The terms Neo-Nazi and Marxist are thrown at people in the political arena in combative ways. Often these terms are used to describe others with whom a major candidate disagrees by those on social media or in political debates. These phrases are so often used that those on either side of the political aisle rely on these terms as a crutch to describe their adversaries.
In this article, we will discuss the origins of these phrases, why they have such a strong precedent in the American vocabulary, and how we can properly use them to ensure we don’t mislabel people. We will also discuss how these terms could be “gaslighting”
Origin of the term Neo-Nazi
Neo-Nazis originated from groups with a similar ideology to the Nazi party of Germany, they share a hatred of Jews, affection toward Adolf Hitler or dictator oppression, and a love for the history of Nazi Germany.
Neo-Nazis are post-WW2 groups who often hate minorities of all kinds including those associated with race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more. True Neo-Nazis seek to bring back the German revolution and are led by totalitarian politics and ethnic cleansing.
Neo-Nazi is a term often used with a political bias to describe the following:
- Far-right ideologies or politicians
- Anti-Semitism or white supremacy in any form
- Organizational ties similar to the Nazi movement of 1940s Germany
- Extremist views whether they are similar to the Nazi movement or not
After understanding the context of these views, grouping conservatives into this niche political group is inaccurate and unfounded. Even though there are members on both sides of the aisle that employ such bigotry, the far majority believe otherwise, so we should stop assuming everyone is evil.
It would be better to call those with these conservative views conservatives or the right-wing rather than Neo-Nazi. When it is appropriate to use this term is when it meets the standards listed in the list above.
Origin of the term Marxism
Marxism is an economic philosophy that encompasses a social and political movement. The term is named after Karl Marx (one of the philosophers who created it). It examines capitalism and productivity through industry and argues that ownership of production should be given to the workers.
Communism is different than Marxism; they are related though- where communism is the ideals behind the decentralized worker-first movement and Marxism is the means by which society can reach those ideals. Countries that espouse these ideologies are China, Cuba, Vietnam, and the former Soviet Union.
The antithesis to the term Neo-Nazi, is the term Marxist which describes the following:
- Far-left leaning ideologies or politicians
- Favor big government and socialist policies
- Use government to solve societal and social problems
- Critique American ideals founded upon capitalism and freedom of commerce, private property, and private businesses
- High taxation and free services provided by the government, not the private sector
When used by right-leaning people in this country, some conservatives have used this term to describe the Black Lives Matter movement, individuals with liberal ideology, or anyone with whom they view as too far-left-leaning. The origins of these terms show us how to properly view these different ideologies further, and will hopefully lead to a greater understanding of those with whom we disagree.
Often those who throw the terms Marxist or Communist label at others are referring to those who have socialistic ideals, or who are far-left. This makes many of the far-left movement targets of criticism. However, we should refer to the liberal party as the left-wing or liberals.
These terms can only be properly espoused by people who advocate for ideas of having the working class own the means of production, removing private ownership of land, providing all services for the society for free through high taxation, over-regulating private freedoms, destroying dissent, etc.
When using these terms we have to understand that we live in a mixed economy in the United States. We love capitalism but many of our laws make us a mix of socialism and capitalism, as can be seen with public education and many other public resources. Thus, we must be cognizant of the balance between public and private resource usage and how increasing the usage of public resources can lead to a loss of freedom for the individual. Is there a sweet balance?
How the terms are used in America
When Americans use the terms Marxist or Neo-Nazi in the wrong context it can add to an increase in polarization. There has been an ever-increasing amount of distrust in our neighbors and fellow Americans since 2020. Aggressively used terms, improperly applied, are fueling an uncivilized fire.
Pew Research Center recently shared stats that in our last presidential election, people were so concerned the opposing political party candidates would ruin the country beyond repair that 89% of Republicans thought Joe Biden would destroy America, while 90% of Democrats thought Donald Trump would do the same.
With opposing political parties diametrically opposed to each other, it has led some to think there is a large similarity to the hostility that Americans experienced building up to the Civil War. In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, this was seen clearly in the vaccine debate.
Those who wanted vaccine mandates for the health of the country were branded as Marxist and those who fought against mandates were often called white-supremacist or neo-nazi. Everyone picked a side and fought when the right answers were always somewhere in the middle.
Neo-Nazi and Marxist are overused terms to describe our fellow right-leaning or left-leaning Americans. The terms have been used in hostility, often incorrectly, and only furthered gaslighting among party lines. It is our job to ensure we use these terms properly when referring to others. It is paramount that we don’t label or jump to conclusions about people using gaslighting techniques, no matter the side you are on. However, we should call out actions in a respectful manner to prevent future problems such as war, terrorist activity, abuse, and violence of any kind. At the end of the day, we are all Americans who deserve respect.
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