The decade's most triggering comedy
Elon Musk and Joe Rogan joined in the widespread mockery of an MSNBC opinion columnist‘s bizarre claim from March 2022, complete with a reference to Adolph Hitler, that physical fitness is an evil trick used by white supremacists to recruit supporters.
Professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss of American University in Washington, D.C., claimed in the article, which MSNBC retweeted on Monday, that the “far right has taken advantage of pandemic at-home fitness trends to expand its decade-plus radicalization of physical mixed martial arts (MMA) and combat sports spaces.” Twitter and Tesla boss Musk and podcast superstar Rogan, who is a well-known fitness buff, were quick to ridicule the claim.
“MSNBC thinks you’re a nazi if you work out lmaooo,” Musk tweeted, adding, “Parody & reality are becoming indistinguishable.”
“Being healthy is ‘far right.’ Holy f***,” Joe Rogan echoed.
Miller-Idriss declared that new recruits to the far-right movement are “lured with health tips and strategies for positive physical changes,” adding that “researchers” say the recruits are then invited to closed-chat groups.
The author cited Hitler, saying the German dictator’s “Mein Kampf” showed he was “fixated on boxing and jujitsu, believing they could help him create an army of millions whose aggressive spirit and impeccably trained bodies, combined with ‘fanatical love of the fatherland,’ would do more for the German nation than any ‘mediocre’ tactical weapons training.”
“The intersection of extremism and fitness leans into a shared obsession with the male body, training, masculinity, testosterone, strength and competition,” Miller-Idriss stated. “Physical fitness training, especially in combat sports, appeals to the far right for many reasons: fighters are trained to accept significant physical pain, to be ‘warriors,’ and to embrace messaging around solidarity, heroism, and brotherhood. It’s championed as a tool to help fight the ‘coming race war’ and the street battles that will precede it.”
Other Twitter users were equally incredulous at the claim linking health and fitness to the far-Right, including one who wrote that “MSNBC fears fitness, home schooling, parental rights, and religious liberty,” and another opining that the claim “seems like an insane conspiracy theory to me, but I’m probably just “far-right” too.”
In March, Miller-Idriss wrote an article claiming that some homeschooling was linked to far-Right movements, noting “a strategy that has long been key to white supremacist groups: indoctrinating their children through curriculum designed to teach white supremacy, while keeping them out of what they see as the brainwashing multiculturalism of public schools.”
“Homeschooling as a strategy to indoctrinate children into white supremacy is nothing new,” she stated.
“There’s a reason why Germany, some 80 years after the Holocaust, does not allow homeschooling: because they see the state as having an obligation to teach democratic citizenship and socialize children in ways that lead to the rejection of antisemitic and extremist ideologies,” she concluded.