By Daniel A Verner
April 4th, 2018
Anyone who has paid attention to the news and social media over the last twenty four months or so might have noticed a remarkable return of Nazi’s to the public square… Or at least we’re told. Since at least the 1980’s, the easiest way to shut down an argument is to call the opponent a racist, sexist, homophobe, or any other combination of “noun” plus “phobe.” Referring to people with such attacks on their identity is an effort to dehumanize a political opponent. Doing so formerly guaranteed the end of any discussion despite the content of ideas. Now it’s not so simple.
Oddly enough, diluting the meaning of such pointed invective has a deleterious effect on the political discourse in society. The problem becomes apparent when the language has to become harsher as a result of making the previous words meaningless through their oversaturation. Calling someone a racist now is practically meaningless, and to a swath of activists encapsulates every single person solely for being a member of American society. The term Nazi is moving along the same pathway, moving from the far right, and slowly creeping leftward.
Along with the migration of the term Nazi comes “internalized oppression.” The belief that minorities hate themselves if they do not hew to rigid ideological lines, because nothing says anti-racist like assuming what someone should think based on their skin color. When “Nazi” and “internalized oppression” meet, look out, because it won’t matter who you are, what you identify as, who you love. You will be surely placed in front of the firing squad, because we’ve already established that violence against Nazis is socially acceptable. How long until acceptable violence becomes acceptable execution?
What we’re witnessing underneath it all is the rejection of any rightward movement of the Overton Window. The Overton Window is the space that represents acceptable discourse. Limits on immigration, privatization, state’s rights and a myriad of other conservative viewpoints are essentially unspeakable in the mainstream at this moment. The coordinates of the origin for the Overton Window are skewed towards the left authoritarian matrix. The street-level thuggish violence we’re seeing from Berkeley to Portland to Boston and all the way to Hamburg, Germany is a primitive reaction to the pendulum coming back, hopefully toward the center.
I believe the ideal of free speech as stated by Voltaire is imperative to a civil society, that dialogue needs to occur because “those that make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.” The activists screaming “Shut this shit down” and “No platform for hate speech” leave no space for anything but conflict by refusing to engage in dialogue, leaving the distinct impression they lack ideas. The open exchange of ideas is a value that must be defended, because without it, you can say goodbye to civil society. Once you conflate language with violence, you conflate assault with self-defense. At best, these hipster LARPers that romanticize revolution gloss over the oceans of blood and the millions that have died, and at worst they fully understand the costs yet charge full-bore ahead, due to their mistaken sense of moral superiority. There is no greater monster in history but the person who can rationalize their horrible treatment of other humans as not only just, but necessary.
Once violence becomes rationalized and practiced by one side, the other side responds in kind. This begins a feedback loop and we will witness an escalation of conflict. The far left sees the ghost of Adolf Hitler everywhere while ignoring the spirit of Mao in their ranks. Their hypervigilance only feeds into the aforementioned feedback loop. I’m personally not one to care which foot wears the boot that is on my neck; I reject extremism on all sides. That said, when I type these words, I feel anxiety only about the reaction from the far left. I worry about the safety of my person and property being exposed to the devices of cowards in black, with their faces obscured by masks. These moral Puritans whom we had hoped were behind us have returned like the nightmare of history weighing on the living. The heightened paranoia of the far left, combined with the hardening of their views within their echo chamber, would be hilarious if it didn’t result in the physical assault upon the rights of others.
The use of the term “Nazi” to describe conservatives, or anyone for that matter, adulterates the invective. Millions died as a result of Nazism, and anyone who haphazardly tosses around the term invariably spits on the memory of those dead. “Nazi” should be reserved for the absolute worst totalitarian ideologues, not the guy or girl who’d like to see less illegal immigration. Ironically enough, using “Nazi” to dehumanize completely obfuscates what should be clear: Nazi’s were human beings, therefor all of us contain the seed of the tyrant within us. It’s of paramount importance that we investigate how we can avoid the calamitous mistakes of the 20th century.
“the opinions expressed within this article are of the author himself and do not represent the Liberalists as a movement”