Is Nazi Punching Legit? (Part I, Against: Justin Antitheist)
Note from One Tongue Johnny
Everybody loves one damn fine Nazi punch; or do they?
Is punching Nazis a perfectly understandable and legitimate response to far right provocation?
Or is it a counterproductive and dangerous way of engaging one’s enemies?
For part 1, we have secular rationalist Justin Antitheist.
What is this question asking? Is it asking if it is legal to punch a Nazi or if it is socially acceptable to do so? Is it asking if it should be socially acceptable? Is it asking something else?
First of all, it seems that this question, in context, deliberately alludes to Richard Spencer being sucker punched while giving an interview on January 20th, 2017 allegedly by Antifa member Raymond Balley. Hopefully, we are not talking about punching an actual Nazi today as any such Nazi would be exceedingly old.
So we must ask; are we talking about punching actual Nazis back in the 1940s or punching people like Richard Spencer? Is this hypothetical Nazi physically attacking someone, having a conversation or something other? Is she a soldier? A civilian? A child? Endless questions suggest themselves.
Then there is the burden of proof. The burden of proof belongs to the party that makes the initial claim. The question itself presupposes that the object of the punch is in fact guilty of being a Nazi. Furthermore, this is an extraordinary claim to make. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
These and many more questions should be grappled with by those who feel that it’s legit to punch “Nazis”. None of this, however, poses any difficulty to my argument.
Imagine an alternate reality in which there are people who are literally Nazis. Not “Nazis.” Actual Nazis in 2017. The US is not at war with these Nazis, by the way, and one of them is standing on a street corner talking to a reporter while other civilians are protesting. Would it be legit to sucker punch this Nazi as he is being interviewed?
My answer is no.
It is dishonorable to punch an unsuspecting target like that. One loses integrity that way. One’s virtue is diminished and one becomes less worthy of respect. A society that ensures that ethics, honor and integrity are encouraged and unethical, dishonest and dishonorable actions are sanctioned against is healthier than a society that does not. In other words, having good principles is a good idea.
If that “Nazi” is not actually a Nazi, but rather some guy that apparently subscribes to identity politics then punching him would be that much more of a disgrace. Did I write identity politics? My mistake. That’s the authoritarian left’s term. I meant identitarian politics, the far right authoritarian version of it.
Notice also that if one wants anarchy, as Antifa claims to, one necessarily must argue that such a punch is not legit. This is because such behavior makes the existence of police and government necessary, which, of course, prevents anarchy. Any anarchy that is violent is unstable and hence only temporary.
Some may ask; upon what grounds do I make these claims about good principles like honor, virtue and integrity upon which my argument rests? After all, are these not social constructions? Of course they are. But more importantly, they are constructions that are beneficial to social health. In other words, I am also making a pragmatic argument about punching “Nazis”.
Be wary of social constructions that are caustic to the individual and/or society. The acceptance of unaccountable sociopaths acting as judge, jury and executioner as they sucker punch someone whom they probably have only 2nd hand and biased information to go on is a cancerous social construction. Principled behavior, on the other hand, is constructive and healthy.
By the way, Spencer may have views that enrage me and make me want to punch him, but how he may make me or anyone else feel is irrelevant to the question at hand.