“We’re all free men, protected by the Constitution”
Virtue Signaling 101
by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
I will admit that I am a little late to the game when it comes to weighing in on the recent tragedy in the historic town of Charlottesville, Virginia where a protest against the removal of a hundred-year-old statue of Robert E. Lee was being held in the townís park. The protest was called ďRight UnitedĒ which encouraged conservatives from all around the country to participate. It has been reported by many media outlets that the protesters were White Nationalists, which I didnít really believe at first for two reasons. One being that if a member of the mainstream media told me that the sky was blue, I would have to look up and see for myself. The other is that the left and its allies in the media always take great joy in labeling their opponents Nazis or white supremacists. It wasnít until I saw a few articles on Breitbart.com that actually described both a KKK and a Neo-Nazi presence at the protest that I actually believed it. Despite some of the unscrupulous people who showed up to this rally, it was relatively peaceful, until Antifa and Black Lives matter reared their ugly heads at this event. As usual both of these left-wing extremists came looking for a fight, which is why many showed up with helmets, homemade shields and baseball bats. Once the riot broke out the cops as usual just stood by and did nothing to quell it. Things continued to escalate until a man by the name of James Alex Fields, plowed into a group of protestors, injuring nineteen and killing one.
What took place afterwards was the worst case of virtue signaling that I have ever seen in my life. First, there was the media who as usual went out of their way to try and make the protestors on the right look like the villains by constantly stressing the fact that they were either white nationalists or white supremacists, never showing the difference between them or the run of the mill conservatives who donít want to see a piece of history destroyed. They also failed to mention that it was the leftist groups that were actually looking for a fight in the first place. This is what I have come to expect from the mainstream media, though I would have thought by now that they would have learned something from the embarrassing mishap that they had with the 2016 Elections or the fact that Americaís trust in the media is at an all-time low. Who am I kidding?
I am not at all surprised by the leftís reactions since virtue signaling is pretty much the only thing they have to contribute to the world. Nor am I surprised by John McCain and his fellow RHINOís bending over backwards to condemn white supremacy. The Establishment Republicans have proven time and time again that they have no principles or visible backbones. Though I expected more from Ted Cruz, a man who I had at one point thought of as a principled conservative. Instead he joined the RHINOís in not only condemning the KKK and white nationalism, but also pressuring Donald Trump into specifically calling out white supremacists because they thought his original speech about how there was bigotry and violence on all sides wasnít good enough.
I was even more disappointed to see a video on Reasonís YouTube channel that said that Trumpís condemnation of white supremacy was delivered too little, too late, which is exactly what all the mainstream media outlets had said. They also managed to blame Trump for the death of the young protestor who had been hit with the car of Alex Fields. Despite being a long-time subscriber to Reason, I have been somewhat disappointed with the way that this libertarian magazine is starting to lean more and more to the left every day, especially when it comes to social justice issues. I am especially disappointed to see them do something as intellectually dishonest as blaming Trump for something that he clearly had nothing to do with. This is something that I have come to expect from the lamestream media, but I expect much more from a magazine that claims to represent libertarian interests.
Ironically one of the few voices of reason was the one that was criticized the most. Donald Trump rightfully pointed out that there was bigotry and violence on both sides. Which part of that is untrue? Just because he didnít specifically call out certain white supremacist groups, it didnít mean that he supported them. I was somewhat disappointed when Trump caved into the pressure of both the media and his fellow Republicans by finally calling out the white supremacists at Charlottesville. Personally, I think calling out white supremacy in 2017 isnít any more noble or gutsy than denouncing Jim Crowe, slavery or anything else that is no longer an issue in this day and age. Apparently, Trump realized that he wasnít scoring any more Brownie Points with the media, so he double-downed on his original point and said that there were violent people on both sides, despite the media openly protesting at the press conference. Then we got to hear Trump once again tongue slash the media and call them fake news, which is always satisfying.
The people that did seem reasonable where those in the alternative media, such as talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, who pointed out that there are not enough of these white supremacists to elect a dog catcher, much less become a significant voting base for Donald Trump as many would have us believe. Then there was Larry Elder, a black conservative who also thinks itís ridiculous that we have to pretend that white supremacy is still an issue as if we are still living in 1965. Lauren Southern on her YouTube channel correctly pointed out that disavowing Nazis and racists will not prevent you from being labeled as one. This is a sentiment that I whole heartedly agree with because I truly believe that if every right-winger in America decided to support Slave Reparations and send their underage daughters to a R. Kelly party where they were the only guests, the left would still call them racist. I also enjoyed the video Steven Crowder did on his Louder for Crowder channel, where he gave us an entirely new twist on The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf story. He called it the Little Boy Who Cried Nazi, which bashes the way the left has thrown the word Nazi around so much that nobody believes them when there is an actual instance where Nazis are involved.
The best videos on the subject were those of Gavin McInnes and a YouTuber who goes by the name of No Bullshit, who actually put most of the blame on Antifa, the police and Alex Fields. Though I disagree with Gavin McInnes on labeling Fields a terrorist. First of all, we donít know what led up to Fields speeding through the street and even if he did intentionally plow into the protestors, I donít think he actually planned it. When you are a terrorist, every attack you carry out is preplanned to make a point. That doesnít seem to be the case with Fields. If Fields does get convicted by a jury of his peers, then he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, but until then I will reserve judgement.
I will say this to all the virtue signaling Republicans, you really need to grow a backbone. Virtue Signaling will not prevent the left from calling you a racist. They will call you that no matter what you say or do. The only thing that it will accomplish is a loss of respect from your voting base. To all the leftists and their allies in the media, Trump was actually taking the high road, when he said that both sides were equally violent. In reality, there was only one side that showed up with baseball bats, helmets and homemade shields. Now both ideologies may be equally full of crap, but I judge a side based more on their actions than their words. As a libertarian, I judge a side based on the Non-Aggression Principle and I can definitely tell, which side is the worst in that regard and itís not the one that came to the event with Tiki torches.
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