Who's Your Nazi? 

A brief survey to determine fascist affinity

Bill O'Reilly, that disturbingly dense presence who passes himself off as the voice of reason for Fox News, recently referred to "far-left Nazis." Now, you and I know that there can be no such thing as a "far-left Nazi." Saying "far-left Nazi" is like saying "Pentecostal atheist" or "carnivorous vegan." We would have more luck finding a "deciduous juniper" or a "ginormous Lilliputian" than a "far-left Nazi," yes? ... because you and I know that "far-left Nazi" is a contradiction in terms. There are any number of variations on the "far-left" theme--"far-left Maoists," "far-left Bolsheviks," etc.--but there can be no "far-left Nazis" simply because from the very birth of the Nazi scourge, the term has been used to identify a far-right phenomenon.

Then I ask you, my erudite friends, how is it that you and I know this, but Bill O'Reilly doesn't? Aside from the obvious answer (that perhaps Bill O'Reilly is an ignorant dumbass who spent more time getting his hair styled--when he had some--than learning anything useful) there must be something else at work here. Or else wouldn't those who work closely with O'Reilly set him straight?

Ah, but it turns out that down at Fox News--and I do mean "down"--the ideological left is often identified with Nazis. As Jon Stewart demonstrated in one of those film clip montages the Daily Show is so good at assembling, it seems hardly a day goes by without someone in Fox's corral of talking screen savers either using Nazis as a simile for how the American left operates, or flat-out calling us Nazis. It's quite clear the right is trying to disguise their natural inclination to lean fascist by dumping the charge off on the left.

Of course, sometimes we on the left are only minimally less guilty of crying "Nazi," even if we are more factually and historically correct. Just a couple of weeks ago, a Democratic congressman landed feet-first in some fake outrage when he likened the whoppers told by Republicans about President Barack Obama's health-care plan to Joseph Goebbels' famous dictum on the tactical advantage of telling enough lies, enough times. I have more than once mentioned that without a hefty dash of fascism in the right's hash, they would be left with little that appealed to their Teabagger base.

So yes, the charge of "Nazi" flies both ways, and all too often over matters far too trivial to be attached to the most monstrous criminals of the modern era. But we need to remember, just because every Tom, Dick and Harry is calling every other Tom, Dick and Harry a Nazi, doesn't mean there aren't some real, honest-to-god Nazis out there. And after so much heated discussion over who should or shouldn't be calling somebody else a Nazi, I realized what we need to do to settle this, once and for all. We must go to some authentic, unapologetic Nazis and ask them whom they would name as their closest ideological cousins--the Democrats or the Republicans. After all, who better to recognize a Nazi-ish streak than a certified, bonded, peer-approved Nazi, right?

But alas, I personally know no Nazis. Or anyone who will admit to being a Nazi, at any rate. I checked both the Yellow Pages and Craigslist but found no listings for local Nazis. I considered driving up north in search of anything that would guide me to a Nazi or two--a sign, as it were: "Sandpoint--Food, Gas, Lodging, Nazis--13 miles." But in the end, I decided upon a questionnaire. I cordially invite any and all Nazis within range of this publication to come out from under their rocks and participate in the survey.

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