Reason Roundup

'Unite the Right' Ralliers to Descend on D.C., With Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and Other Counter-Protesters Waiting: Reason Roundup

Plus: TSA provides numbers on "Quiet Skies" spying and Marco Rubio's turn from Tea Party to nationalist



One year after the violence that left a woman dead in Charlottesville, Virginia, the "alt-right" group that started the deadly ruckus is headed to Washington, D.C. This weekend "Unite the Right" plans to protest the "civil rights abuses" the group claims to have suffered in Charlottesville last summer.

The group had originally intended to return to Charlottesville, but the city said no. The D.C. rally will take place in Lafayette Square, just across from the White House, on Sunday evening.

All sorts of counterprotests throughout the day are planned as well. "A coalition of anti-fascists have reserved a portion of Lafayette Park to accommodate 1,500 people, as well as two other spaces in D.C., which each accommodates 500 people," reports Vice. "Another activist coalition, including Black Lives Matter, have reserved Freedom Plaza, half a mile from Lafayette Park, for 1,000 people." More information on the counter-events can be found here.

Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler said in an event application permit that about 400 people were expected at his rally.

Uber and Lyft drivers have been debating in internal forums whether the surge-pricing rates will be worth it to brave the fray, The Washington Post reports. "Regardless of event, drivers are advised to follow all local laws but have the right to refuse service to riders who are disrespectful or who make them feel unsafe," Uber told employees in a statement. Airbnb has said the company "won't hesitate" to boot guests found to be part of the alt-right rally.

"The year since [The Charlottesville rally] has been difficult for the rogues gallery of Nazis and pseudo-Nazis who championed it," notes Adam Serwer at The Atlantic.

From the looks of it, the Nazis lost the battle of Charlottesville. After all, President Trump's handling of the aftermath of the rally, in which he said there were "very fine people" on both sides of the protest, drew bipartisan condemnation. The attempted rebranding of white nationalism as the genteel and technologically savvy Alt-Right failed, the marketing campaign faltering after the murder of the counter-protester Heather Heyer and the attempted murder of several others revealed to the nation the logical conclusion of Alt-Right beliefs and arguments. The bloody outcome of that day foiled the white nationalists' attempt to garner sympathy from the mainstream right, and in doing so, make themselves respectable.

But the Alt-Right and its fellow travelers were never going to be able to assemble a mass movement….And as an ideological vanguard, the Alt-Right fulfilled its own purpose in pulling the Republican Party in its direction.

As evidence, Serwer cites Trump administration ways—thae travel ban, the treatement of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, the efforts "to make it harder for legal immigrants to become American citizens," to name a few—as well as commentary from such Fox stars as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. On her Wednesday night show, Igraham said that "in some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn't exist anymore" thanks to "massive demographic changes [that] have been foisted upon the American people."

Ingraham took a lot of heat for the statement, but at least one fellow found it refreshing:

In response, Ingraham put out a statement saying "white nationalists, and especially one racist freak whose name I will not even mention," were "distorting" her words:

The purpose of last nights angle was to point out that the rule of law, meaning secure borders, is something that used to bind our country together….[M]y commentary had nothing to do with race or ethnicity, but rather a shared goal of keeping America safe, and her citizens safe and prosperous.

Ah, yes, the well-known "massive demographic changes" bringing in multicultural anarchist hordes…


"Mounting pressure from the political left to censor hateful speech may have unintended consequences," warns Erik Nielson in a New York Times op-ed. "'Hate' is a dangerously elastic label, one that has long been used in America to demonize unpopular expression. If we become overzealous in our efforts to limit so-called hate speech, we run the risk of setting a trap for the very people we're trying to defend." This can already be seen many times over, most recently with the Black Lives Matter movement.

By accusing Black Lives Matter of peddling hate, politicians effectively turned the tables on the movement, allowing lawmakers, in some cases, to strengthen protections for the police. Since 2016, several "Blue Lives Matter" bills have been enacted across the country, many of which seek to add police as a protected class covered by hate crimes laws. Following this logic, Black Lives Matter's opposition to police brutality is a kind of hate itself, from which the police require additional protection. Yet killings by police officers are increasing while line-of-duty deaths of police officers are decreasing.

It is difficult to imagine a more ridiculous outcome. But it speaks to one of the most serious perils of limiting speech: a measure to protect minority perspectives can instead be used to further marginalize them.

Meanwhile, Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic contends that democratic socialism could lead us to a similar place as the anti-"hate" laws.


Marco Rubio once presented himself as a fan of limited government and free trade. Now he "fully backs Trump's trade war with China" and "warns of a lack of corporate morality and patriotism" in American tech, notes John McCormack at The Weekly Standard:

Earlier this summer, Rubio delivered a speech in Washington calling for a "new nationalism" in which he decried an "economic elitism that has replaced a commitment to the dignity of work with a blind faith in financial markets and that views America simply as an economy instead of a nation."

Rubio's nationalism is "the kind…admired more by David Brooks than Steve Bannon," notes McCormack. And while it may seem like an ideological departure for Rubio, it's not at odds with his actual record. As McCormack writes: "Most of the actual economic policies Rubio has been prominently fighting for in Congress—an expanded child tax credit to benefit the working class and the paid-family leave bill—are of the same type he has long promoted with Utah senator Mike Lee."


TSA officials told legislators that "about 5,000 US citizens had been closely monitored since March" as part of its "Quiet Skies" program, "and none of them were deemed suspicious or merited further scrutiny," the Boston Globe reports. A Globe investigation first revealed the existence of the program last week.

Tim Cushing at Techdirt isn't having it:

The TSA had to tail 5,000 people just to determine they weren't suspicious. That's the wrong way around, constitutionally-speaking. The government isn't allowed to snoop on people until it can find a reason to snoop on people. That's not how the Fourth Amendment works.

As noted here yesterday, the TSA's head honcho thinks the program is "very effective."


  • The U.S. dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 73 years ago this week. A Twitter thread from historian Alex Wellerstein explains about what people get wrong about narrative.
  • "White officers are no more likely to use lethal force against minorities than nonwhite officers," says Charles Menifield, lead author of a large new Rutgers study on the cops' use of deadly force in America. But black Americans are killed by police more than two times as much as Americans Generally.