By Tyler Bauer
One Year Ago
Just over one year ago, a “far-right” rally took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. This rally was known as the “Unite the Right” rally. Sadly, one person – a counter protester – died at the Unite the Right rally.
Yesterday, on the one year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, a second rally took place. Known as “Unite the Right 2,” this rally was an unmitigated disaster for protesters. No one died, thankfully, and the “right” had a pathetic turnout. Roughly two dozen protesters (or “white supremacists” or “Nazis” or whichever other descriptor you’d like to use) showed up in Washington, D.C. Additionally, counter protesters were more vocal and visible than ever, vastly outnumbering the protesters. By all measures, Unite the Right 2 was over before it started, and I think that is something we can all be happy about.
The Truth about the “Far Right,” “White Supremacists,” Etc.
Unite the Right 2 was really a non-story. Nothing remotely interesting happened (which is a good thing) and the “right’s” turnout was pathetic. So why am I writing about this?
I’m writing about Unite the Right and Unite the Right 2 because I don’t think we fully understand the “far right” or “white supremacist” problem in our country. The problem certainly exists, but I don’t think it’s as large of a problem as we’re led to believe.
If Unite the Right 2 taught us anything, it’s this: the white supremacist movement in America is very small. That doesn’t make it any better, of course, but it does make it less of a problem. We are led to believe that our country is full of white supremacists and Nazis. There certainly are members of these groups in America, but they are not the majority. In fact, they are perhaps the smallest minorities. White supremacists and neo-Nazi have bad intentions, but they aren’t the large, ominous forces we’re led to believe they are.
Similarly, the “far right” isn’t as big as we believe, either. First, what is the “far right?” As I’ve said before, Nazis are left of center, so they certainly aren’t far right. (If you don’t believe me, take it from Richard Spencer, the face of American National Socialism. He is the closest thing America has to a Nazi and is an open socialist, which means he cannot be right wing). Furthermore, racism and eugenics aren’t strictly right wing ideas. Nazis and Communists alike have practiced racism and eugenics.
Why do we believe these movements are huge and popular?
If white supremacy, Nazism, and the far right aren’t popular, why do we believe they are? Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it’s because the elites (both in media and politics) want you to believe this. The public needs a boogeyman to fear. If we believed that white supremacists were few and far between (which they are), we wouldn’t buy into whatever our media and politicians tell us. We’d stop watching the news, and we’d care a lot less about our politicians. As long as we believe our country is full of white supremacists, we’ll follow our leaders in the media and government. Things like our fear of the white supremacist movement drive us to the polls and get us to support politicians’ wishes.
Furthermore, moderate politics are boring (to most people). Nobody gets excited over a debate about whether taxes should be cut by two percent or three percent. People get much more excited when it comes to things like neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching, so this is what we see and amplify. The media covers white supremacists much more than their size justifies, and we do the same in our political discourse. We often only see the extremes of our political culture, when in reality the middle of the political spectrum is much larger than both extremes combined.
As always, it’s all about power. As long as we keep believing lies about the size and strength of the white supremacist movement, we’ll never have any meaningful change in our country.