Health & Fitness

Elon Musk & Joe Rogan Weigh In On ‘Fitness Is Fascism’ Debate

  • Jul 17, 2023
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Elon Musk & Joe Rogan Weigh In On ‘Fitness Is Fascism’ Debate

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and podcast icon Joe Rogan have joined a chorus of voices mocking the controversial claim made by an MSNBC opinion columnist back in March 2022.


For as long as we can remember, the silver screen has been adorned by blokes with bulging biceps, pulsing pecs, and devilish delts: from Zac Efron’s wrestle-ready bulk, Tom Hardy’s Bane biceps, and Ryan Reynolds getting ripped, not only have we always kept a close eye on movie star muscle-ups here at DMARGE, but recently, we’ve noticed how men everywhere have been striving to keep their own bodies up to the high bar set by burly billionaires and Hollywood A-listers.

Now, however, it seems that an MSNBC column has turned the spotlight on this trend. Written by renowned Professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss from American University in Washington D.C., the article argues that the “far right” had exploited the surge in at-home fitness trends during the pandemic to radicalize MMA and combat sports, before making references to Hitler and the Nazi party’s idolisation of physical fitness to suggest that this new trend was a far-right recruitment tactic in disguise.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the claims made in this article divided audiences and elicited a strong reaction from every corner of the internet, as reported by Daily Wire. Amongst the general outcry, two big names rose above the fray to leave their thoughts on the debate: Elon Musk and Joe Rogan.

WATCH: Joe Rogan discusses getting high and working out.

In a since-deleted tweet, Tesla kingpin Musk has this to say:

“MSNBC thinks you’re a Nazi if you work out lmaooo… Parody & reality are becoming indistinguishable.”

Elon Musk

Joe Rogan — comedian, fighter and fitness fanatic known for his record-breaking podcast The Joe Rogan Experience — echoed Musk’s sentiments in characteristically to-the-point terms, saying that “Being healthy is ‘far right.’ Holy f***”. For the sake of a fair hearing, and to avoid giving into the endless Twitter hype cycle, we thought it best to give Miller-Idriss’ argument a once-over. Her line of thought goes roughly as follows…

Miller-Idriss believes that the far-right movement entices new recruits with health tips and training programs which — should they find the fitness fix to be an addictive one — can potentially lead them into group chats and forums with some pretty unpleasant people and politics. Drawing a controversial but not entirely off-the-mark historical parallel, she then references Hitler’s fixation on boxing and jujitsu as tools to forge an army of aggressive, physically-primed, homeland-heroes.

While the historical reference that Miller-Idriss makes is totally accurate, her linking it to the current political climate is what caused significant backlash online. In her article, she says that “the intersection of extremism and fitness leans into a shared obsession with the male body, training, masculinity, testosterone, strength, and competition”, before going on to add in no uncertain terms that:

“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’”.

Professor Cynthia Miller-Idriss

Many online were quick to express their incredulity, saying that “MSNBC fears fitness” and that Miller-Idriss’ argument “seems like an insane conspiracy theory”, before going on to dig up one of her older articles that linked homeschooling to far-right politics, piling in on this argument in a wholly similar fashion.

While we’d never want to discourage people from getting out there and working on their physical fitness, due to the undeniable health and longevity benefits it offers, you only need to take one look at the so-called ‘manosphere’ rhetoric around fitness, masculinity, and ‘success’ — with someone like Andrew Tate being the ultimate case study — to see that she might be onto something, even if she casts a dangerously wide net…

While there are undeniably some worryingly close ties between physical fitness and less-than-palatable politics in the internet’s darkest corners, the only war that most of us are interested in is the war against stubborn belly fat… And you won’t convince me to stop fighting on that front any time soon.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by menshealthfits.
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