Anti-Vax “Freedom Convoy” Attracting Neo-Nazis, QAnon Extremists

If a conglomerate of Nazis and other right-wing extremists show up to join your movement, you need to rethink what you're fighting for.

It seems that in a world in which those who witnessed the horrors of World War II and the Nazi regime firsthand are still alive, any defense of causes they champion would be beyond the pale. But thanks to the brazen amorality of social media recommendation algorithms, and the endless race to the bottom and revulsion to basic human decency in Western far right media, we have segments in which depraved clowns like Greg Kelly of Newsmax ask if it’s really such a big deal that a few Nazi flags were spotted during the Freedom Convoy protests in Canada, and if having a fascist swastika flying at your event means everyone attending is a Nazi.

Now, I can’t believe I have to explain this, but yes, it is a really big deal, and if those Nazis were glossed over by those organizing the protests, they are at the very least sympathizers and have to be treated as such. Normally, I’m among the first people to talk about the need for nuance in a complex, ever-changing world, but this is a very black and white, cut and dry issue. Lest we forget, Nazis aren’t just generic bad guys in video games and movies. They were real people, who really existed, and are still very much around and every bit as awful.

Less than a lifetime ago, they spent six years raping, pillaging, and mass-murdering their way through Europe on a quest for totalitarian global domination through sadism and genocide, and along the way, they systematically murdered millions in death camps for the crime of existing. Their only goal in life today is to redo this hideous crusade, and they possess all the emotional and intellectual depth of a cartoon villain from a child’s parable. We know that because they had a long time to show us who they really are, and none of their attempts to rebrand themselves as “controversial race realists” aided by slack-jawed stenographers in the mainstream media, will change that history.

If they show up to whatever you’re doing with approving nods and want to join, you seriously need to rethink what got them to come because these are not good people who support good things. It takes a fundamental evil to believe that some humans should either not exist or exist only to be exploited because they’re “inferior” to you, and maintain this as the core belief which informs your entire worldview. So, when people whose politics revolve around sado-populistic totalitarianism want to support your protest or political party, it’s akin to Hannibal Lector joining you for a dinner party with some fava beans and a nice chianti. It’s only right to be suspicious of what you’re serving.

With that, let’s return to Greg Kelly’s question. The protests currently rocking Ottawa, Canada’s capital, have caused significant consternation and rage from Canadians as the protesters honk their horns until 4:00 am, harass healthcare workers, try to block access to hospitals, steal food from homeless shelters, dig in for a long term occupation of downtown, and oh yeah, wave Nazi and Confederate flags while casually dismissing calls for them to address these open displays o=f hate. (Hence the Canadian hashtag #FluTruxKlan to describe the protesters.) To make them stop, they demand nothing less than being appointed as a sort of Politburo with control over the Canadian government, which Canada’s version of The Onion had a lot of fun mocking.

Supposedly, it was meant as a protest against vaccine mandates and government overreach, but it turned into a protest against civilized society and any public health measure, new ideas, new people, and progress in general. It appears to have been organized by far-right groups lying on social media to whip up rage and destabilize normal public discourse and is now supported and promoted by rabid populists and grifters across the West. This includes QAnon influencers like Romana Didulo, the self-appointed Sovereign Citizen queen of Canada who is under investigation by the RCMP for constantly urging her disciples to commit violence, and opportunists from the Canadian Conservative Party and its Tea Party-like splinter group the People’s Party of Canada.

It’s not some sort of a legitimate movement “hijacked by extremists,” it was created by anti-vax and anti-government extremists exploiting social media to amplify and inflame real rage and frustrations into insane crises like this. This is why the swastikas were flying high. In a surprise turn, the Nazis were the Nazis all along. And this poses a huge problem with the convoy unwilling to even acknowledge this is a problem.

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Not expelling Nazis from your movement means only one thing; that you’re at least sympathetic to their views, which may as well mean that you can be counted among them. If you’re truly set on freedom and self-determination, why tolerate a group that preaches authoritarianism and violence against dissent unless deep down you think that it would work in your favor? If you’re worried about being lied to by the media and politicians, why aren’t you also repulsed by those known for lying to spread poisonous propaganda, fear, and doubt to justify the sado-populism those who tolerate their presence are so keen to ignore?

There’s literally not a single reason not to eject Nazis and vociferously condemn their flags unless you’re at least fash-curious. This is why it’s both stunning and disgusting to see public statements from Canadian members of parliament yadda-yaddaing their way through those Nazi flags or implying they may be intentional framing and editing by the Liberal Party and the media. After 75 years of “never again,” we seem to be backsliding to “eh… maybe one more time because some angry, loud sociopaths said so?” and according to Newsmax, we are not allowed to call this spade a spade and must tiptoe around so we don’t hurt the feelings of Nazi sympathizers uncomfortable with being called what they are.

Sadly, we are now constantly urged by vapid talking heads to tolerate intolerance in the name of free speech, and any attempt to impose healthy, normal social consequences on people who argue for, and want to impose some truly, historically horrific ideologies on us is met with their banshee shrieks of “cancel culture!” But if you can’t cancel out and proud Nazis, then who, pray tell me, are you allowed to cancel? If you’re on the side arguing that we should listen to what the bloodthirsty fascists waiving the symbol of a regime responsible for many of the most depraved atrocities ever unleashed on humanity have to say, that sound you hear behind the chant of “seig heils” is your express ticket to Hell being printed.

Yes, it seems like the “fuck your feelings” crowd sure has a lot of feelings they really want to express with harassment and domestic terrorism, and massive tech conglomerates are fine with letting them because they spend a lot of time seeing a lot of ads while organizing said domestic terrorism on their platforms. When companies are making billions on creating safe spaces and recruitment engines for literal Nazis, words like reprehensible, vile, and irredeemable just don’t quite cut it to describe the situation, even when modified by every expletive I have at my disposal – which that includes Russian expressions that would make a sailor’s ears bleed.

This, dear readers, is what rock bottom looks like. We’ve abandoned communication tools we once used to keep in touch and learn to fascist louts, grifters, and scammers who weaponized them against civil society itself. If anyone starts treating Nazi flags as “legitimate discourse” and worrying about what to call those from whose side those flags wave, the absolute last words we should be entertaining from anyone is that we may be rushing to judgment and how “cancelling” that person is bad. If they would really be “pushed towards extremism” by our criticism of their support, as these Nazi apologists mew, they were an evil lost cause in the first place.

The day we stop calling Nazis what they are is the day we dishonor the memories of those who lost their lives fighting the most despicable of what humanity has to offer, and the day we allow them to set the terms of debate, is the day we can kiss actual freedom and peace goodbye. And in case you’re wondering whether Greg Kelly may be a Nazi sympathizer for trying to downplay their notable presence at political events, you are absolutely correct to ask that question, and go on to consider why he was so interested in glossing over Nazi flags at protests his radioactive dumpster fire of a “news” network ostensibly supports.

Opinion // Canada / QAnon / Radical Right