How do normal people become Nazis? How can reasonable people be lead to harbor unreasonable and dangerous beliefs? The tactics white supremacists use are effective and working. This is an article that tries to make clear the tactics involved in the subversive manipulation and how their actions of planting the roots of bigoted ideology often goes unnoticed.
This is a guide for “normies”, centrists, and everyone else on how to spot the rhetoric in the wilds of the internet. It builds on my previous article How White Nationalism Courts Internet Nerd Culture.
The images in this piece are going to be straight from the white nationalists themselves, their guides to each other on how to mainstream their ideas. Often they operate in groups, like BUGS or similar. There may be an outright “nazi” that the other neo-Nazis point to in order to say “Woah buddy I’m not like that guy, what I say is reasonable and you should listen.” By and large the majority will NEVER admit to holding and espousing neo-Nazis beliefs, the goal is to lead you into the pit until you don’t want to get out and then drop the charade of put upon centrism. This hiding the true ideology under a layer of more acceptable talking points is called “hiding powerlevel”. To deceive and recruit people it is imperative that they can make a connection of trust first, and being outright in their beliefs would mean they get dismissed before they have the chance to recruit. They are going to appeal to you, they are going to use things you like to make you empathize with them, and then over time they will slowly, feed you the Whitaker mantras and white nationalist talking points.
I ask you stay along for the read, even if you doubt me, please keep in mind what the AltRight already know:
“Leftists will recognize dog whistles and know we’re crypto[fascist], but normies won’t listen to them.”
It is to the neo-Nazis advantage to convince as many people as possible to push in their defense. Given Nazism is widely despised when it is easily spotted and blatant, neo-Nazis often hide among crowds for disguise and optics. If they can get other people around them duped into doing the bulk of their arguing, defense, and normalizing work for them then they are always winning. Ian Danskin discusses this camouflage in his video "An Autopsy on Gamergate", I think the same crowd dynamics applies as when discussing neo-Nazis and Centrists online:
HIDING YOUR POWERLEVEL & CRYPTOFASCISM
Neo-Nazis hide. They usually aren’t going to be obvious about what they stand for when they are trying to woo you. This deception is referred to inside their circles as “hiding your power level”, it is masquerading as something else to lure people in and then slowly expose them to neo-Nazi propaganda. These hiding tactics range from false flags where they attack people while impersonating those they hate in order to drive people towards more radical groups, or silencing methods like telling people false information while pretending to be non-biased, or hiding their identities claiming that they are “normal” / “centrists” / “moderates” / “liberals”.
Probably the most important part of neo-Nazi movements is rebranding. Neo-Nazi groups in public use coy terms to circumvent the much despised term “Nazi”. It is vital that they stay shifting and changing to avoid identification, “neo-Nazi” is a term that just won’t sell to the average Joe so it needs to be changed to something more attractive like “identitarian”. The group rebrands under a different word while promoting the same neo-Nazi agenda in private. The terms change as time passes and more people catch on to what it exactly entails (genocide) so the neo-Nazis switch from the terms that built a negative connotation to more benign or positive wording. Often the words chosen for the rebrand is meant to invoke things that are appealing to the public, such as science and freedom, but many are just ways of avoiding the Nazi word. Such rebrands are: white nationalist, white supremacist, ethno-statist, state’s rights, race realist, racial science believer, identitarian, racial isolationist, alt-right, whites rights activist, fascist, neofascist, national socialist, segregationist, traditionalist, nationalist, christian nationalist, ethno-nationalist, demographic nationalist, human biodiversity advocate, demographic preservationist, western chauvinist, neo-reactionary, nativist, isolationist, America first, anti-multicultural, anti-globalist, anti-miscegenation, anti-PC, anti-SJW, etc. This constant repackaging of the same toxic ideology in new colorful wrappings has been going on for decades and is intentionally done to make it confusing and hard for normal folks to keep up with and identify. Neo-Nazism has to mask itself, this is what people refer to as “being crypto” or “crypto-fascism” or “hiding power level”.
USING ENEMIES TO UNIFY
Do you hate SJWs, those nebulous ne’er-do-wells of the internet? They’re ascribed to killing everything from video games to society itself. The term “SJW” is largely useless as it has been applied to pretty much anyone as a means of marking them as “bad” and their points as “bad”, but neo-Nazis are opportunists and have taken use of “SJW” and othering words to rally people to their sides.
Use of identifiable enemies is common. Often neo-Nazis steal enemies to build upon other past reactionary movements, catering their sales pitch in order to groom more people in. They find common “enemy”. They find what the intended recruit group hates and then build the bridge from that enemy towards the white nationalists’ identified enemies. This is most visibly obvious in using the “Globalists” and “SJW” as a dog whistle for Jews.
THE GISH GALLOP
Bad faith time wasting “debates” online that are for the purpose of exhausting/fatiguing the opponent and everyone around them. These often use the Gish Gallop, flooding a conversation en mass with individually weak arguments in order to make it incredibly exerting and tedious to debunk all of them. A refutation of the Gish Gallop bogs down and takes time as often they demand immaculate citation and any single argument out of the torrent not debunked will be claimed to cast doubt on the entire refutation. Typically you get not involved people wallowing in with “I’m tired of hearing about neo-Nazis!” Yes, we all are, but they still exist and are a threat to the life and safety of people in our communities so just giving up is a lazy option. The whole thing is a public performance by the neo-Nazi, they aren’t there to necessarily win you over but to woo anyone else who skims by the conversation. The point is to appear informed and correct to onlookers while intentionally overwhelming and demoralizing people with bad faith time wasting arguments.
ACCIDENTALLY REGURGITATING PROPAGANDA
Many neo-Nazis spread their beliefs in disguise across websites where others read it, pick it up, and carry it unknowing of the source of what they are repeating. Sometimes even believing that the neo-Nazi rhetoric they repeat is actually their own original ideas that they came up with wholly on their own.
There are common copypastas, mantras, videos, and dog whistles that neo-Nazis lay like bread crumbs across the internet. You’ll come across these things everywhere. Sometimes they are co-opted phrases stolen from other reactionary movements in efforts to merge and appeal to those groups, for example when a neo-Nazi talks about feminism destroying white families they will often re-word it as “feminists and SJWs ruining [insert whatever the person they are talking to cares about]”. It’s also a common tactic to work in organized groups for spamming comments, entire forums and group chats exist to run backup and signalboosting.
Common rhetoric tactics:
- “SJW”s / Feminism
- appeal to the status quo/appeal to law and order- “Azov is a volunteer police.” / “The Charlottesville rally had a permit.” / “Gay culture is destroying our freedom of religion.”
- Claiming the person being appealed to is in some form of risk and must defend/join the neo-nazi speaker for their self-defense from an enemy (usually “SJWs”)
- [__] are coming to take your [__]
- Red Herring- “communism killed 100 million people”/ “antifa did [__]” derailment to drown out any discussion of their acts of murder and violence and control the conversation to talk about and highlight “other” violence
- “Lügenpresse” (lying press)- [__]source of information is lying, this one is as old as Joseph Goebbels the Nazi Minister of Propaganda
- straw man- an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument
- antifa and opposing fascism as evil, “antifascists are the real fascists!”
- Tu Quoque- “Antifa is also violent!” / “If you don’t let us say [__] then you’re also killing free speech”
- Misleading statistics- usually racial statistics from debunked studies done 80 years ago, cherry picked crime data
- Bogus science mixed with taking real science out of context- Darwinism, biological determinism, race realism, phrenology, and racially biased IQ
- False Cause- wrongfully attributing something as the cause, “You talking about [__] only causes them to be stronger!” / “Attacking Nazis is what makes people be Nazis!” / “This violence is merely a response to PC cultural neo-marxism.”
- Gish Gallop- time wasting strategy to drown the opponent in mass ive waves of argumentative claims (see above)
- Non Sequitur- a conclusion that does not follow from the statements that lead to it
- Fallacy of Refication- “National Socialist, ‘socialist’ means they were Left wing!”
- Loaded Question- contains a presupposition or unproven assumption that can make it difficult to give an answer that doesn’t support the questioners premise “You always support violence?” / “So you hate Free Speech?”
- No True Scotsman- claiming any related murders, stabbings, beatings, or other violence perpetrated by white supremacists doesn’t apply as they are not “truly” part of the white nationalist movement see: Anders Breivik, Alex Fields, Samuel Woodward, Brandon Russell
- Immigration fearmongering, Islamophobia, race baiting
- “White Genocide” / “Great Replacement” / “Whites have a right to exist” / “Faith Folk Family” / “ We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” / “Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, White nations for White people.”
- “Political Correctness” and "thought police"- often used to silence an opponent or draw unwitting others to their defense, “This is just PC bullshit” / “De-platforming nazis is Thought Policing” / “Free marketplace of ideas”
- “Post-Modernism” / “Cultural Marxism”- popular boogeymen terms that don’t really have substance or clear meaning and are easy to apply to anyone and anything they don’t like
- “Diversity Quotas”- fear mongering appeal towards white men, saying that their jobs/opportunities/livelihoods are being “stolen” and given to those less worthy (meaning brown people and women)
- “Frankfurt School”- commonly cited as part of antisemitic neo-Nazi conspiracies about shadowy powers controlling the world via secret elite intellectuals, see also “Deep State”, “Globalists”, “New World Order” type conspiracies. It’s all just new more appealing ways to say “Jews”.
- Argumentum Ad Speculum- hypothetical examples that are factually incorrect are used to prop up the incorrect assumption. Invocations about how not allowing hate speech will lead to horrible outcomes usually relies on this.
ARE YOU STILL WITH ME CENTRISTS?
Centrists, buddies, you cannot solely focus your time criticizing the left. I rarely see “centrists”, “moderates”, or “conservatives” speaking out against white supremacists. Your silence against white supremacy in it’s myriad forms supports rising violent reactionary movements. More often I see so-called self-identified "centrists" obliviously repeating the mantras and jargon that neo-Nazis pepper the internet with. When you unevenly direct your time to only tearing down the left you aren’t being a centrist because you are not balanced centrally between the right and the left. When you jump into conversations that you are ignorant about and accidentally defend neo-Nazis you are doing their work for them. Do you want to work for neo-Nazis? No? Then fucking stop. Please be more discerning and less knee-jerk about who and what you spend your time defending. Don’t rush in at the first waving of an appealing dog whistle, be smart and don’t do a neo-Nazi’s dirty work for them.
The following screencaps are for the most part self explanatory, here we have a neo-Nazi discussing the process steps in a how to guide for slowly radicalizing “normies” called “redpilling”:
This article is part of a series about online AltRight recruitment.
Deo is a union Millwright who spent 6 months infiltrating multiple Alt-Right and neo-Nazi online groups observing and recording how they recruited, organized, and operated.
Deo can be found on Twitter: @DeoTasDevil