There is a story about Dr. Samuel Johnson and his famous dictionary. Some ladies told him they were glad he had omitted “indelicate and objectionable” words. Dr. Johnson said he was sorry they had looked for them.
That could be a story about conservatives and progressives. Progressives are dying to find hate crimes and neo-Nazis and will invent them if they don’t exist. If non-whites attack Asians, they manage to blame whites. They are more obsessed with race than we are. The problem is that conservatives and corporations take their delusions seriously.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) began with an attempt to pander to blacks. CPAC invited and then withdrew a speaking invitation to “Young Pharaoh” because of things he said about Jews. This was especially embarrassing because the conference’s theme was “America Uncanceled.” After CPAC joined the “cancel culture” and groveled, leftists found a new “controversy.”
CPAC had designed the stage to look like a “Nazi rune”! It was Othala or the “Odal” rune from the Elder Futhark system. A rune would be bad enough, but an SS unit also used the symbol, so that made it a “Nazi rune.”
When some Twitter busybodies started this, I thought no one would care.
These people, and presumably the thousands who liked these tweets, were serious. So were the media.
- “CPAC Stage Compared To Nazi Symbol On Social Media,” by Peter Suciu, Forbes, February 27, 2021
- “As CPAC dismisses claims that its stage resembled a Nazi insignia, Hyatt calls hate symbols ‘abhorrent,’” by Jaclyn Peiser, The Washington Post, March 1, 2021
- “Trump addressed crowd from stage resembling a Nazi symbol,” by Barry Duke, Patheos, March 3, 2021
It even became international news.
This is insane. Anyone who sincerely believed conservatives designed their stage to be a “Nazi symbol” is crazy. First, the stage designers were not conservative activists but professionals who work with groups of all kinds. I would be astonished if they knew the stage resembled anything.
Second, conservatives would have nothing to gain from using pagan symbols. Are we supposed to believe they want a pagan symbol to somehow convince all the neo-Nazis out there that CPAC is secretly on their side? What about all the Christian organizations who fund and participate in CPAC? The stage was obviously designed so speakers could walk into the crowd.
USA Today, the most widely distributed newspaper in the country, published an opinion column blasting CPAC for not apologizing. The media are contemptuous of “QAnon.” Believers supposedly see numbers or gestures and read extreme conclusions into them. Here, reporters are doing the same thing.
Yesterday the National Guard was protecting Washington D.C. against “QAnon” believers who were supposedly going to storm the Capitol. Again, here are serious outlets:
- The Washington Post — “Why March 4 matters to QAnon extremists, leading to fears of another Capitol attack.”
- CNN — “Capitol Hill security increased and House session canceled amid warnings about March 4 conspiracies”
- USA Today — “March 4 put Capitol on alert“
When nothing happened, it didn’t make journalists wonder if they should stop making wild charges. In fact, Newsweek is already promoting another fake scare. Apparently, March 20 is now the day QAnon believers will run wild. Who are the real nuts? People online who think President Trump will somehow reclaim office or reporters who think CPAC encoded a Nazi rune?
Historian and activist Deborah Lipstadt said the stage design was probably inadvertent but the fact nobody noticed “is a very big oops.” To avoid this “oops” means everyone in America should be an avid student of the SS and recognize “Nazi runes.” Is that what she really wants?
For example, there are signs with arrows pointing up all around the country. The Tiwaz rune looks like an arrow pointing up. It is an ancient symbol, often carved on weapons by those who practiced the indigenous European faith in the hope it would bring victory. It was also reportedly used by some German soldiers during World War II. Does this mean it must be banned? Maybe it does. When the Norwegian ski team appeared with sweaters that had the Tiwaz or “victory” rune, The New York Times said there was a “Neo-Nazi Uproar.”
Journalists worried about QAnon believers should examine their own beliefs, and normal people shouldn’t indulge their Nazi fantasies. Unfortunately, normal people aren’t just indulging them, but apologizing. Matt Schlapp, who heads the American Conservative Unions, which puts on CPAC, denied the accusations of a “Nazi stage,” but felt he had to talk about his love and support for Jews. Even his denial was defensive. The ACU also reportedly blamed the design company, Design Foundry.
It said that it had “no idea” there was a hidden shape in the stage, but it also bent the knee to the deluded: “We are saddened and horrified at the accusations that this was a deliberate act. Design Foundry denounces all hate speech and acts of racism, prejudice, or bigotry in all forms.”
CPAC was held in a Hyatt hotel, and the Hyatt company felt compelled to issue a statement: “We take the concern raised about the prospect of symbols of hate being included in the stage design at CPAC 2021 very seriously as all such symbols are abhorrent and unequivocally counter to our values as a company.” Even the hotel had to defend itself against the poisonous power of the rune.
Progressives are not going to calm down now that Donald Trump is out of office. Instead, they will find new “fascists” and “Nazis” to crusade against. The Nazi threat never ends and fighting it is now everybody’s business.
Over the last few years, “watchdogs” such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have lost their importance. Normal conservatives know what “antifa” are, and a majority of Americans are “extremely concerned” about antifa violence. However, this isn’t because conservatives have learned to ignore left-wing fanatics. It’s because CNN, The New York Times, Business Insider, and others have taken over the SPLC’s job. Everyone can be a Nazi hunter and a crusader against the Ku Klux Klan.
Belief, even (maybe especially) irrational belief, has power. Progressives with an almost religious belief that powerful racists run the country have toppled statues, terrified institutions, and raised billions of dollars.
A crusade against Nazis is romantic.
Of course, maybe they know perfectly well that the shape of the stage was a coincidence and were cynically stirring up an artificial moral panic. That might be even worse.