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(First published on July 11th, 2020)

For someone who spends a remarkable amount of time reading and researching fascist literature, I feel very fortunate this propaganda never appeals to me. To defeat their seduction all you have to do is know where the ciphers are hidden and how to unlock them. When properly unlocked they are revealed as a pitiable heap of wholly odious garbage.

Let me share the names of three authors who have helped me a great deal in building a foundation against such evil ideas. The first author is Karl Popper. Popper’s Open Society and its Enemies painstakingly deconstructs three philosophical works which are repeatedly repurposed to manufacture new forms of fascism and other totalitarian vices. These works are written by three renowned philosophers: Plato, Hegel and Marx. Since Plato is the patient zero of all things fascistic here is a beautiful excerpt from the first volume to describe him.

“Socrates had refused to compromise his personal integrity. Plato, with all his uncompromising canvas-cleaning, was led along a path on which he compromised his integrity with every step he took. He was forced to combat free thought, and the pursuit of truth. He was led to defend lying, political miracles, tabooistic superstition, the suppression of truth, and ultimately, brutal violence.” And there lies the problem. All of this just because he hated democracy.

The second author is Bertrand Russell. A History of Western Philosophy is an absolute gem even if you don’t have time for the rest of his beautifully written works. The third author who was very helpful is Will Durant. Now with his works I took the long route. His 11-volume Story of Civilization was easy to read when I was young and had all the time in the world at my disposal. Mercifully a shortcut is available. His Story of philosophy will happily inoculate you against fascism.

Now to the subject. It never ceases to amaze me how often fascists use the future as a propaganda tool. In their versions of utopia and dystopia, they show people dreams and nightmares that immediately guarantee their loyalty. That is why successful fascists usually are very gifted orators or writers. Show, don’t tell. But what if you were told that today’s Nazi grifters have a more powerful set of future related propaganda tools than the original Nazis. Let us dive into the perverse world of internet-based conspiracy theories to sample some of these.

Have you heard of John Titor? Before I tell you more about him, let me point out that this name stirs an avalanche of debate and controversies on online message boards. And from there the lore has seeped into mainstream social media as well.

The story goes like this. In the year 2000, on online message boards, a series of messages started appearing by someone who introduced himself by the above name and claimed that he was a military time traveller from the year 2036. Initially, the claims attracted the kind of ridicule and disbelief they deserve. But his messages kept coming. And what eventually helped him win over countless supporters was his elaborate knowledge of science and technology involved (he even posted pictures of the purported time machine) and the dark details of the world he claimed to come from. Many scientists later showed how his scientific claims despite being clever did not add up. Within a few months, the messages stopped coming and his followers believed he had returned to his original time. Only his description of the dark future interests us here.

He claimed that in 2004 a civil war breaks out in the US. It continues for 10 years and he joins a shotgun infantry unit at the age of 13. In 2014, a brief nuclear world war between Russia and the US brings an end to this civil war as many US cities are destroyed by Russian nuclear strikes. America breaks down into five pieces and the world becomes peaceful. I couldn’t find any direct reference to race relations but there are hints here and there. Jewish references appeared quite often.

The neo-Nazi fascination with nuclear bombs and the American civil war is not new. America’s intervention in WWII played a decisive role in Hitler’s and Axis powers’ defeat and the US nuclear superiority was the winning argument. Consequently, they have not forgiven either one of them. In many neo-Nazi fantasy fiction works like the Turner Diaries, Russia (or its predecessor USSR) uses nuclear strikes to punish America. In Turner Diaries, often dubbed as the Bible of white nationalism, the white supremacist forces in the near future first seize control of California and then launch nuclear strikes on the USSR, hoping, calculating that Moscow would attack America, not just the breakaway California. And that is precisely what happens.

Since these message boards were usually anonymous no one could locate the whereabouts of the said time traveller. There were claims that his IP address was geolocated in Florida but since early forms of virtual private networks (VPNs) were already in use you can never confirm that. Incidentally, in 2000, the author of white nationalism’s Bible, William Pierce was fiercely occupied in transforming his extremist group the National Alliance into a highly professional organisation so that it could outlast him. He died in 2002. Interestingly, Pierce was a PhD in physics and had left a research job in the aeronautical industry to join the American Nazi Party. Pierce gets occupied with more pressing concerns and Titor disappears from the message board. Pierce dies and we are told Titor sent back a message telling us he would not return.

Now get this. Remember in the past I told you about the alt-right, Boogaloo movement, Nazi-Hindutva connection and many other evils populating the 4chan website? There is another conspiracy theory that originated. It is called QAnon. This group has grown rapidly in number, has spawned a number of lethal sub-theories including the so-called pizzagate scandal, has been covered by media and is dedicated. Former Trump National Security advisor General Michael Flynn was recently videotaped celebrating July 4 by swearing allegiance to QAnon. Q refers to an anonymous poster who claimed to be in the know of things and first appeared on the website in 2017. He talks of a plan to defeat the corrupt elite. His supporters wait for his call to arms. Interestingly this theory has a time travel component too which connects inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla to Trump through his uncle John G Trump. Yes, Tesla to Trump. Q by the way does not refer to any post. It refers to the department of energy’s clearance level. According to the Federation of American Scientists’ website, Q clearance “could have access to nuclear weapons design, manufacture, or use data”.

Now imagine for a second that Pierce is Titor, alt-right is neo-Nazis, Boogaloo movement and QAnon are parts of preparation for the second world war and Q has access to the nuclear controls. Why does it concern us? Because Pierce’s white protagonists do not stop at nuking only the US, Russian and Israeli cities. Once victorious they destroy the entire non-white world including you and I with nuclear strikes.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2020.

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