Decoding the Neo-Nazi Message
Something is amiss in America, and I don’t just mean Donald Trump’s presidency. There has been a significant emboldening of ultra-right wing ideas. In the past few decades, the people holding tight to these ideas have been kept relatively silent through the use of shame and the societal enforcement of liberal values. However with the rising popularity of Donald Trump, who declined to denounce these views during his campaign, and his eventual ascension to the highest office in the country, the Neo-Nazi message has been popping up in areas where it would have never been tolerated before.
You’ll never see them identifying as, or even accepting the label of, Neo-Nazis. They are aware that certain terms and phrases cause instant recoil. Instead, they deliberately use obfuscated language and messages to communicate their ideas with the sole purpose of acceptance, persuasion and, ultimately, recruitment to their cause. Without being alert to their tactics, it would be difficult to tell if you’ve experienced them.
To decode the Neo-Nazi message, you should be aware of its fundamental pillar: confusion. They will emphatically state that society is in the ditch right now, that conditions for the average joe are awful, and that decades of political establishment have sucked the life out of the world. Your first reaction upon hearing these claims might be to question whether they are true and you may even initially decide that they are not. But the seed has been planted. And with enough of this being echoed, it will begin to sound like a valid viewpoint.
Let’s be honest: the establishment has failed many people. It failed the people of Flint, Michigan. It failed the people of the Rust Belt. It failed a lot of rural communities. However, if we are to exercise any intellectual honesty, we would understand that the blame cannot be squarely, if at all, placed on liberal values. That doesn’t matter, though, because the average person is not informed enough about the ongoing political process to competently grasp which policies, supported by whose agendas, are the true contributors to those crises. In an outburst of passion, they can simply be blamed upon the prevailing ideology of the time; lock, stock, and barrel.
When these bold claims are made en masse, their contrast with what you already hold as your ideology will create a bit of a mental fog. You may consider, for a moment, that the world really is in bad shape and you’ve just been living in a bubble, unaware. With this tactic, your empathy and compassion actually becomes a tool used against you. If you’ve been paying attention to political discourse lately, you may have caught the message that one side is completely out of touch with the other. This is confusion in action.
Owing to the average person’s lack of knowledge in political theory, it could stand to reason that you are indeed out of touch. But what are you out of touch with, exactly? Does every viewpoint require our respect to the extent where we should be “in touch” with it? No. It’s important to remember that there are completely invalid political stances that nobody should even begin to respect, let alone get in touch with. And just as the objective truth is not determined through the democratic process, the idea that as much as a third of the United States of America could hold any particular ideal does not make that ideal valid or respectable. It would be no more valid if we all did, either.
Another tactic to cause confusion is the Neo-Nazi’s propensity to completely flip the script on the opposition, regardless of evidence or truth. The elimination of racism may be a liberal ideal, but the Neo-Nazis will claim that it is, in fact, the liberal agenda that is promoting racism. The rise of feminism and social justice is now somehow responsible for the tyranny of the political elite. You, as a liberal, are complicit with the atrocities committed by the government (as if you support them any more than the Neo-Nazis do; as if the Neo-Nazi agenda would not result in anything comparable). And while you may feel that your values come from a place of compassion and empathy for all people, you are actually the source of hatred that is rotting this country at its core.
What’s been described to this point sums up the Neo-Nazi message as an avalanche of complaining and pointing fingers. Where is the substance of their beliefs? If society must be purged of liberal ideals, what, then, should take their place? It is difficult to ascertain this; especially when the Neo-Nazi enters an arena in which they know they are the underdog. They are fighting an info-war of attrition.
If you were to somehow get a Neo-Nazi to explain the world they seek to create, you wouldn’t like it. And they know that. Their aim is to make you as dissatisfied with the current world as they are. If they succeed in that, they have a good chance of imparting their actual ideals to the more gullible ones, in settings of their own choosing, away from the judgments of reason or decency.
After enough of this, those who still hold their liberal values will be too fatigued and threatened to fight back against the anger that drives the Neo-Nazi message. That’s why it’s imperative to pick it out wherever you see it, identify it, isolate it, and push back. The following list is a small sampling of the sentiments that the Neo-Nazi message aligns with:
- Anti-racist policies are responsible for racism
- America’s inner cities are doing worse than they ever have
- Politically correct (PC) language is detrimental
- Multiculturalism is bad
- Mocking of social justice issues and viewpoints (vilification of “Social Justice Warriors”)
- Feminism does more harm than good
- Equating liberalism to totalitarianism
- Liberals lost the election, so they should shut up (and other ridicule regarding losing the election)
- Ridicule of others as being gay, nonconforming of gender roles, Jewish, Muslim, etc.
- Downplaying claims of prejudice as truth or observation
It is not enough to ignore these sentiments when you experience them because others are likely experiencing them as well. By staying silent, you are leaving your own livelihood up to the will of others. Resist.