Is It Okay to Punch Nazis?

As you probably know by now, Richard Spencer, the man who coined the term “alt-right”, was sucker-punched while he was giving an interview on the day of President Trump’s Inauguration. As 4chan’s /pol/ board figured out, the guy who surprised Spencer with a sucker-punch is likely a literal shit-eating cuckold.

This prompted many leftists to start asking the question, “Is it okay to punch Nazis?” To which they agreed that it is.

Because, apparently, all members of the alt-right are Nazis. Apparently, anyone who disagrees with leftist philosophy is a Nazi.

If we built a time machine and went back to 1942 to punch Hitler in the face, then yes, punching Nazis is okay. Hell, punching the ordinary Nazi soldier would be perfectly fine, too.

It’s okay because those Nazis actually took action of murdering people. Physical violence is perfectly justified when it’s in response to physical violence. That’s called self-defense or defense of others.

Just like how protests only work if they’re in response to actual governmental action, physical violence is only justified as a response to violence. Not to an imagined slight. But to a real threat.

But physical violence as a response to someone’s speech? Physically assaulting someone simply because of their beliefs?

FUCK NO! THAT IS WRONG!

It is NOT ACCEPTABLE to commit PHYSICAL ASSAULT in retaliation for someone’s SPEECH.

Jesus-fucking-Christ, I can’t believe I have to actually explain this.

But that’s the state modern-day leftists have placed us. They are actually forcing me to defend Richard Spencer, even though I find a lot of his beliefs highly repugnant.

Freedom of speech is a sacred right that must be protected. Free speech is a defining, guiding principle of our democracy. Free expression is a bedrock upon which our great society is founded.

It doesn’t matter what a person says or believes. It doesn’t matter if they’re promoting genocide or ethnic cleansing. That applies equally, from “gays and Jews are sub-human” to “kill all white males”.

Personally, I don’t believe in committing genocide of any ethnic group. A shocking claim, I know. But I don’t care if someone expresses pro-genocide thoughts.

I don’t care unless that person starts committing actions that violate the rights of others. That’s the dividing line.

People have the fundamental right to say and believe things, even if those thoughts and ideologies are morally abhorrent.

Voltaire’s famous saying is, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Voltaire did NOT say, “I disapprove of what you say, so I will punch you in the face.”

It is only morally justified to react with violence if a person actually starts practicing what they preach by putting a genocidal ideology into action.

You are only morally correct to physically attack and assault people if they are direct, immediate threats to your or another human being’s right to live safely and freely. Thoughts, opinions, and beliefs are NOT immediate threats to anyone’s safety.

Otherwise, the slippery slope is far, far too dangerous.

Disagree with someone’s right-wing political views? Eh, just call them a Nazi. Then it’s okay to punch them because real Nazis have murdered millions of people.

Disagree with someone’s left-wing political views? Eh, just call them a Communist. Then it’s okay to punch them because real Communists have also murdered millions of people.

You don’t even have to justify why someone is a Nazi or Communist. Just label them as whatever you want. Then you have free reign to react with all the violence you want.

Actual societal progress can only be made when people are freely allowed to speak their minds. We need the free exchange of ideas. We need to be able to fairly debate ideas out in the open.

It makes no sense to shove repugnant ideas underground, allowing them to fester. If people have hate in their hearts, they’re only going to become more stubbornly committed to that hate if we force them to keep their beliefs repressed.

But if we engage them in dialogue and keep an open-mind, their minds will be far more pliable to re-considering their ideologies. Judging people for their beliefs rarely has the effect of causing them to change their minds.

Liberals used to believe in free speech.

I used to describe myself as liberal. Hell, I used to be an active member of the ACLU when I was an undergraduate.

But that was back when liberalism actually stood for something. Back when liberals actually valued and defended the right to freedom of speech. I still subscribe to the philosophies of classical liberalism. It’s a shame that today’s liberals have tragically lost their way.

As an example of just how far we’ve fallen, consider the Skokie Affair of 1977. Real Nazis–or at least Americans who actually identified as Nazis–planned to march through the predominantly Jewish community of Skokie, Illinois.

Tasteless? Of course. But the First Amendment guarantees every group’s right to peaceably assemble and express their beliefs.

I’m not the only one who agrees. The ACLU–yes, that ACLU–defended the Nazis’s right to march and argued the case before the United States Supreme Court. Many ACLU members resigned in protest of the organization defending Nazis. But to me, the case demonstrated the unwavering commitment to the principles of free speech that liberals used to defend.

But now, forty years later?

Liberals would just punch the Skokie Nazis in the face and call it a day.

Reacting to “incorrect” speech with physical violence? That sounds like something real Nazis might actually have done.

Abhorrent ideologies, indeed.