Yesterday the United States suffered a tragedy. Three people were killed and over twenty others were injured for no reason other than the egos of small minded self-important self-styled revolutionaries. I can’t condemn everyone involved in this entire mess hard enough. This is not the poorly named “whataboutism” or “bothsidesism” whatever that even is. It was the actions and choices of all the organizations that were present that led to and culminated the deaths and injuries. It is disgusting that people have tried to exonerate themselves with any of the flimsy arguments going around. You all did this and sooner or later you will have to own it. So with that little screed out of the way, lets talk about causes and take a little more formulaic look at why these people are so stupid.
Context is always a good place to start. Antifa and its left-wing affiliates are fringe organizations, the Democratic Party and the political Left wing in general do not own them. They own themselves and their actions. White separatists, supremacists, proud boys, “kekistanis” and all are extremely fringe organizations. The Republican Party and the broader political Right wing do not own them. They alone are responsible for themselves and their actions. There was anywhere between about five hundred and two thousand people there. It’s hard to pin down an exact number, but think how few people that is. If you are a concert or convention goer then odds are you encounter larger groups of people on a semi-regular basis. It was pointed out by some on twitter that there was a significantly larger “brony” convention going on in fairly near by Baltimore at the same time Charlottesville was descending to chaos.
These fringes share a great many things in common. The key among them is that they are culture warriors one and all. They all feel that their “culture” is under siege in modern America and that they need to fight to preserve it if necessary. Their preferred cultures aren’t under attack however because no one shares them. There are no broad bases of support so both teams resort to blatant historical revisionism, poorly developed “logic”, and cringe worthy amounts of ignorance to appropriate thinkers, icons, and political leaders to their causes. This creates ideological feedback loops. They begin to think that all these people that they appropriate and misquote actually believe(d) as they believe. This fallacy gives them the certainty of having history on their side.
Well if history is on our side then it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that they will inevitably win, as the thinking goes. This is where their cowardice comes in. We will not descend into another civil war as so many hysterical observers are saying. It is simply impossible. This is because both of these teams are afraid to fight without the coercive and overwhelming power of the state on their side. This is why they both try and run immediately to the police and elected officials that they think support them as soon as they are able to provoke the other team into starting something at their events. They refuse to really truly fight each other if they don’t think their outcome will be enforced. They don’t have the conviction to take a loss. What they don’t realize is that it isn’t in the government’s interest to see either of them win.
Until these fringe nuts begin to realize this however we will continue to see protests from them. They will keep attempting to bait and goad each other into real violence. It’s unlikely to ever see any real success. Therefore the most responsible thing we can do is realize that culture is local first and foremost. Aspects of culture can certainly be shared between other groups and regions, but we shouldn’t encourage them by letting them think their values are being transmitted to the entire nation by being martyred (in their own minds) on national television and talk radio. These clashes do not deserve press coverage and the sooner it is taken from them the sooner it will disappear all together.
If you remain unpersuaded then I have a suggestion for you. Instead of crossing the nation back and forth to all these marches, knowing full well that they well descend into chaos and rioting instead stay home. Join clubs and organizations in your community and really focus on them. You’ll see the change right there in your friends and neighbors. This gives you the illusion you so crave of having won the culture war. It also lets everyone else have the same illusion. There is no national culture and no amount of violent despicable sabotage will create one, so maybe just maybe try building and enhancing your local culture instead.