Is it okay to punch Nazis?
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
I am a very non-violent person. I believe that using violence in society is wrong and that the way to resolve our differences should involve peaceful resistance and fierce, inclusive communication. There is no room for aggressive physical force in a peaceful society.
There are some individuals in our society with truly reprehensible views. White supremacists, neo-Nazis, and members of the “alt-right” often advocate for the actual genocide, ethnic cleansing, and removal of certain groups from existence. These are people who genuinely wish that Jews, people of colour, or anyone else who doesn’t fit their twisted definition of “purity” would disappear. These views are so extreme that they are discouraged by almost everyone. Extreme racism and genocide are not political positions.
Well-known white supremacist Richard Spencer was recently punched in the face during Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. The inventor of the term “alt-right,” Spencer has repeatedly praised Hitler and the Nazis, questioned if “Black genocide” was justified, and has called for “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” The majority of people welcomed the punch and suggested that Spencer should have been punched a few more times, though many questioned if the violence was truly justified.
Violence has no place in a healthy society. However, if you think white people should rule the world by eliminating others because they are naturally superior, you are opting out of a healthy society. You are willingly choosing a position that is evil. You are human garbage and you absolutely need to be punched in the face to get that message across to you.
If we refuse to punch Nazis in the face, we are suggesting that their views are okay to have. Instead, we are using violence to counter a much more dangerous and violent presence. Such extremists do not respond to open dialogue, because they have opted out of a natural society. If given the chance, these people will form groups and their own white supremacist society. They very much advocate for hurting and even killing people from ethnic groups that they don’t care for. It is the way oppressive governments and regimes form in a society, most famously in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s.
Violence is only necessary when other methods don’t work. Some people may respond to open communication and education on why their views are wrong. However, extremists know that their views are morally disgusting to society, and choose to embrace them anyway. That’s when force becomes the proper way to respond, to take a hard stance and say “No! Extermination of entire groups is absolutely 100 per cent not okay!”
I don’t encourage manhunts or specifically targeting people because you think they might be a Nazi. That’s a good way to cause mistaken identity and incite unnecessary violence. But if you observe someone or know for a fact they were specifically advocating for a racially-pure society, suggesting certain folk’s existence should be eliminated, or even just repeatedly using incredibly hateful language referring to dehumanizing certain people (slurs that can’t be printed here), a punch is definitely okay. If you were observing someone shouting angry things at a Jewish person and being violent towards them, punching them would be justified. It’s the exact same thing, even if the “alt-right” is too cowardly to say it to their faces (though they are probably afraid of being punched).