The Corner


Just What Does a Guy Have to Say to Be Considered Beyond the Pale?

Politics, in the form of turning ideas into legislation and getting them passed into law, requires building coalitions and attracting allies. Inevitably, the process is going to require at least a temporarily alliance with someone you don’t agree with all that much.

We’re all going to have our own internal “red line” of when somebody’s beyond the pale in their views or ideology — too radical, too extreme, too horrible, hateful, a repugnant human being who we don’t wish to be associated with in politics or any other venue. The odds are good we’ve all had some experience where somebody we initially thought we knew and liked turned out to be a bit of a nut or worse. And it’s understandable that different people will have different notions about where that line of acceptable allies is to be drawn.

What I can’t quite understand is why any conservative would give the benefit of the doubt to somebody like Nick Fuentes, who makes jokes comparing the Holocaust to Cookie Monster baking cookies, or scoffs that segregation was no big deal, or fumed that those who work for Jews are “race traitors,” or yearned for young people to march under Mussolini banners. These examples don’t strike me as a close call or an isolated incident or a momentary lapse in judgment. Benny Johnson assembled these examples and more, each with video, here.

If you want to advance a policy — whether it’s secure borders, lower taxes, fewer abortions, or anything else — then you can’t let it get mixed up with lunatic notions like Holocaust denial, pro-segregation, the idea that people owe loyalty to their own race, or the odes to the upside of fascism. The first reason we can’t do that is because these are all terrible and morally abhorrent ideas. But the second reason is because the overwhelming majority of the American people will instantly recoil from anything and anyone remotely associated with those lunatic notions. Welcoming fascist segregationist Holocaust doubters to your side in a debate is embracing defeat with open arms.

The fact that someone like Michelle Malkin — a figure once widely respected, even beloved amongst conservatives —  insists upon seeing Nick Fuentes as simply an activist against open borders, and does not see any of Fuentes’ above remarks as sufficient reason to no longer see him as an ally, is deeply troubling.

Jim Geraghty is the senior political correspondent of National Review.
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