Late last week in The New York Times, Sasha Chapin, author of the forthcoming book The Perfect Information Game, posed the question "Are Many of Our Fellow Citizens ‘Nazis'?"
"One morning in mid-August," Chapin began, "Americans woke up in what felt, to some, like an altered country... [The rally in Charlottesville] confronted America with an unlikely question: Was it possible the nation was seeing a burgeoning political faction of actual Nazis?"
"This is one of the most remarkable results of the alt-right’s emergence into the national dialogue," wrote Chapin. "Talking seriously about Nazis is part of the new normal."
And who made it our new normal? Not Nazis themselves, who constitute a pathetic, impotent super-minority but who have been given a shot in the arm by all the leftist media's hype about them. No, the ones responsible for making talk of Nazism our new normal are the left and the leftist media, who are now using the word (along with the label "white supremacist") to smear American conservatives in general, even ones who have publicly expressed repugnance for actual white supremacy: the entire Trump administration, Trump voters, popular conservative speakers from Ben Shapiro to Milo Yiannopoulos, essentially anyone the radical left deems a threat, as defined by the fraudulent, biased Southern Poverty Law Center (which he cites).
Chapin declares that "the word has resurfaced in American conversation, aimed at the white supremacist arm of the so-called alt-right: It is perhaps the single most potent condemnation in our language, a word that provides instant moral clarity."
But it doesn't provide moral clarity when the label is used to demonize people who are not Nazis, and that's the problem.
Chapin knows this but doesn't care. He concedes that the word "Nazi" is "sloppy and inexact," a "broad, imprecise and patronizing slur," and yet he concludes that it's useful anyway for slurring the whole broad array of the left's list of hateful extremists (which includes conservatives but omits Islamists): "[W]e do not have to engage in linguistic diplomacy with people who want to destroy us. We don’t have to refer to them with their labels of choice. There is a time for splitting hairs over the philosophies of hateful extremists, but there’s also great value in unambiguously rejecting all of them at once with our most melodious, satisfying terminology."
So thanks to leftists like Chapin, the country's new normal is a verbal and occasionally literal conflagration over a threat that in actuality barely exists -- neo-Nazism -- but which the left has conveniently expanded to include anyone they want to destroy.