As ironic, tongue-in-cheek, edgily aesthetic right-wing vaporwave stickers are plastered around our campus, it’s time to address the deep, varied roots of the problem. It’s Trump. It’s Milo Yiannopolous. It’s Pepe the Frog. Really, though, it’s probably mostly the Left.
The problem is, it’s all of the above and more: an ever-expanding list of admittedly ridiculous influences and their frequently parroted jokes and messages, becoming meaningless with repetition but cementing themselves more firmly in their believers’ consciousness with each angry lefty’s vicious tweet- and each angry post calling for arrests, beatings and the murder of the alt-right culprits pushes the liberal left further along a mirror road to totalitarian censorship.
It’s a catch 22: you can’t let such a dangerous message multiply, or people will believe it to be incontestable, but you can’t censor it without being accused of ‘typical leftist hypocrisy’.
The far right should not be trendy. Coyly, winkingly breeding acceptance for this sort of behaviour within the Conservative community to the point it bleeds into the President’s beliefs, Fascism is becoming an in-crowd comprised of disenfranchised, nihilistic teens and young adults with a mutual adoration for memes, ‘anti-PC humour’- in other circles referred to as ‘racism’- and a brand of ‘free speech’ in other circles referred to as ‘sexism’.
And it’s our fault, demonstrably. It’s all to get a reaction- hence the edgy stickers. Nobody serious about advancing a political movement would utilise stickers that mimic the cover of a Macintosh Plus album cover to propagandise. True, these stickers are unacceptable, and the general reaction is warranted and necessary- but as when dealing with a toddler throwing a tantrum, the best thing to do is to ignore it and wait for it to calm itself down. Here, though, this may be impossible.
Somewhere there’s a group chat filled with Sussex’s finest wannabe neo-Nazis giggling hysterically at the reaction their stupid joke caused. Somehow it’s irrelevant to these people, I’m sure, that the joke of using imagery linked to actual historical genocide made real people feel unsafe and persecuted. We’re invariably screwed, forced to either take a stance against these actions and ensure they happen again due to the hilarity of ‘triggered leftists’, or ignore it and allow it to breed without resistance like the many headed meme monster it is.
I, however, would posit that the way ensuring that viral videos of fascists being punched will continue to surface is the objectively correct choice.