If I were the proverbial person from Mars and you wanted to convince me that Naziism/white supremacy is gaining a foothold in US society and politics, these aren’t convincing examples.
A guy in Illinois with no chance of winning who was completely disavowed by the GOP
20 people holding signs.
Steve King who has been in Congress 15 years. During that time he’s said ignorant and racist things but he’s not an insurgent Nazi.
Probably a good choice to start with three mild examples. You don’t want to freak out the Martian with Stephen Miller and his ilk, since we don’t know how they’d react to a serious concern. But seriously, numbers have nothing to do with it. If there are only 40 Nazis in the whole country and they’re all in the White House, does that make it less scary? Frankly I’d say it’s the opposite.
Now, I get what you’re saying about abusing the meanings of words (such as Nazism), but holding too tightly to the definition is equally unhelpful. The core defining belief of Nazism is white supremacy, and someone who agrees strongly with the Nazis on that core principle, but doesn’t agree with their view on railway pensions can, in my opinion, still be called a Nazi, even if they’re not actually a member of a 30’s German worker’s party. We’re just going to need to differ on that score.
It should go without saying you can find people with loathesome views. You can find violent racists. What I see totally lacking is a popular appeal that would give Nazis/white supremacists power. The pathetic turnout for the recent “rally” supports my view.
And yet Stephen Miller gained power without popular appeal. It’s almost as if Nazis care more about power than popularity, and that there are avenues to power that bypass popularity altogether.
In these discussions I see the definitions blurred so that Nazi becomes a general slur against positions that may be objectionable but don’t belong to Nazis/white supremacists, like nativist/anti-immigrant positions. Those ideas have had some sway throughout our history. I don’t like those views either.
Nativism and anti-immigrant positions are almost always racially tinged. i.e. there was a Chinese Exclusion Act, but no consideration of an accompanying English Exclusion Act. It wasn’t about immigrants, it was never about immigrants, it was about those immigrants. And today, our government compares Norway favorably to “shithole countries” when discussing immigration. Modern anti-immigrant sentiment is almost always very poorly masked racism. Poorly masked only because people are masking a lot less than they used to in the recent past. I’m sure you can find one anti-immigrant crusader who wants to shut down Portuguese immigration just as much as Vietnamese immigration, but that is not representative of the whole. Is racism the same as white supremacy? No, not in my book. There are far more simple racists in the world than outright Nazis. But with regards to Steve King, you can only promote neo-Nazis and recommend neo-Nazi books so many times before, hey, maybe this “aww shucks I’m just an ignorant bigot that likes to read Nazi stuff, I’m not a Nazi myself” excuse wears pretty thin, to the point of unbelievability.
The idea that civil society is done and there’s a whole bunch of Hitlerites running around that need punching is not supported by the facts.
We survived our last major Republic-threatening bout with white supremacists and ended up better for it. We could certainly survive this one as well, hopefully with a lower body count.
The need to punch Nazis is not related to civil society or the lack thereof. Nazism has a long and sordid history of enforcing the rules of civil society when it suited them, and ignoring them completely when it didn’t. They operate outside civil society, waiting for an opportunity to take over. Today they don’t have a huge popular following, I agree, but they do have unprecedented funding and connections, and a recent track record of turning functional pluralist democracies like Poland into minority rule Nazi states in a very short timeframe. I posit they’re seeing the present situation as their opportunity.