ICYMI: Why is conservative politics such a natural home for white supremacists?: Neil Macdonald

This article by Neil Macdonald provoked considerable discussion on social media:

Interesting how the term “white nationalism” has somehow begun to supplant the more honest phrase “white supremacy,” both here and in the United States.

Everyone seems to be using it now. It will be an election campaign topic in our general election this fall, and the American one late next year.

And let’s be clear, it’s a euphemism. The word nationalism, to most people, has a virtuous whiff; historically, it’s been conflated with terms like patriotism and loyalty and solidarity with one’s civic tribe.

When the word is modified with a racial adjective, though, any distinction dissolves. A white nationalist stands with white people, advocating for white prerogatives and the protection of white governance.

A white nationalist would claim that flying the confederate flag on a state building is an expression of cultural history, rather than racial sentiment. A white nationalist would claim, as the television host Megyn Kelly once did on Fox News, that Jesus was white, and, by implication, God, too. (Jesus would have been a dark-skinned Sephardic Jew, not a blue-eyed, bland-faced fellow with wavy brown locks).

And before someone raises it, because people do, there is no comparison between white nationalism and assertions of solidarity, or even superiority, by minorities. They haven’t been in charge for centuries on this continent. White nationalism is about keeping power white. Yes, yes, there are minority groups represented among Justin Trudeau’s ministers, but they were all given jobs by a white guy.

Supremacy by another name

White nationalism is in fact white supremacy. It’s understandable that white supremacists would want to be called nationalists, but that doesn’t make them any less supremacist.

Which is why, presumably, conservative politicians here and in the U.S. are expressing such anger at having the label applied to them. They accuse their liberal opponents of planning attack ads and messaging portraying them as racists, or, at the very least, opportunists chasing racist votes.

They’re right about that. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers are making a concerted effort to bind Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to the so-called alt-right scene (another euphemism) in this country, and Democrats, newly in control of the House of Representatives, have convened hearings on the threat of white nationalism.

The fact that Republicans obsequiously excuse President Donald Trump’s boorish rantings, of course, makes it easy for Democrats.

He eagerly hits Twitter every time an act of extremism is committed by a Muslim or a brown-skinned immigrant, but takes comparatively incidental notice when hate crimes are carried out by white Christians or non-Muslims, something that’s been happening far more often in recent years.

When the man arrested for the mosque murders in Christchurch left a manifesto praising Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” Trump, who has said he doesn’t believe his rhetoric inspires violent white extremists, further declared that white extremism isn’t really a threat, despite ample evidence to the contrary, including the assessment of his own justice department.

This of course is also the president who said there were some “very fine people” in the white mob carrying torches in Charlottesville, Virginia a few years ago. He proudly calls himself a nationalist, without specifying what kind: “Use that word,” he tells his angry, overwhelmingly white base. “Use that word.”

‘Hate hoax’

Candace Owens, a conservative American activist cited by the New Zealand murderer as his greatest influence, told Congress recently that the whole “white nationalism” thing is nothing more than a Democrat re-election strategy. (She also once said Hitler wasn’t such a bad fellow, at least until he started trying to conquer the world).

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Trump fanboy, was suspicious when YouTube, which was live-streaming the hearing, took down hundreds of racist and anti-Semitic viewer comments, musing about whether it was all just more Democrat “hate hoax.”

Rep. Steve King, who has rhetorically asked what’s wrong with being a white nationalist or white supremacist, remains a proud Republican.

And even if extremists do applaud Trump, ask his supporters, what can he do about it?

Never do they ask, or attempt to answer, the obvious question: Why is it that white supremacists, from the neo-Nazis who threw celebratory salutes the night of his election, to former KKK leader David Duke, to the Charlottesville torchbearers, to the New Zealand murderer, or Cesar Sayoc, the Florida bodybuilder who sent explosives to Trump’s critics in 2018, gravitate right, rather than left? Why is conservative politics such a natural home for white supremacists?

Canadian conservatives might ask themselves the same question. Rather than whining about how unfair it is that Liberals are associating Andrew Scheer with Faith Goldy — an obvious white supremacist (a label she rejects) who proudly advocates for “European identity” and “white identity,” and who has contributed to a neo-Nazi podcast — they could instead reflect on why in heaven’s name he appeared on her online diatribe show two years ago.

Or why Scheer chose to address the “United We Roll” yellow-vest gang in Ottawa this year, where, yes, Faith Goldy also spoke to the crowd. (And former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier). Or why he would hire as his campaign manager a former director of the far-right shock talk site Rebel Media, where Faith Goldy worked until she became too much even for them. Rep. Steve King, incidentally, endorsed Goldy’s recent bid for mayor of Toronto. Somehow, she still lost.

Conservatives in Canada might also ponder why there have been so many racist and anti-gay bozo eruptions in Alberta’s United Conservative Party, rather than in, say, the governing NDP. Or why a small-c conservative senator’s racist posts remain online (yes, Lynn Beyak was expelled from the Conservative caucus for the posts, which were denounced by Scheer. But how does the party attract characters like her in the first place?)

Or why a conservative government in Quebec, a place where a giant illuminated cross overlooks the province’s biggest city (an expression of cultural history, of course), would be willing to suspend the constitution to pass a law clearly aimed at keeping religious Sikhs and Muslims out of the public service.

The answer is that somehow, over the decades that have passed since the ’60s, and as North American cities have become much less white, it’s become more okay in some circles to be a white supremacist.

Changing the label to white nationalist obscures nothing.

Abraham Lincoln, according to legend, used to ask his cabinet members how many legs a dog has if you consider a tail to be a leg. His answer: four. Because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

Source: Why is conservative politics such a natural home for white supremacists?: Neil Macdonald

Scheer denounces white supremacy after Conservative senator questions threat

An improvement:

Andrew Scheer condemned “anyone who promotes racist ideology” after a Conservative senator questioned whether white supremacy was a significant threat to Canadian communities.

Scheer told reporters Wednesday that he “100 per cent” denounces anyone who “promotes white nationalism, promotes any type of extremism.”

“I do believe it’s a threat in Canada because we have seen, tragically, people lose their lives because of people who subscribe to these views,” Scheer said.

“I understand that the senator has issued a clarification … And I absolutely do believe that these types of threats are important for governments of all levels to protect Canadians.”

Scheer was responding to a question about Quebec Conservative Sen. Leo Housakos, who suggested Tuesday that white supremacy is not a significant “threat to our way of life, to our communities, to our democracy.”

In a question to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland at the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Housakos asked Freeland to clarify her position that white supremacy is a significant risk to western democracies.

“With all due respect minister, I think that flies in the face of reality over the last two decades. I think over the last two decades western liberal democracies around the world would tell you that the biggest threats we’ve faced are extremist fundamentalism,” Housakos said.

“I can’t identify a single country in the world where governments are supporting white supremacist movements. I can’t identify governments around the world, democratic governments around the world, that are supporting that type of behaviour, certainly not in Canada.”

“I absolutely do think white supremacists and white supremacists movements are a very real, very grave threat to western liberal democracy. I think they are a grave and real threat here in Canada,” Freeland responded.

“The shooting in the Quebec City mosque is a tragic Canadian example of the same threat that we face here at home. So I absolutely believe we need to name that, we need to be aware of it, and we need to work hard to find ways to protect our societies and our people from it.”

In question period Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded Scheer denounce white supremacy, which the opposition leader had publicly done only hours before in a press conference.

But the exchange makes clear that white nationalism and far-right extremism — once a fringe issue in Canada’s political debate — will likely remain front and centre in the lead-up to the 2019 election. In March, Trudeau accused unnamed politicians of exploiting racism for political gain.

In a statement on Twitter Wednesday, Scheer shot back.

“Racism and white supremacy are threats in Canada and I condemn them unequivocally,” Scheer’s statement read.

“It is pathetic and disgusting that Liberals are inflaming these threats to divide Canadians and score cheap points.”

An aide for Housakos declined the Star’s request for an interview Wednesday afternoon, pointing to the senator’s comments on Twitter.

“No western, democratic politician condones extremism of any kind, including white supremacy,” he wrote Wednesday after Freeland released a video of their exchange.

“Extremism in all forms is a threat to our way of life, not just one (form) or the other.”

Source: Scheer denounces white supremacy after Conservative senator questions threat

Noah Rothman: Where is comparing the violent white supremacy that inspired the New Zealand murderer to radical Islam valuable, and where is it not?

Thoughtful and nuanced distinctions by Rothman:

The racist terrorist who took the lives of at least 49 Muslims in the attack on two New Zealand mosques last week wanted to start “a civil war that will eventually balkanize the US along political, cultural and, most importantly, racial lines.” The attacker wrote those words in a deranged white-nationalist manifesto, and he will surely be delighted by the exposure his ramblings are receiving.

For days, the press has pored over this despicable document. Experts have analyzed it, and influential figures have been questioned about it. Though it risks publicizing the semi-literate thoughts of a deluded racist with a messiah complex, some of this was done for good reasons. Most of it, however, was an effort to affix blame to people and institutions closer to us than the monster who executed them—in particular, one Donald Trump, whom the terrorist named as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” but a terrible executor of white nationalist policy. White House advisor Kellyanne Conway recommended that “people should read” the manifesto “in its entirety” because, in her view, it exonerates the president. This is, to put it mildly, bad advice. An artificial exegesis of a blinkered mass murderer’s incoherent meanderings will not clarify the nature of the threat he and his ideological allies pose. But nor should observers ignore the ideology that compelled this attacker to massacre Muslims in their houses of worship. To do so would contribute to the appearance, perhaps even the reality, that there is a double standard for combating terrorism.

Source: Where is comparing the violent white supremacy that inspired the New Zealand murderer to radical Islam valuable, and where is it not?