Nazis loooooove Nietzsche. Or at least, their idea of Nietzsche — the problem is that they don’t understand him. It does make for amusing reading to see someone with a basic understanding of his philosophy tear into Richard Spencer’s juvenile comprehension.
Nietzsche was a lot of things — iconoclast, recluse, misanthrope — but he wasn’t a racist or a fascist. He would have shunned the white identity politics of the Nazis and the alt-right. That he’s been hijacked by racists and fascists is partly his fault, though. His writings are riddled with contradictions and puzzles. And his fixation on the future of humankind is easily confused with a kind of social Darwinism.
But in the end, people find in Nietzsche’s work what they went into it already believing. Which is why the alt-right, animated as they are by rage and discontent, find in Nietzsche a mirror of their own resentments. If you’re seeking a reason to reject a world you don’t like, you can find it anywhere, especially in Nietzsche.
It reminds me of that quote from A Fish Called Wanda.
Otto: Apes don’t read philosophy.
Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don’t understand it.
But while they’re just dull-witted apes, they’ve got a dangerous agenda and can do great harm to the country. That’s why it’s good news to learn that the Nazis are terrified right now.
In the days since the Charlottesville rally and as white nationalists have been identified in photos on social media, white supremacists have fretted —often self-pityingly—about the risks posed by social media mobs bent on exposing their identities. In one forum thread on the Daily Stormer, which recently went dark after being cut off by both Google and GoDaddy, a user lamented that the peril of doxxing made attending a rally too scary for him. “The thought of getting outed as ‘white supremacists’ to our employers and possibly losing our jobs is a horrifying prospect,” the user Ignatz wrote. If forced to choose between a rally, which could bring him unwanted exposure, or supporting his white family, he says he would choose the latter.
That’s a bit alien to me — I have the kind of job, with tenure, that would allow me to come out as a white supremacist with little risk of losing my income (losing the respect of all of my colleagues is another thing). I don’t, not because I’m afraid of getting fired, but because this white superiority bullshit is wrong. And I can also use those protections to openly decry racism and misogyny, as every tenured professor should.
Those in the movement who would dare to self-doxx are in the minority, though they exist. “Of course you’re going to have some of those guys who are out there publishing under their own names like Richard Spencer, and there’s constant arguments among the right wingers about whether everyone should [go public],” says Hankes. In the forums, one user struck a defiant tone after being doxxed, vowing “never to cuck out” despite public threats against them. “But, by and large, people are scared because of the exact same reasons you’d expect,” says Hankes. “It’s hard to get a job, hard to make a living, hard to have a normal social life when all your friends and family know you believe in ethnic cleansing.”
It seems just to me. You should have a hard time fitting in and finding support from your community if what you do is advocate is the murder and forced emigration of members of that community.
It’s only appropriate to close with another movie quote, and yes, I am aware of the irony of the fact that the humans in this movie are the fascists.