Masochistic is, perhaps, the best way to describe the neo-Nazi’s in the 21st Century. Recent events over the course of the past year are quite convincing that many of those on the racist right suffer from a pervasive and debilitating problem and nothing better explains that malady than Masochistic Personality Disorder.
Imagine donning a uniform or costume that when publicly worn enrages onlookers often to the point of violent reactions. Consider, if you will, the life of someone who hates others vehemently and openly, promotes an ideology that to most is incomprehensible, and lives in a continuous state of fear.
Being a neo-Nazi is a hard-knock life. Most people go through life engaging in a job or career that is either rewarding or fulfilling, and sometimes both. As long as our work is up to par and our work ethic acceptable we have little fear of being fired or ousted. We come home after work to our family, friends and neighbors and try to experience many of life’s little pleasures. Generally speaking, we lead satisfying lives in the overall realm of things.
A neo-Nazi, on the other hand, does not know such peace. In the workplace the fear of exposure is a constant. Whereas most of us engage in daily conversations that may lead us into areas of disagreement with our co-workers or boss, we usually have little fear over the effect that might have on our employment. But the neo-Nazi dares not express his true thoughts or opinions lest he be relinquished from his position quickly and without remorse.
Throughout the Nazi movement, time and again, you hear the worries of those who use screen – names and refuse to disclose personal information for fear of reprisals. Yet, when looking at the situation over long periods of time it becomes more and more evident that this type of “fear” is almost pleasurable to the Nazi. Should he lose his station or position he is quick to play the victim and fails to see the rationale behind his banishment. The loss of one’s job because of unacceptable personal actions becomes a badge of honor.
This same faulty logic or behavior carries through into virtually every area of the Nazi’s life. Consider, for example, Ken Matthews in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ken is a neo-Nazi and heads up the local unit of the National Socialist Movement. He had been living in Grand Rapids unnoticed by his neighbors as just another guy. When it became known that he is a Nazi and that he invited other Nazi’s to Grand Rapids, a demonstration was held outside of his house and his neighbors were absolutely outraged to find that such a human being lived in their midst. Yet, Ken will now be content to hang with a small contingent of other outcasts and commisserate over his mistreatment. This is dysfunctional at best and pathological at worst.
To further their masochistic yearnings, the neo-Nazi’s subject themselves to many things that can only be characterized as demeaning.
When viewing some pictures of some of the more recent rallies held by the NSM and their commrades, I was struck by thoughts of what it must be like to stand in a city where you are not welcome, wave swastikas in the faces of others knowing that the reaction is going to be negative in the extreme, face hundreds who protest your very existence, attempt to speak over the boos and catcalls and rejection from the onlookers, fail to have your message heard, be called hideous names, know that there are some in the crowd who want your blood, require police protection from those opposed, have objects thrown at you, and be personna non gratis wherever you go.
Sane people never experience such things. Even during the most heated of debates or the advancing of one’s own politcal views, we rarely ever witness the type or the scope of rejection that is directed at neo Nazi’s.
To be certain, there are those within our communities and neighborhoods who, perhaps, are bigoted and maybe harbor racist views. Yet, they don’t march down our streets waving swastika banners. They don’t adorn the entrances of our government buildings with their brown shirts and combat boots. They don’t screech at the top of their lungs about the evils of the Jews and the dangers of race-mixing. And they don’t talk about the Day of the Rope or how the United States must be ethnically cleansed.
It would appear that those who do engage in this behavior are not only gluttons for punishment, but derive some sort of perverse pleasure out of being the recipients of some pretty strong negativity. Masochistic? I am beginning to think so. What else could possibly explain it? Setting aside the thirst for attention that belongs to the Bill White’s and the Hal Linder’s of the “movement,” there still remains a large contingent who just can’t seem to get enough of being slapped around and beaten both physically and emotionally. They thrive on it – they live for it – and they just keep coming back for more.