The alt-right is engaging in a concerted campaign to modernize and mainstream Nazi beliefs. The Nazi beliefs of the ‘30s and ‘40s were appealing to many people of their time. This was an era when eugenics was popular on both sides of the Atlantic and racism didn’t need to be cloaked in rhetoric in order to gain popularity and political power. Over the past seven decades, our culture has changed. For a long time, Nazi ideology and culture stayed largely the same, continued by small outcast groups of Neo Nazis. Over the past decade, however, that ideology has started to rebrand, starting with Richard Spencer coining the term “alt right” in 2008. The alt-right Nazis are determined to change their image and go mainstream.
In November, the National Socialist Movement, an American Neo-Nazi group, decided to retire the swastika as its symbol. Their leader, Jeff Schoep, said in the New York Times that the move was “an attempt to become more integrated and more mainstream.” Andrew Anglin, the founder of the Neo Nazi site The Daily Stormer, called the alt-right a “reboot of the White Nationalist movement.” Comments on alt-right forums abound with a keen awareness of the need to soften the image (but not the beliefs) of the racist right. As one commenter wrote on Occidental Dissent, an alt-right blog, “Certain things cannot be at the forefront of this movement: Nazism, violence, etc. Put our most attractive face forward.” The ideology has not changed, Nazi beliefs never do. They are just expressed in more “politically correct” ways now, to attract new adherents and gain more positive press attention – and it’s working.
A particularly fascinating and disturbing example of this rebranding surrounds the concept of “the master race.” In the ‘30s and ‘40s, Nazis talked about the master race, or Herrenrasse, as the white Aryan race, which required protection from dilution of race mixing. The 1935 Nuremberg Race laws outlawed sex and marriage between Aryans and non-Aryans, to keep the race pure. Modern-day alt-right Nazis don’t explicitly talk about the master race anymore, but the concept is still key to their beliefs. The master race concept has been rebranded as “white genocide.” Alt-right Nazis believe that white people are dwindling in number thanks to interracial mixing and immigration. So, like the 1935 Race Laws, they see race mixing as a threat to the purity of the white bloodline. White genocide is the exact same concept as the master race, seen from the other side. You could say that “white genocide” means “diluting the master race,” and “building the master race” means “preventing white genocide.” While demographic change is real, it is in no way a genocide, and doesn’t involve killing anyone. The “master race” is about keeping the Aryan/white bloodline pure. “White genocide” is about keeping the white bloodline pure. They are one and the same.
Purveyors of the white genocide concept are quite clear that it does not involve killing. The White Genocide Project (read: Master Race Project) declares that white genocide fulfills the UN Genocide Convention definition of, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” by, in their words, “forcing White areas to accept diversity.” Elsewhere on the site, they say that “diversity is a codeword for white genocide.” Which, of course, means that white genocide is a code word for diversity. None of this is liberal interpretation of white supremacist rhetoric – it’s how the alt-right white supremacist Nazis themselves describe it. All of these are direct quotes from their website. There is no definition of white genocide that means killing white people. And unless you’re a white supremacist, there’s no such thing as white genocide at all. There’s just diversity, immigration, and interracial relationships.
There’s an advantage for the alt-right to talking about “white genocide” – the word genocide is so horrifying to our modern sensibilities that it immediately provokes a reaction. No decent person in 2017 can support genocide, right? The very utterance of the word demands that we abhor it. The alt-right Nazis have learned how to exploit liberal social justice culture in their quest to destroy it.
The power of the “white genocide” rebranding was tested to great success on Christmas Eve. A Drexel University professor, George Cicciarello Maher, tweeted, “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.” Now, remember. White genocide is code for diversity. It does not mean killing. Alt-right Twitter went into overdrive, screaming in faux outrage, demanding that Ciccariello-Maher be fired. Drexel University responded with a statement on Christmas saying, “Drexel became aware today of Associate Professor George Ciccariello-Maher’s inflammatory tweet, which was posted on his personal Twitter account on Dec. 24, 2016. While the University recognizes the right of its faculty to freely express their thoughts and opinions in public debate, Professor Ciccariello-Maher’s comments are utterly reprehensible, deeply disturbing, and do not in any way reflect the values of the University. The University is taking this situation very seriously. We contacted Ciccariello-Maher today to arrange a meeting to discuss this matter in detail.”
Spurred by alt-right Nazi internet trolls, Drexel said Professor Cicciarello Maher’s statement in support of diversity was reprehensible and disturbing. And that demonstrates the power of the “white genocide” rebranding. Imagine if Cicciarello Maher had said, “I am opposed to the concept of the Master Race.” Is that disturbing? Reprehensible? Of course not, but it has the exact same meaning as being in support of “white genocide.” So why is it reprehensible and disturbing to be in support of white genocide? It isn’t, unless you are a Nazi. So either Drexel University is run by Nazis, or, more likely, it’s run by people easily bamboozled by modern-day Nazi rhetoric. Remember that every time someone says “stop white genocide,” they mean “build the master race.” Nazi beliefs rebrand but they do not change.
Photo: David Shankbone/Creative Commons