Shortcuts & Delusions: Left Pushes Tiki Torch Boycott

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share via REUTERS

I’ll say this for those white supremacist/neo-Nazi fucks: they sure did pick an interesting type of torch to march around Charlottesville with. Though Tiki torches were carried in a hate rally, they had to have been purchased beforehand, which means the Charlottesville marchers were responsible for spurring economic growth within the Asian-motif-backyard-decor industry. Increased demand for Tiki torches means more need to be built, which means more jobs.

Professor Declan Fitzgibbons of Springfield University Manchester disagrees and he is spearheading a national boycott of Tiki torches.

“Any economic silver lining is cancelled out by the racists’ appropriation of Polynesian culture,” Prof. Fitzgibbons stated on his Tinder account. “I am calling upon all home goods, supermarkets and big box stores to remove Tiki torches and Tiki torch accessories from their shelves. If there are no Tiki torches, those bigots will not be able to appropriate Polynesian culture, nor see where they are marching, and will constantly bump into each other. It’s a win/win.”

At time of publication of this article, Prof. Fitzgibbons’ account received over 675 million swipes to the right.

When asked for comment, local white supremacist Buford Bartholomew IV said, “Well, we wanted to pay tribute to our Klu Klux Klan forefathers and carry torches, but we got a whole heap of rain the night before, and all our firewood was wet. So, we each threw in a couple o’ bucks, and sent some guys over to the local Piggly Wiggly for them Tiki torches, and we lit up them sumbitches and headed on into town.”

“Plus, the citronella is good for keepin’ bugs away,” Mr. Bartholomew added. “We got a whole mess o’ bugs down south.”

Additional information on torches can be found here.


Lest I be accused of making torchlight of what happened in Charlottesville, let me give a serious, comprehensive opinion on Trump’s comments regarding Charlottesville, and his detractors. Trump could not articulate his way out of a paper bag, but for my purposes, he will serve as an entry way to a larger point, and I will attempt to provide some nuance where very little has existed. Caution: some rambling to follow.

Let me begin with asking: Where do Trump’s sympathies truly lie? What is the more likely scenario: Trump is a neo-Nazi and sympathizes with the KKK, or he manipulated a bunch of ignorant jerks into voting for him based on empty promises of building a wall to keep illegal immigrants out? I doubt very much Trump is an anti-Semite. Considering Trump has spent a life time as a New York City real estate developer which means a large portion, if not a majority, of his business dealings would involve partnerships with, and funding from, non-WASPs, and Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner, and Kushner is one of Trump’s most trusted confidants and advisers, I’m leaning towards the latter scenario.

If you believe Trump not condemning the KKK, neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups by name when he initially denounced the violence in Charlottesville is evidence that he is on the side of those marching to “Unite the Right,” then why did he say violence was from “many sides?” His statements regarding Charlottesville was all-encompassing, i.e. they included the bigots.

If it was just the KKK and neo-Nazis throwing punches and running people over, Trump should have condemned those people, just as when a terrorist group attacks someone or some place, Trump or any president, should say “Islamic terrorists,” or “ISIS,” or “Al-Qaeda,” etc., not “violent extremists.” What happened in Charlottesville is an example of many groups getting together and not being able to express their opinions, as retarded as they may be (white supremacy, racist speech=violence, etc.), without resorting to violence. Members of both sides were and have been guilty of committing violence, in Charlottesville and other places where, for lack of better terms, the alt-right and the alt-left have clashed over who is allowed to say what. For people to say that Trump is only allowed to condemn, by name, one party to violence is to advance an agenda, which is that one side holds the moral high ground.

An individual loses the moral high ground when he responds to some idiot giving the Nazi salute with a punch to the face, or he responds to a social justice warrior giving the finger with a pipe to the head. It is overwhelmingly apparent that so much of the strife occurring between the alt-right and the alt-left is due to one side responding with violence to the hyperbole and conflated terms of the other side. It is generally believed that, not only by libertarians but by anyone employing common sense, that an individual and groups of individuals are justified in self-defense if violence is initiated against them. The problem we are now dealing with is the bar for what is “violence” has been lowered so much that any action, no matter how concrete or abstract, passes over it. Therefore, if a person who believes that non-whites moving into a neighborhood = white genocide, or if speech = violence, he will respond with his fists rather than with counter-rhetoric. Hate speech and immigration are not examples of physical violence that justifies a self-defensive response, and the people who claim that it is are trying to justify violence against, and the destruction of property of, those who they have deemed do not think the proper way.

There is a difference between American society and American government. That is the whole point of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our legal frameworks are designed to protect us from the government and it follows that it is a massive fallacy to believe or advocate that what Trump, or any president or any politician, says or believes means that’s what the entire country believes. I think where the confusion comes from is from various connotations of the word “represent.” We vote for politicians to represent us to hold forums to hash out policy disagreements, to handle matters of state that direct democracy is not able to handle. But those politicians are not meant to represent how we feel about social issues, or to conduct “national conversations” or to express condolences when something tragic happens to some citizens.

Those who obsess over what a politician says about domestic issues are engaging in either hero-worship or iconoclasm. This is especially true of people who froth over what Trump says. Those who condemn Trump, the most inarticulate, ineloquent, egomaniacal person who has ever slouched towards Bethlehem, for not saying the perfect response to Charlottesville need to seek medical treatment right away for Trump Derangement Syndrome. They have extremely acute cases of this pathology, for they are angered at a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yes, this applies to Obama and his detractors, and on down the line all the way back to Calvin Coolidge (it stops at Silent Cal since he hardly spoke at all).

When Richard Spencer was famously sucker punched in January, I wrote “Of Course It’s OK To Punch A Nazi.” But, I clarified, “I believe that it is OK to punch a Nazi, or a Communist, or a member of ISIS. I say that because I believe in self-defense from a tyrannical government. But Alt-Right leader, white supremacist/nationalist, and all-around shitbird, Richard B. Spencer neither passes, nor carries out, public policy that deprives individuals of their rights. Is he a bigoted asshole? Yes. Is he a member of a totalitarian regime guilty of violence against others? No.”
I value nuance and trying to adhere to realistic definitions of terms, and I hope the above further illustrates my points about the Charlottesville debacle. But since I love quotes (much to the chagrin of BL’s Editor-in-Chief) let’s conclude with The Atlantic’s Kurt Andersen:
Each of us is on a spectrum somewhere between the poles of rational and irrational. We all have hunches we can’t prove and superstitions that make no sense. Some of my best friends are very religious, and others believe in dubious conspiracy theories. What’s problematic is going overboard—letting the subjective entirely override the objective; thinking and acting as if opinions and feelings are just as true as facts. The American experiment, the original embodiment of the great Enlightenment idea of intellectual freedom, whereby every individual is welcome to believe anything she wishes, has metastasized out of control. From the start, our ultra-individualism was attached to epic dreams, sometimes epic fantasies—every American one of God’s chosen people building a custom-made utopia, all of us free to reinvent ourselves by imagination and will. In America nowadays, those more exciting parts of the Enlightenment idea have swamped the sober, rational, empirical parts. Little by little for centuries, then more and more and faster and faster during the past half century, we Americans have given ourselves over to all kinds of magical thinking, anything-goes relativism, and belief in fanciful explanation—small and large fantasies that console or thrill or terrify us. And most of us haven’t realized how far-reaching our strange new normal has become.
And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.
Photo: Reuters
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Dillon Eliassen is a former Managing Editor of Being Libertarian. Dillon works in the sales department of a privately owned small company. He holds a BA in Journalism & Creative Writing from Lyndon State College. He is the author of The Apathetic, available at He is a self-described Thoreauvian Minarchist.