- Courtesy Leslie Madsen-Brooks
- Fliers for the Boise State Nationalists have been appearing on Boise State University campus.
"Because of the final bullet, 'degeneracy,' that crossed a bright line into Nazi ideology," the Boise State University history professor said. "That's not an idea I want to see promulgated on campus."
The fliers appeared Jan. 25 affixed to several campus buildings, encouraging anyone who has a "problem with" immigration, political correctness, globalization, Marxism/leftism, "male emasculation" or "degeneracy" to reach out to a Gmail email address.
While many of the concepts identified on the flier, like globalization, Marxism and male identity, are frequently discussed at Boise State, "degeneracy" relates specifically to National Socialist theories of race, eugenics and art.
According to a statement issued by Boise State, "Boise State Nationalists" is not a recognized student group and the fliers were posted in violation of university policy.
"Still, while the university does restrict how fliers can be posted on campus, the content of the speech in question is protected by the First Amendment," the statement read. "As is the speech of those who vehemently disagree with it."
University officials referred further discussion of the fliers to student organizations; classroom discussions; the Multicultural Student Services and Student Involvement and Leadership centers; and the Gender Equity Center, Veterans Services and the Dean of Student Services.
The appearance of the fliers has spurred speculation on the group. Boise State officials have not released details about the number of fliers or whether an inquiry is being conducted into their appearance, but there are some clues: a non-Boise State-affiliated email address and the location and manner of their placement around campus.
"I'm guessing it's an off-campus group trying to recruit young people to their cause, or it's a group of students who feel they're not getting heard at the university, or that they might not have the same opportunities on campus because of their ideology," Madsen-Brooks said.
The use of Marvel Comics superhero Captain America on the fliers—a digitally altered variant cover of Captain America #1, 2012, with ink by Joe Riviera and colors by Paolo Riviera—is "particularly interesting," according to Madsen-Brooks.
Captain America was created by writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby—both of whom were Jewish—in 1941. In the superhero's first appearance, he can be seen punching Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the face. Despite his overt anti-Nazi overtones, his origin story, which involves a physically weak man gaining superpowers after being injected with a super-soldier serum, has become a dog whistle for white supremacist ideology.
"He's in many ways a cipher. He's not the shorthand many people think he is," Madsen-Brooks said. "Maybe [the Boise State Nationalists] are promising some kind of magic juice."