If MSNBC is to be believed, it’s time to add physical fitness to the list of fascists pursuits we should avoid. In an opinion piece on its website that was shared on Twitter with the caption, “The far right’s obsession with fitness is going digital,” columnist Cynthia Miller-Idriss finds much not to love about getting in shape.
Miller-Idriss, a professor at American University who studies polarization and extremism, dives into the deep end with linking exercise to Nazi Germany. Asserting that being fit has historically been “central to the far right,” she cites Hitler’s fixation on boxing and jujitsu as ideal training for the German soldier.
Hitler, it should be noted, was also a vegetarian, especially later in life, and rabidly anti-smoking. And it is only in the second-to-last paragraph that Miller-Idriss acknowledges that fitness is also enjoyable and rewarding for non-fascists.
The MSNBC contributor determined that working out appeals to right-wing extremists because of their love for “solidarity, heroism and brotherhood.” She asserts that physical fitness intersects with fascism in “training, masculinity, testosterone, strength and competition.”
Is there anything the left will not politicize? Miller-Idriss appears obsessed with MMA clubs as breeding grounds for everything from skinhead movements to the horrors of toxic masculinity. Without specifics, she references the rise of clubs everywhere from Canada to Germany and Ukraine that “radicalize” and promote far-right violence.
Her MSNBC column further bemoans that the U.S. is “comparatively far behind” our European brethren in combating this phenomenon of grooming physically fit fascists. She claims, again with zero evidence, that fitness is championed as a tool for recruits to survive the “coming race war.”
And woe be to anyone who spent their formative years playing Mortal Kombat. Video games are not spared MSNBC’s accusations of combining an extreme combat culture and entertainment to glorify “violence and hypermasculinity.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw tweeted that the same folks who ordered you to stay at home during the pandemic are now “mad about home fitness.” And yes, Miller-Idriss cites the home fitness boom since early 2020 for helping fascists expand their recruitment efforts to those trying to get or stay in shape.
Talk about mixed messages–get in shape, don’t get in shape! Exercise and bodybuilding are fascist, but don’t be a couch potato! The leftists are superb at finding vast right-wing conspiracies behind every door, even if it’s just the one to your local gym.