Violence in Charlottesville: Hate Speech Is Legal, Assault Is Not

Car strikes protesters at white nationalist rally.


On Friday, a group of tiki torch–wielding white nationalists converged on a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, waving Confederate flags and chanting. Today that exercise in free speech—for and against the vile, wildly wrongheaded notion that America's greatness is in any way related to the supremacy of the white race—escalated to violence, with numerous scuffles between protesters and counter-protesters, and finally a car plowing through the crowd:

In a time when a surprising number of Americans believe that hate speech is against the law, this is a good moment to remember that while (very nearly) all speech is legal, assault is not. Charlottesville was right to let the protest go on, and local law enforcement is right to take legal action to stop the violence now.

Reason's Ronald Bailey wrote about the fight over Confederate monuments in Charlottesville earlier this year, and will have a dispatch live from the scene shortly.

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  1. I wonder which side ends up being the one driving the car.

      1. General Lee? That was a Charger though wasn’t it?

        1. The current Challengers and Chargers are built on a platform developed by Nazi-military contractor Mercedes Benz!

          1. So?

            1. That can only mean it’s a Chinese conspiracy. Or Korean. Or GM.

              1. If hatred is politely expressed, or if it is expressed by our national leader, it may be legal. But we will soon establish certain lines that cannot be crossed, particularly in the academic context, building on the limitations imposed on “parody” that twists language and stirs up controversy. Surely no one here would dare to defend the inappropriate “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated, so-called judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:


    1. The “mentally disturbed” side.

      1. That probably doesn’t narrow it down.

        1. HA!

    2. Probably a Soros false flag, but I guess we’ll never know. If only someone had captured it all on video and posted it to this Reason story.

      1. That video wasn’t there when I posted if you need to be needlessly shitty about a question.

        1. Sorry man I’ve spent too much time reading Breitbart cmments.

    3. An elderly couple driving to Country Kitchen Buffet.

  2. Assuming those are ‘official’ ACLU tweets, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the ACLU so adamant about A1.

    1. I think that is one issue that they’ve consistently been good on. I’m not confident that will continue indefinitely given their bias.

      1. The ACLU is good on the 1st Amendment? Really? They didn’t support the Hobby Lobby decision. They oppose school vouchers because they insanely think it has something to do with Separation of Church and State. The ACLU is part of the group fighting the Supreme Court case against the Colorado baker who didn’t want to make the gay penis cake. The ACLU is a horrible organization who thinks the Second Amendment doesn’t apply for individuals. They are a monstrous organization that libertarians should not give them as much praise they do.

        Yes. The ACLU does support bigots to protest. They are terrible on every thing else.

        1. Shoo shoo retarded flu! Have fun on the moon.

    2. Not quite. They have been consistent in supporting free speech for right-wing groups that are so far outside the mainstream that they pose no threat to the Left’s hold on power.

      They showed their true colors, though, by not giving the slightest shit about the Tea Party being harrassed by every level of government (local govts charging them exorbitantly for rally permits, IRS harrassment, etc).

    3. it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the ACLU so adamant about A1.

      I know, right?

      I’m so used to them being conditional in support for rights, or outright rejecting some, that this unconditional support is a little shocking.

  3. Sort of related. This is why we have snowflakes. When I was in 7th grade, debating for the side of an issue you were against and defending the indefensible were standard and I think very useful exercises. Now they fire the teacher.

    1. The future of speech does not look promising. It’s there a limit on charactors? My submit button disappears on my android once I reach a certain point in my rants. I have string them together.

      1. The future of speech does not look promising.

        Thankfully the courts seem to disagree, which, for right now, matters much more than what the children and small groups of bitchy activist groups think.

      2. Bullshit. When I was in 7th grade you would have gotten your ass kicked for arguing for the KKK too. That has been way outside the overton window for decades.

        Barring a public school teacher from forcing kids to write essays in support of vile terrorist organizations is NOT a free speech infringement.

    2. “This paper will be a persuasive paper defending Klan members on trial,” said the assignment[,] not meant to “teach the students the Klan was correct in their behaviour, but rather to teach the students to write persuasively” …. “However, we feel that the choice of topic is inappropriate for a 7th grade class. A new topic will be selected for the assignment.”

      “Resolved: People who oppose free speech should have their tongues cut out.”

      1. Again, if the tables were turned and the students were being forced to write in favor of the Soviet Union and communism, or perhaps in favor of ISIS, would you be similarly outraged if the teacher were fired?

        1. I”m with you. Maybe at college level you could do this (well, you couldn’t, the backlash would be bigger) but I think this is a little over the heads of 7th graders. The exercise is good but maybe an essay on why millenials suck?

          1. Seems to me that everyone in college is not only forced to write in favor of the Soviet Union (Russia now), but is forced to live as if in the old Soviet Union when it comes to speech.

          2. Debating pro and anti abortion positions opposite of our believes was not above our heads as 7th graders but then we were not snowflakes hence my original point.

        2. “if the tables were turned and the students were being forced to write in favor of the Soviet Union and communism, or perhaps in favor of ISIS, would you be similarly outraged if the teacher were fired”

          Yes, I would. Because I am not a pussy, nor do I think most 7th grades are. This is an exercise in learning persuasion.

          1. If you can’t let go of your emotions long enought to learn something about your ideological opponent then you’re a child.

    3. debating for the side of an issue you were against and defending the indefensible were standard and I think very useful exercises

      True, but this teacher used a very emotionally sensitive topic (arguing for the KKK). No sympathy for her whatsoever.

      We did have assignments like that in school when I was a kid, but not on subjects like that.

      1. FWIW: The teacher, who is African-American, emphasised the goal was to teach seventh-graders to write persuasively.

        She must not be very emotionally sensitive about the KKK.

        1. Thanks for the non-sequitur.

          1. You’re welcome!

            1. When I was in the seventh grade I got emotionally sensitive several times a day. I just crossed my fingers and prayed I didn’t get called to the blackboard until it went away.

        2. Let’s be honest, the KKK isn’t much of a force these days. Rhyme could probably hold their national convention in a broom closet anymore.

    4. Curious, if a public school teacher had forced the kids to write an essay in favor of the Soviet Union and communism in general, would you be similarly up in arms if they were fired?

      1. As long as the kids had to write essays in support of Nazism, ISIS, the Confederacy, and the Black Panthers at the same time, yes, I would be angry if the teacher that assigned it were fired.

        You are never too young to start having your views challenged, and the sooner children start hearing the serpents’ whispers, the sooner they will learn in their heart that they are lies.

        1. So you’d only be unoffended if they were given a shit ton of homework at once?

          1. They can distribute them over a few months.

            Or not. I’m not in school, why should I care? Hand out methamphetamine and snuff porn to the little bastards, makes no difference to me.

          2. Yep. Fuck those kids. Fuck em all.

            1. No, you’re not allowed to fuck them. I checked. It’s the law. Rules are rules.

              1. Somebody better tell the Catholic Church….

            2. Don’t stick your d*** in crazy.

        2. ‘Thank You For Smoking’ would be a terrific film for. Out mid teen students to watch. Especially the bit where Aaron Eckhart explains how to argue correctly to his son.

  4. If it were just Confederate flags being carried at the protest, that would seem plausible. There are a lot of people who have attachment to the battle flag (and presumably the Lee statue) as symbols of their regional heritage, rather than of a short-lived nation founded to preserve slavery, elite privilege, and racism.

    But there were loads of KKK and Nazi flags. Hard to believe those have nearly this much real support in Charlottesville. May well be a false flag protest (no pun intended), possibly to distract from the SJWs’ setback in the Googlepocalypse earlier in the week.

    1. There are a lot of people who have attachment to the battle flag (and presumably the Lee statue) as symbols of their regional heritage

      Yeah, and if I’m at Octoberfest and a bunch of people show up with Nazi flags claiming that they’re not racist, they’re just proud of their German Heritage, I don’t believe their bullshit either.

      Also, ever notice how all these “monuments” were built in the 60s? I guess people in the south just weren’t proud of their heritage for the hundred years between the civil wars and that time all the black people started demanding equality.

      1. Germany had the opposite initial reaction to the Nazi defeat, probably because their country was completely destroyed by the war, the Allies severely punished the entire country for years afterward for the sins of the Nazis (look up the Morgenthau plan), and the crimes of the Nazis exposed after the war were far worse than those of the Confederacy.

        Whereas the Union dealt with the former Confederacy with comparative kid gloves to ensure national unity, allowing the South to look upon that period with something less than revulsion. It’s been over 150 years since the Confederacy existed, so it’s understandable that its symbols would come to be associated with other things by those who were born over a century after it ceased to exist.

        1. My guess is it’s similar to many Russians view of the USSR. The south gets a lot of shit oftentimes, for good and bad reasons, and they perhaps view the rebellion as the time they stood up and we’re something.

        2. Sherman’s March to the sea…. The south was already in ashes.

      2. I do not fly the Battle Flag, for the specific reason that I know that people like you would assume it was intended as a symbol of support for Calhounism, Fascism, Colonialism and Eugenism.

        But that is what is symbolized, properly, by the Stars and Bars: a flag you have probably never seen, the true flag of the Confederacy in its politics, its ideology, its desire.

        The Battle Flag is NOT the Stars and Bars, and though Marxist and Calhounist alike have corrupted it as a symbol of slavery, it was only ever flown on the battlefield; it represents not the polity, but rather the soldiers of the South; and it OUGHT to be nothing but a symbol of the genuine courage and skill of the Southern soldier and general, celebrating their achievements in combat, not the ideology that the combat was in defense of… And memorializing the 250,000 men that died, and the hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans left behind.

        Does the fact that they died for an evil cause, mean their loss should be counted as nothing? Does it mean their descendants- like me- cannot take comfort in their valor and diligence, as solace, as a bright spot, when we brood upon the darkness that otherwise comprises our history?

        1. The history books are written by the winners – – – – –

          1. Cept on American indian reservations (at least since the 60’s).

        2. Take your cult of the Lost Cause talking points to another country.

          Your ancestors were traitors who killed American soldiers, who either kept or lived in parts of the country where chattel slavery was not only legal but was considered a kindness by evil people.

          Your battle flag of Tennessee that you probably love was and is a symbol of slavery, murder and being traitors to the nation.

          Statues being erected and flags being flown after the war were not used to remember the history of the war, that’s what books and museums are for. Statues were erected and flags waved to remind black people their place, and that lynching and murder and assault and degradation were still what they should expect.

          1. I knew I would get a response like this.

            I don’t know what more I could have done, to make it clear I reject the ideology of the Confederacy, but I will try:

            The Confederacy deserved to lose. To be broken. It stood for slavery, for eugenics, for tyranny. And it clothed itself in the language of liberty and independence to justify itself. The actions of Grant, Sherman and Sheridan were harsh, but just.

            Is that what an advocate of the Lost Cause would say?

            I do not believe that the crimes of Nazi Germany, mean that modern Germans should take no pride in the skill and honor of Erwin Rommel. Nor do I believe that the equally terrible crimes of the Soviet Union, mean that the people of Russia should not celebrate the victory of Stalingrad or the genius of Georgi Zhukov. And if any Japanese still remember the brilliance of Isoroko Yamamoto, that too should not be forgotten.

            I know my ancestors must be counted among them. That the Confederacy must lay alongside Nazi, Marxist-Leninist, and Islamist in history. And I know that that does not subtract from their skill, their diligence, or their courage in the slightest. I would extend the same admiration to the footsoldiers of any other evil empire you care to name.

          2. True. Sometimes you just have to kill 600,000 people and conduct a scorched earth total war murdering women and children so that you can prevent the real evil.

            1. @ hello.

              Yes, actually. You do, sometimes. And the Confederacy was one of those times.

              If I were William Sherman, I’d like to think I would have done exactly as he did: fought as he fought, destroyed what he destroyed… And, like him, forgiven and honored the defeated enemy (my ancestors) for their courage, after they had been broken.

              My loyalty to the Union, and belief in the righteousness of its cause, is unwavering.

            2. Sometimes you just have to kill 600,000 people

              That number ignores the millions that rendered as neither people nor property and left to die while expecting them to emigrate to C. America.

              The idea that the war/victory was some decisive battle about slavery/race is laughable. Not just in spite of the intervening years but by the plain fact that the proclamation itself only applied to the Southern states.

              Sometimes you have to kill a few million people to bring their land to heel and, maybe, eventually, set them on a sorta right path.

        3. You can memorialize misled dead soldiers without using a symbol of racism. The battle flag symbol is used to intimidate minorities. You can argue back and forth over whether it *should* do that, but it does. It is a hateful symbol.

          1. I know it does.

            My point was that it shouldn’t.

            The South should be allowed to have at least one symbol that isn’t castigated as racist, and the Battle Flag should be that symbol. It is the fault of the Alt-Right, and before them the Lost Cause, that it can’t be… For now. But I have hope that one day it will be rehabilitated, as the Iron Cross has, to a certain extent, been.

            You do know the German Luftwaffe still puts a version of the Iron Cross on their aircraft wings, yes? I don’t think that is racist.

      3. Also, ever notice how all these “monuments” were built in the 60s?

        No, I haven’t. You know why? Because most of those monuments weren’t built in the 60s. The Lee and Jackson statues in Charlottesville, for example, were put up in 1924 and 1921, respectively.

        But I admire your creativity. People who know the actual dates don’t let that stop them from arguing that, because they were erected during the Jim Crow era, their real purpose was to remind the nigras to keep in their place, or else.

        1. Yup, gotta make sure that the black people understood as soon as possible where their place in society was and still are, right?

          Where are the statues about slavery, for those who saved lives via the underground rail road? To the slaves who died at the hands of their masters? Of course their are none because the statues were not there to preserve history, since books and museums can do that, they were there to put black people in their place.

          1. So, what are they saying exactly?

            “Hey darkies, you best know your place, ‘cos if you git uppity, we’re gonna have the north come down and kick our asses again.”

            Not a lot of ‘intimidation’ value there.

      4. But funny how Russian World War II veterans can still show up carrying hammer-and-sickle flags, and everybody accepts that they’re honoring their fallen comrades.

      5. Also, ever notice how all these “monuments” were built in the 60s?

        I hadn’t, actually. Do you have one single other example? One?

    2. I have scant patience with people who fly Confederate battle flags, of wear Nazi crap, but I also have scat patience with their opposite numbers . You know; the imbeciles who wear Che shirts or wave Vietnamese flags. Both sides are swine.

      1. “I have scat patience…”
        That’s impressive; I never have self control to hold it in, gotta pinch it right away.

  5. Faith Goldy is much better than average looking. I wholly approve of her hotness.

    1. Ehhh… 8. Maybe.

    2. WOAH. I really hope no one confuses this for me supporting these Calhounists, but… That is one hot Calhounist.

      I wonder if being the “insurgent” ideology is going to end up attracting the hotter women to the Alt-Right? It seems like college girls were really hot back during the “insurgent Left” hippie days of the 60s/70s/80s, but now they’re all blue-haired and weird-looking. Whereas the Right-wing girls seem to be losing their Christian frumpiness and embracing the Daisy Duke look, which is… intriguing…

  6. This smells like Greensboro North Carolina circa 1979.

    Like then, if this is the commies vs the klanners, then let them go at it unabated.

    Popcorn please.

    1. Unfortunately, the commie body count is lower in this small Virginia city.

      1. Aren’t you supposed to be fucking poultry or something? If not, could you give it a try?

        1. I believe it’s duck season.

          1. Figures. He’s probably too bad a shot to get one.

            1. Rabbit season!

  7. The cuck is strong here today.

  8. I detest racists: of ALL kinds.

    What about the Police sanctioned BLM, Anti-Fa, LGBTQ & CAIRA violence?

    I am tired of ‘Progressive’ violence against me. I am tired of the ‘White Power’ threats against my kids.

    I did not do 3 tours for this Leftist – primarily- and ‘right’ crap to be here in the U.S., Goddamit!

    1. Tough when you hate the haters.

    2. Personally, I’m an irritable asshole who is ready to deal swift blinding violence to anyone who wants to get to threatening towards myself or my family/friends. Reagan had it right, ‘peace through strength’.

      It’s also my observation that a nazi skinhead neck or a progressive rioter neck snaps just as easily in my hands.

  9. The way I see this (and I can be wrong) is that the Democrat governor and mayor made sure there weren’t enough police in the area until there was violence. And there’s a good case to be made McAuliffe and Signer violated the rights of the protesters by not being there, and inciting a riot as a result. And Trump could do something about it. People should be able to protest peacefully.

  10. way to focus on the speech being legal.

    no one will confuse to be racism apologists


    1. Well I count at least three virtue signals including referring to the rally as “hate-speech”, “vile”, and “wildly wrongheaded”.

      If that isn’t enough for you, then how many virtue points would it take to cover one’s self when trying to make a nuanced point related to racists? Is no amount ever sufficient?

  11. When I see idiots holding nazi flags and confederate battle flags together, I want to let them know that Hitler was a huge fan of Lincoln, particularly of tactics like Sherman’s attacks on civilians. He said as much in his book.

    Hitler demanded complete centralization of power, and the traditional rights of the German states and free cities were an impediment.


    1. The modern Nazis are not historians, precisely. Not much of anything else, really.

      David Duke said something interesting yesterday, responding to president Trump’s condemnation of yesterday’s violence: ‘It was White Americans who put you in the presidency’. Whether that’s the case or not, it is clear these white supremacist groups felt emboldened after the man who strung together the words “Mexican”, “rapist”, and “wall” together, leaving now no doubt the motivations behind anti-immigrant sentiments.

      1. the man who … won the presidency…

      2. David Duke said something interesting yesterday, responding to president Trump’s condemnation of yesterday’s violence: ‘It was White Americans who put you in the presidency’.

        I don’t consider David Duke an authority on anything, but if you think they guy is an authority on political matters… maybe you need to have your head examined.

        In fact, it was black and minority Americans who put Trump in the presidency by not coming out for Clinton. I certainly abstained because there was no way I was going to vote for that lying, corrupt bigot.

        1. “In fact, it was black and minority Americans who put Trump in the presidency by not coming out for Clinton.”

          that is not a fact and it is not true.

          The turnout numbers for Clinton were right in line with typical. They were only low relative to Obamas unusual 2008 numbers.

          2016 turnout was high normal across the board, with they high turnout leaning more toward Trump in key areas.

          the “low turnout” excuse is a talking point straight out of the Clinton camp used as one of the hundred excuses for her loss. It is not factual

      3. David Duke said something interesting yesterday, responding to president Trump’s condemnation of yesterday’s violence: ‘It was White Americans who put you in the presidency’

        It was white Americans who made Obama president

        It was white americans who made every president president. Without support from a bunch of white people, you don’t get to be president.

        Trump didn’t embolden the KKK idiots–the left and the media did by insisting that everyone who wasn’t standing to the left of Stalin was a racist Nazi–and showing everyone all the sooper seekrit symbols they used to let each other know about all the cool racism and Nazism.

        The national socialists, like the international socialists, believe this kind of crap because it’s how they think–they’re collectivists. They believed it–and thought they could ooze out from under the rock.

        So now you have them, and the troll front that started what was called the ‘alt-right’, and all the normies on the right all getting lumped in and blamed for all the ills of the world–and a left that purges for ever greater ideological purity kicking people rightwards.

        And you’re still whining about the wall?

    2. History has been very kind to President Lincoln. It’s amazing how little people know about the Civil War, yet there seem to be so many experts. They all seem to recall the war was Angels vs Demons. Instead of a bunch of people trying to make their lives better and stand up for what they believed in.

  12. the vile, wildly wrongheaded notion that America’s greatness is in any way related to the supremacy of the white race

    I don’t know anyone who claims America’s greatness is related to the supremacy of the white race, but it is definitely related to the white race, because the U.S. was settled and built overwhelmingly by white people.

    1. Re: Cloudbuster,

      the U.S. was settled and built overwhelmingly by white people.

      And lots of Chinese laborers.

      1. If you define “lots” as “a very tiny number.

        “Historians estimate that at any one time as many as 10,000 to 15,000 Chinese were working on the railroad.”

        That’s barely a rounding error on the American workforce at the time. We would have managed just fine without them.

        In 1880 there were about 105k Asians in a US population of 50 million. 0.2% of the population. America was founded and built by white people.

        1. Facts are irrelevant in the united states. Didn’t you know that?

          If you state the fact that America was mostly populated by white people and settled and built by mostly white people, that is clearly a racist statement. Why, because outrage. Rational discourse is racism.

          kind of like how Europeans came up with all of the innovations and seemed to be a little better at things like the industrial revolution than were the Africans or middle easterners. That will be considered to be vehemently racists because….outrage. Is it not true though? Perhaps that is because N. Europeans had access to cheap energy in the form of coal? Who knows, but it is true. I think Asians appear to be on the whole far better at math than most white americans. I don’t know if it is true but I don’t riot over it.

  13. Sheesh, how can you hold a decent torchlight procession and book burning if the uniforms and the patio decor came from the local Walmart, and the beer is budweiser and Pabst?

    1. I though that was funny too. These dorks had to go to the garden section of homegoods to get torches with safety canisters.

      Meanwhile, the benevolent marxists all have to pay some evil profiteers for their poster boards, black hoodies, spray paint, and apple cameras.

  14. Just 10 years ago and earlier, white supremacists were laughable and the butt of many jokes. From the Blue Brothers to Dave Chappelle, they were the source of ridicule and comedy. No one took them seriously. They were sad and pathetic.

    Then, 2015-ish, the mainstream left decided it made sense to create a boogieman to label and slander Trump, Breitbart, Bannon. The alt-right was created and propagated, giving the white supremacists far far more press then their laughably scant numbers should justify. Instead of jokes, they were considered a real issue.
    And, to make matters worse, the mainstream left started slinging the racist/homophobe/sexist/alt-right label at every white male who dared to not align with the SJW cause du jour. Lots of hetero cis white males from the center-left on to the far right have been made out to be racist deplorables.
    If everyone is a racist, then no one is. If a white hetero male is labeled alt-right scum because he has concerns about the BLM riots in Baltimore, or unchecked illegal immigration, then the label no longer has meaning.

    the stupid, drooling, rabid left is making the white supremacists into underdogs. The enemy of the enemy of about 36% of the US population. Morons.
    Tribalism at its absolute worst.

    1. You’re right P2. I read a good article on today about the, of course, incorrect narrative going on around this mess.

      There are always going to be stupid racists. Politicians spent the last 8 years fomenting race riots and vitriol of all sorts between every American. All for the benefit of keeping the charade in Washington going. We have a clash of two sides populated with imbeciles that have been brainwashed by their ignorance. A marxist who does not like a nazi is hardly a good guy if he is willing to destroy people and property. Anyway, a nazi and marxist are the same thing ultimately.

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