Ready or not, libertarian-turned-fascist shock jock Christopher Cantwell received his close-up following the “Unite the Right” fiasco. Cantwell’s blubbering face was plastered all over the mainstream media. He has been made into a convenient punching bag, and everyone is seemingly lining up to kick this easy target while he is down.
Cantwell did himself no favors by flaming out of the libertarian movement, making many enemies along the way, before emerging as a figure in the alt-right. Going out of his way to inflame and enrage people, while an amusing shtick at times, has ultimately backfired on Cantwell (at least for the time being). Adding injury to insult, the lachrymose lout was charged with various felonies and refused bail for merely defending himself in Charlottesville when police refused to do their jobs.
This is where Cantwell may go from a reviled pariah to a potential civil rights hero. After Cantwell heard he was wanted in Virginia, he did everything in his power to comply with law enforcement. Despite offering extremely hostile opinions regarding the police in the past, he surrendered himself anyway–realizing that resisting would only make this already nightmarish situation that much worse. This is not the behavior of someone who is a flight risk. The judge only wanted to make an example of Cantwell, likely violating his 8th Amendment rights in doing so.
This is where opponents of Cantwell and the extreme right that he represents need to be careful. Making fringe figures like Cantwell into martyrs will only make them more formidable and hardened in their militant stances. Look at what happened during the “Unite the Right” fallout. The entire political establishment immediately united around ANTIFA and the totalitarian left, with even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) justifying leftist terrorist violence in the streets. This seemingly coordinated reaction has only reinforced the dark, conspiratorial narratives about globalists and elites that have fueled extremist sentiment in recent years.
Alt-right individuals are beginning to call themselves the “White Civil Rights Movement.” As ridiculous and twisted as that may sound, their hostile, belligerent, and hypocritical critics are certainly helping them out. Cantwell is being spat upon and denied his basic rights. Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman is being railroaded on bogus charges as well. Andrew Anglin of Daily Stormer has been made into an Orwellian “unperson” due to his extremist beliefs. The establishment will not stop with just these figures. The scarlet letter will inevitably be extended to anyone with basic conservative or libertarian beliefs. As fun as joining a digital witch hunt may seem right now, keep in mind that you will likely be at the receiving end of it before long.
This growing persecution will help the extremists recruit. So next time, it won’t be 1,000 rabid maniacs in the streets marching alongside Cantwell. It will be 10,000, and then 100,000, and so on. In a bizarre and counter-intuitive way, “Unite the Right” may end up ultimately being a success for the alt-right if this pattern continues. The tensions escalated dramatically in an instant, and this clearly benefits the extremists. After all, Hitler didn’t rise to power in a vacuum. He rose because there was a growing communist threat, and his militant group was willing to face them head on. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past by being timid. If the moderates amongst us refuse to stand against the leftist threat when it matters, there will be far more radical and dangerous individuals who fill that void.