union General George Thomas, who wasn’t much celebrated after the war even though he was probably the best general fielded by either side. The North regarded him as a Virginian, and the South regarded him as a traitor. He sacked an entire army at the battle of Nashville, the only time anyone pulled that off.

                            The issue of loyalty is why the North didn’t prosecute Southerners for treason after the war, and why Lee was allowed to keep his sword, etc.

                            And again, Lee was a great man, one whose military incompetence destroyed the Confederate armies, freed the slaves, and gave us the nation we have today.


                              • No, it was secession. Unless you think about 750,000 Southerners should have been put to death.

                                Once the Southern states seceded, they no longer considered themselves part of the United States. At that point it was just a war.

                                A better case could be made for the 33 Confederate generals from northern states, but in America, you can call any state you want home.

                                The Founding Fathers were very careful about defining treason because they all committed treason against Great Britain. They wouldn’t have applied it to a case on one state dissolving the political bonds that had tied it to another state, or the Founders would all have to consider themselves traitors.

                                The Supreme Court later ruled that secession was unconstitutional, and thus the Southerns had still owed allegiance to the US, but then that’s what the war was about, a serious disagreement over that very point. Pretty hard to argue that a disagreement over a constitutional principle that wasn’t at all clear should be punishable by death.

                                And of course no Southerner was convicted of treason.

                                There was a case of a union officer who was conspiring to help the Confederacy while in federal uniform, though, and that could probably have brought a conviction.

                                The simple principle is that if there are two sides in a war, the guys on the other side aren’t committing treason, they’re fighting. Treason is more properly thought of as when a guy on your side goes to help the other side.

                                Plenty of Americans fought for Nazi Germany. Many of them wrote books about it. So far as I know, only a few were charged with treason because they’d switched sides. One defected in a P-38 and joined the SS. He surrendered in an SS uniform, but strangely got charged with desertion and ended up back in the Air Corps for a while, but then the FBI busted him for treason. He got out of prison in 1960.

                                Another example is Rudolph Salvermoser from New Jersey. He served with distinction as a Panzer gunner on the Russian front, was wounded four times, and awarded the iron cross for destroying six tanks. He also guarded Hitler at the Wolf’s Den,

                                After the war he came home and joined the US army. He was a bit worried about his wartime service for HIitler, but was told that we are a very forgiving country. So he got a top secret security clearance and eventually ended up as a big wig in the Defense Mapping Agency.


                                • The bottom line is that Robert E. Lee sought and belatedly received a pardon for violating his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Your meandering revisionism is not going to convince anyone other than to think less of Robert E. Lee than they did before. If that is your intent, good job sir.


                                • For some reason I can’t think of a single time I’ve seen a statue, bust, plaque, perfect attendance certificate, or beer stein with Rudolph Salvermoser’s name on it. Perhaps within the agency he made his later career in there are such honors. As a nation we may have chosen to forgive Salvermoser for his treason, and calculated that his talents could still be usefully exploited and he be offered the humanity of a second chance. Which, in my opinion, speaks very well of us indeed. But that does not mean that we HONOR him. Indeed, it’s quite likely that we prefer someone like that to have a low cultural profile.

                                  Robert E. Lee has been honored with very large, very public, and very flattering public statues in places of high distinction and honor. Even taking your evaluation of the relative honor of his actions at the time into account, loyalty to one’s state rather than to the nation at a whole is by now a thoroughly outdated concept. A prominent public statue of him today celebrates him today. Even assuming that Lee would have been thought a worthy man in the 1870’s — and it’s not clear to me that this was a consensus opinion even then — the maintenance or removal of his statue today is indicative of contemporary choices and preferences and understandings.

                                  No one is going to forget Robert E. Lee or the deeds of his life. We may, however, change our opinion of him. We’ve held him in too high of esteem for too long, IMO, which creates a second object of study — why was a man who committed treason in defense of slavery so well honored for so long by people calling themselves “patriots”? As for Lee himself, I shall look forward to seeing his statue on exhibit next to the Cross of Coronado or its equivalent — in a museum, where they both belong.


                                  • Well then let’s rename Washington DC and Washington state because Washington was a slave owner who committed treason against the British crown. Let’s also condemn Jefferson. In fact, let’s burn the document he wrote, the Constitution, and reunite under Queen Elizabeth II’s wise leadership. But wait. The South owned slaves under King George III. We have to disown him, too, and all his descendants.

                                    Sorry, but it seems we can’t create the utopian past that suits you. We’ll just have to keep the past we’ve got, one in which Jefferson Davis faced post-war condemnation but one in which Lee didn’t.


                                    • We may also decide that Washington and Jefferson’s good deeds outweigh their bad deeds and thus continue to honor them. Contemporary museum pieces (even at places like Mount Vernon and Monticello) do a lot less airbrushing out of their misdeeds than used to be the case. Still, the notion that the celebrated Founders’ good deeds outweighs their personal misdeeds is the general cultural consensus, I submit.

                                      One might similarly argue that Lee engaged in a combination of good deeds and bad deeds throughout his life, and left at that level, I doubt anyone would disagree with that. I agree Lee served with distinction when he was an officer in the United States Army. But as I estimate his deeds over his lifetime, his bad deeds eclipse whatever good he might have done. Indeed, after Lincoln’s election, I don’t see any good deeds on his part of any particular note, including “siding with Virginia” because Virginia was itself in the wrong. Nor do I include his post-military career as a scholar, as he deployed his considerable intelligence and scholarship in a clever but deeply cynical effort to whitewash and romanticize the great evil underlying his side of the war.

                                      The degree of his success in this cynical endeavor of revisionism is evidenced by your arguments in this page.


                                      • Lee’s “bad deeds” are what let the Union win. He fought with courage, honor, and integrity, but that was the problem. If he wanted the South to win, he shouldn’t have fought at all. He should’ve lurked, like the French did with their “fleet in being”. By staying alive and intact, they maintained an ever present threat against the superior English fleet. They knew not to engage massively superior forces or they’d eventually lose their fleet through attrition.

                                        Lee didn’t seem to understand that. Every battle he won was a loss for the Confederacy because the Confederacy couldn’t afford to win battles. They couldn’t replace the lost men and equipment, but the North had both to spare. They should’ve fought more as irregulars, keeping their major formations as a threat to repel any major union adventures, and simply outlasted the North’s patience for an expensive war.

                                        In Lee’s place, Washington would’ve won it. Ho Chi Minh would’ve won it. Lee lost it because Lee wouldn’t eschew major engagements, and Lee wouldn’t fight dirty and unfairly enough. His fighting was about honor and victory on the battlefield instead of winning a war by exhausting the other side’s patience.

                                        Lee was an officer in an honor culture (not a dignity culture) where a general’s integrity, courage, and skill were beyond question, because to question them was an attack on his honor. Gentlemen simply didn’t do that to each other. So when they suffered setbacks, they’d blame everything except the goals, planning, conduct, and leadership of their own side. The South finished the war with basically the same lineup it started with. The North kept firing officers until it figured out which ones could win.

                                        So I would support Lee’s failures as evidence of the noble cause the South talks about. They were so set on proving their courage and honor that they ran their rebellion into a ditch. Lee is the general you want on the other side, one who is both honorable and blind. One who will fight your fight, not the fight he could make.

                                        He is the embodiment of Otter’s advice in Animal House. “No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!”

                                        Smashing into the Army of the Potomac time after time was that futile gesture. Then, his army destroyed, he used his commanding presence and influence to calm the South and get them to peacefully accept defeat and unification.

                                        The war was going to happen whether Lee was in charge of an army or not. He was so well regarded and dignified that the South never thought of finding a better officer. The North eventually found those better officers and they took full advantage of Lee’s flaws. But Lee was so well regarded that the South, even in defeat, didn’t question how he’d led them into a ditch.

                                        For that he deserves every statue we care to erect. Some people are magnificent in failure, and yet their conduct serves as an example to all who come after. He’s like King Richard III, the last Tudor King. The end of a lineage, the last gasp of a dying way of life. The man whose existence marks a turning point towards the future in his failure to save the past.


                                        • I have a real hard time believing that Lee fought intending to ultimately lose. And he wasn’t just about “exhausting the other side’s patience.” He was about capturing Washington D.C. and then negotiating a peace treaty while the Confederacy held the Union’s seat of government and the Union was thrown into disarray. He came close to doing that at least twice (the Maryland Campaign and the Gettysburg Campaign). He didn’t lay down at Antietam and he didn’t roll over at Gettysburg. He fought with everything he had, as best he knew how, and he didn’t do it for the purpose of getting a bunch of boys in grey killed so that the boys in blue could ultimately win. Nor do I particularly believe that he was incompetent in either campaign, so much as outmanned and outgunned.


                                          • That’s my point. In trying to win, he was losing. He fought with everything he had. He gave it his all. That’s why the South lost. They couldn’t afford Lee’s overwhelming victories. Lee didn’t intend to lose, but everything he did brought that outcome closer. It’s like using your star basketball players as hard as you can against a team with a very, very deep bench in a game that will go into triple overtime. It’s a losing strategy.

                                            If Lee captured Washington, the South still would have lost. Washington wasn’t a very important city, except perhaps as a captured symbol that would enrage the North. What Lee’s advances did was remind the North that the South remained a threat, that they couldn’t just conduct the war at idle, but instead had to ramp up production and crush the Southern armies.

                                            And in the longer term, the South couldn’t have survived as a viable entity. The states wouldn’t cooperate with each other, and made sure the South had no strong central government – during a war. Lee’s army was at Gettysburg looking for shoes. Southerners were starving. Even in the army, Southerners were starving. The Union took up donations of food to send to starving southerners, saying that money isn’t required because there wasn’t any food to buy down there.

                                            And the Confederate states were intent on forming foreign alliances with European powers. They would have ended up as bickering banana republics, isolated and alone. There would have been no more slave states because the Union would have just taken over any new state the South tried to form out West, and the Confederates, their armies disbanded, wouldn’t have had the cohesion to resist as a whole.

                                            And Lee was not a very good general. His trick was to get there first with the most, but against prepared positions he was as lost as anyone. He also fought with little knowledge of the terrain despite having the country’s best map maker at hand. Lee would task his map maker to map the prior battlefield instead of the upcoming one, I suppose to preserve things for posterity.

                                            In contrast, General Thomas had his map makers noting the loyalty and conditions of every house on every road he used, along with determining how many supply wagons the road could support in different kinds of weather. Thomas had the first mobile communications wagon built, came up with timed artillery barrages, and was among the first to switch to mounted infantry.

                                            He was so far ahead of the time that Grant and Sherman couldn’t figure out why he wanted so many horses for the battle of Nashville when cavalry was proving largely useless in battle. Thomas wanted horses because buses, taxis, jeeps, and armored personnel carriers hadn’t been invented yet.

                                            Where Lee understood the advantage of being first to the battlefield, throwing up head logs and hastily prepared positions, Thomas understood the even greater importance of being first to get to where your enemy is going to retreat to after you kick him down the road.

                                            Joseph E. Johnston, the commander replaced by Lee in 1862, illustrates the problem the South had. Johnston knew the South couldn’t win in a long series of major battles. Against Sherman’s approach to Atlanta, he adopted a strategy of refusing battle, looking for an opportunity to make a stand but not forcing one. He was maintaining an “army in being”. He knew that for the South to outlast the North, the South’s armies had to remain intact.

                                            But Southern pride wouldn’t let anyone agree with Johnston. They dismissed him as indecisive, and he was removed from command. In upholding their honor, making sure each rebel died a proud and glorious death on the battlefield, they were giving away the war. They didn’t have the men, the industrial capacity, or the ammunition to go toe-to-toe against vastly superior numbers. The war’s white population ratio was even more lopsided than the Soviet Union versus Nazi Germany, and the industrial disparity was vastly worse. Yet Southern pride demanded new attacks all the time. They weren’t so much defeated, as depleted, flat ran out of army in a war of attrition.


                                            • This — that Lee fought with the intent to win, with the goal of achieving a Southern victory, but failed due to strategic and tactical mistakes both intentional because of his anachronistic notion of “honor in wartime” and unintentional because of his lack of imagination — I can accept. I’m not sure that those failures on his part deserve quite so much mangification as this, but at this point I think I’m satisfied.

                                              Because here’s where we’re at: Lee was fighting for a bad cause doomed to fail one way or another no matter what he did, acting on the basis of a bad personal intent, formulated a bad plan, and now we see that he executed his bad plan badly. Why, exactly, would anyone want to celebrate this guy?


                                              • Well, for one, he made the war so entertaining. Lee brings the underdog quality to the whole endeavor, the little engine that could.

                                                And he brings the honor of a true Southern gentleman. He wouldn’t fight dirty. He was accepting of defeat. The country healed. If you compare that to a lot of civil wars, our casualty rate was high while it was fought, but it didn’t degenerate into 50 years of insurgency and constant kidnappings and assassinations, just Jim Crow and lynchings. We should be thankful the South took Lee as the role model, not John Wilkes Booth.

                                                But what’s interesting is that there’s a prominent Confederate general who has no old Southern statues, General James Longstreet. Critical of Lee’s leadership, Longstreet became a Republican and a race traitor who even led black soldiers against white Democrat insurrectionists, so no statues for him!

                                                His hometown first erected a small statue of him in 1998, as did Gettysburg that same year, but the Gettysburg statue is small and has been called “the troll on the pony”.

                                                The Washington Post suggested New Orleans should replace their statues of Lee and other with a statue of Longstreet, who was showing the true path forward even when Southerners would have none of it.


                                                • George:

                                                  “Well, for one, he made the war so entertaining.”

                                                  The Civil War killed more Americans than any conflict before or since.

                                                  I think we can do without this sort of entertainment.

                                                  You and I disagree on a lot of things, but for the most part I think you at least argue your case clearly.

                                                  You need to take off the “secessionists had a legitimate gripe” glasses. Bob couldn’t get them off.

                                                  There is nothing defensible about seceding to protect your authority to own people. Everything after that, every decision after that, is based upon a deeply, morally repugnant foundation.

                                                  Robert E. Lee had many laudable characteristics. He still committed a grave and indefensible error. He deserves no place of honor, only a place where Americans can see how men with laudable characteristics can still commit gross errors that forever tarnish their legacy.

                                                  He should be an object lesson in hubris and the danger of misplaced loyalties.


                                                  • Most Confederate apologists have gone whole-hog into the “The Civil War wasn’t about slavery” white-washing.

                                                    It’s not often the losers of a war get to write history, but they managed in this case. At least to some.

                                                    Given such apologists are generally from Confederate states, it’s often fun to send them the link to their State’s Declaration of Causes.Texas’, for instance, is basically two pages of whining about slavery, the existence of abolitionists in general, the fact that abolitionists dared run for and even achieve office in other states, and is basically “slavery” from start to finish, with a minor exception of “You also don’t pay us enough to guard against Mexico”.


                                        • Richard III a Tudor? Oh, that’s especially rich after all your lectures on history.

                                          (BTW, while from what I can tell Lee was a very gifted tactician and generally a far above average army commander for his place and time – no Longstreet though – overall I am grateful for his general lack of strategic sense, particularly making no effort to relieve Vicksburg, which inaction probably saved a fair number of lives via shortening the war a bit).


                      • Stalinism, Marxism, Communism, and Socialism have been abject failures time and time again. If these “isms” were so great, why aren’t Americans leaving in droves to other countries to live in these “Eden” economies”. The reality? They know they don’t work!


                        • Because contra popular opinion, it’s not all that easy to uproot your life and just toddle off to another country. The two types of people that most easily manage this are very poor with little to lose and very well off with few barriers to movement of their capital.
                          For everyone else it’s a long and complicated process with many hurdles.


                          • Hell, just moving 200 miles is an awful lot to ask of people. My friends and family are here. Moving 200 miles means they’re three hours away by car.

                            People I’ll miss seeing regularly, which is a major reason to stay just by itself.


                • Uh, no. The left protests constantly, about almost everything. Whales, trees, gay rights, racist cops, big oil, Palestine, Mumia, abortion, Iraq. Making signs and paper mache puppet heads, or lighting candles, is what they do.

                  Occasionally the right would send a photographer to record the hjinks, but rarely is there a counter protest, and almost never is the counter protest larger than the size of the original protest, much less 20 or 100 times larger.

                  If the right had always been vigorously counter protesting, each person on the left would remember the hundreds of protests they’d attended as being mass violence and chaos instead of a bunch of dopey people holding hands.

                  The appearance of any significant right counter protest is recent, stemming from the videos of how violent the BLM and antifa protesters were getting. Police weren’t intervening, so it was seen as a signal to go hands on and defend people and property when no one else would. That gave the white nationalist nutcases, themselves likely a response to BLM, a forum, a platform, and an audience, so now they’re doing bizarre Nuremberg rally re-enactments.


                • I have to agree with George here. Protesting (and counter-protesting) is much more mainstream on the Left. Most conservatives I know (myself included) see it as mostly a waste of time. If the mainstream Right staged a protest and the left didn’t show up in opposition I would be shocked. Can you say the same thing if that scenario happend in reverse? The Charlottesville stuff is a good example. A few hundred (at best) whackjobs stage a rally and thousands of mainstream liberals counter. You simply would never see the converse of that.


                  • While I see the same tendency, I wonder about the label “mainstream liberals”. My first thought is that the left is much better represented among people who (a) feel strongly and (b) have free time — eg, college students and the young underemployed.

                    Pick a college town, as in this case, and even though school may not be in session, there are a substantial number of students (and recent graduates) who are still around. I have no statistics to back me up — and doubt that anyone does — but suspect that the counter-protesters were much more local. Certainly in the alleged assault-with-an-auto the driver was from Ohio and the deceased lived locally.

                    As more anecdata, the groups at the Bundy Ranch and Malheur Refuge didn’t draw the same sorts of counter rally.


                  • Mike,
                    Mainstream liberals are not showing up to protests.
                    Hillary Clinton’s castoffs are being manipulated (again) to show up to protests.

                    Go ahead, ask me how I know.

                    Experiments! Now not just on the net anymore!


              • True, Trump is well known for being thoughtful and reserved when it comes to calling out stuff he thinks is bad. His careful deliberation on whether white supremacists are worse than any other protesters are just a reflection of his general tendency toward neutrality and reconciliation.

                But seriously, whether or not Trump personally is a racist, it seems pretty clear that he knows that racists are a chunk of his reliable supporters and thinks it’s not in his best interests to call them out.


                  • No shocker that he’s a spineless little candyass like a lot of his merry band of apologists.

                    Like politicians…even the scumbags that play for your team.

                    Just saying…


                        • It not even good sh**posting by the high standards many have already set for themselves.

                          I mean at least a whataboutjamesthodgkinson would have been brought up by now by anyone on their A game.

                          But nobody wants to work on weekends anymore.


                        • “Racialized”, not “radicalized”. Prior to Obama, American race relations were much as seen on the Cosby show, Martin, or the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. We didn’t have segregated universities, race riots, or white Hispanics. All lives mattered. Except Al-Qaeda. Al Qaeda lives didn’t matter. But everybody else did.

                          Now we have white supremacists battling black nationalists in the streets, while Mexican racists (La Raza) take over black neighborhoods. We have MS-13 running around cutting people’s heads off, and BLM saying it’s okay to grope white women because they’re racists.

                          If only we could undo those eight years, and get back to a time when Cosby groped white women because they were passed out, not because he thought they were racist.


                      • George Turner:
                        The Charlottesville driver became a Hitler worshiper years ago, under Obama, who racialized every aspect of American politics.

                        Coming from someone that’s filled up this otherwise respectable space with pro-Nazi and pro-Confederate bullshit, that’s really entertaining.

                        You got a punch line for that one?


                  • So how far do we allow a politician to go courting terrible views he doesn’t hold and still consider him an ethical guy worthy of support? At some point, are we not who we pretend to be, when the character we’re playing is the one taking all of the concrete actions?

                    Let’s go down the list of things that might be too hot to handle for a politician’s base:

                    * Gay marriage is not OK. We seem to let that one slide. Fine. Bleeding edge of progress and all.
                    * Vague nationalist xenophobia is OK.
                    * White nationalism is OK, up to marching with torches and swastikas on display.
                    * Maybe the Nazis were right.
                    * Let’s reopen the internment camps!
                    * Since the internment camps are open, we might as well start digging some mass graves for the worst ones.
                    * Eh. Let’s just wipe them all out.

                    I mean, it seems like at some point down that line, failing to take a position against one of those statements becomes not OK, even if you personally disagree with it in private, and even if it gets you votes. I can understand the hesitation to be a thought leader on gay marriage before the tides had turned, but that’s about as far as I’ll go down that line.

                    So from context, I’m going to put you down as being OK with “White nationalism and Nazi flags are OK” as long as it’s just for votes and as long as we can give him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn’t believe it deep down. Is that about right?


                    • Notice when the questions get tough, people like scatter.

                      Having scrolled through this train wreck of a comments section, I almost can’t believe some of what I’m reading, not in the “OMG offended” sort of way, but rather the why the hell aren’t certain people getting new assholes ripped into them sort of way.

                      I guess that’s the curse of the commenting policy, not that we envisioned it as a safe space for assholes but oh well.


                      • I’m sure there are quite a number of people who aren’t commenting….having not commented much recently, especially in this post, I wouldn’t know….

                        I’ve intentionally not commented because, well, what’s the point? To read through the same points and posturing about a sad incident? I get enough of it on NPR during my commute. No one is trying to change another’s mind..there is no dialogue, just posturing. I shake my head ruefully.


                    • So how far do we allow a politician to go courting terrible views he doesn’t hold and still consider him an ethical guy worthy of support?

                      I don’t know. I suppose that it is up to each person to decide for themselves. BTW, I don’t remember Obama denouncing the Nation of Islam and rejecting their support. But i understand if some folks have a double standard.


      • To avoid legal complications, its easier to air on the side of letting everybody in. He also called for the Central Park Five to be hung even though they were innocent.


        • So if he lets folks in, he’s not much of a racist. As far as the Central Park Five, did he call for them to be hung b/c he thought they were guilty of b/c they were black? It makes a difference.


            • Are you trying to make the President sound like a leader on issues of discrimination because you actually believe in him, or is this just you playing defense for your team while the liberals go on offense for theirs? I seriously would like to know. You seem pretty reasonable at times, but then you do this Right vs. Left stuff and I can’t figure out if you have your own thoughts or just stick to the party line.


                • So maybe the answer isn’t to imply that he is some kind of advocate for racial harmony either…right? The truth is that Saul was wrong for calling him a racist without consistent proof, but defending him so zealously implies you believe the opposite, which I don’t think is accurate either.


                  • I mean, well, it commits the same sin, but to me, a white guy born in Queens in the 1940s has to make an affirmative case that he is not racist.

                    (Disclaimer – I have/had relatives born in Queens in the 1940s)


                  • I’m not defending Trump. I’m only asking that Saul provide proof to support his statement. Good arguments can be supported by facts and bad ones can’t. Its that simple and Saul as a lawyer should know that.


          • So if he lets folks in, he’s not much of a racist. As far as the Central Park Five, did he call for them to be hung b/c he thought they were guilty of b/c they were black? It makes a difference.

            When he printed a newpaper ad calling them for them to be hung, he posssibly thought them guilty.

            Not that there was any real reason to think they were guilty to start with…a bunch of dumbass 14, 15, and 16 year olds were interrogated long enough, without a lawyer, to be tricked into writing a confession. (Actually, one of them _didn’t_ because his mother showed up first, and so the police just basically claimed he confessed verbally. No one is sure if this is true or not, just like no one has any idea how much the others understood what they were signing.) There was no physical evidence at all except they had been seen vaguely walking in a direction where they would have possibly run into the victim the other way.

            Their confessions all were extremely different accounts of the events of the night, from who attacked her first, who undressed her, which particular people raped her, what weapons were used. They were clearly entirely made out of lies, by teenagers who are writing down something they have been told is their only way out of a 14 hour nightmare of interrogation where they were denied food, water, and not informed of their right to a lawyer, or, hell, their parents! (And probably actually denied those rights. The police don’t record, so we have no idea what the boys were told.)

            And, this being a rape, there was of course DNA evidence…that matched none of them. And, weirdly, there was only one set of DNA evidence, which is odd when five people presumably raped her?

            The entire conviction was _extremely_ shoddy to start with. Like, it is the textbook bad confession conviction to end all bad textbook convictions. It is the example of bad confessions that should be taught in schools.

            But, hey, maybe Trump believed it at the time. Plenty of New Yorkers did. And he probably didn’t have all the fakes.

            And, before we wander down the rabbit hole of figuring out if this is still a reasonable thing to think, that maybe they were forced into a confession but really did have something to do with it…I will pointed out they were cleared when a convicted murderer and rapist voluntarily confessed to the crime and that confession was proved correct by the DNA evidence, so it’s not like it’s some obscure technicality…there is basically no way they were guilty.

            So, does Trump still believe they were guilty?


            He’s said’ The Central Park Five documentary was a one sided piece of garbage that didn’t explain the horrific crimes of these young men while in park.’ Which seems to imply he thinks they committed some other crimes…the problem is, there’s nothing really horrible else that happened around that time.

            OTOH, you have this:

            “They admitted they were guilty,” Trump said this week in a statement to CNN’s Miguel Marquez. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”


            …so much evidence against them? Again, the ‘evidence’ against them is ‘seen walking vaguely in the correct direction by some other kids’.

            But, see, here is where, while other people think this shows Trump is extremely racist…I don’t think so.

            I think the original ad is, perhaps, based out of racial fear, okay. But a lot of people were racist about this entire thing and said basically the same thing. And that was in the 80s. I’ve always seen him as more classist than racist, so maybe it’s more that.

            And I think why he’s still committing to is partially his narcissistic personality disorder causing inability to admit that anything he’s ever done is wrong, and/or his incredibly restricted cogitative abilities.

            He is basically too stupid to conclude ‘Wait, maybe if you put children in a room for hours and have adults yell at them, they will write down whatever stories they are told’. Hell, he probably has never even seriously looked at the case.

            But if the idea that they might be guilty does occasionally manage to percolate though his brain, his brain immediately shut down with a FATAL ERROR: TRUMP CANNOT BE WRONG ON SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE ARE CORRECT ABOUT, THIS WOULD MAKE TRUMP LESSER HUMAN! and reboots.

            I’m kinda done with ascribing negative motives to Trump. Trump is too stupid and crazy to properly be thought of as a fully sentient human being.


          • notme,
            Yeah, and let me show you the court cases that prove that the color green makes you a fucking racist.
            There’s one from Connecticut about housing discrimination, and another from North Carolina.
            Class action, you know?
            Can’t charge blacks a LIAR rate, not when you take a white with equivalent credit and give him a lower rate…

            It’s all in the green, man.
            (Veriditas need not apply)


  2. I think it is important to recognize that white women are also complicit in this. There were (fewer) white women among the marching white supremacists as well…. I realize “thousands of white men (and maybe a few dozen white women)” would’ve been a much weaker sentence, but white supremacy is so often presented as gendered and it’s really not (many of those men have supportive female partners cheering them on, whether or not those women were out in the streets).

    I’ve been trying to be careful, around this potential topic, to say “white people” or “white nationalists” rather than “white men”, because white women don’t get a free pass here. Most of the guys in white hoods back in the day had an equally hateful wife at home. Just because their (usually overlapping) beliefs on gender mean that most white supremacist women are less visible doesn’t mean they are less of a problem.


    • Has anyone done an official estimate of how many protesters were actually there? Burt says “thousands” but I keep seeing hundreds which is more consistent with what it looks like in the pictures. Just an example:

      On Friday night, hundreds of white nationalists carrying torches and chanting “white lives matter,” “you will not replace us,” and the Nazi-associated phrase “blood and soil” marched near a statue of Thomas Jefferson on the grounds of the University of Virginia, and were met by counterprotesters.


      I’m not trying to nitpick but I think the details matter.


      • I read estimates of between 1,500 to 2,000 demonstrators ostensibly marching in support of preserving the Lee statue. The photograph of the tiki torch Nazis gathered around the statue the night before is obviously no more than 200 or so.


    • I concede the point. In my defense, nearly all of the visual and print media illustrates men, not women, doing the most outrageous things and the resulting impression is that there may be a handful of women in there but it’s mainly white men. In some of the videos embedded above, there are women dressed in quasi-military outfits carrying rifles to be “security” for the event.

      But again, I take the point, and I’ve no desire to strip these women of their agency and, in this case, culpability for provoking violence and advocating Nazism.


  3. Marching against the national socialists in Charlottesville where the international socialists. In a prior thread someone linked the crash pics posted by communists, who in their Twitter feeds were calling each other “comrade”, the same term used by the national socialists.

    Everyone who attended was looking to cause trouble, and the city’s normal residents should have been evacuated so the marches could be nuked from orbit, lowering the country’s crime rate.


      • I would engage them in conversation, as my cousin was executed at Nuremberg. One time I was at a bar and met Rudolf Hess’s nephew. We connected because we were both related to war criminals, and he told me a very interesting story about running into a couple of Nazi hunters in South America. The old couple had walked into a very crowded restaurant and he offered them some chairs at his table. He pulled a chair out for them and introduced himself and they froze. Then they peppered him with questions for a while and the wife said to the man, in Dutch, which they didn’t think he spoke, that he was fine.

        My approach with Nazis would be to ask them about Nazi economics. “Socialism? Really?” I’m pretty sure I’d be far more knowledgeable about the Nazi party than they are. These modern ones are a mix of ignorant racist thugs, but they might include some people who otherwise would just be considered a nationalist, much like parties in Eastern Europe who don’t want to get overrun.

        Most Nazis weren’t bad people, they were just committed to cleansing Europe and part of Asia of people they deemed inferior, along with anyone who questioned their right and wisdom, and of course people who slacked off or made Nazi jokes, or who didn’t give 100% to stopping the invading Allies, or who had physical or mental defects, or who colluded with enemies of the state, or who committed petty crimes, or who didn’t cooperate, or who were just in the wrong place, or who were profiteering or hoarding.


          • Real, active Nazis predate me. My cousin was one, and my uncle captured a whole SS platoon in an abortion of a mission to capture a town. My dad also met tons of them. Pretty much everyone who fought in Europe, or who lived in Europe, met lots of Nazis. They were part of a huge and very popular leftist movement.

            Tons of people in Charlotte got to meet modern American Nazis. They can’t be that bad or the police would’ve intervened over the two hours of back-and-forth violence in the streets, and we wouldn’t have so many videos of Nazis arguing with people. Most came armed and not a single person was shot. That means they’re still reachable.


            • No one was shot, that’s true.

              Someone got run over with a car. She’s now dead. It was a Nazi behind the wheel who (apparently) killed her, not an antifa. We’ve got video of that. I embedded a picture of that happening in the OP. There was video of it happening available too, but I judged that too graphic. Shouldn’t be a great trouble to find it if you really want to see it.

              We’ve also got video of lots of fistfights. Some of them show Nazis throwing the first punches. Others show antifas throwing the first punches. I included one of those in the OP (and it looks to me like in that video, it’s the antifas who escalated into violence first).

              It’s also true that the police were slow to intervene. That doesn’t mean, though, that they made the right call in doing so. Indeed, again within the OP, I’ve included explicit criticism of the police and the civil authorities for not doing more to keep order than they did.

              So I don’t think it’s fair to say “It couldn’t have really been that bad.” A woman is dead. For her family and the other people who love her, yes, it was that bad.


              • There were fistfights in which someone from one side threw the first punch, and fistfights in which someone from the other side threw the first punch.

                I suspect who threw the first punch is kind of irrelevant in those cases, because for the most part, if the person on one side had had just a tiny bit more restraint, then the shouting would simply have gone on 30 seconds more, and the person on the other side would have thrown the first punch instead. There was going to be a fist fight either way.

                Thing with fist fights is, mostly people come away from them with a few bruises and scraped knuckles. I’m relatively uhorrified by that.

                There was also a man surrounded, beaten with steel pipes and kicked while he was down. No prizes for guessing which side committed that particular act.


              • After a couple of hours of violent street fights, with over a dozen people ending up in the hospital, there are people on both sides who might pop. A man was already shot at an antifa rally in Washington. A Bernie bro shot up a congressional baseball practice, wounding many. The police should follow established procedures to keep opposing groups from directly and violently confronting each other.

                Down in Greensboro, where I worked for about a year, the KKK and Nazis came together in 1979 to fight a march by the Communists, who said the KKK people should be beaten. The Greensboro police didn’t intervene. Five people were killed and eleven wounded in the ensuing mayhem. Lawsuits flew. The police and the city were found liable.

                Greensboro Massacre

                The police should use great caution when their Democrat mayors are picking favorite sides in a street war, thinking they’re resisting Trump. No matter who gets killed, they’re letting it happen.


                • Murder Two seems like a good call by the prosecutor here, and it’ll be interesting to see if the defense tries to offer up some sort of diminished mental capacity (partial) defense. (Standard caveat about my not holding a Virginia license to know all the fine wrinkles of Virginia law.)


            • George,
              They’re about two generations older than you. That’s still within working memory.

              Do I need to tell you about the Jew who worked with Nazis to smuggle stuff into and out of East Germany? Cause I know that guy. (And his contact the Nazi wasn’t exactly… political about it. Definitely not about the whole Jewish Question).


        • In other words, most Nazis weren’t bad people, except when they were doing Nazi things.

          I don’t think you’re going to get a guy who thinks it’s a good idea to wear a T-shirt with a Hitler quote on its back, chanting “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews won’t replace us!” to go sit down and talk about the macroeconomic effects of governmental intervention in critical resource-producing industries. For one thing, Starbucks is not likely to allow him to openly carry his long gun in the shop, as that sort of thing tends to freak out the baristas.

          Then you have to confront the daunting fact that an economics-based argument is very likely not the reason this fellow has chosen the Nazi path in the first place. I mean, I suppose it’s possible, but come on.

          There is, of course, a time and a place for thoughtful dialogue. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t spend so much time and effort helping this blog keep its doors open. When there is a literal torchlit Nazi rally going on, one-on-one intellectual dialogue isn’t going to be an effective tool, and the target audience for your attempts at persuasion isn’t going to be the Nazis themselves, since at that point they’re unpersuadable.


  4. I worry that by treating the types of buffoons that 20 years ago got paraded on the Jerry Springer show for laughs as a threat far outside their numbers, popularity, or electoral significance justify we’re creating a kind of al-Qaeda effect. Instead of rolling our eyes at the freak show and removing the statue as planned we’ve sent in CNN with breathless coverage and a megaphone. The worst outcome would be swelling their numbers by creating cause for fools and alienated people who want to lash out, and for whom the details of their professed ideology an afterthought.


    • They weren’t showing up in person, unmasked, by the hundreds, with armed militia 20 years ago. Not swelling their numbers is a wouldacouldashoulda by now.


      • You’re incorrect on the facts. There have been periodic white supremacist marches and other protests in this country for years, most of which are as small as they are dumb. You can google “1990’s kkk rallies” and find lots of news articles. There’s also of course Skokie back in 1977. You can see pictures here at this retrospective on the court case:


        The neo-nazis were a lot more clean cut back then but the numbers I don’t think were much different.


        • 1) That’s an interesting article.
          2) 1975 is not 20 years ago, it’s 40.
          3) The government didn’t treat the Skokie march as risible, the minute people got violent and deviated from their permits the leader was arrested for inciting mob action.
          4) The Skokieans don’t appear to have shown up armed.
          5) 300 people in a city the size of Chicago is *different* from 500 people in a town the size of Charlottesville (latest population is 46,597). One is a drop of poo in an ocean, the other is a clunker in a bathtub.

          I remember there being neo-nazi rallies by the handfuls in the 90s too, but they were both *smaller* and *less violent*.


          • I mentioned the 90s as well, my point was that these things have been going on for a long time. Doesn’t make it good, does mean we need perspective. Like with Skokie, it sounds like there have been arrests in Charlottesville, including of the murder suspect. I’m also not sure I buy your numbers logic. We are still talking about very insignificant numbers of people.

            I’d have to look into the argument that these are more violent than past events. I’m open to the possibility that they are but haven’t seen any evidence making the case.


            • I’m saying the 90s (or maybe the early 2000s) were the low point of a V shape. You responded by rementioning the 90s and citing an incident from 20 years previous to the 90s. I have perspective, I’m just seeing us on a different point of the fulcrum (ie well past it) than you are.


      • Twenty-five years ago I was living in Louisiana for the David Duke election. Perhaps my experiences are more extreme than others, but I’ve never seen anything remotely close to that possibility that a NAZI would be elected to a major office. Everything else seems like defining discrimination down.


        • During the run up to the Iraq War, David Duke was recruiting heavily among the anti-war protesters and the Indy Media crowds. One of the big anti-war sites had servers named DavidDuke1 and DavidDuke2. They were pushing the line that the war was being led by neocons (all Jews) in support of Zionism, and that common people had to fight against the Jewish war mongers and profiteers.


        • 30 years before *that*, many elected Southern politicians, sheriffs, etc., were KKK members. 30 years before that FDR thought it was fine to throw 120,000 Japanese-Americans into camps for having the wrong ancestors. My feeling for a couple of years now is that we collectively thought David Duke was a last gasp and that whole awfulness was actually about as far along one side of the V as we are up the other side now. I’m not saying it can’t be stopped, just that it’s not “defining discrimination down” to start freaking out.


        • After reading some of the comments here, I would like amend my remarks. David Duke’s not a NAZI. I meant to say he is a neo-NAZI or NAZIphile.

          There are no actual NAZIs in the U.S., a broad-based political party with its own paramilitary wing that advocates anti-democratic, anti-semetic, and military revanchism that has broad, majority support of the people.


            • The inability to denounce white supremacists is staggering.

              Bush Jr, Bush Senior, McCain, Romney, Reagan, Dole –wouldn’t have hesitated an instant. It never would have occurred to them to do so.

              The GOP has fallen far…

              It’s 2017, and this crap would have been appalling in 1965. And that’s not even getting into the neo-Nazis, which should get reflexive denouncement from any breathing politician since the 1930s.

              I literally cannot think of any reason for Trump to keep weaseling on either group that doesn’t either boil down to “Mental illness” or “Fellow traveler”.


              • The reason is that Obama fueled the rise of the white supremacists by constantly denigrating white people. The whole Nazi worldview is based on nefarious forces and legal unfairness aimed at your group. You can’t long have identity politics for some people without it spreading to everyone else. By constantly attacking white people, white people are being turned into an identity group. Attacking them even more isn’t the solution, it’s the cause of the problem.

                The organizer of the Unite the Right rally was apparently an Obama supporter until November. He was also involved with Occupy Wall Street, who are probably the closest this country has had to actual Nazis, though they had no idea of it. The Charlottesville Mad Max driver came of age under the Obama Administration, and that’s also when he became a Nazi, years prior to the rise of Trump. His mother had to call 911 on him three times, once for attacking her with a knife.

                Trump needs to strongly denounce both sides. Both sides. We have Nazis fighting fascists, anarchists, and communists in the streets, just like Germany in the 1920’s. Some of the Nazis will probably get attacked and killed by red activists, and then they’ll have their Kütemeyer.

                Trump wants us to come together as Americans and reject the radicals on both sides. Both sides. And there were two sides, both armed. The press wants us to pick a side. To denounce the Nazis without denouncing the anarchists, communists, and antifa forces who are far more numerous and far more violent.

                Certainly Romney or McCain would have denounced the Nazis without hesitation, but that’s because they’re knee-jerk politicians who don’t look ahead.


                • Out of morbid curiosity how did Obama denigrate white people? There must be some fiery speeches you can quote or policies you can point to? The only thing I can imagine you’d quote might be his God and Guns comment but that was directed at the socialcons which the active and dominant wing of the GOP at large in Charlotte clearly isn’t part of.


                  • You didn’t build that. Acted stupidly. Trayvon could have been my son. Act of workplace violence. Whites need to understand that racism didn’t go away after Jim Crow.

                    2015 American values survey. 25% of Americans said there was a lot of discrimination against… whites. 45% of the Tea Party answered that way, along with 36% of Republicans and 16% of Democrats.

                    From Slate:

                    The Obama era didn’t herald a post-racial America as much as it did a racialized one, where millions of whites were hyperaware of and newly anxious about their racial status. For example, during a Marco Rubio rally before the New Hampshire primary in February, I spoke to a voter who, in her way, gave voice to this hyperawareness. “I think he’s divided this country in many ways,” said Lori, an older white woman, of Obama. “I know in a lot of places in America there’s a divide in color … like, when I walk up to someone in the stores”—she looked at me to emphasize what she means—“I feel that they’re wondering if I like them. … I didn’t feel that before. I was accepting of everyone, and I hate that he brought that.”

                    And here’s a 2013 paper Slate linked, The Return of Old Fashioned Racism to White Americans’ Partisan Preferences in the Early Obama Era (pdf)

                    It begins:

                    Old fashioned racism (OFR) was unrelated to white Americans’ partisan preferences throughout the post-civil rights era. This study argues OFR could return to white partisanship following decades of dormancy because of Obama’s presidency.


                    • It seems like there’s an important difference between the statements, “Some white people felt denigrated,” and, “Obama denigrated white people.”

                      I’m having a very hard time drawing a straight line from “You didn’t build that,” to something like, “Suck it, whitey,” without deciding that the person drawing that line is the one with the issue. Simply put, it starts to sound like Obama was “denigrating white people” just by being Obama.


                    • So basically a bunch of statements that were merely offensive to non-racially related right wing sensibilities and then were spun into being anti white by Fox and Right Wing commentators? I sort of expected as much but was half wondering if you had anything more, well, concrete to give an example of. Do you personally interpret those comments that way? Do you honestly think Obama’s comments that you cited were anti-white?

                      Of course the white racialists can say “It’s not what he said or intended that matters, it’s who he is, how we interpret it and how we feel about it that matters.” which puts them right in the same boat as the intersectional progressive far left that they scorn so fiercely. That is mildly amusing.


            • The problem is that when you ask what people would do if “actual Nazis were going to march in your town,” you had better be precise with your definition. Do you mean some friendless reject living in his basement, enjoying the multiplier factor of internet exchange and notoriety? Or you actually talking about actual people with power? Do you mean the thirty percent or so that approve of Trump? Actual NAZIs should be killed. Attention trolls should be ignored. And OT should ban the troll who keeps calling one of its contributors/editors a NAZI-enabler.


              • Damon,
                Well, that was some of them. not the ones the Bushes were around, mostly. (They had multiple programs).
                The former nazi my friend the jew worked with was useful in smuggling information (and probably other stuff) into and out of East Germany. (As is not surprising, he always “knew a guy”)


    • Yet millions of voted for Trump. Not as many as HRC but tens of millions did. The reasons for voting for anyone are complicated.

      Some voting is pure partisanship. But there should be a point where moral agency kicks in. Trump flirted and outright associates with racists, white nationalists, and their rhetoric. At what point are Trump voters responsible for yesterday? I don’t think the hundreds that showed up yesterday would be as emboldened if HRC was President. Trump emboldens the racists.

      We seem to treat Republicans as if they are free of agency.

      Also racism operates on a spectrum. You are right that the rally was small but there are millionans who could agree with the rhetoric but not to the point of extreme rhetoric.


      • The people who voted for him do have agency and I think there’s a lot of worthy ridicule to be dished out (I’ll be laying some on my dad later this evening). The same can be said for the right wing media outlets that turned him into a politician.

        What scares me is losing perspective in comforting myths about who we are really up against. The parallels arent exact but it reminds me of the conservatives who had their own comforting myths about Obama being in league with Saul Alinsky inspired terrorists or the New Black Panthers keeping people from voting. The country collectively went through it with Islamic terrorism after 9/11.

        In a group of 300 million you can find plenty of people with out there and downright crazy beliefs. Maybe the Trump presidency has emboldebed some nutty people (no one seems to have hard evidence of that). What we shouldn’t do is mistake them as the cause of our various policy failures and other social and political problems.


        • That does make sense to me, but the comforting myth I’m afraid of is that these people are just a few nuts that don’t really make a difference. That would be *super*-comforting to me because it would mean just going back to ignoring them and going about my normal business of trying to be as locally kind and helpful and politically involved as I can manage, secure in the belief that they’re NOT actually going to start taking over cities and reigning down vigilante and/or state-sponsored violence like they did (most recently) during the Civil Rights movement.


          • I do understand why people are upset by it and I don’t at all want to appear as though I don’t sympathize with those who are afraid. The images are very disturbing and its exacerbated by our mass media culture that profits on fear and panic. Its when things like this happen that I think its most important to try to stay grounded in reason.


    • Yep. The press and the counter-protesters are giving the Nazis and Klansmen a huge recruiting platform. The current high-profile and popularity is a reaction to the massive antifa, BLM, and Mexican nationalist riots that ran through the election campaign.

      The left’s normal leadership couldn’t reign in the riots and protests because they were grass roots and being organized on social media, where the youth were competing for status and leadership by seeing who could be the most extreme and violent. This brought up an odd law of protest movements, where the leadership is driven by the logic that it’s better to do something horrifying and become the leader of a failed shrinking group than to be a powerless nobody in a successful, growing group. Better to be the commander of a platoon than a corporal in a battalion.

      Anyway, the images of those protests, especially in California, angered all sorts of folks who decided to get organized to fight them, and the same platoon logic kicked in. At this point the alt-right are basically trolling, knowing the counter-protesters will take the bait. The night-time tiki-torch gathering, an obvious nod to Nuremberg rallies, couldn’t be more blatant.

      Now the left is looking for blood payback, so the next protest-counter protest is guaranteed to result in spectacular fireworks. Events are being driven by people on both sides who have an IQ of about 85, but on the bright side, we can reflect back on the 2008 election and give thanks for all the racial healing!


    • I think this is a really good point i.e. the Al Qadea effect… I’ll try to sit on the fence here and point out that both sides are guilty of this. The Right sees terrorists everywhere and the Left says they are over-reacting. Meanwhile, liberals are grossly exaggerating the threat of white supremacists in America, and the Right dismisses their fears.

      I tend to come down on the side of us all being a little more brave and a little less afraid of everything.


        • How many serious people are calling for an AQ-effect? We want the President to denounce Nazi/racist inspired violence and terrorism. That’s very different than the Islamiphobia that arose post-9/11.


          • The simple act of calling it terrorism is telling. It’s not. It’s some seriously terrible people having a very insignificant rally that turned very ugly.

            I’m also curious about the motivations for asking the President to denounce it. Let’s say he did…forcefully. He said exactly what President Obama would have said. Would you feel better? Would the Left think a little better of him?

            I’m not defending Trump as much as I am calling out the concern trolling here. The President is awful. I’ll give you that. But when you all make demands, isn’t it really just creating another opportunity for him to fail? I mean, I’ve had terrible bosses in the past. At a certain point I demand nothing of them because it serves no purpose other than to watch them fail me again. The President has already proved he isn’t a leader. He’s already proved he will endorse the Alt-Right with his silence. What more are you trying to prove here?


              • Indeed. Like, fucking seriously — an angry, radicalized white man deliberately driving his car into a crowd to express his politicized anger is absolutely terrorism.

                Utterly and completely a central example of the term, minus one factor, the absence of brown skin.


              • Are they empowered because he didn’t denounce them, or because you all are pointing it out?

                Yes. Someone is dead. A tragedy. One person losing control of their temper and doing something horrible. How does that change things from 5 minutes beforehand?


                • “One person losing control of their temper and doing something horrible. ”

                  One person *in the middle of a riot deliberately sparked off by people espousing white supremacy* *driving their car into a crowd*, Mike. We’re not talking about a random dude going off in the corner store here. Why on earth do you think he just “lost control of his temper”???? Those folks went there ready to be violent, to commit terroristic acts, and then *he was violent* as he had been egged on and prepared and *led* to be by folks like Richard Spencer. The “he just snapped” narrative is really out of alignment with the facts.


                  • I think it fits pretty well. There’s no evidence he planned even fifteen minutes in advance, or however long it took him to walk to his car. He may have even thought it up when he was already driving through town. We’ll know more as the investigation proceeds.

                    But the police were stood down and just allowed the armed protesters and counter protesters to go at it for hours, verbally and physically, without trying to separate them. The mobs were beating each other with sticks, spraying each other with pepper spray, and the antifa people were hurling rocks, cans filled with concrete, and bottles filled with urine. Antifa and the communists came to fight, and came in huge numbers.

                    If you’ve got hundreds and hundreds of people engaged in such a fight, and just one of them gets mad enough to really pop, you’re going to have a disaster. Fortunately nobody was shot, unlike when Republican congressmen have baseball practice, but one paralegal was killed and many others are in critical condition.

                    Nor did the right plan terrorism, or else they wouldn’t have used a goober in a Challenger. The Klan has protests in Charlottesville all the time. They were there several times before, including last year. This time antifa came to stop them, and the antifa’s online statements of intended violence are what caused the mayor to try an rescind the permit for the Lee protest. A judge struck that down, so both groups went ahead with their plans.


                    • On behalf of liberals everywhere, I apologize to the poor man who we so utterly provoked by existing that he felt compelled to speed into a crowd of people.

                      (is that the acceptable response in your view?)


                • It takes some very, very charitable assumptions to chalk that up to “losing control of their temper.”

                  Trump doesn’t have to denounce the Nazis specifically if he doesn’t want to, or doesn’t feel like it’s the right thing to do.

                  And we can judge quite a bit, I believe, that he didn’t see any reason to do so.


                  • Well, first off you have a twenty-year old who self-Nazified in high school. That right there says he’s got a few screws loose. He was probably reading quite a bit about Hitler, watching Youtube videos (Hitler was a GREAT speaker), and getting pretty set in the belief that will is everything. Will and strength, blood and iron, self-sacrifice, etc. Basically, taking bold action. The kid was also a fan of the Waffen-SS, which in the early days was all about reckless attack.

                    Spend about two hours threatening that kid, taunting him, and throwing things at him and his new friends, and you’ve got one torqued up kid burning to strike a blow, make a mark, teach a lesson, wipe out his enemies, the evil communists, Jews, and mud races.

                    And he’s got a Dodge Challenger, the honey badger of cars.

                    Obviously not a whole lot of planning went into the attack or he’d have borrowed or stolen some other loser’s car with blacked out windows, crashed into a bunch of people, peeled out of there, and dumped the busted up stolen vehicle. Given the lack of a police presence, he could have gotten away with it.


            • Mike Dwyer: I’m also curious about the motivations for asking the President to denounce it. Let’s say he did…forcefully. He said exactly what President Obama would have said. Would you feel better? Would the Left think a little better of him?

              Why does that even matter? This is a serious national matter, and usually when things get elevated to this level, it’s historically gotten the attention of the President of the United States and he’s said what needed said.

              Even if it does matter, have you stopped to think that maybe people are asking because they have absolutely no faith he’ll do the right thing?

              People asking him to do anything isn’t going to create an opportunity to fail. Trump does that brilliantly on his own.

              It’s almost comical that we’re having this conversation.


              • The real tragedy here is Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch turning into excitable leftists. Thank God cooler heads like Seb Gorka and Steve Bannon prevailed.

                (By the way, did everyone see Mike Pence’s Tweet that, yes, Nazis are bad, but the real problem is people being mean to Trump? Trump is the biggest snowflake in the history of the world. He makes whiny two-year-olds look like Marine drill sergeants.)


              • “Even if it does matter, have you stopped to think that maybe people are asking because they have absolutely no faith he’ll do the right thing?”

                Those are exactly my thoughts. If you have no expectation that someone will do the right thing A) Why would you ask and B) What do you hope to get out of the exercise?


                • Umm… when its the g-d president of the united states, the answers are: (1) because this stuff matters; and (2) because maybe he’ll get better, but also because it increases the odds that he’s temporary.


                • Mike,
                  DUDE! We might get him to call Putin a “Son of A Whore”!
                  We might get world war III!
                  (Or, more seriously — assuming Donald Trump is not a DC Comic Book Villain — we might get some good propaganda to solidify the leftist base with “how awful is this guy? he’s a joke”)


            • I’m also curious about the motivations for asking the President to denounce it.

              I’m not usually a fan of the “he failed to shout condemnations hard enough” game, but Donald Trump forcefully condemns a half dozen things before breakfast every day, totally unprompted. Allies, TV shows, fellow politicians. He’s not shy about it. But given every opportunity, and even asked point blank, he has done everything he can to weasel out of saying that the crowd of white supremacists who voted for him are bad.

              I don’t think that means he’s a white supremacist. I don’t think he feels that strongly about the issue because it doesn’t matter to him. I think it reflects badly on him because he’s clearly willing to sell out even a minor gesture at decent American behavior to hold on to the support of some of his die hard fans.


              • I agree on both your points – given his fondness for condemning things his lack of condemnation is telling in a way it wouldn’t be if we were talking about a President like Calvin Coolidge who avoiding making public pronouncements of nay kind.

                And I think his attitude is more likely a kind of transnational nihilism than any actual sympathy for white supremacists, not that that’s a defence.


                • And here’s the desired effect. Here’s the Stormfront live blog response to Trump’s statements:

                  Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.

                  He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate… on both sides!

                  So he implied the antifa are haters.

                  There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.

                  He said he loves us all.

                  Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him.

                  No condemnation at all.

                  When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room.

                  Really, really good.

                  God bless him.

                  So the statements had the desired effect: Giving some amount of cover to his “respectable” supporters to defend him on this while making sure he kept the loyalty of the white supremacist voting bloc.

                  Would Trump have dodged the question, “How much does Rosie O’Donnell suck?”


              • Even when he had an already weaselly statement (condemning the violence, but not actual Nazism or white supremacy) he literally couldn’t do it. He ad-libbed in the “many sides” thing to weaken it further.

                That was pure Trump, shining through.


                • Last time I checked, there was violence from both sides. I know you and others here would like to portray the right as those mean folks and the left is pure as snow but it just isn’t so. Both sides acted inexcusably.


                  • That’s true. Both sides did commit violence.

                    Both sides probably do a lot of things we could talk about. But only one side was pushing white supremacy and waving Nazi flags.

                    This is why I’m bothered by all the talk about violence over everything else. Skirmishes break out at political rallies and demonstrations all the time and while it’s inexcusable, people acting in bad faith use that as a distraction from what the protests were really about.

                    Here’s what the protests were really about: One side was pushing in favor of naked racism and hate and the other side was pushing back. Any attempt at finding something that “both sides” are guilty of is just a clumsy attempt to distract from that fact.


                    • No, the protests were about the removal of the statute from the park. Saying that one side is espousing ideas you don’t like doesn’t change the fact that both sides were violent or excuse the side you support.


                      • So at its core, it really was all just a mundane disagreement about whether we should move some molecules from one place to another, and symbolism like Nazi flags and chants are all just people reading too much into it?

                        I mean, it’s just the usual Nazi flag thing that shows up all the time at every public event, right? Statues in parks, water rates, school bonds, etc. Just the usual stuff with Nazi symbolism and nothing racially charged at all.


                        • I think you’re mostly right, but it’s worth looking at why this might not seem totally clear cut, even to people analyzing it in good faith. I agree that you don’t get to go goosestepping around with the flag of Nazi Germany then say your message isn’t related to the things Nazi Germany stood for. They have to own that and any equivocation is pathetic and helps prove what cowards they are.

                          What confuses this is that it happened in a college town where the protest culture is now heavily intermingled with the intersectionaly cult. We don’t really know what the counter protesters stood for. To the extent its opposing racism and the ideology of the Third Reich they should be applauded. To the extent its related to intersectionality one side really isn’t much better than the other in this context. They both share the same assumptions about race, their preferred heirarchies are just different. In that regard I can’t think of two groups more deserving of each other.


                          • During the Third Reich, there were Nazis, who believed Jews were genetically inferior, and anti-Nazis, who believed the Jews were being persecuted by Nazis. In short, both groups believed that Jews and non-Jews were unequal, that some sort of racial hierarchy was at play in the nation of Germany. How can either side possibly have more merit than the other?

                            I hope my snark there was clear enough. To say “they both share the same assumptions about race, their preferred heirarchies are just different” is practically an argument from wordplay. You are free to disagree with intersectionalists, but don’t pretend they are in remotely the same ballpark as racists.


                          • So why do you suppose the purpose “got lost” in a rally over this particular issue and not some other one? Not, say, a pro-life rally or an anti-war rally or something else? Cosmic coincidence? Antifa false flags?


                    • I was a poly sci major in college so my education says they are part of the “right” whether I agree with them or not. I’m not trying to make a no true Scotsman argument. I will say I don’t agree with them just to set the record straight. Does that make you feel better?


              • I think this assessment is probably right but I also hate political gotcha, and I see it played by the Left a LOT. This feels pretty much the same. When you think someone is that terrible, if you truly expect them to not be terrible it either means a high degree of naivety or you’re hiding your intentions. I guess I’m a cynic when I think it’s mostly the latter for the liberals that are acting so hurt by this.


                • My sense is that’s true, but it could be true for a couple of reasons. One might be that the callout culture is more deeply embedded in the culture of the left, and one might be that politicians on the right spend a lot more time trying not to offend their extremist wings, so it’s a more useful tool for liberals. My guess is that it’s a combination of the two, and there is some value in pinning down exactly what a politician’s message is.

                  To take an example from the opposite wing, I think it was useful and illuminating to watch Jill Stein thrash around to avoid saying, “vaccines don’t cause autism” because she knew perfectly well that a chunk of her voting bloc is kooks who wouldn’t like the correct answer. Instead of being a clear-headed leader, she chose to pander to them as long as she could, and getting her to state clearly what she believed on a black-and-white issue showed her true colors.

                  It seems like, “Are Nazi protesters worthy of at least as much condemnation as Rosie O’Donnel or the New York Times?” is one of those softball questions that should be a nothingburger, and if you’re having trouble answering it clearly under direct pressure, I think we should all think carefully about why. In this case, it was a useful exercise because it exposed something fairly unseemly in Trump’s nature that many of his supporters are having a hard time spinning. In so far as what it exposed is true, it’s good for everybody.

                  The type of condemnation gotcha that I don’t approve of is complaints that POTUS didn’t prioritize your condemnation the way you wanted (“Waah, he’s talking about some other issue and he didn’t make a statement about the thing I think is important soon enough!”), not the inability to respond to a point blank, “Do you think Nazis are bad?”


              • Denouncing Nazis and out-right white supremacists is like…easy mode for a politician.

                It’s the most no-brainer move in politics.

                Unless, of course, you have sympathies for that ideology or want their vote. In which case you’re either one yourself, or you’re happy to promote their views in return for their votes — in which case, you might as well be one.


              • I think the main issue for me is that I gave up on the idea of a President Trump that wasn’t terrible about 6.5 months ago. So I expect absolutely zero from him other than to try not to start World War 3. Him commenting on this in any way, good or bad, doesn’t move the needle for me at all.

                On the other hand, I’m sure the previous 4 presidents would have said the right thing. I think they were usually good in these moments. And I would have been okay with hearing from any of them.


                • I think it’s important that this stuff keeps coming out because, while it doesn’t move the needle for you or me, there are a lot of people who still don’t seem to have clear picture of who Donald Trump is. Some people need a pile of irrefutable evidence before they’ll even start to consider that they might have missed something.


                • Glad to know you’re officially too cool to give a crap about politics.

                  Unfortunately, they still matter to a lot of people’s lives. Whether or not you “gave up.” I hope Trump stops pushing for WWIII. I also hope that people who need healthcare can still afford insurance. I hope that people who need the government’s help to eat do not go hungry. I hope that people who don’t need tax breaks are not given any (particularly on the backs of the previous two groups). Etc. Etc. So even though I–like you–don’t expect a good presidency out of Trump, it doesn’t mean I’m going to check out.


            • The simple act of calling it terrorism is telling. It’s not. It’s some seriously terrible people having a very insignificant rally that turned very ugly.

              has this exactly right. It is violence designed to scare others, which is what terrorism actually is. It also uses the same exact method routinely called terrorism when seriously terrible people who happen to have brown skin do it.

              As to the balance of your point, the problem is that Trump encourages this kind of stuff. He routinely called for violence during the campaign, encouraged police brutality as recently as this month, and has a troubling tendency to do things that sure look like support for the blood-and-soil crowd. Had he used this as an opportunity to counter that last point, it would–in fact–have caused me to think a little better of him. Instead, it confirms my judgment of him.

              Finally, you seem to gloss over the key difference between reaction to this and reaction to islamic terrorists. The left does not say we must love/accept/tolerate islamic terrorists, but instead suggests that not all members of the islamic faith are terrorists, and that it is valuable to distinguish between the groups. The right tends to disagree. Here, the left is not calling for all white christians to be treated as nazis, but is simply saying we should reject and censor the actual nazis. The right, writ large, seems to be saying much the same thing (though we’ll see what happens next). The president and his apologists, however, not so much.


          • He’s been doing that for well over a year. Campaigning against racist violence is what got him elected.

            2015 story from the Daily Wire: Violent Racial Protests Will Help Elect Trump

            In Cleveland Trump said:

            “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country…I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end: Beginning on January 20, 2017, safety will be restored.”


      • Mike,
        The right would like us to believe that nuns breaking onto Oak Ridge is evidence of terrorism.
        We do have a terrorist problem in America. It’s homegrown, and you can’t tell me where it is, because you’ve never heard of it. But there are places in America where if folks don’t like you, they burn your house down (wood’s cheap).


  5. The most recent similar thing that I can think of is Dylann Roof murdering nine people in a church.

    I’m not sure how important the rallies and marches that followed that (horrible) event were.

    I’m not sure how important the rallies and marches that will follow this (horrible) event will be.

    Which is not to say that I know what *WILL* work. I don’t. I have no idea how this gets turned around.


    • Back in 1998, Benjamin Smith went on a multi-state killing spree, trying to drive-by kill a dozen different representatives of mud races, killing two, wounding ten, and missing nine. This was all to stoke racial tensions. And then the leader of his “World Church of the Creator” had a federal judge’s husband and mother killed (or I think he tried to have the “probable Jew” murdered, but only her family was home at the time)

      So far these types of killing don’t appear to provoke the cycle of violent recriminations that create the sought-after race war. Maybe this time things will be different if the focus is on Trump.


    • Which is not to say that I know what *WILL* work. I don’t. I have no idea how this gets turned around.

      I don’t think anyone does, with certainty. I do, however, think lots of us know things that *WON’T* work (pretending this is normal, pretending both sides are equally responsible, pretending the value of nazi views is debatable, etc.)


  6. Burt, I have to disagree with this:

    “…for the first time in our history, the White House is run by men who wink and dog whistle their barely-concealed approval of this sort of thing.”

    Read up on Woodrow Wilson. This has happened before.


  7. notme:
    I call bull shit. If trump is a racist then why did he open his golf clubs to backs and Jews?

    Because it’s pretty much unacceptable in this day and age not to do so. Big Tweet loves money and profit above all else.

    While I’m not sure whether he’s a racist or just plays one for his base, it doesn’t really matter. He clearly courted white nationalists during his campaign and benefitted from their votes. I said during the run-up to the election that he was setting loose dark forces that would not easily be repressed after November. The last few months have shown that statement to be true.


    • Trump’s the one that made such discrimination unacceptable. Palm Beach had no problems locking blacks and Jews out of the upper tiers. Trump went to court time and time again to change that.

      Obama’s administration was blatantly anti-Jewish, pro-Palestinian. He also weaponized black anger. The dark forces had already been unleashed long before Trump threw his hat in the ring. Trump campaigned on bringing everybody together. He had tons of blacks and Hispanics and gays on stage with him. He decried the way the Democrats had divided Americans by race, class, and gender. Hillary, on the other hand, called Republicans irredeemable bigots, a basket of deplorables, continuing that they were “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

      Some of what drove Trump’s support was a reaction to that, and a reaction to BLM burning down whole neighborhoods while police were stood down, and Mexicans destroying police cars and attacking people while, again, the police were stood down.


      • @george-turner
        …BLM burning down whole neighborhoods while police were stood down, and Mexicans destroying police cars and attacking people while, again, the police were stood down.

        Can you please produce the slightest cite for this?

        Not even proof, just literally two sources that claims those two events happens.

        (And I’ve fairly confused as to how you are going to find a group of ‘Mexicans’ doing anything in America, but whatever.)


          • You think Ferguson had the police officers stood down? Are you a complete lunatic?

            The very first day of the unrest, in fact *before* the unrest, Ferguson assembled 150 police in riot gear. That day, thirty people were arrested.

            As I have mentioned before, Ferguson police were actually ordered by the courts to stop tear gassing people faster than they could follow orders to disperse. That’s literally a matter of public record.

            There is no possible understanding of the universe in which Ferguson officers were ‘stood down’ while they arrested and illegally (and legally) tear gassed people!

            Do you want to try again with the claim: ‘BLM burning down whole neighborhoods while police were stood down‘ Because Ferguson does not work.

            Meanwhile, at the San Jose rally, there was several minutes where protesters attacked cars where no police happened to be. So there were no police. But they were not, in any sense, ‘stood down’, they just weren’t expecting trouble there so weren’t at that location for a bit.

            After that point, the police continued to try to regain control of the situation until they did. It admittedly took a while, but that was not because of anyone ‘standing down’.

            Please note that temporarily retreating and falling back to a better position because they are under attack is not the same as being ‘stood down’.

            It’s especially odd to claim the police were stood down while the protesters attacked police cars. The police stood down but left their cars? In reality, the protesters, of course, attacked _occupied_ police cars.

            Being stood down is when the police are given orders to not do anything. Either from the highers up at the police, or from some other part of the government. That is what ‘stood down’ means. That is the phrase you used, repeatedly.

            It is what actually happened at Charlottesville, as far as anyone can tell. The police just stood passively by.

            So let’s just simplify this: Please present a single protest or rally or riot by the left, any of them at all, where people were out control, committing violence and property damage…and the police didn’t immediately start attempting to regain control, but instead were ordered to stand aside and let it play out.

            A. Single. One.

            Well, before Charlottesville. (Assuming you want to assume anti-Nazis are ‘the left’.)


            • Ferguson burned, while the massive police presence watched, not wanting to provoke things. We watched it burn on TV. As you mention, they were ordered by the courts to stop using tear gas. Ferguson burned.

              And as for your challenge, that would be almost all of the protests against Trump.


              • During any point that ‘Fergasuon burned’, the police were out, en mass, arresting people, and attempting to disperse people. And often crossed legal lines while doing so. This is not some sort of debatable thing. We have records of how many police officers there were, and we have records of arrests.

                They were on high alert the entire time, in fact, as I’ve pointed out, they brought in over a hundred officers from another precinct and had everyone in riot gear yelling at people and closing down streets before any general ‘unrest’ happened. (I.e., their behavior helped start the problems.)

                Are you asserting the police were ‘ordered to stand down’ because they didn’t do anything about the fires?

                The police are not, in fact, supposed to do anything about a building on fire except possibly keep people away.


      • If you say and do bad things but deep down, you know they’re wrong, what does that say about you other than that you know better?

        If an otherwise nonviolent kid robs a liquor store for the approval of his peers, do you give him a pass because he’s just pretending to be a thug?


        • This isn’t the best analogy — Trump hasn’t really done anything obviously racist*. It’s more like some friends of his robbed a liquor store and he found out about it but still hung out with them. That doesn’t make him a criminal but it does suggest that he’s not too bothered by it.

          *leaving aside things like the immigration policies he advocates, which some folks insist are driven by racism but which aren’t necessarily so.


            • OK, go ahead and make him student body president. That makes it an even poorer decision on his part to hang with them, but it still doesn’t make him a criminal himself.


                • Trump went ahead and condemned them.

                  Well, sorta. At the point that it was clear that the driver was a white supremacist, the moment called for him to be a little more specific. See e.g. MBD on what he could have said.


                  • Certainly he could have singled them out, but that’s what Obama was doing for eight years, inserting himself prematurely into any event at all if he could turn it into a blame-game or guilt trip. Acted stupidly, beer summit, Trayvon could’ve been my son, etc.

                    Anyway, from the National Review piece:

                    Some of these scummy racists in Charlottesville wore chainmail, others went around shouting their devotion to Adolf Hitler. A president with Trump’s intuitive sense of depravity should be able to call them what they are: evil losers. More pathetic: evil cosplayers.

                    Maille isn’t that useful unless edged weapons are being used, and if it’s butted maille its almost totally useless. I weld mine. Maille has no known connection to racism.

                    And an aside:

                    I’m also the only person who’s made banded maille since probably the 1300’s. Everybody else is convinced it’s a myth because a few people in the late 1800’s couldn’t figure out how to hold links together with leather cords. The cords are non-structural. They just keep it under compression so it doesn’t lock up, which it will do under radial tension. Bungee cords would probably work better than leather.

                    pic 1 of banded maille

                    If you pulled those pieces from left and right, putting them under tension, the little links seize tightly on the big links and all flexibility is lost. It becomes almost as stiff a piece of plate, and thus is useless for a joint. But if cords were threaded through the small links, and knotted somewhere, you could make a travel-limit so the binding wouldn’t occur

                    pic 2 of banded maille

                    pic 3 of banded maille

                    In those two photos, the maille wants to slide downward due to its own weight. If that happens, it forces itself outwards (swells out) and binds, making the knee joint completely immobile. Leather bands would prevent that.

                    The leather binds the rings together, which is exactly how it was described. But “bind” doesn’t mean structurally, as in keeping the links from falling apart, it means holding the rings “together” so they don’t bind up.

                    The pattern is always alternating (to the left, then to the right) overlapping rows with something small (almost rope like) drawn or carved in between the big rings. Once you’ve seen it, you’ll notice it in all kinds of period carvings and artworks.

                    It’s cheaper to produce than regular maille, in labor hours, which is what I was doing when I stumbled across it. Bigger rings means fewer needed, but they have to really overlap to stop penetration, and they have to be pretty thick for strength. To make sure they overlap, the little rings have to be really small, otherwise it’s just an ordinary 4 in 1 linking. It’s actually the same pattern as regular maille, but with two radically different sized rings. And then as soon as you make the first segment, you realize it binds in tension, and so you’d add a leather cords to prevent the problem.

                    Maybe someday someone will update Wikipedia to say it’s not a myth.


                      • Nope. Check the wiki. They still think the pattern is a myth, based on books on medieval armour by Ffoulkes, who was curator of the Royal Armouries.

                        In 1912, in An Armourer and His Craft (PDF) he wrote:

                        (pages 46, 47, 48 of the book, pages 100, 101, and 102 of the PDF)

                        A variety of mail which, from the sculptured effigies and from miniatures of the thirteenth century, appears to have been in high favour, has come to be known as “Banded Mail.”

                        In both painted and sculptured records the methods of representation differ considerably from those employed to suggest the ordinary mail of interlaced rings.

                        In the middle of the last century, when the subject of armour began to be seriously studied, this banded mail was the subject of many theories and suggestions. Meyrick considered that it was composed of rings sewn on to a fabric, overlapping each other sideways ; but a practical experiment will prove that such an arrangement would be impossible, as the weight would be excessive and the curve of the body would cause the rings to “gape.” Other writers have considered that the same arrangement of rings, covered with leather which would prevent the “gaping,” is the correct solution ; but here again the heat would be a grave drawback.

                        An important point on all representations of banded mail is that, when part of the garment is shown turned back, the back is the same as the front. The most practical suggestion was put forward by the late J. G. Waller,^ who considered that it was simply chain mail with leather thongs threaded through every row or every alternate row of links. This would give a solidity to an otherwise too-pliant fabric, and would keep the mail in its place, especially on the arms and legs. It would also show the same arrangement of rings back and front.

                        The drawing from the Romance of Alexander goes far to prove that Waller’s theory is the right one, for here the thongs are not shown on hands and head, where greater pliability of the mail was required, and yet these defences appear to be part of the same garment which shows the ” banded ” lines.

                        It is almost superfluous to add that no specimen of this kind of defence survives to-day, but Oriental mail is sometimes found stiffened in this manner with leather thongs.

                        Since they didn’t hit the right pattern, they kept assuming the leather thongs stiffened it. They don’t. The thongs keep it flexible. They didn’t figure out that what looked kind of like a small rope in between the big rings was just really small rings linked in the standard 4 in 1 pattern.

                        Not the almost exact similarity between the effigies in the book and what was on my legs.

                        If you go to any website on maille and armour, the maille experts will tell you that banded maille is a myth that started with Dungeons and Dragons.


          • I dissent. He has a whole history of doing horrible things that I discussed above. His whole political career has been built on racism and bigotry and making crude appeals to the emotions of bigots and white supremacists. I think there are countless examples from his private life to show rampant bigotry.

            But his enablers will deny it until they are blue in the face and make false equivalences about someone was President over a hundred years ago.


  8. Sorry folks, but I think this is it for me here. That we need to debate this topic and with people who are on the masthead tells me I’m done here.


  9. I have a really tough time caring about this.

    My feelings on the matter are a bit more complex.
    I don’t really care that the neo-nazis are neo-nazis. It would be wrong of me to expect them to be anything other than off-kilter.
    The same goes for roughly half of those carrying around the stars & bars.

    What really makes me sick is the way that the history of Lee is told, including the part about treason. If amnesty is meaningful at all, then surely 100 years is long enough.
    Ergo, our form of amnesty is not meaningful, empty.

    Alongside it, the half-blindness of the purge is telling in its vision.
    What it lacks marks it as much as what it would attain, and to what end.
    That’s the part that really disappoints me.
    I was hoping against hope, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the moral authority of the people was somehow moral in content.
    And seeing it isn’t makes me feel really sick.

    I would rather feed a raccoon that save any one of those lives.
    I can rest assured the raccoon’s motives are pure.


    • These are things Robert E. Lee would do to his slaves as an allegedly kind slave owner:


      When two of his slaves escaped and were recaptured, Lee either beat them himself or ordered the overseer to “lay it on well.” Wesley Norris, one of the slaves who was whipped, recalled that “not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done.”


      • Were there many slave owners that wouldn’t do that?

        Blacks owe their freedom to Robert E. Lee. If the South had a really competent general they’d have stayed Confederate property, but the South had Lee, a man who went into West Virginia without bringing winter clothes, and when forced to retreat by the weather blamed God for the attack’s failure.


        • My God, George, you’ve redefined the word “apologist”. But, goodness, you’re a hell of a team player.

          And to somehow excuse Lee’s behavior by using it in comparison to other folks practicing monstrous behavior? And then have the blacks thank the “incompetent” Confederate General for their freedom?

          You’re doing parody now, right? Please?


      • Lee never owned slaves. He received some as part of his father-in-laws estate, which specified all the slaves be manumitted within five years. The slaves belonged to the estate, and not Lee.
        His personal writings make clear his views on slavery.
        They also make clear that he never fought to further slavery, or save it, or anything of the kind.


        • Yeah Lee’s feelings on slavery were clear. It was an evil, a far worse evil FOR white people who had the duty of enacting a “painful discipline” on slaves to raise them up until God said they could be free. He wanted nothing to do with abolitionists and was fine with slavery as it was anointed by God until God was done with it. His greatest sympathies were for the white slavers. Blacks were better off as slaves then in Africa. So yeah his feelings were crystal clear.


          Robert E. Lee letter dated December 27, 1856:

          I was much pleased the with President’s message. His views of the systematic and progressive efforts of certain people at the North to interfere with and change the domestic institutions of the South are truthfully and faithfully expressed. The consequences of their plans and purposes are also clearly set forth. These people must be aware that their object is both unlawful and foreign to them and to their duty, and that this institution, for which they are irresponsible and non-accountable, can only be changed by them through the agency of a civil and servile war. There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy. This influence, though slow, is sure. The doctrines and miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it the aid of our prayers, let us leave the progress as well as the results in the hands of Him who, chooses to work by slow influences, and with whom a thousand years are but as a single day. Although the abolitionist must know this, must know that he has neither the right not the power of operating, except by moral means; that to benefit the slave he must not excite angry feelings in the master; that, although he may not approve the mode by which Providence accomplishes its purpose, the results will be the same; and that the reason he gives for interference in matters he has no concern with, holds good for every kind of interference with our neighbor, -still, I fear he will persevere in his evil course. . . . Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom have always proved the most intolerant of the spiritual liberty of others?


          • Lincoln represented a slave owner in Rutherford v. Matson right before he left for Congress.
            The slaves in question, Anthony Bryant & family, left for Liberia afterward.
            They did not fare well there. They ended up begging on the streets.
            Their youngest child, who had returned with Matson to Kentucky, fared much better, I believe.
            Objective fact.


            • A fact perhaps but irrelevant to Lee’s quoted feelings. I’m guessing a pretty high percentage of slaves would rather not have been slaves or been taken into slavery. I’m sure going back a generation or two later was hard but that doesn’t’ change any of the other stuff.


              • Lincoln thought much the same– that slavery was unnatural, and it would die out, if left alone. His issue was with the aggressive expansionist tendencies of the slave-holding states.
                He was opposed to Texas entering the Union due to the imbalance of slave states / free states that it created.

                It is very unlikely that Lincoln would have went to war to end slavery.


                • It is very unlikely that Lincoln would have went to war to end slavery.

                  Indeed, he says as much to Horace Greeley:

                  My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.


                • Yeah Lincoln would not have started a war over slavery. It was the South who did that. Lincoln’s views changed over time eventually to Emancipation. None of this is really new. And it doesn’t change Lee’s words on slavery.


                  • I believe that is factually inaccurate on both points.

                    First, over 90% of Lincoln’s speeches from 1854 – 1860 had a significant component of opposition to slavery.

                    Secondly, the South did not start a war. They seceded; i.e., they had consistently politically outmaneuvered the abolitionists, on a number of points.
                    And the return of Annapolis to Virginia, in effect seceding from the District of Columbia, seemed to establish a precedent. The legality of it was unclear (still is, some would say).
                    However, as KenB intimates above, Lincoln was sworn to uphold the Constitution of the U.S.

                    Lee’s views were fairly ordinary for religious people of his class. He made it clear that he was fighting for Virginia, and not in favor of slaving.
                    Lincoln’s views were similar. Though he was of Quaker stock, he was not himself religious. Nonetheless, he held the view predominant among them, that it was a bad thing that would pass in time– that tolerance and long-suffering would be sufficient.

                    I believe both of their views are justified in light of the events.


                    • Huh?

                      The South started the Civil War at Fort Sumter in exactly the same way the Japanese started WWII at Pearl Harbor. You don’t attack a military base and not expect a war.


                      • Yep. Poland, France, the Battle of Britain, the invasion of the Soviet Union, those were just considered police actions until those dastardly Japanese went and started the war. ^_^


                    • By the time of the Civil War attitudes towards slavery were far different then with the founding fathers. The FF’s though slavery would fade away. However by the mid 1800’s southerners were intent on expansion. Expanding slavery seen as necessary or the institution would die out. That was the crux of the compromise and political conflicts from in the decades before the war. That was the big deal with the compromise of 1850. Even at that time some in the south called for war.

                      They wanted slavery to keep going indefinitely and needed room to expand. Heck some even wanted to invade other countries to get more room for slavery. Lee was not against slavery and fought to preserve it.


        • Congrats! You can be a lawyer with that kind of logic.

          Regardless of whether he owned slaves or not he dominion over them and ordered the administration of brutal physical torture for slaves. He could have gone light on the punishment but did not.

          Do you really want defending this to be the hill you die on?


    • I like Lee. I’ve read his biographies. I feel a kinship to the man. He was an engineer and a devoted family man, like myself.

      Which is doubly scary, since it means I could maybe make as bad a choice as he did.

      The thing is, the Lost Cause has held him up as their front man for a century and a half. For good reason, since he is by far the most attractive person of the lot. He’s a symbol, not a person, and the Lost Cause made him so.

      Now the opponents of the Lost Cause are going after the symbol, as a symbol. It doesn’t, in my opinion, have much to do with the man. I will continue to love Lee. In a proper turn of seasons, perhaps we can find some other way to preserve his memory. And I do think we should, because it’s all too easy to think that supporting racism is something that only Bad People do. But now is not the time, I think.


      • I wonder if the slaves of his (the ones he had whipped for escaping his plantation within the 5-year period his father-in-law’s will designated be used for legally transitioning them to freedom, a time period which Lee proceeded to treat as a time limit for extracting every possible ounce of labor from those slaves’ bodies) loved Robert E Lee.

        Lee wasn’t a noble tragic hero.


      • That’s the part I dislike– the symbolism behind it.
        I do believe we can overcome our past. Anyone can, for that matter.
        But it requires being honest about things.
        Expedience will never substitute for honesty. It only lays the groundwork for future pitfalls.


        • Your answer for how we overcome our past seems to be that everyone who dissents about it just shut up because it makes you feel bad about someone you like and don’t want to consider was possibly a very flawed human being and not a saint at all.


          • No, not at all.
            I don’t think anyone should “shut up.”
            It’s not that I “like” Lee. I find him a complex figure.
            I don’t “feel bad” about Lee.

            Missed the mark entirely.

            Again, I do believe that our nation– and any person– can overcome our past, but it requires honesty.
            Stating half the facts is less than honest.

            There was a little girl who asked a little boy, “Do you have three pennies?”
            The little boy looked in his pocket, and saw that he had five pennies.
            So, he said, “No, I don’t have three pennies.”

            That’s where we’re at now.

            Truthfulness is a pre-condition, but no substitute, for honesty.


            • will,
              Where we’re at now is a bought and paid for Lost Cause that thinks beating up on Gen’l Lee’s Old War Horse is a good thing. For propaganda purposes, you see. The South cannot lose, it can only be betrayed from within.
              (West point likes him a lot more as a general than good ol’ Lee).


              • I have relatives from Australia, and they tend to believe that Australia is a wonderful place.
                You can’t find the right ingredients in the states to make good pavlova, so you have to substitute quite a bit, I’m told.
                I don’t hold that against them.
                Actually, I feel a bit badly for them, because of the place in the U.S. where they’re at is likely to give a bad impression of the place.
                But these Aussies chose to forgo U.S. citizenship, though they were entitled to it.
                “Why on Earth would I want such a thing?” I was told. “It’s not worth anything,” to which I must agree.
                It’s just that I wish it was worth something, and I haven’t quite given up hope that it will be worth something someday.

                So, if I know someone from Tennessee (and I know quite a few guys from the TVA), and maybe a few of them are awful proud of where they’re from, and have a sense of heritage in the place.
                Granted, these are U.S. citizens that we’re talking about here, but is the situation materially different on that account?


        • I was talking with my brother recently, and he was saying something about the divide between liberalism/conservatism being largely an urban/rural divide these days.
          I remarked that urbanites tend to look down on the rural peoples.
          He said, “Will, people in the city look down on the people across town.”
          That was one of those light bulb moments.

          Much of the so-called progressivism, and assorted leftists, are wholly dependent on having someone to look down on.
          You have to look down on the right people, and for the right reasons, or you’re not “with it.”

          Quick– tell me:
          Who was the 23rd President of the U.S.?
          It was Benjamin Harrison.

          Does saying that make me somehow superior to people who said “James Buchanan”?
          Do I get to look down on all the people who said “James Buchanan”?
          What does that actually do for me?

          So, we have some white supremacists.
          I’m sure at least a handful wouldn’t like me right off the bat, just for who I am.
          I’m not sure how promoting one race dictates behaviors toward another, but I’m sure there’s some sort of continuum from antipathy to tolerance to outright hatred.
          If I disagree with them, what does that make me?
          If I say, “No, not Buchanan, but it was someone else,” then what does that make me?

          I really don’t care if people are racist or not.
          The part I find interesting is: Why?
          Children are not racist. Children are naturally curious.
          So, something must have happened between childhood and racism to make a racist racist.
          That’s the part I find interesting.

          I wasn’t kidding about feeding the raccoon.
          I hit a raccoon with my truck last night, and killed it.
          I cried a few tears after I got home.
          I went back to get the thing out of the road– at least give it that much respect.

          And I felt horrible because I failed to be a good steward over that which was placed under my care.

          Some protester in Charlottesville run over by (supposedly) some white supremacist?
          My heart is dead.
          I feel nothing, except trepidation that both sides now have a martyr, and their positions will be even more entrenched, much less inclined to rationality or reason.


          • People have been looking down at each other based on rural/urban splits probably since some developer put up a new sub division outside of Ur. Trying to blame just that one side for the looking down on others thing is blind. It’s people, of every sort, that look down on others. There are a million reasons for it, rural/urban, is one of the more common and pertinent to now.


      • Reminder: let’s be careful condemning historical figures (who are not here to defend themselves) against modern ideals. Even a lot of strong supporters of abolition had some pretty nasty opinions on race. Very few were approaching anything we would consider enlightened.

        Judge them by their contemporaries, not yours.


        • The opinions of a historical figure’s contemporaries is certainly relevant and important evidence.

          I’m not sure that we ought to absolve a historical figure of all moral culpability as seen through a modern lens. What to make of, say, the ancient Greek practice of man-boy sex? Do we dismiss this as simple cultural preference, and if we do, then isn’t our own contemporary revulsion of the act a mere subjective cultural taboo? Are we to disregard what modern developmental psychology, which seems to find at least some things that transcend a variety of cultures (and yes this is among them) says about such things?

          Similarly, slavery is a hard thing to set aside. It may be possible to admire a figure like Julius Caesar for both his military prowess and political expertise, and the substantial changes he made to imposed upon the constitution of the Roman Republic. But he enslaved millions of Gauls along the way for his own personal enrichment — a practice that to the Romans was an entirely acceptable one, but which was perhaps not so readily accepted as simply the prevailing cultural norms by the Gauls in question. (The ones who survived to be enslaved, that is.)


          • I’m not suggesting they should be absolved, only held up to the lens of their times. If the practice of X was a cultural norm, one we have decided is no longer appropriate, then we can look back at the practice of X and say, “yeah, that was a bad idea, let’s not do that again”, but we should take care in condemning a specific person living in that time & culture for participating in X, unless we can show that his/her contemporaries had already largely walked away from X as moral/ethical wrong.

            Given the context of the civil war, we can recognize that Lee was clearly a product of his times. Could he have freed his slaves, or treated them better? Sure, absolutely, and doing so would certainly be very impressive, especially given the context of the period. And that is my point. Today, freeing slaves isn’t impressive, it’s a friggin’ moral obligation. Back then, it was extremely progressive and viewed equally with admiration and disdain, depending on the beholder.

            Beating slaves was just what was done. Doing so doesn’t mean we have to admire him as a good man, or a righteous man. It just makes him a man of those times*, and likely a complicated and conflicted one (like damn near everyone else).

            I mean, there were abolitionists who wanted to end the practice of slavery in the US not because they wanted the slaves freed and granted full citizenship, but because they wanted them all shipped back to Africa so they’d stop polluting the country. So yea!, end slavery, but umm, about that last part…

            *I struggle with this with my own father, who is not a fan of gay rights. I love my dad, but it’s tough to square that circle except to recognize that he is a product of his times and too old and sick to change just because I argue with him about it.


          • Burt,
            I’m not about to join NAMBLA, but I do find the cross-cultural comparisons to be enlightening.
            Because there are things that are taboo, pretty much across cultures, and other things that aren’t.

            I think the issue of consent in Greek culture is a better way to describe “wait, that might be a bad conceptualization”, rather than restricting it to man-boy love — the presumed lack of consent with women was just as problematic as with boys. (Please note: any Greek Male who wanted to be sodomized was seen as unmanly).


        • “Judge them by their contemporaries, not yours.” I strongly agree with that. My criticisms of Lee are based upon what he said himself, what other criticized him for during his lifetime, and what others in his position did.

          When people argue that Lee had no choice but to quit the US Army and join the Army of Virginia, they are judging Lee by Lee’s standards since others in his position did not make that choice.


    • Amnesty means he didn’t go to jail or get executed.

      It does not mean he did not commit treason. In fact, precisely to the contrary. Accepting a pardon is a confession of guilt. And, of course, the facts supporting the charge are uncontroversial: he left the army he served to go to war against the same army on the behalf of a rebellion.

      Why does it “make you sick” that Lee’s story is told accurately?


      • He was allowed to do that. Lincoln didn’t turn around and have Lee arrested and charged with treason. No Southern POWs were charged with treason, even as they sat in Union custody. In fact, doing so would now be a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

        I suppose you think the British should have arrested, tried, and executed John Adams and James Monroe for treason when they went over to serve as the US ambassador in London.


      • As campaign promises go, this seems like one that would be very easily broken without imposing much of a cost at all.

        It’s not like they would throw “he gave a Nazi the death penalty!” in a campaign ad. Er, the opposition, I mean. (I could see how his own PR team might put it in one.)


    • They charged him with 2nd degree murder, so he’s not getting the death sentence unless they change the charge.

      In Virginia, even 1st degree murder doesn’t carry the death sentence. Capital murder requires special circumstances. Terrorism, however is one of the circumstances, so the state could go for the death penalty if they can also prove it was a pre-meditated act.


      • “Pre-meditation” is exactly why I’m not sure whether this would be a shoo-in or an edge case. I can see arguments either way for that.

        But if they keep it at 2nd degree, it looks like the DA won’t have to deal with the temptation to break his campaign promise.


        • I was wondering if pre-meditated murder requires a specific victim in mind or not….but they executed the DC Sniper, so clearly not.

          So the only bar that I think they might be worrying about meeting is ‘Did he see something that made him decide to drive into a group of people?’

          If no, if he had been planning this and driving around looking for groups to hit, it’s pre-meditated. If he was just driving normally, no intent to do anything, and saw something that made him angry and then decide to attack that particular group of people, it’s not.

          I kinda think that someone doesn’t just spontaneously decide to drive into people. Hopefully they’re just waiting to find some evidence he prepped for it before upgrading the charges.

          Perhaps they can get him to explain where he was going, or even trace the path of his car to see if he was circling around.


          • It’s now been reported that his own mother called 911 three times on him. He threatened her with a knife, among other things, and she’s in a wheelchair. This speaks to a complete lack of impulse control.

            So even if security videos show him scoping out scads of protesters in his Dodge, it’s going to be hard to establish premeditation because he can’t control himself or his impulses.

            But don’t worry. He’s going to be less popular in prison than Dylan Roof. He aimed at blacks and communists but killed a white girl who defended the accused. He’s going to have to be segregated.


  10. It’s not a hard moral call to at least condemn actual Nazis. Somehow, the President can’t make himself do it. You should be livid about that.


    Not that I enjoy being dramatic, but these particular demonstrations are important. It is imperative that we show the world what we are really made of, that a mealy-mouthed, half-hearted “violence is bad” is not representative of the American people as a whole.

    Really? For me the takeaway is much different. Nobody on the Left should ever ever under any circumstances ever interfere with the legitimate Constitutional rights of their political adversaries. That’s what cause the whole thing in the first place.

    As far as the driver who rammed the people in the crowd with his Dodge, it seems like the legal system is perfectly capable of handling that, and in fact is doing so as we speak.


    • Define “interfere.” If counter-protesting is “interference,” I’ma disagree with you.

      No one, not on this thread nor anyone offering any sort of a sober take, has suggested that the tiki torch Nazis be prohibited from having their rally at all.

      They have a right to speak. They don’t have the right to not be shouted down.


      • Really, that seems to me the pretty obvious raison d’etre of the counter protestors.

        The “Unite the Rights”, whoever they were, were there to support the presence of a statue of Robert E Lee in some prominent place in Charlottesville, and in protest against the propensity of it being removed.

        The other side, whoever they were, were there to oppose the presence of the former and their ability to peaceably assemble and make their case, more or less independently of whatever they were gathering for.


        • Amazing. Not Nazis have rights too, which I have to grudgingly admit, but Nazi rights trump non-Nazi rights. I know you want to punish liberals, but I didn’t realize until thie moment that liberal meant everyone to the left of Hitler.

          Actually, that explains a lot.


          • The line crossed is in trying to keep the Nazis from exercising their constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and speak.

            For a year I’ve been posting 18 USC 241 – Conspiracy Against Rights, which was passed in 1948, because the BLM and antifa attempts to shut down Republican campaign rallies was a violation of such rights. Both sides get to have rallies. Neither side is allowed to prevent the other from having rallies.

            If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

            If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

            They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

            Much of the alt-right stuff, the people showing up with shields and helmets, is a reaction to the antifa and anarchist tactics, which continues because the police won’t enforce the law. Enforce the law even a little bit and the rioting and violence problems will likely go away.


          • There might be a typo or two in your comment. It doesn’t quite parse for me.

            At any rate, my point seemed to pass over you. The “Unite the Rights” were there, fundamentally to exercise their First Amendment Rights. The counterprotestors were there, fundamentally, to prevent them from doing so.


                • A counter protest is speech. A counter protest to assault the original protesters so they can’t protest is assault, and if that’s the planned goal then it’s a conspiracy against their right to protest.

                  More simply, suppose Democrats, liberals, and progressives are having a march for the cause of the day, perhaps something about oil pipelines, and oil companies sent in a bunch of Pinkerton men to use tear gas, dogs, batons, and rifles to break up the march. Suppose oil companies did this repeatedly, to keep people from expressing their opposition to the pipeline. Would you support that?

                  Suppose black people were marching for civil rights. Suppose every time they did a bunch of guys in white robes showed up as a counter protest and beat them senseless. Would you support that?

                  That’s why the “conspiracy against rights” law is on the books, and that’s why men in white robes weren’t seen stopping civil rights marches, and weren’t filmed beating marchers with clubs. They would have gone to jail. That’s why Bull Connors cops had to do it, in the name of maintaining order.

                  As far as the law is concerned, the people starting these street fights are thugs. Nobody is allowed to attack innocent people on the streets, for any cause. Mayors keep telling the cops to stand down, claiming it’s for safety. That’s a failure of law enforcement, just like having Southern cops be elsewhere whenever the Klan went to harass and intimidate civil rights activists.


            • “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

              Based on your statement here, you seem to be advocating for letting evil triumph.


        • It’s commonly stated, and I happen to think it’s true, that the correct response to objectionable speech is more speech. If you accept that statement as true, then you cannot adhere very long or very strongly to the concept of a “heckler’s veto.” At least, not while maintaining intellectual consistency with advocating “more speech” as the remedy for obnoxious but protected speech.

          I see you imputing a motive to the counter-protestors that I see no evidence for. The point of having a counter-protest is to tell the underlying protestors, “You’re wrong.” “You’re wrong” is speech. It’s also to tell third-party observers, “We disagree with these people.” “We disagree” is speech. And that speech is not going to be effective unless it’s contemporaneous to the speech it reacts to. If counter-protestors happen to outnumber, have a more effective message, or are simply louder than the underlying protestors, well, them’s the breaks. The rest of us can look at the exchange and figure out for ourselves what it all means.

          If it was a Black Lives Matter rally to urge taking down the Lee statue, and the Nazis counter-protested BLM, what motive would you ascribe to the Nazis? Would you accuse the Nazis of trying to censor, or hecklers-veto, the BLM rally? Because I have a pretty good idea of what the Nazis, who admire a government founded on very different principles than the United States was, think about BLM’s free speech rights.


          • I see you imputing a motive to the counter-protestors that I see no evidence for.

            Really? Given the nature of this incident and similar incidents across the country it seems kind of obvious for me. A heckler’s veto, just like you said.

            The counterprotestors are there to oppose the alt-right, the statue is ancillary. Let’s face it, an opinion that a statue of Robert E Lee should remain in Charlottesville is just not that incendiary.

            As far as BLM goes, my understanding is that BLM looks for looks for gatherings to antagonize, like Trump rallies or Bernie speeches. Where they have their own events, people are content to leave them alone, except where they start their own violence like when they shot the cops in Dallas.

            And let’s also stop with the Nazi business. The people in Charlottesville aren’t Nazis any more than people who wear LeBron James jerseys aren’t power forwards. It’s just a cheap way to escalate the antagonism.


            • The opinion that a statue of Lee should be removed isn’t that incendiary either since the democratically elected govt of Charlottesville decided in favor of it. However a bunch of white supremacists, most of them coming in from outside the area, marched around carrying torches and yelling things like ‘Blood and Soil’.

              As to the ‘Nazi business’, no one is saying the people of Charlottesville are Nazis. (In fact, quite a number, including quite a lot of congregants from various churches in the city, turned out to for the counter protest). But the ‘Unite the Right’ guys? If you march in a group displaying swastikas and fasces nd chanting Nazi slogans, I think people can reasonably assume you’re a Nazi.


              • Further to this:

                1. If you’re wearing a T-shirt celebrating an Adolf Hitler quote, you’re probably a Nazi.
                2. If you’re carrying a Nazi flag to a public rally, you’re probably a Nazi.
                3. If you chant a Nazi slogan with a bunch of Nazis, you’re probably a Nazi too.
                4. If you chant anti-Jewish slogans with a bunch of Nazis, you’re probably a Nazi, and even if you’re not, you’re a little too damn Nazi-friendly for me to bother with making that finely-nuanced a distinction.

                At the peril of repeating myself, some things are just not particularly complex. Among them, this very simple rule of political morality that I articulated here last night:

                The Nazis are the bad guys. Every time.


              • It’s not an incendiary opinion, they certainly could and did express it. But it’s not what caused the problems here, which is to say their determination that the alt-right or whoever wouldn’t be able to express any contrary opinion, or any opinion at all for that matter.

                The point about the Nazis is nonresponsive. The Unite The Right demonstrators aren’t Nazis either, for the same reason.


            • Koz: And let’s also stop with the Nazi business. The people in Charlottesville aren’t Nazis any more than people who wear LeBron James jerseys aren’t power forwards.

              There’s a pic of James Fields holding a shield (upside down) with fasces on them.

              If you’re *playing the game* with LeBron’s jersey on, I’m going to think you’re LeBron, and I’m going to think that you want me to think that you are LeBron – and doubly so if you try to drive the lane through a crowd.


            • The people in Charlottesville aren’t Nazis any more than people who wear LeBron James jerseys aren’t power forwards. It’s just a cheap way to escalate the antagonism.

              Hey, here’s a question for you, Koz:

              Since you seem to be very determined to assert that Democrats are not behaving as Americans, by refusing to participate politically, and thus risk being dismissed from political consideration by the rest of American society…

              …do you think people waving Nazi flags still count as Americans?

              Not that they are actual Nazis (Although it is worth pointing out that there are, in fact, many groups that exist that literally call themselves Nazis and those people are members of them), but are they still Americans, waving the flag of our defeated enemy like that?

              I also ask this about people who are members of the KKK, which, let us remind ourselves, was explicitly a terrorist organization for most of its history, existing solely to commit terrorism.

              Again, I am not asking if they are literally terrorists…but they have specifically identified themselves as members of a group almost entirely dedicated to terrorism. I am asking if they are Americans, or are they, like you assert the Democrats are becoming, getting to the point of being excluded from the political process.


              • Ok, first of all, I dispute a few of your premises, maybe more relevant to some of my other comments, but mentioned here nonetheless.

                Not that they are actual Nazis (Although it is worth pointing out that there are, in fact, many groups that exist that literally call themselves Nazis and those people are members of them), but are they still Americans, waving the flag of our defeated enemy like that?

                Not only are they not real Nazis, I don’t even think they’re fake Nazis either. I haven’t followed the whole thing much before today, but they don’t even look like fake Nazis to me. I think what you have is one guy wearing a shirt here, another guy with a flag there. If you were to take the membership of the American “Nazi” organizations you mentioned and cross-checked them with the people in Charlottesville, there’s probably a dozen or fewer overlap. It just happened to be convenient for lib political ends to call them Nazis, so Nazis they were.

                I also ask this about people who are members of the KKK, which, let us remind ourselves, was explicitly a terrorist organization for most of its history, existing solely to commit terrorism.

                The same with them, though I’m less confident about this one. You can take the members of the various Klan organizations, I bet there were less than a dozen there. Maybe two dozen.

                If I had to put a word for them, I’d call them neo-Confederates.

                As far as the substance of your question goes, I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing no. Those people were certainly fringe-y enough so that a large swath of Americans would want to vote against them. But I suspect that in 2018 at least that won’t be a significant motivating factor because nobody is really afraid of them.


                • Not only are they not real Nazis, I don’t even think they’re fake Nazis either. I haven’t followed the whole thing much before today, but they don’t even look like fake Nazis to me. I think what you have is one guy wearing a shirt here, another guy with a flag there. If you were to take the membership of the American “Nazi” organizations you mentioned and cross-checked them with the people in Charlottesville, there’s probably a dozen or fewer overlap.

                  Uh, no. Groups that have explicitly said they were there, or said they were going to be there:

                  The Traditional Worker’s Party
                  Nationalist Front
                  Identity Evropa
                  Vanguard America
                  Schwarze Sonne
                  The _National Socialist Movement_ (Which for those playing at home, is basically the American Nazi Party, except that they though the Nazi Party wasn’t Hitlery enough, so forked. Yes, seriously. Thery thought the American Nazi party was trying to disssocate Nazi-ism from Hitler and his specific actions, focusing more on the philosophy…so they left.)

                  It is not possible to argue that there were hardly any people who were really members of those groups, or that people were waving the Nazi flag just to cause outrage.

                  In fact, people were usually standing behind their group flags, not Nazi flags…of course, the NSM flag is a Nazi flag, and that’s where you’re seeing carrying those. There are plenty of otherwise innocent-looking group flags that you have look up online and realize ‘Oh, that nice looking white flag with the blue triangle in it is Identity Evropa.’

                  The same with them, though I’m less confident about this one. You can take the members of the various Klan organizations, I bet there were less than a dozen there. Maybe two dozen.

                  Likewise, the actual event started _when the KKK got the permit for a march_. They got the permit, and then some people got the bright idea of having some ‘Unite the Right’ speakers after the march.

                  Trying to say ‘I don’t know if those were really the KKK’ is nonsense. They are the local group currently calling themselves the KKK. There weren’t that many of them, but that’s because the KKK has basically no membership at this point.

                  As far as the substance of your question goes, I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing no. Those people were certainly fringe-y enough so that a large swath of Americans would want to vote against them. But I suspect that in 2018 at least that won’t be a significant motivating factor because nobody is really afraid of them.

                  My question was not whether not anything would be a significant factor. My question was whether or not they, through their behavior, have removed themselves from the political equation in the eyes of Americans.


                  • It is not possible to argue that there were hardly any people who were really members of those groups, or that people were waving the Nazi flag just to cause outrage.

                    Really? I don’t know who Identity Evropa is, they probably have 10 members, of which 3 of them were there. But even if there were more, it wouldn’t change anything.

                    The people there, who want to mind their own business and hold a rally for a statue of Robert E Lee, let ’em do it. It doesn’t hurt you or me.

                    The idea of calling them Nazis is cheap escalation with the intent that we short-circuit our typical responses as Americans in favor of some unwarranted hysteria. It’s pretty clear just by the words. If you said Identity Evropas are meeting in Lee Park in support of the statue, most people including me would say “Who?”

                    Socially distasteful people do socially distasteful things all the time. People Of Wal-Mart have gotten a billion clicks from it. Let ’em.

                    As far as whether the Identity Evropas and the rest of them have removed themselves from meaningful participation in American politics, it could be but I don’t think so. I don’t think enough people are afraid of them for that.


          • http://www.theroot.com/watch-unite-the-right-rally-organizer-jason-kessler-run-1797801397

            And while we’re at it, the above is a fairly representative example, not just for Charlottesville but lib activism in general. One guy is trying to exercise his Constitutional rights, another guy (or mob, really), is trying to prevent that from happening.

            Given what’s on the tape, it’s pretty disingenuous to reply that the appropriate response to objectionable speech is more speech and suppose that it applies here.


            • I watched the video you linked to, Koz.

              I’m on record from an earlier thread objecting to “punching Nazis,” in that case specifically Richard Spencer. I was good with the counter-protestors shouting Kessler down at the start of this improptu press conference. I’m not good with the two guys who threw punches at him. The police were right to step in and protect Kessler.

              Had I been in some sort of leadership position of the counter-protestors I’d have tried to get them to chant loudly over Kessler while he was trying to speak. “Go home Nazis” or something like that. I suspect that such leaders of the counter-protest as were there would like to have prevented the punchers from doing what they did.

              But if we’re going to dismiss the guy who drove the car into a crowd of counter-protestors and injured dozens and killed one — because he was some kind of lone wolf or yahoo unrepresentative of the camp with which he was associated — then fairness demands we do the same to the two guys who threw punches at Kessler, and for similar reasons. Particularly given the absence of evidence about any sort of coordination, planning, or direction by leadership figures, it’s not fair to attribute the actions of individuals within a group to the group as a whole. And if despite that we do attribute the actions of individuals within a group to the group as a whole, then we do that both for the group we do like and for the group we don’t like.

              With that said, I’m going to echo sentiments from elsewhere in the thread that I’m a good deal more outraged with someone driving a car into a crowd at speed than someone throwing a punch. Both are bad, but one is more bad than the other. We can tell that because of the consequences one would reasonably expect to result from punching a guy on the one hand compared to driving a car into a crowd on the other.


              • I was good with the counter-protestors shouting Kessler down at the start of this improptu press conference.

                Why, why is that supposed to be ok?

                My sense is that you want to answer, or maybe even want to think of things, on narrow legal grounds. It is my contention, my hope, and my point of view that we should avoid that to the extent we can. I think you can appreciate better than most that once we start digging into a thicket of legal weeds, it’s anyone’s guess where we end up.

                So, in the big picture, it seems like the dude in the suit jacket is doing something that he should have every expectation of being able to do. The disruptors are not making any attempt to articulate any coherent argument or point, except to stop the first guy.


              • But if we’re going to dismiss the guy who drove the car into a crowd of counter-protestors and injured dozens and killed one — because he was some kind of lone wolf or yahoo unrepresentative of the camp with which he was associated — then fairness demands we do the same to the two guys who threw punches at Kessler, and for similar reasons.

                No, no no no no nonononono.

                That’s the whole raison d’etre for the counterprotestors, that’s the only reason why they were ever there. That, and similar incidents of antagonism, was the focal point of their presence for anything related to those events. I don’t think you can legitimately think about this at all for any length of time and come to a different conclusion.

                In that sense, it is very easily distinguishable from the car incident. It was plainly not the case that the Unite The Right gathered in Charlottesville for the purpose of running over random antifa.


                • But, I can think that, and I feel really legitimate in thinking it.

                  The counter-protestors didn’t gather to prevent the Nazis from having a rally. They gathered in an attempt to render the rally ineffective. They gathered to say about the Nazis, “These people are wrong.”

                  Reverse it in a hypothetical. Let’s say #BLM gathers to urge removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. The Nazis gather in response to counter-protest. #BLM has the right to have its rally. The Nazis have a right to counter-protest. Yes, it becomes a shouting match. If the Nazis shout louder, they’re the ones who get heard and that’s how it goes.

                  When it descends into a credible threat of physical violence, that’s the bright line where we need to intervene and stop people from doing stuff.

                  You have a right to speak. You don’t have the right to be the only one speaking at a time, nor the right to an audience.


                  • The counter-protestors didn’t gather to prevent the Nazis from having a rally. They gathered in an attempt to render the rally ineffective. They gathered to say about the Nazis, “These people are wrong.”

                    Burt, this is sophistry. Regardless of how this stacks up as a legal argument, it’s obviously wrong as a matter of intent.

                    Even besides the rights enshrined in the Constitution, we can at least envision the possibility that all parties have capability to state their case about this or that. Nobody has the right to arbitrarily stop somebody else.

                    All the other stuff about who’s in the audience, who yells the loudest, how many people are speaking at once, those are second-order effects that nobody in principle has a right to control.

                    In this case, it’s obbbbbbviiiiiouusss as a matter of intent of the antifa/whoever was to prevent neo-Confederates/whoever from talking. On the video I linked to before, you wouldn’t even know what those people thought about the Lee statue except by context.

                    And that intent just as obviously goes beyond the events of that weekend in Charlottesville, but that is clear enough example of it.


                    • Are you arguing from a positive or a negative construction of the right of free speech? If you think that the right of free speech is a positive right, then you’re arguing that you have an affirmative right to speak, to which other rights must give way. That seems a lot closer to what you’re arguing was deprived from these Nazis.

                      But the First Amendment does not provide citizens with a positive right of free speech. It provides a negative right, a limit on the government’s power to censor or constrain the speech. That right does not apply as against other private actors. I do not owe you any restraint on my action because you choose to exercise your Constitutional rights.

                      One might argue about whether or not there is a norm in our culture that citizens tolerate it when others exercise their rights peaceably. But you complained about Mr. Kessler not being able to exercise his “Constitutional” rights, not about generally-accepted norms of behavior. The Constitution was not implicated by anything I saw on that video. Ordinary criminal law was implicated in that some of the antifas who tried to exercise their own rights of free speech crossed the line into assault. They should be punished for their use of violence. They should not be punished for expressing their political opinions.

                      And if we’re talking about norms of behavior, then we’re going to come back to the basic point that these are Nazis so in a normative rather than a legal argument they’re the bad guys.


                      • I do not owe you any restraint on my action because you choose to exercise your Constitutional rights.

                        Of course you do. Not in general of course in but in some specific circumstances, such as the ones here. You can call these norms if you’d like but the point is the same.

                        They should not be punished for expressing their political opinions.

                        Sure they should. Not in general, of course, but circumstantially depending on the nature of their opinions and how they are expressed, such as the case here.

                        And if we’re talking about norms of behavior, then we’re going to come back to the basic point that these are Nazis so in a normative rather than a legal argument they’re the bad guys.

                        This is just wrong eight ways to Sunday. First of all, they not Nazis, that was why I brought the whole point up in the first place. There’s credible reasons to have norms of relations pertaining to Nazis. It’s cheap base-stealing to try to apply those norms to people who are Nazis for the sake of political convenience.

                        I just looked up Jason Kessler on the internet, you should too if you get a chance (though you gotta dig a little bit because it seems like the usual suspects are doing the usual online vandalism). There’s just no credible way to call him a Nazi, or even a fake Nazi.

                        My guess is (and only you will know for sure), is that at least in your gut you know well enough that you and the other libs fucked up when you didn’t vote for Romney like you were supposed to. Trump and Charlottesville and the rest of that are the consequences. You want to blame Identity Evropa lunkhead when the real culprit is much closer to home.


                        • Romney? I thought Romney made the right call during the primary, which is why I approvingly reprinted his speech about Trump during the primary. I’m not sure why I should have preferred Romney to Obama in 2012 based on the available evidence.

                          As for who’s a Nazi, I’ve offered earlier in this thread my thoughts about how to tell if someone is a Nazi or not. I appreciate the prolonged engagement we’ve had, but you’ve not changed my mind about it. Though the fine parsing of these different kinds of phrases and labels serves only to obscure the evil that they collectively evangelize. I’m fine with this particular mental shorthand and if there comes a time we have a particular need to distinguish between a “Nazi” and some other kind of “White Nationalist,” we can certainly do so at that time. I don’t think it’s particularly necessary here. Actual Nazis were there, as demonstrated in the photographs of the OP. When the actual Nazis show up and have a public political rally in support of your cause, you need to very seriously reconsider continuing to support that cause. It’s as clear an indicator as could possibly exist that you are in the moral wrong.


                          • When the actual Nazis show up and have a public political rally in support of your cause, you need to very seriously reconsider continuing to support that cause. It’s as clear an indicator as could possibly exist that you are in the moral wrong.

                            Now I’m waiting for there to be an asteroid headed towards the earth and everyone has a massive rally to show support for the scientists stopping it…and Burt notices some Nazi flags waving in the audience and, disgusted, he becomes pro asteroid.


                          • As for who’s a Nazi, I’ve offered earlier in this thread my thoughts about how to tell if someone is a Nazi or not. I appreciate the prolonged engagement we’ve had, but you’ve not changed my mind about it. Though the fine parsing of these different kinds of phrases and labels serves only to obscure the evil that they collectively evangelize.

                            Ok, I missed that part then, maybe you could point it out. In any event, it’d be useful to know if, according to that standard, Jason Kessler is a Nazi. Without knowing for sure, I’d guess there’s a decent chance that he’s not. In which case, it seems that Mr Kessler ought to have a reasonable expectation of being able to exercise his Constitutional rights, even by your lights.

                            Btw, the emphasis on Constitutional rights isn’t so much that a court respects them, or that the cops respect them, though of course there are situations where it comes to that. In this case, the operative principle is that we respect them, or more particularly you.

                            People do things all the time that they don’t necessarily have Constitutional rights for, certainly not explicitly. One guy plays the tuba in a orchestra, this family lives in Harwood Gardens, this other guy collects HAM radio equipment. The whole design of the Bill of Rights is that there’s some minimum prerogatives we all get as Americans independent of our social or financial class.

                            Therefore, we should at least presume that our sympathies ought to be in favor of our fellow Americans being able to express those rights. But we all know, that through the bad faith of libs, that that is often not the case. Specifically, that they intend to withhold, not just Constitutional rights, but really any useful thing at all to the extent they can, against people who are politically or socially out of favor for them.

                            And let’s face it, who is or isn’t a Nazi is pretty specious. Whatever the moral content of Nazis or people we equate to Nazis, in almost all circumstances in contemporary America, a red herring. In particular, a red herring that’s convenient to avoid confronting your own bad faith in the larger context, which frankly seems to me to be a fair enough summary of what’s going on here.


                            • Nobody seems quite sure what Kessler is. He was apparently an Obama supporter involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement as recently as November, and a few years earlier seem to have been a CNN assignment editor. It may be that he just likes attention. He once wrote that the thing he admires most is a professional provocateur.

                              Good chance he’s trolling everybody.


                          • You:

                            As for who’s a Nazi, I’ve offered earlier in this thread my thoughts about how to tell if someone is a Nazi or not.


                            Ok, I missed that part then, maybe you could point it out. In any event, it’d be useful to know if, according to that standard, Jason Kessler is a Nazi. Without knowing for sure, I’d guess there’s a decent chance that he’s not. In which case, it seems that Mr Kessler ought to have a reasonable expectation of being able to exercise his Constitutional rights, even by your lights.

                            Burt, you got anything for this?


                            • Sure. Here’s some ways you can tell, though I don’t purport that this list is exhaustive.

                              1. If you’re carrying a Nazi flag in public, you’re a Nazi.

                              2. If you’re wearing a Hitler T-shirt or otherwise favorably disseminate quotes from Mein Kampf, you’re a Nazi. (Anything innocuous and true that Hitler might have had to say was certainly said better by someone else.)

                              3. If you’re wearing a swastika armband, you’re a Nazi.

                              4. If you’re chanting “Blood and Soil!” or other rallying cries used at Nuremburg by Nazis, you’re a Nazi.

                              5. If you’re chanting “Jews Will Not Replace Us!” or other anti-semitic slogans at a rally, you’re likely to be a Nazi.

                              Possible near misses:

                              6. If you’re not doing one of those things but you are making immediate common political cause with someone in close physical proximity to you who you know or ought to know is doing those things, the difference between you and a Nazi is so closely-nuanced that you shouldn’t expect others to distinguish between you and an “actual” Nazi.

                              7. If you intentionally get a swastika tattoo, you’re a Nazi. If you have a swastika tattoo, you might not be a Nazi anymore or may have been somehow forced to get one (say, in prison), but the burden of proving that you’re not a Nazi is on you.

                              8. If you have some sort of argument that there was ever or currently is such a thing as a “good Nazi,” that’s getting a little too close to actually being a Nazi that again, you shouldn’t expect people to draw any such distinction.

                              I’ll allow as there might be some exceptions to these (for instance, if you’re an actor doing things like this on a movie or TV set) that aren’t particularly worth enumerating or discussing with respect to events similar to the one that happened this weekend in Charlottesville.


                • , events that happened this weekend that do not vaguely support your claim that the ‘Unite the Right’ people were only there to make their voices heard, and only turned to violence when they met violence:


                  UtR people surrounded a _church_ that was letting out, forcing churchgoers to lock themselves inside until the police showed up and they were escorted to their car by police. The UtR people, obviously, had no permit to be anywhere near there.

                  You know the group of that the car plowed into? Those people were coming back from a black *residental neighbhood* that they had just repealed UtR people from. Again, no permits, or anything. The UtR decided to illegally march with goddamn torches down residental streets. The counter-protestors didn’t have anything to do with _that_ decision either.

                  In the real world, there were two permits. The KKK had a march permit, and that march actually went off okay. That march, I believe, ended in Emancipation Park, or nearby.

                  Unite the Right had a permit to be in Emancipation Park for that day, and were holding a rally after the march. Period. They owned that park for the day, and if violence had been constrained to that park, Koz, what you seem to think is true could be true. If they had watched the parade, made their way to the park, and then had counter-protesters show up and attacked them there, that would be one thing.

                  And yet we seemingly find UtR all over the place! Not, like, individually, but in groups of a dozen or more, holding long deliberate marches. As the entire group was only a few hundred people, who could easily fit in the park, why were they wandering around the entire damn city and college with torches and banners?

                  And let’s talk about those torches. A group of people carrying torches has literally been a threat for hundreds of years. That’s not a can of pepper spray, which can theoretically be used in self-defense…a group of people carrying flames is a threat. Counter-protestors did not give them torches. Counter-protestors also did not _have_ torches.

                  And there’s a lot more of this stuff.

                  The claims that Koz is making, that the UtR people only wanted to show up and do a peaceful protest, is completely unsupported by reality. If they wanted that, they could have watched the KKK parade, followed it to Emancipation Park, had a protest there, and gone home. In Koz’s world, I’m sure, they would have been attacked by counter-protesters still, but the point is, that is _not_ even vaguely what they choose to do.

                  The UtR behaved violently even when _not_ interacting with counter-protesters, and often ended up in places they absolutely were not allowed be, doing things that were threatening.


                  • What’s being reported is that the KKK and UtR people were forced out of the park by the police when an unlawful assembly was declared, and then the police herded them towards the antifa marchers. The Virginia ACLU and others are seeking answers as to why the police did what they did, as if the intent was to cause violent confrontations between the two sides.


                    • Yes, but that all happened _after_ the church surrounding.

                      And doesn’t explain what a mass of them thought they were doing wandering down residental streets later.

                      You want to assert that the protestors had some sort of right to continue protesting, that them being shut down was invalid, well, that’s an idea I couldn’t dispute if they had show up without, you know, torches, and had done basically what they were told and where they were supposed to be, and had just been responding to violence.

                      If UtR had moved outside the park but continued to protest, or if they had refused to disperse, and then gone somewhere else and kept going, this entire thing might look different.

                      But they were a damn roving mob of violence. The entire time. Before and after.

                      As I think I’ve mentioned before here to you, and I know I’ve mentioned before, I have near 100% belief the police shouldn’t interfere for any otherwise legal behavior of protesters, or at most should urge them back into compliance (I.e, the police shouldn’t be arresting people who accidentally step over imaginary lines on the ground.)…but my tolerance runs out exactly at the point protesters show up masked in black, at which point they’re clearly there to cause trouble and the police should preemptively figure out some way to deal with them.

                      Well, I’ve never mentioned it before, honestly, I never thought I’d need to mention it before, but my tolerance runs out when they’re carrying _open flames_, also!

                      I’m honestly surprised it’s even *legal* to walk around in public with a large open flame. That really seems to be ‘endangering public safety’. And, hell, you can’t operate a fire in a public park outside of specific areas, if at all!

                      Regardless if it’s generally legal, I don’t understand why the police did not order them put out.


                      • So how were they supposed to leave, by helicopter? Being on foot, they have to go to where ever their cars are parked. The police must’ve known this. Since antifa and communists in street combat gear were all over the place, and since the protesters were pretty easily identifiable, they couldn’t just break up because they’d be destroyed in detail by the far more numerous armed and armored opposition.

                        I read that militia folks (carrying rifles) broke up some of the conflicts, separating the combatants, because the police wouldn’t intervene.

                        And the Founding Fathers would have an interesting reaction to your idea that walking around with an open flame should be illegal. Pretty sure all of them did that, almost every night of their lives.


                        • Being on foot, they have to go to where ever their cars are parked.

                          …which would probably not be in a random black residential neighborhood some distance away, where they walked around with torches until counter-protesters showed up and chased them off. Sorta missed their chance to get in their cars and leave.

                          Since antifa and communists in street combat gear were all over the place, and since the protesters were pretty easily identifiable, they couldn’t just break up because they’d be destroyed in detail by the far more numerous armed and armored opposition.

                          I don’t have a problem with them going back to cars in groups. Hell, the groups probably rode together and arrived together, so would obviously be walking together.

                          But, of course, they didn’t do that. If they had, they would have gotten in their cars and left in short order.

                          (Weird you think the only people who would protesting Nazis is communists and antifa.)

                          And the Founding Fathers would have an interesting reaction to your idea that walking around with an open flame should be illegal. Pretty sure all of them did that, almost every night of their lives.

                          Wrong. The Founding Fathers carried around closed flames, because lanterns had, in fact, already been invented.

                          Sometimes, very rarely, or by the poor, candles were used, but there is a large different between a candle and a torch.

                          Ever since lanterns were invented, the only reasons to carry around a burning torch are either a) in an emergency when you didn’t have a lantern (And considering these guys clearly bought most of theirs, they could have just, duh, bought flashlights, which are much more useful.) , or b) to set something on fire, or c) to threaten to set something or someone on fire.


                          • Witnesses have said the cops herded the Nazis in the direction they went. As Trump said, we still don’t know the details. Unfortunately, if the police were at fault then there not going to be very forthcoming. They’re not going to be going around collecting the security footage from all the stores and shops to build a picture of what happened.

                            And you realize Chicago was burned down with a lantern? They are even more effective than a candle because they’re filled with sweet, sweet whale oil. Generally, hurling a lantern is the best way to start a fire.

                            Look, it’s George Washington crossing the Delaware with a torch! Look, it’s lady liberty’s torch!

                            Raise high the lamp of freedom? That doesn’t even work.

                            Our ancestors probably can’t believe that one day adult men would be triggered by a burning stick.

                            They were Tiki torches. I have about four of them around my pond.


                          • “Torches and Pitchforks” is a literal touchstone for “people are about to be killed”.

                            A group of people carrying torches is a group of people looking for something to burn.

                            That is simply on it’s own, with no ideology attached to the torch bearing folks. At the very best a group of people carrying torches marching around are looking to terrify whomever they’re angry with.

                            Having actual white supremacists doing it, well — Jesus. You’d have to be a moron not to realize what white supremacists carrying torches are going for.

                            Bluntly put: Folks tooling around with torches and rifles are looking for somewhere to put the boot. You could know nothing else except the images (no context, no idea of ideology) and you’d have no problem figuring out who was there to get physical.

                            Again, at the very best, they were there to terrify the people they’re against.


                            • Actually the reason they carry torches is so they don’t run into each other’s pitchforks in the dark, and so people can get an accurate head count in poor lighting conditions. During the daytime they don’t carry torches because that would be stupid.

                              Look at photos. At night the Klan has torches. During the day they have flags or other symbols.


                  • I wasn’t aware of that. Taking you at your account, they (the neo-Confederates, torchbearers, whoever) shouldn’t be doing that. I don’t have any problems with that.

                    If that’s true, and if somehow one of the torchbearers had gotten run over by one of the parishoners, I’m sure the Virginia Highway Patrol or the Charlottesville municipal polices would have arrested the driver, and they would be looking at a long time in jail just like Mr Whatever. I wouldn’t necessarily be feeling very sorry for the victim though.


              • With that said, I’m going to echo sentiments from elsewhere in the thread that I’m a good deal more outraged with someone driving a car into a crowd at speed than someone throwing a punch. Both are bad, but one is more bad than the other. We can tell that because of the consequences one would reasonably expect to result from punching a guy on the one hand compared to driving a car into a crowd on the other.

                This is a great point, and for me it’s the source of a lot of the confusion and apprenhension surrounding incidents such as this. Because you have two incidents, involving morally bad actions, doesn’t at all imply that they are equally morally bad.

                As a consequence, libs are not going to want to admit, to others and sometimes even to themselves, that their own intentions with regard to the situation are bad, because even if logically they can understand why that is the case, it just feels so disproportionate to the scale of the loss, especially in this case a loss caused by the acts of an ideological adversary.


  11. It’s not a hard moral call to at least condemn actual Nazis. Somehow, the President can’t make himself do it. You should be livid about that.

    I will just say flat out that I’m not livid. If Donald Trump made the most appropriate, the most eloquent, the most empathetic statement that denounced white supremacists, applauded those who stood against them, and reminded us all that we are a nation of many people all working towards the common goal of human flourishing, I would still think that he were a turd. For me, that could only be the very first step of a very long walk towards salvation. And I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Donald Trump to begin that walk.

    Heather Hayer, the women who it appears was murdered by one of these white supremacists reportedly had the phrase, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” as her FB header. I get it. It’s the sort of thing that young people say when they first start to realize that whatever idyllic picture of the world they formerly held begins to slip away. However, there is another reason why you might not be outraged: you’ve been paying attention for a long long time.

    Just about everything about our current political climate pushes people towards getting emotional and reacting. At the same time, just about everything that comes out of our current political climate is terrible. I choose to believe that this is not a coincidence.


    • Yes, only cool-headed, cynical, above it all people such as yourselves should be listened too.

      I mean, if your first response to reading the statement like that from somebody who was just killed in act of political terrorism is basically “naive little baby,” I’d rather much be outraged than just accept everything will be terrible forever.


      • Two things: One, I’m not asking anyone to listen to me. Best of luck with your outrage. I sincerely wish you nothing but the best.

        And two, why bother to use quotation marks if you’re just going to make stuff up?


      • Jesse,
        If you aren’t reading jr as saying he’s boneweary, and sick and tired of all the bullshit and nothing getting done, then you should reread what he wrote.


  12. Remember when it used to be a thing to condemn Obama for not using the Magic Phrase “Radical Islamist Terrorism”? And how pumped up Trump was whenever he used it?


  13. In case someone actually thinks otherwise: My position is that the white nationalist neo-Nazis marching are frightening, they clearly intend to be frightening, they are definitely intending to provoke attacks like running over protestors with your car (at the very least), and none of what they’re doing advances any kind of cause that any sane or moral person should advocate.


  14. Here we go. After two days of pressure, Trump finally does the bare minimum to rejoin polite society:

    “Racism is evil – and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under the Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.”

    Token gesture or not, done under duress or not, this is important.


    • Agreed. This shows that political pressure works. Even a President who draws support from racial nationalists can, in the end, be pushed into condemning their evil for what it is.

      It would be nice if he were a leader possessed of a reasonably-functioning moral compass who did not need to be prodded into making a statement like that. But at least he will follow where a sufficiently powerful enough body of others insist that he go.

      For this reason, don’t relent. Still go to demonstrations. Keep your eyes open and your voices raised. This politician, especially out of of all the politicians I can recall in my living memory (which begins with Richard Nixon), requires we citizens to vigilantly police his behavior.


    • @burt-likko

      Maybe because there is still a lot of ill will going around but I still have a hard time giving Trump any props for this because it strikes me as too little and too late. But I guess even Trump feels the need to respond to political pressure so that is a small victory.

      But the greater action was still his tweetstorm against the Merck CEO for quitting the advisory board.

      And we still have people soft-peddling and doing full on apologia for Nazis here and I can’t tell whether it is because they agree with the protestors, hate liberals so much that Cleek’s law is reflexive along with trolling, or both.

      An OTer said something interesting on FB. Oscar Wilde observed that war is still done because it is viewed as wicked rather than vulgar. Our sometimes OTer observed that Nazism might have the same fascination for many. It is viewed as wicked rather than vulgar and wicked is cool. There is a large aspect to the 4chan brigade of “Epartier Le Bourgeois”

      Patrick also posted a tweet about the dark power and pull of contrarianism over doing the right and decent and kind thing.

      So I can’t tell whether notme and George and Koz and Mike are doing a full range of soft-peddle to defense along with some stuff of “People wouldn’t be racist if they weren’t called out for their racist actions and statements.”

      And like NoPublic below, I am not surprised and react more in sadness than in anger but the pull of contrarianism and Epartier Le Bourgeois is just too strong I guess. And I don’t see why this should be treated as less bad than racism itself. If anything, it is worse.