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Strange times we live in when American conservatives — or some of them, anyway — think it makes perfect sense these days for Europeans to get their Nazi groove on. I’ve been hearing this a bit too much on Ricochet of late, so I thought I’d make what in normal times would be an excessively easy call.
Nazis. I hate Nazis. And so should you.
The pro-Nazi argument, as I understand it, is that Europeans have been forced into their moist embrace by a political establishment that has unwisely ignored the larger public’s concern about the large number of migrants and refugees now streaming into Europe.
In discussing this, I’m going to single out comments by BDB not because he’s the only one to represent this argument, nor because I have it out for him, but because he’s tough and I know he can take it. I thus reproduce parts of an exchange we had on another thread:
BDB: You seem to view any opposition to Muslim immigration as such, and especially for cultural reasons, as akin to Nazis. I’m sorry, but that’s a bad fit. This may make sense if you have a worldview that does not value Western Civilization, or which sees no threat to any culture through demographic change, but without at least one of those assumptions operating, mass Muslim immigration is fairly seen as a threat to Western Civilization. And not a single one of them has to intend harm in order to carry it out.
You don’t see danger — I do. That doesn’t make me Hitler. That makes me a conservative — literally — to conserve. It’s disappointing to have to make that distinction here.
CB: No, you’ve misunderstood me, but I made this point on another thread, so perhaps you didn’t see it. I said that I don’t view opposition to Muslim (or other forms) of immigration as illegitimate or akin to the Nazis:
There are political parties in most of Europe that represent a more cautious or skeptical approach toward accepting refugees, but don’t wallow in the language, tropes, ideology, colors, and mud of traditional European fascism — or Putinism, for that matter. Germans who are uncomfortable with Merkel’s approach have the option, for example, of voting for the CSU, a perfectly respectable Christian conservative party. In France, they can vote for the Républicains — not that France under Hollande has taken in anything like an “inundation” of refugees; in fact, the total accepted in France so far is 14,800, with plans to take in another 24,000. It’s a myth that there are no mainstream parties to which voters may attach themselves if they’re uneasy about immigration.
What I view as akin to the Nazis are the parties and movements that are, in fact, explicitly Nazis (in that they say, “We are Nazis”) or very much akin to Nazis, in that they skirt laws or taboos against the formation of explicit Nazi movements by appealing to Nazi language, tropes, and ideology — e.g., Golden Dawn in Greece:
(“The charm of the swastika, the splendor of red and black flag is alive today … our National Socialist task scream full of passion, faith in the future and our visions: HAIL HITLER!”) — Golden Dawn Issue 13.
(“Against the Jewish Life Perception whereby the Ioudaiochristinismos entered the history … Within the National Socialist renaissance dominance holds true religion of Europe paganism as an authentic expression of the religiosity of the Aryan man.”) –Golden Dawn Issue 59, p. 13-14
So I don’t think I’m straying into the territory of paranoia to suggest that Golden Dawn are akin to Nazis.
Some time ago, there were a spate of books written by European leftists like Nick Cohen — you may remember him; he wrote “What’s Left,” as well as by that great windbag BHL. They noted and deplored the European left’s willingness to ignore or justify Islamism in the name of multiculturalism. I see a similar tendency now on the right to ignore or justify the recrudescence of European fascism in the name of fighting Islamism. It’s a grave mistake.
BDB: And a reaction to the first. Given a dominant political position that imports a culture-wrecking crew, do you really see other alternatives? People who do not wish to be shoved off are being forced to lose or get offensive. Nobody chooses to lose.
Well, where do I start. While I don’t see “opposition to Muslim immigration as such, and especially for cultural reasons, as akin to Nazis,” I do see those who suggest that “there’s no alternative to the Nazis” as, very literally, akin to Nazis. That’s inarguable, no? If you’re offended at being tarred with the Nazi brush, I suggest it would be unwise to argue that Nazis are a natural reaction to anything, no less the only alternative in a sea of alternatives.
Let me quickly establish two important points. First, that the parties and movements we’re discussing are indeed Nazi parties. They are not misunderstood Jeffersonian Democrats with a curious but incidental taste for cuffbands, chevrons, belt buckles, commemorative badges, regimental standards, trumpet banners, field caps, service medals, shoulder flashes, permits, passes, boots, leather, chains, Iron Crosses, swastikas, and the Horst Wessel song. Their penchant for nattering on about Jewish Conspiracies and Blut und Boden is not a meaningless historic coincidence.
Here again is Golden Dawn:
Still not convinced?
No? Perhaps this will persuade you: When Nazi slogans were painted on Nikaia cemetery in Piraeus, Greece’s largest Jewish burial ground, they left behind their calling card: Hrisi Avgi — Golden Dawn. In May 2012, they ran under the slogan, “So we can rid this land of filth.” Party Leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos placed an adorable marble eagle on his desk. Here’s Golden Dawn MP Eleni Zaroulia during her inauguration, wearing the Iron Cross. Oh, and what have we here? Panagiotis Iliopoulos, another Golden Dawn MP, displaying his tattoo: Seig Heil! Then there’s Artemis Matthaiopoulos, another Golden Dawn MP and the frontman of the tastefully-named band “Pogrom,” which churns out hits such as “Auschwitz” with lyrics such as “[redacted] Anne Frank” and “Juden raus.“
Beginning to believe me yet? Well, let’s continue. Spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris quoted The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in a speech to parliament on 23 October 2012. Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, denied the existence of gas chambers and ovens at Nazi extermination camps:
“There were no ovens — it’s a lie. I believe it’s a lie. There were no gas chambers either,” Michaloliakos said in an interview with Greece’s private Mega television, broadcast on Sunday.
Then Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris said it outright, in the Greek Parliament: He’s a Holocaust denier.
It’s not just the rhetoric, either: It’s the action:
Late on Thursday, about 50, wielding blunt objects, violently confronted Communist party members in the Greek capital while they were passing out flyers … Nine leftists were hospitalized after sustaining severe wounds.
“The way in which they acted and the weapons employed … are evidence of the murderous nature of the attack. Among the Golden Dawners, some of whom had covered their faces or wore helmets or [party] shirts, were their leaders, well-known fascists and thugs.”
In April 2014, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros described Hitler as a “great personality, like Stalin,” and denounced homosexuality as a “sickness.” He described immigrant Muslims to Greece as, “Jihadists; fanatic Muslims” and claimed that he supported the concept of a one-race nation, stating, “if you are talking about nation, it is one race.”
Look: If looks like a Nazi, swims like a Nazi, and quacks like a Nazi, it’s not a duck.
They’re now the third-largest party in the Greek Parliament, by the way.
Now, suppose you’re a normal Greek, not a Nazi, and you’d like to vote for a party that takes a tough line on immigration. Well, you could vote for ANEL, the Independent Greeks — they’re not particularly attractive; a bit of that old anti-Jew stench off hangs off of them, too — but at least they’re not outright Nazis. They have a strong anti-immigration agenda; they want a 2.5% quota for non-Greeks residing in the country, the mass expulsion of illegal immigrants, and a hierarchy of “preferred” immigration by country of origin, heavily biased towards western and Latin American countries. They’re a little crazy and little conspiracy-prone, but at least they’re not Nazis. Or you could vote for the perfectly sane, center-right New Democracy Party, which proposed during its recent time in office to introduce a strict immigration policy. They recently strengthened this part of their platform. Or perhaps you could vote for the Popular Popular Orthodox Rally, which describes itself as “Hellenocentric,” opposes illegal immigration, and suggests deporting all undocumented immigrants. “I don’t want them to become a majority,” party leader Giorgis Karatzaferis says.
But frankly, if you’re Greek, it doesn’t seem that immigration is anything like the biggest of your concerns, no matter what you think Greeks should think. According to opinion polls — for what they’re worth — immigration barely even ranks in their top concerns. If you’re Greek, your biggest concerns (at least, as of last year) were “International Financial Stability,” (95 percent), followed by “Global Climate Change” (87 percent), followed by Iran’s nuclear program (64 percent). I certainly understand why the first and the third issues are sources of concern. As for the second, I am beginning to doubt that the Greeks are a fully rational people, but then again, Americans too seem much preoccupied by this fear.
So don’t tell me that becoming a Nazi is a perfectly understandable reaction to an ambient political class that won’t take seriously your concerns about the assault on European culture — especially because most Greeks, from what I can tell, don’t share your concerns. They seem to want to do the decent thing toward these boat people, and I find it impossible to blame them:
This post is too long as it is, but I’ll continue tomorrow by looking at other countries, other parties, and other plans for handling the refugee influx beyond The Nazi Option. I will, I hope, convince you that there are many alternatives to Nazis. Stay Tuned.Published in