So as most people are probably aware of right now, there is this group running around who call themselves Antifa. Antifa which in their minds is shorthand for anti-fascism are now renown for showing up at rallies and causing damage to both events and attendants. Now how they haven’t realized that forcefully attempting to shut down events IS fascism is beyond me. I guess irony is not within their realm of accepted beliefs.
These Antifa, claim to be the defenders of the oppressed and the guardians of equality. They pride themselves on supposedly standing against fascism, racism and other discriminatory practices and are firmly opposed to anything they deem as hate speech. Most people are quick to denounce the actions of Antifa, but their tactics and actions have sparked a larger conversation within the country. Is it wrong to punch people who hold hateful views?
Rewind to the day of Trump’s election. A rather divisive character named Richard Spencer is being interviewed when he is suddenly sucker punched by a man clad in all black who then quickly scurries away. Now of course people tend to hold very strong opinions of Spencer one way or another, and most of course are quick to label him a racist, white supremacist and entrepreneur of fuckboy hairstyles. Think of him whatever you want, I have no interest in defending him or his views because this is not about him.
Later on that very same week a well known actor from the Netflix show “Stranger Things” makes a speech. During said speech he took the time to emphasize the fact that it is sometimes necessary to punch some people in the face, likely in response to the aforementioned attack. And of course, he was met with the thunderous applause and cries of unified orgasmic climax from a crowd of hashtag woke celebrities and fellow actors. Now these events are only a few to highlight this encroaching trend of legitimizing violence, because earlier this week something else happened. A man opened fire onto a baseball field filled with Republican congressmen and understudies. He fired dozens of shots, managing to injure 4 people including United States House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
These recent events are troubling to say the least, but not so much from the senseless acts of violence in and of themselves. As harrowing as it may be to acknowledge, these violent attacks have almost become the norm nowadays, and are now regular occurrence. It seems every week the world is riddled by news of yet another deranged lunatic causing mass amounts of death on unsuspecting civilians. This is not to say that these things should be encouraged obviously, but at this point does anyone believe they will actually stop anytime soon?
What is more disturbing however, is the attempt of some to justify and even normalize these events. Specifically after the latest baseball game shooting, a number of voices have been seen making excuses for the actions of the degenerate responsible. These voices have manifested themselves in the forms of calls to “punch a Nazi in the face.” This mentality has been around for awhile now, with many applauding the actions of those brave individuals who dare to sucker punch unsuspecting people.
It’s not easy to have sympathy for a “Nazi” or a fascist, and I can’t exactly claim that I care too much what their ultimate fate may be. But this is not the issue here, the ideology of the person attacked is irrelevant because political violence is something that should NEVER be justified for any reason or by any party. It doesn’t matter how vile the person’s personal views may be, committing violence on random people is a piranha pond which can lead to complete evaporation of civil discourse. Our strength as a society comes from our ability to discuss problems in a reasonable manner and make jokes about them that grandma would not approve of. Those with heinous views and prejudices need not be attacked because the free market of ideas will defeat them every time, unless they are actively being oppressed as they claim. If you punch a “Nazi”, you only reaffirm what they believe and lend credence to their arguments. Worse still, you demonstrate to the public that you are willing to stoop below the level of a “Nazi” in order to bring them down.
You may have noticed by now, throughout the entirety of this article I air quote the term “Nazi” because the truth of the matter is, everyone is accused of being a “Nazi” nowadays. If I were to approach you in public, accuse you of being a “Nazi” and than punch you in the face, would I be justified? How do you effectively refute the accusations of being a “Nazi”? It’s like being accused that you believe in Santa Claus or have an irrational fear of potatoes. Unless you have some unquestionable and bizarrely specific proof, than no one will believe you. This is the problem with this mindset: you open the floodgates and pretty soon everyone is getting knuckle sandwiches for breakfast.
But OK I guess it’s the trendy thing to punch Nazis now, so while were at it, can we punch communists too? After all, communism killed 90 million people in the last century alone so surely those who support it are every bit as disgusting as Nazis right? And speaking of right, should we punch the alt-right too? They are basically Nazis after all. Conservatives get the fist too because they are right wingers and henceforth definitely Nazis. And don’t forget to punch those pesky liberals too, because let’s be honest they are just junior communists. And libertarians? Well that lot hates roads. ROADS for god’s sake! Definitely gotta punch them as well. There is no drawing a line with political violence, because if you justify one action you justify them all regardless of your intention.
I realize we live in a highly polarized political climate right now, and as such it may be incredibly difficult to contain composure when interacting with those of different persuasions. But this type of mentality does nothing but erode the foundation from which our country was built. The ideas of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness cannot flourish if everyone is paranoid of random assaults at all times. So instead of punching a Nazi, do what I do, laugh at them. Laugh as they fade into irrelevancy while the rest of us talk about how fun it is to not get punched in the face.