So I’m posting a lot of stuff on politics.
And I get emails about the words I choose to use.
As if I did so by accident, or casually.
(So, you know, clearly not emails from people who know me.)
Anyway, I wanted to speak to that topic.
There’s a desire for temperance. I get it.
Don’t escalate a situation. Don’t meet charged language with more charged language.
But here’s the thing.
If I see racism, or fascism (nascent or not, doesn’t matter), or bigotry, I prepare for that thing I see.
Hitler went from “the guy that won the election” to “no one in this country can stop my control” within forty days of taking power.
Because people went along until it was too late.
You want to mutter about Godwin’s Law? This isn’t applicable.
I’m not calling someone Hitler because they wrote my HOA about leash laws.
I’m saying we have fascists and neo-nazis actively supporting our president-elect.
This was Washington D.C., two days ago:
[Spencer] railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back.
Please, tell me how I’m fear-mongering or worrying about things that could never happen in America.
Please, tell me how I’m applying harsh labels too quickly.
Godwin’s Law isn’t relevant if you are talking about Nazis, you know? Fun fact.
There is a train coming. A full-on, diesel-powered machine, and it is gaining speed.
If we act like it’s going to brake at the last minute, or as if it isn’t a “train”, not really, not in America, surely…
We are going to get run, the fuck, over.
If hindsight proves I overreacted? I will dance a jig.
No cutesy nicknames from 4chan.
These are Fascists. Racists. Bigots. Nazis.
6 Replies to “On Charged Language”
Relevant: Fascism is an exponential process – https://twitter.com/pookleblinky/status/797723094811082752
I think the most tragic part of that series of comments was the idea that the only way to stop the rise of fascism was to "smash it brutally". Because you don't smash ideas, you smash people. If you smash enough people who hold a given idea, the idea becomes nonviable in the marketplace of ideas and it ends. But that's a terrible way to protect peace.
Agreed, but as always, consider the source – the 'smash fascists to win' advice was, literally, advice from Hitler.
From that quote, my takeaway is going to be "don't wait to act until it gets bad enough to directly bother you."
I get that part. :) I'm torn on how to interpret it, though. If he was serious about it, I'll at least give him credit for knowing his subject matter… And even if he wasn't, the idea that somebody else might take him at his word is also scary.
I'd absolutely consider him a fair expert on what might have worked against his own group. I say "act" and he said "brutally smash" – I'll happily chalk that up to my difference in mindset.
But that goes back to the question "what action is enough action, then?" because you don't want to take it too easy and fail, and neither do you want to become brutal yourself. I doubt the answer will be polite debates and "see what happens," because past is prelude, and it has never been enough.
It's ugly, and it's not going away; even if it's beat back at this point in time, it would be silly to assume it would be functionally eradicated. This kind of stuff – this mindset of fear and xenophobia and bias and bigotry has literally been around – hell, legislated – since before the founding of the nation. Rejecting or banning Irish immigrants all the way back to 1704. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1866 (not repealed until 1943). The naturalization act of 1790. Nazi rally's in Madison Square Garden in 1939. Rejecting Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. What Trump's talking about is both horrible, and yet nothing more than a reskinning of what has been America's "normal" since before the founding of the country.
This is just one battle. It's just our turn to march up Mount Doom.
And christ that was depressing.
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