Monday, July 6, 2020

The Nazi Paradox Meets Bubba's Noose

Here's what I don't get about neo-Nazis, and have tried to grok since grade school. If I understand correctly, this is their essential rap:
The Jews are subhuman parasites who should be exterminated. And the Holocaust was a hoax. It's a slanderous lie to say the Nazis exterminated the subhuman parasites who absolutely deserve extermination.
Weird, no? They're indignant that their peeps would be accused of doing the central thing they advocate. It's like the NBA screaming bloody murder at accusations that their players dribble.

The odd thing is that in the 35 years I've been slowly grinding away at this paradox, not one speck of additional evidence has materialized. No connections have crept up, no metaphors conjured, no corollaries developed. It's just a singular puzzle, unique so far as I can tell.

Until now.

Bubba Wallace, the NASCAR driver who reported finding a noose in his garage after demanding that NASCAR drop the Confederate flag, has been accused (mostly/only by President Trump, so far as I can determine) of lying about it.

Which, hey, is possible. With a population of 328 million, anything/everything imaginable can and will happen here and there. So that's not the interesting question for me.

What draws my interest is the fact that the sort of person who'd cry "Hoax" is precisely the sort of person who'd leave a noose in the garage of someone attacking the Confederate flag. The pro-noose people are also the noose skeptics. I have trouble processing this, and, as I made the effort, it immediately associated with the other paradox.

If I understand correctly, this is the rap:
"God bless the Confederacy, and god damn the darkies, who ought to be strung up from trees, and who push the slanderous lie that there are people out there who'd string them up from trees."
I'm still confused - by the paradox, not by the hatred part, which feels completely non-mysterious.
In fact, the hatred part is, more than anything, boring. An old meme. A last gasp.

When, in 1977, the American Nazi Party marched in Skokie, a town with many concentration camp survivors - a demonstration which many of us supported as a civil liberty test case - those guys were bona fide scary, but we all laughed at the absurd goose-stepping relics, dismissed as lunatic fringe. Forty years later, a gaggle of pasty-faced citronella-bearing douchebags gather in Charlottesville, and scabby losers like Steve Bannon claim hilariously to be the master race, but the intervening decades of comparative tolerance make them seem like a titanic threat. As hatred slowly fades, remaining specks strike us as disproportionally worrisome.

As I wrote here
By the time we're down to our very last Nazi (some geezer raving and saluting from his electric scooter), we'll all be so unhinged by his presence that we'll jump in the ocean and drown en masse like lemmings.
While the hatred part of the equation strikes me as a last gasp of a fading perspective (consider the elderly demographics of the hardcore MAGAs) the other part - the paradox - continues to puzzle. But I now have two data points to consider; not just one. Thanks, President Trump.

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