“Desperate and Resentful Young Men”

Sadly, Piccolini’s analysis aligns with the Nazi historian Richard J. Evans’ description of young men in 1920s Germany, as Jim Friedrich noted this week:

In examining the rise of Nazism in the 1920s, [Evans] saw desperate and resentful young men being attracted to extremism and violence “irrespective of ideology.” They weren’t looking for ideas, but meaning… a pick-me-up to restore a sense of personal significance. “Violence was like a drug for such men… Often, they had only the haziest notion of what they were fighting for.” … Hostility to the enemy de jour — Communists, Jews, whomever — was the core of their commitment. As one young Stormtrooper later reflected on the bonding effect of collective violence, it was all “too wonderful and perhaps too hard to write about.”

White supremacist and “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer seems to understand this desire for meaning, personal significance and “bonding effect” described by both Evans and Piccolini. Famous for his Nazi salute and exclamation of “Hail Trump!” after Trump’s election, Spencer has gushed about the torch-lit march in Charlottesville in religious terms: “I love the torches. It’s spectacular; it’s theatrical and mystical and magical and religious, even.”

More here.