Prominent members of the Republican Party, and far too many in the conservative movement, are playing into the hands of the Alt-“Right” and the radical Left in their well-intentioned, but ultimately misguided reactions to President Trump’s Tuesday press conference.
To be sure, the president should be heavily criticized for his oft-confusing and cringe-inducing excuses for neglecting to condemn the violent groups by name immediately. In particular, the point the president made about “fine people on both sides” when the sides were neo-Nazis and Antifa anarchists was sloppy and ill-conceived.
Obviously, there are decent people of every creed and color who believe it is wrong to remove Confederate statues, but the angry white boys waving tiki torches and chanting “blood and soil” have no claim to decency. Their racism is vile, and evil.
The Alt-“Right” bears responsibility for the worst of the violence — the terror attack allegedly perpetrated by James Alex Fields Jr., a neo-Nazi. But the evil racists were not the only ones contributing to the violence in Charlottesville Saturday, and does not absolve the evil actions of Antifa — the notoriously violent “anti-fascists” garbed in black masks, armed with clubs and pepper spray.
President Trump made this point on Saturday, on Monday, and on Tuesday, condemning “both sides” for the despicable breakdown of civil society. For this, the president was blasted by several prominent Republicans, and conservatives in the media. Astonishingly, some even defended Antifa as “counter-protesters,” defining their cause as opposing bigotry.
The organizers of events which inspired & led to #charlottesvilleterroristattack are 100% to blame for a number of reasons. 1/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
They are adherents of an evil ideology which argues certain people are inferior because of race, ethnicity or nation of origin. 2/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
When entire movement built on anger & hatred towards people different than you,it justifies & ultimately leads to violence against them 3/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
Mr. President,you can't allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain 5/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win.We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected 6/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 16, 2017
There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 16, 2017
Let's get real. pic.twitter.com/vM8gJ8lWrc— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 15, 2017
Are these Republicans and others ignorant of what Antifa is? Antifa, short for “anti-fascism,” is the guise under which a collective of self-described anarchists, socialists, communists, and other disparate factions of the far-Left band together anonymously to use violence and intimidation to silence their political opponents. They have as their goal the destruction of the civil society.
How do we stop the mainstream media from warping the national narrative? We push back together. With the truth.
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Last weekend in Charlottesville, Antifa appeared to physically combat the neo-Nazis. Previously, leftists under the Antifa banner targeted non-violent Trump supporters and free-speech events. Antifa was present at the infamous “Battle of Berkeley.” Every time they appear, they bring violence with them, and as one New York Times reporter (briefly) observed, hatred as well.
The media continue to use the milquetoast phrase “counter-protester” to describe thugs with clubs and pepper spray who assault reporters. Even after the Charlottesville mobs dispersed, Antifa continues to attack journalists who capture them on film to keep their identities anonymous and their brutality underreported. On Sunday, Antifa in Seattle flew communist flags and started fights with the police.
These “counter-protesters,” who John McCain and Mitt Romney — the two previous Republican nominees for president — defended in their tweets, attacked a black, conservative college student for wearing a Young America’s Foundation hat to a vigil for Charlottesville in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Alt-“Right” racists are evil; they need to be fully condemned. But turning a blind eye to the Left’s violence is not the right, or moral, response to Charlottesville. Worse still, ignoring the violence of the Left – which Alt-“Right” figures are all too happy to point out – will increase sympathy for the Alt-“Right” for no other reason than gaining favor from those who can empathize with their feelings.
Further, disgracefully, those that do point out the Left’s violence are dismissed as Alt-“Right” sympathizers or Nazis.
The argument Trump was wrong to point out problems of violent leftist mobs is better made if you don't endorse violent leftist mobs.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 16, 2017
Der Stürmer Mollie is on the same page as David Duke. https://t.co/JwQTkgopZ4— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) August 16, 2017
The Left demands that Antifa be totally absolved of any wrongdoing at all in Charlottesville and elsewhere. Do not acquiesce to this demand. Do not shy away from speaking the truth — the violent Alt-“Right” and the violent Left both harm people to advance their political agenda. They are morally equivalent.
The escalation of violence between the Alt-“Right” and Antifa will result in more hurt and, ultimately, more deaths. Alt-“Right” neo-Nazis and Antifa are fellow travelers on the same road, embarking toward the same dark place.
The only difference between them is the neo-Nazis arrived first.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
Hint: They have NOTHING outside of manufactured rage.