A recent Cracked post here summarizes the arguments on why punching Nazis like Richard Spencer is counter-productive. Basically, it’s like rubbing your itchy eyes when your have allergies: no matter how good it feels, it’s just making matters worse.
One big reason is that punching Spencer lets him play the victim card. Now, you may point out this seems ridiculous when the guy who’s whining about getting punched in the face also celebrated a fellow white supremacist literally murdering multiple Muslims in Quebec with this tweet:
… but this misses the point. You see, hypocrisy is not a bug of white supremacy and white nationalism, nor even a feature, but an absolutely critical component.
One central tenet of the Big Lie school of propaganda, beloved by both fascists and the far left, is to always accuse your enemies of that which you yourself are guilty of. For instance, fascists love to accuse others of censoring their viewpoints and trampling their First Amendment rights, despite the fact that fascists themselves instantly eliminate freedom of speech once in power. And as a corollary, they will cry to the heavens about any slight, real or imagined, suffered by themselves — but laugh and taunt when worse things happen to their enemies.
This hypocrisy exists because they feel like they deserve it. That white people deserve to get held to a better standard or, more accurately, that others deserve to be held to a worse standard. That a Nazi getting punched is worse than a Muslim getting shot because, for Spencer and other white supremacists, an innocent Muslim getting shot is on its own a moral good.
On this last part, white supremacists differ from their white nationalist cousins, and I hate that we are even having to devote energy to this ridiculous distinction, but it’s 2017 and here we are. And the two factions diverge from the same alt.right that held together until just after they helped get Trump elected.
White supremacists are today’s successors to the Klan and the Third Reich, and they are the racist boogeymen you learn of starting in grade school. There is no limit to their hate; more importantly, there is no strategy to their evil. What these guys never understood is that their nakedly evil rhetoric is precisely what keeps them on the fringes of society. Hardly anyone — not even hard-bitten Long Island Republicans or Milo-style trolls — wants to go that far.
And then we have the white nationalists, who are of course the real story of what’s going on these days. They apparently found their WS cousins useful during the campaign as shock troopers, but after Trump pulled off his win, they not-so-subtly parted ways, as evidenced by the split between Spencer and his WN counterpart, Mike Cernovich:
“There’s the alt-right [Cernovich said] which wants to do white identity politics, and then there’s people like me and Jeff [Giesea] who, we want to do nationalism without white identity politics… The alt-right’s dead.'”
This from the guy who gladly described himself as alt-right up until he no longer needed to. Notorious Trump fanatic Bill Mitchell followed his lead, disavowing the alt-right and protesting to anyone who listens that he’s not a Nazi.
Nevertheless, the white nationalists share so many things in common with the white supremacists, that it doesn’t make sense to call them anything besides white nationalists, and not the term “economic nationalist” that’s preferred by the most powerful among their number, Steve Bannon.
To be sure, they are smarter than the WS’s. They understand that the scary rhetoric from Spencer, Daily Stormer head Andrew Anglin, and low-level Nazis at the local bar or online forum deeply offend the average voter and are never going to make it in the mainstream. They know they have to work with existing institutions such as elections, rather than pinning their hopes on fantasies of a violent race war. And while they may be working to make America whiter, they happily utilize black allies such as Sheriff David Clarke or gay Jews such as Milo. After all, unlike WS’s, they don’t want people of different races, sexualities, or religions wiped out in a genocide. They’re quite alright with them, as long as they all live elsewhere and/or accept second-class status.
On this, our American WNs were taught well by their European peers. When Cernovich slams a WS for trying to bring up the “Jewish Question,” it’s not because he gives a damn about the Jews. It’s because he knows perfectly well that European WN parties with decades of experience such as the National Front, Sweden Democrats and UKIP only gained success by also (at least publicly) shunning such speech. They do quite well compared to Britain’s openly WS party, the BNP, which has faded to irrelevancy. Old racist hobbyhorses like the “Jewish Question” or reminiscing about lynchings are sure losers and have no place in the new politics. Nobody understands the new order better than the former (?) head of Breitbart, and Bannon knows we aren’t restarting old battles from the 1930s.
Bannon knows that now, it isn’t about oppressing minorities. It’s instead about privileging members of the majority. It isn’t coming down hard on opponents of the regime. It’s about unfairly enriching friends of the regime. It isn’t about actively hating women. It’s about only looking after the interests of men. By at least papering over the virulent hate that defines the WS movement, the WN’s message becomes acceptable to a large percentage of regular mainstream people and their quite valid concerns about open-borders immigration and the selfishness of our current ruling class, concerns which Bannon correctly observes are only addressed by political movements resembling his own.
But though they quite loudly split from their WS cousins soon after the election, they are still cut from the same stuff. After all, just a few months ago, the two flavors of fascism were working together, hand in glove. They agree on most of the big issues, after all: that America and Europe should be mostly white; that all of Islam, and not just the radicals like ISIS, constitute a grave enemy; that women should again become chattel, concerned only with Kinder, Küche, Kirche; and that they hate the liberal globalists so badly that any strategy, no matter how ethically wrong, is fair game — and that includes the Big Lie.
Thus, we have a Trump White House that most definitely does not believe in the Golden Rule or turning the cheek, but that your enemies should be hurting far worse than you are, or else you’re doing it wrong. Or as Trump himself said, “Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it.”
Steve Bannon is not going to throw people in ovens or otherwise revive the Third Reich, as much as the WS wants it and as much as some alarmists fear it. But not because of any moral reason. It’s because the Third Reich lost, and if there’s one thing that Trump and Bannon believe in, it’s winning.
And he knows pointless oppression against blacks or Jews is counterproductive and would soon get his protegé impeached. But Muslims? Only the Left seems to care about them these days, and keeping Left and Right at each other’s throat is just an added bonus to oppressing a people that Bannon truly despises. Keeping Left and Right fighting each other while the ruling class does what it wants was a favored trick of Bush 43 and Obama, and Bannon wasted no time appropriating it.
Read Breitbart articles, especially pre-Trump archives (but post- Bannon taking over after the founder’s death), to get a good appreciation of what’s in store for the country. Breitbart is not the Daily Stormer and Bannon is not a Nazi. But he’s coming from the same zip code, at least, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.