I’m going to delete this post in a week or two, partly because I think it has a limited shelf life, and partly because it’s not the kind of thing I really like writing about in this space, but I think this all needs to be said.
First, a disclaimer: I sympathize broadly with Unite The Right’s stated goals, including preserving the statue of General Lee and keeping whites from becoming a minority in our own country. I also know, like, and admire some of the people involved in CTR, namely Chris Cantwell and Pax Dickinson. That said, what happened yesterday was an absolute unmitigated nuclear disaster. The planning was amateurish, the messaging was unfocused, the optics were horrendous, the expectations were naive, and the outcome was all too predictable. To keep this short, I’ll use bullet points.
• This had the fingerprints of its planners all over it, and that’s not a good thing. Richard Spencer is a four-star Dunning-Kruger case whose unshakably bourgeois mentality makes him think he’s going to be the guy who makes White Nationalism socially respectable among the cultural elite. Instead, he consistently underestimates his opposition and ends up looking like a goofbag over and over again, which is made worse by the fact that he never learns a damn thing from any of his many, many mistakes. This also had the fingerprints of TRS all over it (with the unfortunate Mike Enoch as its in-person ambassador). TRS’s schtick is simply to be as childishly edgy as possible, in the belief that the day can be won by indulging in the adolescent compulsion to shock. This leads us to our next point…
• The messaging. Who exactly was this rally for anyway? Was the purpose of it to bolster the spirits of hardcore white nationalists? To reach on-the-fence but mildly sympathetic normies? To scare the left? I don’t think a lick of thought was put into this incredibly crucial question. If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach or what you’re trying to say to them, your messaging will be awkward and tone-deaf, and will never have its desired effect. Here’s the bottom line: Normies were turned off by this; the left is jubilant, believing it won a great victory; and if this was all just intended to preach to the hardcore WN choir, it may have done that, but it makes the whole thing nothing but a big circle jerk.
• It should also be said that in the day since the rally, the messaging coming from UTR has become even more confused; a jumble of them crying that they were the innocent victims and crowing about how much ass they kicked. This disjointed and contradictory message demonstrates again how little the people who put the rally together thought it through, how little they expected what happened to occur, and how uncoordinated they’ve been about it from beginning to end.
• Speaking of Spencer never learning from his mistakes, you’d think the “Hail victory” debacle at the NPI conference would have taught him something, but it appears not. Again, we had “Hail victory” shouts, Nazi salutes (and don’t try to bullshit me by telling me it was a “Roman salute” – nobody in WN circles is throwing that sign around because they’re huge fans of Septimus Severus), and swastika flags in the crowd. It doesn’t matter that there may only have been a few of them – anyone with more street smarts than a four-year-old girl knows that the media will crowd around the few people throwing Heil Hitler salutes and waving their swastikas, because those are the people who are showing them what they want to see. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “no enemies to the right” does not mean “no quality control on the right”. There should be a hard-and-fast rule against any Nazi shit at rallies like these, or anything else that gives the media the damaging optics they want, with internal security enforcing it ruthlessly. Oh, and whoever invited David-motherfucking-Duke needs a boot to the head too.
• UTR’s naivete leading up to the Hoban Washburne-esque “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” moment on the part of the Charlottesville city government and police was almost touching, in a way. CTR was led by upper-middle-class bourgeois white fellas who deep down still want to trust that the police will be honorable, that civic governments will keep their word, that lawful judgments of courts will be respected, and that having the law on their side means something. Welp, guess not. Here’s a dose of reality: Charlottesville is a college town, and in college towns (where the campus is the main, or sometimes the only real economic driver there), the city authorities give the campus basically anything they want. UVA didn’t want Unite the Right, so the cops made sure things went badly for them. That was always what was going to happen. Oh, and running to the fucking ACLU for help was jaw-droppingly stupid. Having to plead with your enemies to come to your rescue you only makes you look weak and spineless. It gave the ACLU more rhetorical ammunition to make themselves look even-handed (“See, we even came to the defense of Unite the Right!”), and in the end it didn’t gain UTR a damn thing. UTR should never have trusted any of these assholes – not UVA, not the Charlottesville city government, not the cops, not the courts, not the ACLU – none of them. And UTR should have been ready for precisely what happened to happen. Which brings us to…
• I know the helicopter accident wasn’t UTR’s fault, and I know the car crash wasn’t UTR’s fault (not that that’s going to matter – all that normies will come away with is the idea that three people died because UTR decided to march through Charlottesville). But it’s obvious that UTR ended up MASSIVELY underestimating both the type and amount of opposition it was going to receive. And I’m not just talking about antifa brawlers: I’m talking about opposition from the government, from the media, from mainstream conservatives – from every conceivable corner. There was an overconfidence here that led to a catastrophic lack of planning; to no one bringing up enough “What if’s”. There was no contingency plan for what happened, even though it was a possibility that anyone with a modicum of foresight and imagination should have seen coming and planned for.
• Even if UTR was completely the innocent victim here, it doesn’t matter a bit. As Moldbug pointed out, being the brave underdog who was beset upon by the mean ‘ol government/police/vigilantes/institutions/whoever only works if the elites have already decided to favor you with their support. It won’t work for UTR, which lost in basically every possible way. The media now has its “See?! Whites start race riots too!” narrative. The left can claim it drove the Nazis out of Charlottesville (oh, and that Robert E. Lee statue is toast now – I wouldn’t give it another month). Normies, who don’t like disruption, are scared and turned off. As for Trump, he has more to gain by crushing UTR than by siding with it – he can build up his “anti-racist” bona fides, which he can then turn into political capital that will help him in building the Wall and enforcing immigration law, not to mention in getting reelected (“Hey, I proved that I’m not a racist by standing up to violent white supremacists!”). This is why Trump’s FBI just announced that it’s investigating what happened in Charlottesville. Spencer, and a lot of other people involved in UTR, better lawyer up fast – things are going to get very bad for them, very soon.
As for those of us who weren’t involved, we should learn (or rather, re-learn, as these have been obvious for a while) a few things from this. First, there is some personality flaw in hardcore WNs that consistently causes their movement to self-destruct, which is precisely what happened to UTR in Charlottesville yesterday. Race realism is supposed to be all about pattern recognition. Well, here’s a pattern I’ve noticed: every time Richard Spencer holds a major event, the rest of the right ends up having to do damage control for weeks (or even months) afterward. What does this pattern tell you? It tells me that Richard Spencer couldn’t successfully run a whorehouse during a gold rush, much less run a movement that’s going to save the white race and restore the West to its former glory. Anyone who puts Richard Spencer or TRS in charge of anything more important or complex than a podcast is a damn fool and is going to get the inevitable disaster that’s coming to them right between the eyes. (By the way, you can all count on the fact that going forward, any group associated with Spencer, TRS, or any of the other organizers [sic] of UTR is going to be absolutely riddled with FBI informants. If you value opsec, don’t want to get doxed, don’t want an FBI file, and don’t want any trouble with federal law enforcement, stay as far away from them all as you can.) Finally, this proves the worth of William Lind’s 4th Generation War theories – the WN segment of the alt-right might have spectacularly self-destructed yesterday, but since those who organized it speak for no one but themselves, there’s a good chance that the damage to the rest of the right can be mitigated.
That all said, this event has set causes of the alt-right back tremendously. Nobody on our side should be cheering about this. I disavow the whole thing.