They’re afraid! And not very bright.


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.

Comments

  1. rpjohnston says

    The only good Nazi…

    Of course there will be the usual huffing about “so much for liberal tolerance” which erroneously assumes that Nazis deserve rights and safety. Which a lot of liberals will still grant by knee-jerk. But we’re getting there.

  2. says

    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.

    I know there’s the world’s tiniest violin, but I had no idea it was part of the world’s tiniest orchestra.

  3. Ed Seedhouse says

    @1: ” assumes that Nazis deserve rights and safety”

    Rights are something you get, not deserve. So yeah, Nazis get the same rights that everyone else does, because nearly all countries these days do that. No one has the “right” to be liked, or to be listened to.

  4. Steve Cameron says

    I remember hearing on a radio program — it might have been BBC’s In Our Time — that Neitzsche’s sister, who was in charge of his estate (and his considerable archives) after he died, was the one who had the fascist leanings. She selectively published or kept in print certain works of his over others which supported her ideology, and was a supporter of the National Socialist party before her death in the 1930s. She was the one who put together the writings that became The Will to Power. It was due to her more than anyone that the Nazi’s regarded Neitzsche like they did.

  5. Zeppelin says

    One big problem with the reception of Nietzsche is people reading him in translation. A lot of his aphorisms are basically puns/poetry, and translation obscures what he wrote because it sounded good, contained a clever allusion or made for an interesting linguistic thought experiment, and what he intended to be taken literally and at face value. I’m told he’s very popular in Japan — I can’t begin to imagine what they make of him, with the translation issue plus the great cultural distance.

  6. rpjohnston says

    @ 4 If “everyone” had the same rights then there would be no such thing as prisons. The very concept of criminal law is that there are some offenses for which rights can be removed. The very concept of SOCIETY is that we form a social contract, agreeing to abide by some restrictions on our behavior, because if we abrogate that, attempting to exert power over society, then society will respond with force and destroy us.

    The argument is where society draws those limits. Nazis want to make a society where those limits would put me, you, and a hell of a lot of other people on the shit list. We should put them on the shit list, instead.

  7. Larry says

    “The thought of getting outed as ‘white supremacists’ to our employers and possibly losing our jobs is a horrifying prospect,”

    In 1914, future associate Justice of the SCOTUS, Louis Brandeis, wrote Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.

    We need to keep on doing what we’re doing until these vermin crawl back into their holes.

  8. tbtabby says

    I’m reminded of Action Philosophers #1, which had Nietzsche assaulting Hitler and Leopold & Loeb for perverting his philosophy.Wish I could find some scans.

  9. Jeremy Shaffer says

    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’s also a lot easier for them to get their way if they seem numerically insurmountable to the average person, and going completely public would probably reveal them to be a small but vocal group of shit stains. This is why they suggest “hiding their power levels.” In reality there really isn’t that many of them, but they can make it seem like they’re much larger so long as the average person never realizes that it’s mostly just same revolving and mostly bussed-in personalities showing up for their rallies. More, once more people cotton on to the fact that as a whole they can’t even outnumber local counter-protesters their power will fade quickly.

  10. coragyps says

    Quite a few folks here in red red Texas are very apprehensive about coming out publicly as Democrats. No kidding, folks are scared of losing their jobs, or at least missing out on advancement, for not being a Trumpite. How real those fears really are, I can’t say. But when I was still employed in the oilfield, I mostly kept my mouth shut about politics.

    But fuck Nazis, in any case…..

  11. davidnangle says

    They can always wear some kind of hood, one that represents the color they most identify with. Perhaps something simple of construction, visible from a long distance in a crowd… Hmmm.

  12. Ed Seedhouse says

    @7: I don’t think you understand what “rights” are and are not in your constitution. Up north here we have a somewhat different constitution. But the concept of “rights” is very similar since both our constitutions share a common ancestor to a certain extent.

    Up here, for instance, your right to free movement can be suspended by a criminal conviction, but you still keep your right to “security of the person”, your right to vote, and your right to free expression. When your custodial sentence and parole is over your right to free movement is restored automatically. We don’t kill prisoners up here although many wish we would.

    We, like you, are signatories of the U.N. charter of human rights. A human right is a right you have because you are human. It doesn’t depend of what kind of a person you are.

    The extent to which a right may be suspended due to, e.g. criminality, is also set out each of our, constitutions so far as I know.

  13. rpjohnston says

    Nah actually Ed, the KinG determines what right you have and don’t have. Really, the King is the only one with any rights at all.

    But, see, while people like YOU were saying that, other people were saying “fuck that shit let’s do it differently”. And then they did.

    You can blabber fatalistically all you like about the current state of affairs, but that will become irrelevant. Either Nazis will win and you can whine “but this is unconstitutional under the old order!” to their firing squad, or anti-Nazis will win, and you can gripe into the void.

    But really pompous pontificating about the current order isn’t of interest to me, I’m interested in the future

  14. rcs619 says

    Real talk, nazis and nazi-adjacent. Huddle up y’all and take a knee

    If you sincerely hold these beliefs, but are completely terrified to actually be associated with them for fear of being publicly shamed, shunned by your peers and potentially losing your employment… maybe that’s a sign that those beliefs are wrong? Maybe you’re actually on the wrong side here? Maybe you actually need to take a real look at the real-world you live in and sort a few things out?

    I’m just sayin’ that the people who advocate for equal rights and representation, egalitarian ideals and so on, don’t tend to be so afraid to say that they believe in them.

    It could be that there’s a reason for that.

  15. Zeppelin says

    @rcs619: Nah, that’s fallacious, that’s just the argumentum ad populum. You could say the exact same thing to an atheist in Pakistan, for example. It’s entirely possible for a despised fringe group to be right. And conversely Nazis would still be scum even if everyone loved them.

  16. leerudolph says

    I highly recommend The Nietzsche Family Circus. The random pairing I got just now, checking to see that the site’s still up and working (it is), was an image of Billy talking into a landline handset captioned with Friedrich’s words “What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.”

  17. Ed Seedhouse says

    @15: I hope your ignorance about your own country is not as vast as it is about mine. I rather suspect it is though – uncharitable of me I suppose.

    BTW, we’ve had a Queen since 1953, not a King. And since confederation in 1868 we’ve had Queens on the throne for more years than we’ve had Kings. The Queen does not sign Canada’s laws, someone chosen by the Canadian Parliament does that.

    Our rights and freedoms do not depend on what kind of person you are, in theory at least, though of course we often fall well short of that in practice.

  18. says

    Let’s pretend for fun that Nietzsche was in fact a flagrant racist, indeed a white supremacist, and that fuckers like Richard Spencer are right to ejaculate supremely white spooge all over themselves when reading Nietzsche’s writings.

    How does “X was a racist” translate to “racism is fine” for any value of X? Racism would have to be shown to be meritorious in some way independent of even its brainiest, most respected proponent. Francis Collins seems like a perfectly brilliant scientist, but his theological convictions don’t inspire me to rush out and join the Christ crowd.

  19. unclefrogy says

    I do not understand how anyone who is a white supremacist and/or a nazi can be surprised that they might get some negative repercussions if they come out too publicly. After all they are advocating violence and suppression of some arbitrary segments of the population namely those who they do not like and all those who disagree with them they think they should be even supported and protected by the hated government while they are advocating nothing less than the scrapping of the principles that the country was founded upon by “any means necessary”. they really do think like children.
    uncle frogy

  20. chrislawson says

    So you want to murder people by the million but you’re afraid you might lose your job for saying so? Such intolerance from the left!

  21. says

    chrislawson

    So you want to murder people by the million

    For a given definition of “people”. They’re teary and upset that no-one in the real world agrees with their racism.

  22. says

    Good grief, this isn’t even “doxxing”. Doxxing is when you take an anonymous person, figure out their identity, and associate it with their anonymous work. These people are showing up in their own identities and names at rallies, no masks or disguises. “I painted my phone number on the side of my car, why am I getting phone calls from strangers?”

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