Charlottesville and the Alt Right: Time to Condemn the Condemners

“Republicans have denounced hatred every time it rears its ugly head, and true calls for civility and expressions of sadness are not veiled political attacks.”

Alt right groups and counter protestors clashed in Charlottesville over the weekend, causing at least three deaths and many more wounded. Ostensibly, the fight is over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. But the larger issues consist of many on the left being concerned over the rise of alt right voices.

The newest trend after the violent weekend is the issue of condemning. After Donald Trump blasted the hatred coming from every side, many on both sides of the aisle condemned his failure to specifically label and repudiate white nationalists and the KKK. The drive to condemn others for failing to condemn is yet another way that the left is virtue signaling and lecturing the right.

After the violence on the Berkley campus shut down multiple speakers, after a Middleburry riot against a right-wing speaker put a professor in the hospital, and after a Republican congressman was shot, the left did its best to distance itself from the violent fringe. The individuals responsible were labelled, held accountable, and ultimately separated from leftist culture.

But when fringe rightists commit violence, it suddenly becomes a broader symptom of all conservatives, white people, men, and the president. As Thomas Sowell observed, pretty much everybody gets blamed for the right-wing actor, from society to conservative policies, the families, and the political climate, except the person who actually committed the crime.

The individual who drove his car into counter protestors is still being investigated, but that has not stopped the left from condemning Trump and the right. The newest tactic seems to be demanding that statements of regret conform to leftist demands.

The expressions of sympathy used to be heartfelt and unifying in these moments. But now they are one more club in the liberal cultural wars. If the Republican expresses well wishes, thoughts—and heaven forbid, prayers—that don’t conform to left-wing wishes, such as denouncing the alt right, then liberals (and even some conservatives) suddenly feel the need to call them part of the problem.

This becomes one more way to attack and essentially sermonize about every event. It leverages a horrible event into yet more insincere political attacks and denies the expressions of sympathy that used to unite Americans.

Republicans have denounced hatred every time it rears its ugly head, and true calls for civility and expressions of sadness are not veiled political attacks. But many of the liberal calls for peace and denunciations of violence are subtle attempts at advancing their preening moral and political agenda. They tend to believe that whites, men, and especially white Republican men are an insidious part of a dominating patriarchy.

So a white nationalist killing a liberal counter protester fits the narrative and leads to their overheated expressions of outrage on social media. But they can’t contemplate that perhaps this was an isolated event that doesn’t indict all Republicans, and that true calls for peace wouldn’t implicitly condemn half the population.

Morgan Deane

Morgan Deane is a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry rifleman. Deane also served in the National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst. He is the author of the forthcoming book Decisive Battles in Chinese history, as well as Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents: Ancient Warfare in the Book of Mormon.

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