We Can’t Beat the Hate out of People. [Op-ed]

It’s true. It’s impossible to physically force ideas out of people. It simply doesn’t work. If it did, then malicious beliefs like white supremacy wouldn’t be a problem.

But many claim otherwise.

Take, for example, the Antifa collective. They believed that by attacking right-wing militants and neo-Nazis, like they did in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend, they could accomplish two things:

  1. Defend the innocent and
  2. Violently intimidate and prevent their opponents from publicly expressing their beliefs.

Did Antifa achieve that in Charlottesville? Nope. After numerous confrontations between radical right and left-wing protesters, a domestic terrorist ran over at least 20 of his ideological opponents with his vehicle, killing one and injuring the rest.

Antifa (and many others) failed to protect the affected, despite their use of violence. And we also know that white supremacists intend to rally even more in the coming months.

So can we, or they for that matter, claim that the Charlottesville incident resulted in a victory for Antifa?

You see, Antifa is playing a cat-and-mouse game with white supremacists: Wherever the disciples of hate go, the anti-fascists will follow. And when the two violence-prone factions meet, disorder usually ensues and oftentimes affects the innocent bystander and protester.

This is a major problem because this ongoing struggle between fascists and Antifa is not primarily of physical strength. It is not a military operation nor should it be treated as one.

It is a conflict of ideas.

If we really want to effectively undermine hate groups in America, we have to stop beating them with violence and start transforming them with love.

I am talking about the type of love that liberates our enemies from their internal disillusionment. A love that can be channeled through art, peace, and education. A love that says, “Join us,” and not “Hate us even more.”

But above all it should be a love that affirms what the Founding Fathers wrote when they formed our nation:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

So, the next time you attend a protest or discuss society’s problems, remind those around you with your words and actions that we can’t beat the hate out of people.

But we can convert them.