Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Final Word On Charlottesville: Trump Was Right About the Violence

The fundamental issue surrounding the pro- and anti-Confederate Statues is philosophical. Donald Trump’s response was wrong on several counts, including his moral equivocation of “both sides”—the pro- and anti-Confederates—and of Founding heroes George Washington and Thomas Jefferson with Confederate reactionaries Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

But he was right on the issue of violence. In a New Jersey Star-Ledger column (Charlottesville: Reporters should leave the opinion writing to us pundits), Paul Mulshine observed,

An account of the events that day [in Charlottesville] by reporters for the Hill began "Clashes between 'alt-right' white nationalists and counter-protesters turned this Virginia college town into a battlefield on Saturday..."

The article then detailed violent attacks by both sides, including one in which the counter-protesters attacked an SUV full of alt-righters who were trying to leave the area. (Read it here; note that this is a thoroughly objective article that was written before the pack-journalism effect kicked in; note also that from this account both sides did indeed initiate violence.) [My emphasis]

You can read Mulshine’s whole article here. Again, the fundamental issue was not the violence. It was the clash between Confederate white supremacy and the political equality of unalienable individual rights embodied in the Declaration of Independence. But violence is an important issue. Freedom of expression never justifies the initiation of physical force, no matter how strong the feelings or controversial the issue. In this regard, Leftists “antifa” fascists were (and are) at least as guilty as the so-called “alt-Right,” as Trump said.

Related Reading:


Steve Jackson said...

Mike Kevitt said...

Gee whiz, Mr.Jackson, what did you say? I ain't been able to tell. Please, repeat.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...


When the Founders wrote that “all men are created equal,” they meant equal in freedom to live their lives. It does not mean metaphysical equality, since obviously individuals are unequal in myriad respects. Words have objective meanings. Despite contradictions and ambiguities, it’s objectively clear from reading the Declaration and the Constitution that the fundamental thrust of those documents is to protect all individuals’ rights equally, not just white men. That’s why black Abolitionist Movement leader Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, saw in those documents the philosophical firepower needed to win the fight against slavery, and fully embraced them—and why the Confederate defenders explicitly understood that slavery couldn’t coexist alongside those Founding American documents, and strenuously rejected them. (

Modern statist reactionaries, from neo-Marxists to white nationalists, love to distort America’s Founding history. Like the Confederacy, dictatorship of any kind cannot stand alongside the Declaration and the Constitution, which they must not just destroy but obliterate as if they never existed.

Steve Jackson said...

The Constitution did not outlaw slavery and even Lincoln said he would allow slavery to save the union. The first constittion of Oregon forbad blacks from entering.

The Immigration Act of 1790 limited immigration to "free whites of good character."

Jim Crow laws existed in Northern and Southern States.

I'm not saying these things are right, I am saying the left has the better of the argument. The fact is the USA was created as a "white nationalist" state. The idea that transforming our culture with tens of millions of non-whites is somehow great is a new idea.

"Words have objective meanings. Despite contradictions and ambiguities, it’s objectively clear from reading the Declaration and the Constitution that the fundamental thrust of those documents is to protect all individuals’ rights equally, not just white men."

Words have to be read in context. You can't just plug in our contemporary view of "liberty" whenever the word "liberty" appears in a founding document.

Anonymous said...

Michael. You compared the confederacy to the Nazis and the commies. Support for slavery has a venerable lineage going back to among others Aristotle
Personally I would never own a slave but slavery is not incompatible with our countries founding documents. Human beings are not equal. Whites for example are smarter tha n blacks because whites evolved in colder climates where it took more brains to survive.

You live in NJ. Do you live in a non white area? Are you ignorant of what's going on in Europe thanks to the importation of "equal" Muslims?


Anonymous said...

Mike. In response to your previous question people are partly free and partly determined. We now know that genes play a large role in human behavior.

Yes it's possible that the smartest person on earth is black or that the next smart person you meet is black. But sooner or later statistics take over. 83 percent black Detroit will ultimately produce a society that resembles Africa more than white Montana.

I know these things are not pleasant to talk about but do you dispute what I am saying ?


Anonymous said...

As a final point the confederate beloved that our founding document the constitution guaranteed them the right to seceed for whatever reason. I'm not an expert on these things but were they wrong?

Virginia new York and Maryland ratified the constitution with the proviso that they could withdraw if appropriate. Was Virginia's actions treasonous ?


Mike Kevitt said...

Mr. Jackson (and Anonymous): Please excuse me, Mr. Jackson, I finally discovered what you said in your original comment. With my small brain (I'm serious) it took me a while. I had to read all the subsequent comments from ALL of you to get the lead to what you were referring to. I then called up the web site you cited. I now think you, and Anonymous, are bigger brains than I thought you were.

Bigger, but not necessarily better.

All people, despite genetics, color, ethnics and all the demographic garbage, are stampings out of a stamping plant: identical. By their free will (the identity), they all, individually, take it from there, no matter what their upbringing, even in sub-Saharan Africa in the 18th. century when their look-a-like rulers sold them, for trinkets, into slavery in the West.

Meanings and definitions ultimately reduce to pointing a finger at some physical object: "That's what I mean. That's what I define."

Free will and liberty: their definitions remain, but their meanings expand with the advance of knowledge, over time. So, we can plug in our contemporary view of liberty whenever the word, liberty, appears in a founding document, as long as the view coincides with the definition: freedom of physical action by a human being.

Michael A. LaFerrara said...

It’s true that “liberty” is a vague term with different meanings to different people. Lincoln identified 2 main versions in a speech concerning the parable of the wolf and the sheep; the wolf representing slavery and the sheep representing universal liberty. The wolf’s version—men are free to “do as they please with other men and the product of other men’s labor”; and the sheep’s version—“for each man to do as he pleases with himself and the product of his labor.” (

Which one does America represent? That’s why we must turn to the words—and, yes, the context. The Founders were most influenced by John Locke, who introduced individual rights—the sheep’s version—as the foundation of liberty. That’s an Enlightenment feature that worked to abolish slavery. Britain outlawed slavery in 1772 and France in 1789. It is in this context that America was Founded. Sadly, pro slavery forces hung on in America until the Civil War. But the enlightenment nonetheless caught up with them.

As the Declaration makes clear, the Founders adopted Locke’s understanding of liberty as the equal rights of the individual—all individuals. As Harvey Milk said in 1978: “In the Declaration of Independence it is written ‘All men are created equal and they are endowed with certain inalienable rights . . . .’ That’s what America is. No matter how hard you try, you cannot erase those words from the Declaration of Independence.” (

Thanks, Steve and Mike, for the food for thought.