Charlottesville, Virginia, a city named after Britain’s first black queen, was the scene of a bloody riot Saturday, Aug. 12. The fray resulted in the death of one woman, who was mowed down by a car; plus, there were many other people injured. Have politicians and the news media told the correct and complete story about what happened, or have Americans been deliberately misled? Let’s look at it.
One does not have to accept the racist and nationalist vision of the Unite the Right organization to recognize and respect its First Amendment rights. Moreover, the group obtained a city permit to hold a peaceful rally to protest the lawful removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park. It was the leftist protesters who did not have a city permit to assemble for a rally on that day. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said: “There has got to be a movement in this country to bring people together. The hatred and rhetoric that has gone on and has intensified over the last couple months is dividing this great nation.” He denounced “the white supremacists and the Nazis.” However, when asked a question about whether he would include the left-wing, pro-violence antifa in his condemnation, he ignored the question and walked out of the room.
Here’s a question for you: Did the authorities of the city of Charlottesville have a duty to protect Unite the Right rally attendees? The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia said they had a right to rally, saying, “The First Amendment is a critical part of our democracy, and it protects vile, hateful, and ignorant speech.” Thus, the ACLU of Virginia defended the white supremacists’ and neo-Nazis’ right to march and rally against the removal of the statue of Lee. Both the Unite the Right organizers and the leftist counter-protesters charged that the Charlottesville police did not do their job. They just stood back and watched the melee.
This was documented in several reports. The Daily Caller article titled “Why Were The Police Held Back In Charlottesville?” reports: “Law enforcement was on hand at the dueling demonstrations on Saturday, decked out in riot gear and looking prepared for the worst. Except they weren’t allowed to do their job.” According to the ACLU of Virginia, police on the scene were reported to have been ordered to “not intervene until given command to do so.” That kept them from suppressing the numerous scuffles that broke out. I’d like to ask any policeman, Since when did the police need a command to intervene when they are witnessing people assaulting one another? In a ProPublica article titled “Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville,” the authors reported that “state police and National Guardsmen watched passively for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis engaged in street battles with counter-protesters.” ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, who was on the scene, reported that “the authorities turned the streets of the city over to groups of militiamen armed with assault rifles”. Instead of owning up to his dereliction of duty – by not having ordered his police force to protect life and limb – Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer chose to demagogue the situation by blaming the rise of white nationalists on President Donald Trump.
Many politicians, racists, hustlers and tyrants have an agenda that consists mostly of making the U.S. Constitution meaningless and giving government greater control over our lives, thereby destroying personal liberty. The alt-right and white supremacists seek to achieve their goals through racist propaganda. The leftists seek to achieve their goals by tricking Americans into believing that all they want are brotherhood and multiculturalism. If either group achieves its goals, we Americans will lose not only our liberty but also our civility. Few Americans recognize and respect the fact that multiracial societies are inherently unstable. What we’ve been doing for decades, through various government policies, is stacking up combustible racial kindling awaiting a racial arsonist to set it ablaze. There are too many historical examples of what happens to a nation when race hustlers are allowed to take over.
The writer is a professor of economics at George Mason University.