Charlottesville II: What started it, where it may end: A letter to George Orwell.

George (may I call you by your given pen name?), how did you know this stuff was going to take place in 1984 when you wrote that book in 1948? Sure, turn 48 around and you get 84, appropriate when you expect a future in which everything gets turned around. Well George, it’s happening, not in 1984 but in 2017. Either way, you’re probably glad you aren’t around to see it. One of your namesakes, another George, Washington that is, is already under attack from the same force you feared in your dystopia–the Spirit of Totalitarianism. You called it Big Brother, but that hydra goes by many names today.

One of your characters warns of how “every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute,” adds your character. “History has stopped.”

George, your wisdom suggests Trump was smart to raise the question of where all this is going. And to say: “You are changing history, you’re changing culture.” It has been a long time since I read your book, George, so I don’t remember if there was a character quite like our President, The Donald Trump. These ugly events are so convenient for those who want to get rid of him, or are they orchestrated? I guess we will inevitably find out which, but just so you have the context George, here’s some commentary:

From Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire: The big problem is that both Left and right now use President Trump as a cognitive shortcut. The Left sees everything Trump says as antithetical to truth and decency; the right sees everything the Left says as motivated by animus and untruth. This means that no matter what Trump says, either Left or right will be wrong, since the truth of his statements has no bearing on this cognitive shortcut. Meanwhile, thanks to the overreach of the Left, many on the right have determined that everything Trump says is correct.

The Left has determined that everything President Trump says is wildly horrifying, no matter what the content. If Trump says that Antifa is a violent group, then the Left must declare that Antifa are equivalent to the allied soldiers of World War II. That’s absurd, but that’s the case actively being made by journalists like Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, who tweeted: “Watching Saving Private Ryan, a movie about a group of very aggressive alt-left protesters invading a beach without a permit”, and Hillary Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon, who posted a picture of Normandy with the caption, “Also confronted the Nazis without a permit”). In the pages of The Washington Post, historian Mark Bray defended Antifa as a necessary countermovement to stop neo-Nazism, gushing, “their willingness to physically defend themselves and others from white supremacist violence and preemptively shut down fascist organizing efforts before they turn deadly distinguishes from liberal anti-racists.”

The problem is that Antifa isn’t merely anti-fascist – it’s fascist in its own right. It’s a communist and anarchist movement dedicated to the use of violence against anyone they deem worthy – up to and including normal Trump voters and conservative Republicans. By allying with Antifa, the Left lends credence to the alt-right’s claim that they are victims of violence rather than perpetrators of it.

Conservatives have universally condemned white supremacists; the Left should be asked to do the same with Antifa, instead of praising it as some sort of decent and useful palliative for white supremacism. Charlottesville shouldn’t be about advancing political narratives anymore, on either side. It should be about opposing evil on all sides. If we can’t do that, we’re unfit to carry forward the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, or our World War II-era ancestors.

What is the statue thing REALLY about George? You were British, and you died just before seeing what the U.S. became after WWII. Please read my next post George, it’s all quotes from you. I think you would be appalled at the end game here: The left wants to attack the very legitimacy of America, of which Washington is the real symbol. And going after statues and other cultural icons is part of the Marxist playbook. As if our politicians aren’t craven popularity whores enough, even politicians of our allies have to pile on.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came under mounting pressure Thursday to speak out against President Donald Trump’s response to the racially charged violence and anti-Semitic outpouring in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Netanyahu’s near silence on the march staged by anti-Semitic white nationalists — and Trump’s assertion that “both sides” were responsible for the violence — appears to reflect the Israeli leader’s desire to remain in the good graces of the embattled U.S. president.

But Netanyahu’s reluctance to speak out on such an important issue has set him apart from the growing ranks of Israeli leaders who have been outspoken in their anger, and risks alienating Jewish American leaders already estranged by certain Israeli policies.

A growing chorus of opposition politicians, commentators and even coalition partners has urged Netanyahu to take a stronger stance, even at the risk of antagonizing the president.

Trump has acknowledged there were some “very bad people” at Saturday’s rally, where a woman was killed when a car slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters. But he also said there were “very fine people” on both sides. The president’s equation of extremist hate groups and left-wing demonstrators brought condemnation from across the American political spectrum.


This spring Charlottesville’s ultra-liberal city council voted to remove an equestrian statue of General Robert E. Lee that’s been standing in a park in downtown Charlottesville since 1924, and to change the park’s name from Lee Park to Emancipation Park.  Charlottesville is, and has been, a liberal enclave for a long time; in twelve of the fourteen years we have lived there the Lee statue, or the Stonewall Jackson statue nearby, never raised a progressive eyebrow.  But after leftwing groups like Black Lives Matter began targeting Confederate Civil War monuments for vandalism and destruction in the aftermath of Ferguson, our city council decided it could score some points with BLM types by having the statue removed—and possibly avoid a violent confrontation with those same leftwing extremist groups. Bad call. (Appeasing bigots of any color is always a bad call)

Statues of dead Confederate war heroes is an issue on which we can disagree.  I admit it’s personal with me.  My great-great grandfather fought for the Union in the Civil War, and was severely wounded at the battle of Stones River.  But I am sure neither he nor anyone in his Wisconsin regiment would have wanted that statue removed or the name changed 150 years later; any more than Ulysses S. Grant or Lincoln – who spoke of the need for “charity to all and malice towards none” and “to bind the nation’s wounds” in the aftermath of America’s bloodiest conflict – would have wanted it.

It was exactly those wounds our city council decided to reopen.  At the time I warned a reporter in an interview for Cville magazine that the decision was wrong, and would backfire. Certainly if Mayor Mark Signer and other council members thought they could avoid future trouble this way, they were wildly wrong.  Instead what they did was to create a cause for every crackpot Neo-Nazi and KKK group looking for some free publicity to rally around, and an opportunity for every crackpot leftist group on Saturday, to get into the action.

The sense that something truly awful was going to happen started on Friday night, with the bizarre torchlight vigil by white supremacist groups at the University of Virginia eerily reminiscent of Nazi Party rallies in the 1930s. The city council tried desperately to move the scene of the white supremacist rally scheduled for Saturday away from downtown, but a judge on an ACLU appeal blocked that move.  The council then yanked the rally permit, but it was too little too late. Also by now Governor Terry McAuliffe had gotten into the act, issuing warnings to citizens to stay away from the rally site and flooding the zone with hundreds of Virginia state police in riot gear.

Those state police then did nothing as the Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and assorted neo-Communist extremists began arriving that morning in their own riot gear, including helmets and shields, and began flailing away at the neo-Nazi extremists who responded in kind.  It’s still not clear who ordered the police to “stand down;” perhaps no one did.  Perhaps they simply did not want to appear on YouTube or the nightly news beating up a demonstrator, whether black or white, Brown or Red.

They only finally moved in when Governor McAuliffe declared “a state of emergency,” and only after a car driven by a white supremacist killed a young woman, Heather Heyer, after plowing into the crowd of rioters—rioters who should never been allowed to have contact with each other, let alone allowed to battle it out in the streets of Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, two state troopers were dead after their helicopter crashed.  At the end of the day they were two men simply doing their duty in a futile mission set by a do-nothing governor whose attention was focused on getting applause from the media, just like our mayor and city council—and just like the commentators afterwards who have worked hard to turn these deaths into an indictment of Donald Trump.

A governor with any sense of honor and integrity would resign after a debacle like this; so would a mayor.  But of course McAuliffe and Signer won’t.  They are symptoms, not causes, of an American political culture that has become deeply sick.  My wife and I have lived in Charlottesville fourteen years, and have been uncomfortable being conservatives in a liberal enclave.  Southern hospitality can go a long way to smooth out political differences.  Not any longer.  The infection has now swept over our beloved Charlottesville, and the scars will be with us a long time.

Historian Arthur Herman is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute 

About the featured image on this blog post: I guess the “legitimate” (according to the media) protesters didn’t get quite enough media exposure on the day of violence, because Antifa showed up at the funeral of Heather Heyer, with shields and bats, ostensibly to protect the mourners, even though there was no threat. One person inside the funeral ceremony began to attack President Donald Trump, but was drowned out as the audience told her to sit down. The woman persisted until Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother, asked for some respect for her daughter. Bro tired to steer the group away from hate. “Our daughter did not live a life of hate, and hating this young man is not going to solve anything,” Bro said of Fields. Her daughter’s life was about “fairness and equality and caring, and that’s what we want people to take away from this,” Bro said.



“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Author: iamcurmudgeon

When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.

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