[ by Charles Cameron — how far gone are we — from a sorta leftist-centrist-don’t-really-fit-labels POV? ]
I’m not sure what exactly JM was responding to here, there have been too many pointers..
I for one don’t think Charlottesville stacks up against Kristallnacht, and am wary of the words Fascism and Nazi. I wholeheartedly agree with JM Berger in his piece today, Calling them Nazis:
There’s an increasingly common argument online against referring to the alt-right by its chosen name. “Call them Nazis” is the refrain. If you haven’t said it yourself, you’ve probably seen other people saying it.
While this approach may be understandable and may suit certain rhetorical purposes, it’s a grave mistake for journalists and experts who substantively study and cover the movement to embrace this approach.
The alt-right category is extremely important to understanding what’s happening in this movement. Nazis are only part of this movement, or more correctly neo-Nazis, since most of them aren’t German nationalists. If neo-Nazis were America’s only problem, it would be a much smaller problem.
My concern here is with a somewhat different angle, and not specifically with the Charlottesville clashes. I’m noting the widespread tendency to suggest we’re already in Brownshirt territory, if not deeper in than that, and I think it may be a bit premature.
IMO, we need to be cautious in where we draw the lines that say, beyond here is Fascism, or Nazism, it seems to me: exaggeration only serves to discredit those who indulge.
There are real problems, both with overt swastika-wavers and with those who support or merely tolerate them. Which way the wind will blow over the coming few years, however, is yet to be seen.
However, getting back to Orwell —
— it does seem to me that scooping up more than a million IP addresses of epople who may have an interest in protesting Trump gies way beyond some kind of Orwell Limit.
Orwell kept his resistance movement cellular and basically unnowable: datamining the web blows an enormous hole in that strategy.
I’d have to say that with today’s news about DOJ vs DisruptJ20, one of my personal Orwell Red Lines has been crossed.