Thursday, February 09, 2017

Punch a Nazi Today

Apparently it's the big moral question for liberals: is it OK to punch out Nazis (or neo Nazis, Alt-Right or whatever tag they like to hide behind these days)?  It arises, of course, from that widely circulated footage of that right-winger getting punched not once, but twice, in Washington DC, on the day of Trump's inauguration.  Some on the left felt that the widespread jubilation this event caused on social media was misplaced.  Their argument is that violence can never be justified - particularly in a case like this, when the attacks were unprovoked, the victim was simply espousing his view point, as is his right as a matter of free speech rather than inciting or threatening violence himself.  He should, they contend, have been engaged in reasoned argument, rather than being cold cocked by a couple of passing two fisted liberals.  I say liberals, but we don't actually have any real idea what their political affiliations were.  They might simply been interested in perpetrating a bit of non-political violence and the Nazi just happened to be the wrong man in the wrong place.

Anyway, I've been giving this a lot of thought: can we really condone casual violence of this sort against our political foes, even when they are extremists espousing racism and intolerance?  Doesn't it just bring us down to their level?  Isn't the resort to violence an admission that our own political and moral values are themselves invalid, that we've lost the argument with the right?  Well, there was a time when I would have agreed that violence could never be condoned in politics.  But the fact is, whether we like it or not, we're living in a scary new world where the fascists have taken power.  In the case of Trump, right from the start, he and his supporters have shown their willingness to subvert the system in order to force through repressive and regressive policies,  Let's not forget that during his campaign, Trump was perfectly happy to incite violence against his opponents and he now happily condones the use of fatal violence by his buddy Putin, when dealing with his political opponents.  Moreover, Trump is backed by the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, an organisation not noted for recourse to reasoned argument.  So, whilst I still wouldn't like to be seen to be inciting violence, I'm afraid that I've come to conclusion that, yes, if the circumstances seem right, we should punch out Nazis.  I'm just talking about a swift smack in the mouth here, not beatings with iron poles or gunning them down.  Nothing fatal.  Just a swift, sharp shock every time they start spewing their bile.  Because, I can't help but feel that if more people had punched out Nazis in Germany, during the Weimar Republic, we might have avoided a lot of trouble later.  So, if you see a Nazi, give them a slap.



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