By Jonathon Van Maren
As everyone surely already knows, a white supremacist smashed his vehicle into a crowd of left-wing counter-protestors this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, in an act of domestic terrorism that claimed one life and injured over a dozen others. Throughout the weekend, the Ku Kux Klan, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists had marched in the streets with torches, Swastika flags, Nazi salutes, and chants of “The Jews will not replace us!” They were met by a conglomeration of counter-protestors, including Black Lives Matter activists and Antifa, resulting in a more than a few scuffles before tragedy transformed anger into grief.
There are quite a few people demanding that we all recognize the sins of the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa before we condemn the Nazis, who were apparently marching with a permit. This is ridiculous. Antifa is an organization of black-masked thugs, yes. And it’s also true that at their Berkeley protest, they burned buildings, savagely assaulted people, and were filmed repeatedly kicking unconscious people in the head. But when the brownshirts kill someone, you don’t need to list off the sins of their opponents before condemning them. That’s not how it works. It also makes it appear as if you’re sympathetic to the torch-bearing, Sieg Heil-ing Swastika wavers. That’s not a great look.
It’s also possible, I’d like to remind everyone, to oppose both sides here. The neo-Nazi crowd has claimed its first victim at Charlottesville. Earlier this year. Republican Congressman Steve Scalise was shot along with four others by a Bernie Sanders supporter who was upset by Trump’s victory. Political violence, the inevitable result of post-Christian politics, is only going to increase from here. Christians must reject both the black-masked thugs and the reptilian neo-Nazis. Both are guilty of actual, physical violence. This time, it is the white supremacists who devolved into violence. Next time, it may be Antifa that we again witness stomping people into the pavement.
There is only one thing that I find curious about all the media outrage. The Nazi flag is an ugly, evil symbol, yes. I can also understand why many find the Confederate battle flag offensive—and even more so because the white supremacists are now intentionally pairing it with the Swastika. The Nazi flag is offensive because it was the banner under which millions of murders and an accompanying orgy of cruelty were committed, while the Confederate battle flag flew over armies defending a Confederate Constitution created to protect the institution of slavery. But why, then, is the Hammer and Sickle given a pass?
I’ve seen Hammer and Sickle flags being flown at left-wing protests everywhere from Washington, D.C. to the Ottawa March for Life (where it was accompanied with masks)—and I’m not sure what the logic is of protesting Hitler’s flag with Stalin’s. Hitler’s Third Reich murdered millions and was responsible for the deaths of millions more. In fact, the only ideology that has managed to significantly outpace National Socialism in death count in the last century is Communism.
The Soviet Union wracked up a death toll of over twenty million, with nearly two million people perishing in the gulags and nearly a million being summarily executed in the first years of Stalin’s rule. Mao’s Red China took it even further, with an estimated 45 million Chinese perishing during the Great Leap Forward—which was actually fewer dead bodies than Mao had been anticipating. He originally thought that 52 million peasants would have to die in order for Communism to be sufficiently implemented. The flag that flapped over these staggering death counts was the Hammer and Sickle, a flag now proudly waved by those purporting to protest totalitarianism.
So there you have it. In what feels like a throwback to Weimar Germany, fascists and Communists are duking it out in the streets under symbols of hatred that have presided over the deaths of untold millions. Communism is still a bit more in vogue on the Left, which is why the bloody Hammer and Sickle is ignored while loud shrieking over Confederate statues by millennial activists throwing a temper tantrum is treated with the utmost solemnity. But in the fight between the new followers of Hitler and the new followers of Stalin, we should choose nobody.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.