Words Made Meaningless Carry Consequences

Massacres are to history what thorns are to roses. Man’s record is besmirched by reoccurring mass killings. Some of these, such as the Nanking Massacre or St. Bartholomew’s Night, are remembered. Others are forgotten due to the lack of information, such as when they happen in countries that some prefer not to know too much about. In other cases, the butchery, as in the case of Katyn, is knowingly memory holed as their recall complicates international relations. In that respect, the guiding principle seems to be, “our needed SOBs, have done it to poor bastards we can do without”.

While we indulge in the selective recall of carnage, it is becoming acceptable to declass parties, views, and countries by using accusatory terms that refer to mass murder that do not quite fit. The leading mislabel-of-the-day is “fascist”, followed by “racist”, right wing, and the like which are all meant as a synonyms.

Misusing terms that refer to murderous systems has several reasons. When National Socialism took power in Germany, Moscow’s international Socialists wished to retain a monopoly on “socialist”. Therefore, the USSR insisted upon calling the Nazis “Fascists” and referred to “Hitler Fascism” to distinguish it from the real McCoy in Mussolini’s Italy. Alas, genuine fascism, regardless of the subsequent “Axis”, differs from socialism’s national mutant. Nevertheless, Moscow’s chosen terminology has redefined the meaning of “Fascism” and is a reason for the term’s current usage.

The above reveals that Fascist, as used currently, is not defined by the term’s proper meaning; it has become a verbal baseball bat swung at anyone that commits the sin of disrespecting PC norms. Indeed, to demolish, the phrase is well chosen. “Fascism” is associated with total defeat and, since the Germans had the technology, its crimes are well documented. In this respect, it is understandable that “commie” and “Stalinist” are less used being of reduced effectiveness. The witnesses are dead. Total military defeat could be avoided and the “nomenklatura” could hang on to the party-state’s wealth. Newly re-minted as democratic socialists, the comrades remain influential in several countries and in assorted parties –not always openly of the left.

Although Communism, admittedly advantaged by ruling a larger territory than the Third Reich’s, murdered close to one hundred million persons and the Nazis only about 11, the latter make a better ghoul than the former. Calling someone a Stalinist will not crush the intended target even if the term fits. There is a related travesty. Leftist are totalitarians who, while being anti-Nazis since their alliance collapsed, do not become democrats and anti-collectivists. They merely wish to demolish the “competition”.

Ignorance of the dangerous variety that is unaware of its limited vision, contributes to the magic of the charge of Fascism and the like. The half-informed who nurture the illusion of being experts, keep misleading allusions politically alive. A point is made by a quote, attributed to Rep. Clyburn, taken from a newsletter: “Having studied history and having taught history, I can only equate one period of time with what we are experiencing now, and that was what was going on in Germany around 1934, right after the 1932 elections when Adolf Hitler was elected chancellor.”

Having also “studied history” makes the writer cringe. In addition, “having taught” and written history, his hope is that in his case no comparable distortion can be proven. Let it be stated that anyone who opines that the Trump presidency and Hitler’s elevation to the Chancellorship –by the way, through intrigue and not through an “election”- is analogous, suffers from a distorted vision. The perception that the US today and Germany’s condition in 1933 is identical is superficial, the claimed analogy is based on slanted facts. Charging “you are a Fascist” just because you dislike someone is not only bad history, but also bad politics that deserves punishment.

Hitler references (as well as holocaust denials from the Right) are preferred weapons because they require no thinking and rate as devastating. That is so, although most comparisons limp and betray not much about the accused even if they unmask the accuser’s defective awareness. This curse is often paired with overlooking instances when the Left resembles the Nazis. Accordingly, rioters are called –if they protest Trump- demonstrators. Right of center rallies, even if peaceful, are a violent mob.

Regrettably, some Jews, mainly those that “were not there”, also engage in Pavlovian label swinging. Yes, anti-Semitism exists -even amidst migrants that claim to be anti-Zionist. Some of us prove “inclusiveness” by conveniently ignoring that. It is easier to find the ailment where one wishes it to be. Revealingly, the parliament’s leader in Hungary’s post-Communist “rightist” government was a Jew. Can you guess who was accused of anti-Semitism?

Nowadays, in several countries, Mr. Soros is, to understate the matter, persona non-grata. Clearly evidence of the anti-Semitism of fascism there! A welcome excuse to discount a general problem –unlimited migration advocated by Soros- that would need to be addressed.

Actually, while there are people –who have never met a Jew- that curse Soros as a “Jew”, the “anti-Soros campaign” does not mention his origins. There is more to it than that: Netanyahu, hardly your typical fascist-Arian warrior, discovers Soros as being behind the campaign against, gulp, Israel.

It is unwise when someone who attempts to win a case calls everything to the right of the center “Fascist”. It is equally foolish when a Jew attempts to prevail by calling his critics anti-Semitic. A studio in old Hollywood used to have a sign “Here it is not enough to be a Hungarian”. Well, to be right, it is not enough to be a Jew, and to prove evil, it does not suffice to unearth the devil’s Israeli background.

Let us clear our optics. Racism is when you disadvantage someone because of his inherited traits. It is equally racist to give preference or immunity to an individual because of his attributes that precede his birth. It is wrong to pretend that 2×2 is not four because the wrong person said it. It is just as dumb to go entertain that 2×2 is five just to show “respect” for the views of a community that enjoys victim status.

Label swinging as an abuse is more than a violation of the facts and an unthinking denial of unpleasant truths. The epidemic of throwing “racist”, “fascist” or “right-wing extremist” at those we dislike, and to dismiss the ones that point at an unwelcome reality that challenges favorite theories, is dangerous. That hazard goes beyond making what should be a civilized political discourse coarse. The unreflected use of, in their substance inaccurate, and in intent libelous terms, devalues the concepts that are exploited as weapons in verbal brawls.

From abroad, one notes in amazement that, in the States the “f” word is seeping into normal conversation. In the process, the original curse loses weight and meaning and is on its way to signify little more than what “horse feathers” used to carry. Attribute this to bad manners or of a limited vocabulary.

In the case of political terms, their abusive overuse goes beyond revealing fuzzy thinking, impoliteness, or ignorance. Once everything that the Left-Liberal elite dislike is labeled fascist, racist, and anti-Semitic, genuine totalitarians become legitimized. If what the average person is made to think by what he notices is ritually dismissed as fascism, if his desire to preserve his country is called racism, then, in time, he will arrive at an unwanted conclusion. It will be that, since his perception of reality and the abuses that he articulates makes him into a racist “fascist”, then perhaps that Fascism cannot be that bad. As “fascist” and connected terms go the way of the “f word”, “fascism” and related traits become legitimized through the illegitimate and indiscriminate application of these expressions.

To the observer of our enfolding political culture it appears that, the exhortations of challenged elites and the voters’ revolt against the political class dominate the battlefield.  It seems that bringing right-wing extremism back from beyond the pale into the political mainstream might turn out to be one of the great accomplishments of left-liberal circles. The gratitude of the “wrong right” is assured.

 

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