For those readers in the future who wonder what “Charlottesville” means, last weekend in the Virginia town of the same name, a bunch of attention-seeking, rifle toting, “white supremacists/Neo-nazis” put on a big show, hoping to generate controversy and, of course, attention, ostensibly to protest against statues of Civil War Confederate heroes being torn down by the authorities. They got their wishes, first via a counter protest by their far left counterparts, so-called Antifa, then via all kinds of media. Most of the establishment media and their pet leftist voices, predictably, used the confrontations to tar President Trump, their adversary-in-chief, with the usual labels–racist, hater, bigot. But when the fog of rhetoric starts to clear, what becomes painfully evident is the REAL danger to freedoms that we have cherished while taking them for granted: exploitation of tragic events for VIRTUE SIGNALING. Virtue signaling is speaking and acting specifically for the purpose of showing how virtuous you are. The following 3 items will demonstrate, after which I will finish up with some remarks.
From Fox News Opinion: “When images hit the web last Saturday night of white supremacist college students in Virginia carrying tiki torches in one hand and giving the Nazi salute with the other, Twitter and social media sleuths immediately went to work in attempting to identify members of the white shirt khaki mob. Whether it be at a political rally or even a sporting event – or just about any public place anywhere – social media has pretty much all but assured that we are helpless to the power of becoming a viral moment, at any given moment, any time. But what if it doesn’t stop there?
‘Take all of those factors that can lead to misidentifying someone online and add a celebrity with millions of followers and fans into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster. That’s exactly what Jennifer Lawrence is doing. In a Facebook post directed at her 16,000,000 fans, Lawrence commanded: ‘These are the faces of hate. Look closely and post anyone you find,’ and added, ‘You can’t hide with the internet you pathetic cowards!’ Lawrence, one of the most recognizable, talented and powerful stars in Hollywood, is actively weaponizing her fame in what, on its face, may seem like a good cause – outing hate in America. She’s also not alone in doing this.
“There are two things wrong with this, though. The first is, these guys aren’t exactly hiding. They are out in plain sight. They aren’t wearing hoods. They want the attention. The second problem with what Lawrence (and in fairness other celebrities with enormous social media microphones) is doing is the more dangerous and obvious one: organizing a digital mob with the power to misidentify people, to single out and punish the wrong people. There is almost no way for a private citizen, who could be misidentified by someone with Lawrence’s following, to fight back against this.
“Kyle Quinn, an engineering professor in Arkansas, fell victim to such a mob this past weekend when he was mistaken for one of the men at the rally, thanks to one of the marchers wearing a T-shirt with ‘Arkansas’ on it who bore a resemblance to him. His home address was posted and, fearing for their safety, Quinn and his wife evacuated their home to stay with a colleague. ‘You have celebrities and hundreds of people doing no research online, not checking facts,’ Quinn told the New York Times. ‘I’ve dedicated my life to helping all people, trying to improve health care and train the next generation of scientists, and this is potentially throwing a wrench in that.’
“The Twitter account @yesyoureracist has made it its mission to publicly ‘out’ and name those who attended the rallies this past weekend. In doing so, they have misidentified several people to their 370,000 Twitter followers. The account’s response is to simply say sorry, ask for more patron donations and move on. The innocent people on the other end, however, have to deal with days of threats, harassing phone calls to their employers and the fear that their private information might become public.
“The absolute last thing a group of online blood-thirsty amateurs need is to be empowered by those with the largest platforms among us. Calling out hate is one thing. Digital vigilantism dished out by celebrities like Lawrence where innocent people are bound to be targeted over no fault of their own is something completely different, and will only lead nowhere good.” This internet vigilantism has a technical name–doxing. It isn’t new. Wired.com has an editorial about it. doxing
From Fox News Opinion: “One thing President Trump said Tuesday deserves more attention than it will likely get. On Monday a mob tore down a civil war soldier’s memorial in Durham, North Carolina. Police stood idly by and liberals across the country applauded it. ‘Which statues are next,’ the president asked today, ‘George Washington, Thomas Jefferson?’ It’s not a joke. Suddenly it’s a serious question.
“Thomas Jefferson indisputably was a great man. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence. Founder of the University of Virginia and maybe, most importantly, the greatest thinker in American political history. All of us live in his shadow. Unfortunately, however, Jefferson was also a slave holder. That’s real. It’s a moral taint. We ought to remember it. But to the fanatics on the left it means that Jefferson must be purged from public memory forever. The demands are already coming that we do that.
“In 2015, the students at the University of Missouri demanded the removal of a Jefferson statue. Two years ago, on CNN, anchor Ashleigh Banfield suggested the Jefferson Memorial in Washington might have to go. Needless to say there is literally no limit when you start thinking like this. Last year, hundreds of activists in New York demanded the statue of Theodore Roosevelt at the American National History Museum be dismantled. They argued that Roosevelt was a racist. That’s the standard. Nobody is safe. Watch out Abraham Lincoln. You’re next.
“Now, to be clear, as if it’s necessary, slavery is evil. If you believe in the rights of the individual, it’s actually hard to think of anything worse than slavery. But let’s be honest. Up until 150 years ago when a group of brave Americans fought and died to finally put an end to it, slavery was the rule, rather than the exception around the world. And had been for thousands of years, sadly. Plato owned saves, so did Mohammed — peace be upon him.
“Many African tribes held slaves and sold them. The Aztecs did, too. Before he liberated Latin America, Simon Bolivar owned slaves. Slave-holding was so common among the North American Indians that the Cherokee brought their slaves with them on the Trail of Tears. And it wasn’t something they learned from European settlers. Indians were holding and trading slaves when Christopher Columbus arrived. And by the way, he owned slaves, too. None of this is a defense of the atrocity of human bondage. And it is an atrocity.
“The point however is that if we are going to judge the past by the standards of the present, if we are going to reduce a person’s life to the single worst thing he ever participated in, we had better be prepared for the consequences of that. And here’s why: Forty one of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence held slaves. James Madison, the father of the Constitution had a plantation full of slaves. George Mason, the father of the Bill of Rights also owned slaves, unfortunately. But does that make what they wrote illegitimate? If these men were simply racist villains, and that’s all they were, then the society they created is as evil as they were. There is no reason to respect its traditions or uphold its laws.
“The First Amendment, for example, the right to speak freely — For hundreds of years Americans have revered it. Now, the left dismisses it as the work of white supremacist slave holders. It is worthless, they tell us. It must go. It is now routine to hear liberals claim that hate speech, whatever that is, isn’t protected by the First Amendment. Though of course the whole point of the First Amendment is to protect speech that offends people. It’s a statement of shocking ignorance and yet it is now common.
“That Pomona College in California, students there are claiming that free speech is, “a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions.” Whatever that means. They say, the right of free expression should only apply to certain racial groups. But that’s not racist because as you know there is no racism on the left. They are just sincere people concerned about hate. There is actually a vitally important debate going on in the country right now. And it’s not about statues or even the alt-left antifa, it’s about American institutions and whether they are worth preserving.
“Radicals on the left want to tear it all down as they did the statue in Durham Tuesday. Equality under the law. Protections for the individual against the mob. The absolute right to say and believe anything you choose. Those will be gone. Replaced by something darker and more rigidly conformist. Is that a country you want to live in?”
TO PROVE THAT VIRTUE-SIGNALERS IN THE U.S. DON’T HAVE A MONOPOLY ON HYPOCRISY AND SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS, HERE’S SOMETHING FROM THE U.K.
From the U.K. Independent: “18 people convicted after girls and young women groomed, drugged and raped in Newcastle. More than 100 cross-party politicians have signed an open letter demanding action over a column in The Sun for ‘using Nazi-like language’ regarding the Muslim community in Britain, The Independent can reveal.
In a scathing letter MPs from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the Green party unite to say they ‘were truly outraged by the hate and bigotry’ in a comment piece written by the paper’s former political editor Trevor Kavanagh. In the article Mr Kavanagh argues Islam constitutes the ‘one unspoken fear’ which unites Britain and wider Europe but claims the phenomenon has been suppressed by political correctness. ‘The common denominator, almost unsayable until last week’s furore over Pakistani sex gangs, is Islam,’ he wrote after 18 people were convicted in a Newcastle grooming gang last week.”
Can you see how the three items above are related? I can summarize for you: Soon there will only be ONE point of view that is allowed to be expressed!! That is the point of view acceptable to the REAL TOTALITARIANS, the virtue-signaling self-appointed thought police. Already, the yapping poodles of the establishment media and their oh so virtuous allies–Antifa, social justice crusaders (take from those who have–other than me–and give to those who have not–as long as they are on the left side of issues), race hustlers, celebrities who hope their virtue balances their wealth–are saying exactly what I am predicting: “How dare anyone call out the violence of Antifa. The only haters were the White Sups, the counter demonstrators aren’t haters–they are just concerned anti-racists. There is only one legitimate side here.”