Homelessness and Nazi Rallies

In my previous post I discussed how extremist groups have managed to elevate themselves to a semblance of respectability and find common cause with regular conservatives, in this one I will discuss how to best counter their propaganda.

We should all just stay away. That is the obvious solution to preventing the rise and spread of extremist groups in the United States. It is unlikely in this country that popular support for Neo-Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan could reach a proportion where they could take over the country, a la Nazi Germany. So with that in mind, the best way to prevent them from gaining any sort of mainstream foothold is to do what experts have recommended for years: ignore them. Without the massive counter-protest, which exacerbated and enflamed the violence, the extremist protestors would have gotten little press.

People want to resist, they want to do something to show their disapproval of neo-Nazis, but by doing that they’re playing directly in to their marketing strategy. For years advocates for homeless people have told citizens that the best way to prevent the scourge of panhandling in cities is to stop giving homeless people money. Without the incentive to panhandle the homeless are more likely to seek help and to leave commuters alone. Honest, good people contribute to the social problems of homelessness because of their impulses to help people, or to be seen as virtuous and moral. It is that same twinge of self-interested moralism that leads people to protest a Nazi rally.

I can’t help but think that if people weren’t going to post things on social media, they wouldn’t attend such rallies in such large numbers. Our society is obsessed with displaying each individual’s personal morality and virtue over communications technology, and because we are obsessed we can’t starve the beasts of extremism of what they crave most: exposure.

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