How reactionary tendencies can escalate what’s happening in Charlottesville

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charlottesville reactionary

You have no idea how much I despise the things going on Charlottesville, VA right now.  Both sides are filled with petulant children who are out to pick a fight.  And now a woman is dead because someone decided to ram his car through a crowd at the protest.

Both the Antifa crowd and the alt-right are poison to civilized society.  While they may have opposing views, they’re both wrong.  The good news is that only a tiny, tiny portion of the American population is sympathetic to either side.  No one looks at some punks wearing handkerchiefs over their faces who smash storefront windows and thinks, “Good work, guys!”

Likewise, the vast majority of people don’t view those who give Bellamy salutes either seriously or “ironically” in anything but disdain.  In other words, I’m not worried about either side’s ideology taking the country by storm.  Each will rightfully be seen as immature social outcasts.

The bad news, however, is that is not enough to keep the pot from boiling over.

The alt-right, especially the branch that is overtly sympathetic to Nazism, does not represent the typical American conservative or Republican.  The same can be said of Antifa representing American liberals and Democrats.  Unfortunately, this won’t stop detractors on either side from shotgun criticisms of the other side.  It’s one of the symptoms of seeing everything in the left-right dichotomy paradigm.  It’s the standard operating procedure of those who wish to discredit their opposition by lumping them in with the extreme radicals.  Instead of rebutting with, “Those people do not represent my views, so don’t include me in your criticisms,” the typical response is firing back with at least an equally imprecise volley.  The unfair original criticism acts as the justification for reactionary unfair criticism sent back.

This continues as more and more people start to pick sides and put the other on blast as the range of those targeted increases.  The choice of side is not necessarily made to defend the radicals but is instead made in order to fight against the opposition.  The Reagan conservative, for example, probably doesn’t think he has much in common with or cares to defend the Nazi flag wavers but will instead convince himself that the casual Democrat voter is a full member of the Antifa movement and vice versa.

Mixed with the right environment, this is where the very ugly escalation could happen.

I truly hope that this is not the result of Charlottesville.  Hopefully cooler heads prevail.  It is important to remember that your coworker who sits in the cubicle across from you probably isn’t sympathetic to the radical group you hate even though you have political arguments from time to time.  Don’t allow reactionary tendencies to take hold your perception of reality.


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