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Left-wing Fascists?

Speaking of Ironic Reversals, today the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) opened, and one of the first speeches tried to blame the “alt-right” on the left. The speech was made by Dan Schneider, the executive director of the the American Conservative Union, which runs the CPAC conference.

The alt-right is a small, far-right movement that seeks a whites-only state, promotes white nationalism, is critical of ethnic (Black, Hispanic) or religious (Muslim, Jewish) minorities, and believes in nativism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and even neo-Nazism. Sound familiar?

But Schneider called the “alt-right” a “left-wing fascist group”, and claimed that it is “a sinister organization that is trying to warp its way into our ranks.” Schneider argued in his speech that the “alt-right” is philosophically left-wing because it departs from his definition of conservatism where “the individual” is sovereign. He tried to link fascism to the left by saying “Fascists tend to want big government control.”

Now, while fascist governments are usually totalitarian, this ignores the fact that not all totalitarian governments are fascist.

If you accept Schneider’s logic, then one could also say that conservatives, who overwhelmingly support Donald Trump, are part of the alt-right because Trump’s top advisor is Steve Bannon, who while running Breitbart News described it as “the platform for the alt-right“. Not to mention that after the surprise outcome of the presidential election, the alt-right had a victory party where the person who invented the term “alt-right” spoke, and he closed his speech with “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory”. The crowd responded with Nazi salutes and “sieg heil”-like chants.

So, if conservatives are against the alt-right, does that mean that they will fight against Donald Trump and his alt-right advisors? Or is this just more doublespeak?



  1. Thatguy wrote:

    It’s a contradiction in terms to even say “left-wing fascism” if one has any sort of working, honest understanding of the typical left-right political spectrum. Clearly, Schneider lacks such.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure anyone should try to correct him. For one, it’s great that anyone on the right will lash out at their right flank, even if they try to disguise it as some sort of left-wing infiltration conspiracy. On still another hand, it’s telling to see that the conspiratorial mindset on the right is by no means limited to that right flank.

    Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
  2. TJ wrote:

    Fascism has always been left-wing and we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

    Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  3. westomoon wrote:

    There’s no point trying to deconstruct “conservative” logic at times like this.

    When they use words that have specific meaning to the rest of us, like “liberal” and “left-wing,” it’s in the same way an infant uses a wail — they just mean “this makes me uncomfortable.”

    They also use words like “socialist,” “communist,” “fascist,” and “nazi” exactly the way grade-school children in my youth said “that has cooties!” Neither those grade-school kids nor modern conservatives know or care that the word they’re using has a specific meaning — which they don’t understand. They’re just using it as a tribalist shorthand for “I don’t like this, and you shouldn’t either.”

    Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink
  4. ebdoug wrote:

    I watched an interview with a senator from Arkansas (democrat) a long time ago. He was very good looking. He concluded the interview by saying “You don’t have to be smart to be a Senator.” Sounds like one could say that about Dan Schneider.

    Only think holding the White house together now are Mattis, Kelly and the third one.

    Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  5. Ralph wrote:

    In a normal world, an attempt like that to literally reverse the historic definition of racist nationalism/fascism would be laughable. In Trumpworld, it’s just the latest example of the obfuscation and dissembling coming from this (new?) neo-conservative bunch. Alt-right is really a tool of the left and the dictator Obama founded ISIS. Check. Your mind and senses at the door, I mean. Clearly, these are abnormal times with abnormal people behind the wheel and we’re the passengers. Optional seat belts and air bags available for the right price.

    Agent Orange is certainly not conservative in the traditional sense though, so what does that make Bannon et. al., besides craven opportunists, just like the figurehead? I keep coming back to Franklin’s response, after the last day of the Constitutional Convention, to someone who asked what they had produced, a republic or a monarchy. “A republic, if you can keep it.”

    On the positive side, it looks like there’s increasing interest in the Russian connection, even by some Republicans in Congress who, if only for the sake of survival, don’t want to be caught on the wrong side of history. The massive nationwide marches and loud town hall meetings of protest are not going away and are ignored at their peril, I believe.

    Just hope when reality strikes and their bubble bursts, there isn’t a great deal of peripheral carnage in the wake beyond their own thick skulls and thin skins.

    Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  6. wildwood wrote:

    Just say whatever works. It doesn’t have to be true, doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to sound good. If one lying phrase doesn’t ring bells then try another until it does. If you find the right phrase and say it often enough then everyone “knows’ it’s true and you will never convince them otherwise. And that “never convince them otherwise” is the scary part.

    Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink