Sure, people can join and leave neo-Nazi movements; but that’s not what I’m getting at.
There are certain things from which, if you go there, there is no turning back. Being a Nazi is one of them. There is no such a thing as being an “ex-Nazi,” just as there is no such a thing as being an “ex-serial killer.” The crimes and outrages committed still remain, even if no further crimes are being contemplated.
I’m talking about this country, today. This isn’t Italy in the ’20s or Germany in the ’30s. Anyone who joins a Nazi movement cannot say “I was forced to” or “I did it for my family’s safety” or even something so base as “I did it for my career” or to “not rock the boat.” No. Someone in modern America who joins something so universally reviled and condemned did so of their own free will, knowing full well the consequences of their acts. They chose to hate.
Claiming environment, youthful indiscretions, or a “mistake” doesn’t fly. Many people grow up in dysfunctional or hateful environments, few end up putting a swastika on their sleeves. Joining the Young Republicans may be a mistake; joining a Nazi group is a crime against humanity.
Furthermore, we don’t need repentant “former Nazis” around to “educate” the rest of us. We had enough of those from the first time around, thank you very much.
History passed its judgement a long time ago. And the judgement of history, while perhaps seemingly harsh, is just.
Very just, indeed.