New York Times columnist Bari Weiss has another piece out today arguing that the word “fascist” doesn’t mean anything anymore, using the example of a protest letter by several groups at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland against conservative “feminist” Christina Hoff Sommers. If this sounds familiar, it’s because she wrote pretty much the exact same column last September, only that time it was about Ben Shapiro and protesters at UC Berkeley.
The general gist of the piece is this: fascism is on the rise around the world (true, although Weiss identifies Venezuela and China as fascist countries, which they are not), and so the left is minimizing the impact of the word when they use it to describe libertarians and conservatives like Hoff Sommers and Shapiro. This is a dumb argument, considering that the way fascism has manifested itself in the United States is as an ally of the conservative movement, as evidenced by the fact that the current Republican presidential administration is run by a mix of neoconservatives and right populists.
But Weiss bravely barreled on with her bad essay, listing out several people who she thinks the left has unfairly labeled fascist. One was Dave Rubin, a YouTuber who is a “liberal” according to Weiss, but who regularly writes screeds on Twitter about the “regressive left” and identity politics. Weiss’s evidence was two tweets from a Twitter account called @OfficialAntifa calling Rubin, a gay man, an “Anti-L.G.B.T. fascist” and a “fascist lieutenant.”
@OfficialAntifa is a parody account, one which was revealed to be a fake account by BuzzFeed in May 2017 after it tricked pro-Trump writer Jack Posobiec.
This is @OfficialAntifa’s pinned tweet:
The Times eventually removed the example of Rubin and added this correction.
UPDATE, 03/07/2018, 8:57 P.M. ET:
Reminder for obviously normal people everywhere: when you have to defend your friends from charges that they’re fascists, make sure the tweets you’re citing aren’t from a joke account.