David Cole is an internet writer whose most recent piece, “In Grudging Praise of White Racists,” provides much food for thought.
Cole’s thesis is actually quite simple: While he personally has no use for “right-wing white racism,” he thinks that we may need to allow it a public space for no other reason but to let the “white nationalists, white supremacists, and sieg heilers” to function as a check of sorts on the “leftist Nazism” that is very rapidly becoming mainstream. Only if the latter is permitted to clash with the former will the majority of Americans recognize both expressions of “extremism” for the ugly specimens that they are.
The general thrust of the author’s thinking deserves sympathy: His point is gotten easily enough. Still, his analysis breaks down at several points.
First, Cole’s position reflects the extent to which “leftist Nazism” has gained control of the minds of even its self-styled opponents, folks like Cole. Kendrick Lamar, to whose treatment of a young white woman at one of his concerts Cole presents as an exhibit of “left-wing racism,” doubtless acted like a classless jerk. The conduct of those leftist commentators who lionized him for castigating and humiliating this white fan for publically singing along with Lamar the racially-charged lyrics of one his pieces after he had invited her on stage to do so are no less classless and contemptible.
Still, they most definitely do not deserve to be lumped in with Hitler’s Nazis. Nevertheless, it’s not difficult to discern why Cole is given to hurl charges of “Nazism” at his opponents. Though historically and morally indefensible, politically speaking this reduction of one’s opponents to the status of Nazis has…