The riots in Charlottesville, Virginia last month were a truly sore display of a most repugnant extreme. Abhorrent Neo-Nazis took to the streets committing violent acts – culminating in a terror attack that saw one woman lose her life and another 19 injured. The actions of the car driver can’t be denounced enough; aggression and murder for any cause is never justified.
It is important to disassociate white supremacists, Neo-Nazis and ‘alt-righters’ from Libertarians and Conservatives and to cleanly define the vast differences. The alt-right are a morally baseless, reactionary group who only know what’s within their anti-social justice, pro-nationalist framework. In this way, their ends are limited in scope with their only goals being provocation, not debate: violence, not conversation. Moreover, they are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum to Libertarians and Conservatives in that they do not believe in individual freedom – they are racial collectivists, an ideology that is deeply outdated and evil. They are an exceptional fringe group and could not be further from what the true right believes; they are the loner in the camp – a nasty abscess that lingers from a time long gone by.
In this age of polarised identity politics fire is often met with fire, and this is where Antifa comes in. Although there were undoubtedly peaceful counter protesters present at Charlottesville, Antifa became embroiled in physical conflict with Neo-Nazis, ultimately escalating an already hot situation. It is important to note that Antifa as a group are not solely ‘anti-fascist’ (as any moral person is), but their identity goes so far left as to be based in Communism. The modern manifestation of Antifa shares two key attributes with Neo-Nazis: they are anti-freedom and see no problem in using grievous violence to silence opposing views.
Fascism and Communism are two sides of the same authoritarian-statist coin. They are ideologies that require one thing for their sustenance; subordination of the individual to the collective. Neither system values liberty – both require absolute enslavement first to a ruler, and secondly to the rest of the population. The citizenry under these systems become expendable for the state; they can have their earnings expropriated, property violated and can become a quick access weapon as seen all too unfortunately on mass during the Second World War. Dissent and free thought is not allowed, leading in one case to a concentration camp and in another the gulag. The awful events at Charlottesville were a dumb and explicit display of the overtly aggressive workings of both ideologies, a factor that time hasn’t changed.
Individualism argues the case against both collectivist ideologies: the case in favour of the acknowledgement of the smallest minority which is one person in themselves. This automatically blocks out the possibility for the reprehensible racism that characterises the ‘alt-right’ by acknowledging that attributes common to a group don’t necessarily correlate with actual case-specific attributes. This is a failing, on the other end of the spectrum, of the social justice left too. Every person differs widely from the next, regardless of class bracket or racial group. While it is true that cultural tradition does dictate some of the habits of these brackets and trends obviously occur, the behaviour of an individual is too subjective to be summed up in sweeping collective terms. To work in loose terms ‘bad’ and ‘good’ for the sake of brevity, there are white people who do good things and white people who do bad things, black people who do good things and black people who do bad things and so on. Individualism is the ultimate antidote for racism, as it only subscribes to the idea of the smallest, most diverse minority which is the individual.
Part and parcel of this is a rejection of autonomous leadership. Any authoritarian regime needs conformity of thought in order to work, as part of the collectivist (and thus obedient) social framework. Individualism doesn’t argue for handing unfettered control over to politicians as communists and fascists do, but rather sees the life of a person as solely their business and the people they choose to voluntarily deal with. This also has the neat double effect of encouraging individual responsibility: a people who are not enslaved to one another by an oppressive state apparatus but are bound by the consistent moral law of non-aggression are much more likely to deal with each other on a peaceful basis. Just think about the sycophants that were forced to surround Stalin and Hitler to gain their favour: sometimes ousted by the leaders themselves, sometimes by each other (think of the Great Purges 1936-1938, or Hitler’s abrupt dismissal of his dedicated personal physician Theodor Morell in 1945, just to name two examples from either regime).
An important footnote to round off this conversation is the fact that no-one should ever have their thoughts, opinions or speech hampered. A thought disagreeable in its nature doesn’t necessitate a forceful action or reaction: it is when thoughts become manifest into physical aggression as they did in Charlottesville, and only then, that an intervention is required. So, while I will always abhor Communism and Fascism for the anti-freedom, collectivist ideologies they are, I would never deny their right to exist in people’s belief system or speech. Terrible aggression was witnessed last month in Virginia that could and should never be endorsed: consider that the situation would be very different if substantiated arguments were thrown around, instead of fists and weapons.
Cover image originally posted to Flickr by evannesterak at https://flickr.com/photos/153804281@N02/36421686882 . Used under ‘some rights reserved’ licensing, the photographer does not endorse us directly.