So last Friday during the inauguration of President Trump and all of the attendant civil disorder that went along with it, Richard Spencer got punched in the face by a hit-and-run SJWer. Some folks would say he was asking for it, while others are a bit disturbed by the whole affair. Many, of course, don’t have a problem with punching a “Nazi” in the face. After all, who would? We all know that Nazis are bad guys, and it helps that we beat them like a drum in World War II. Hence, Nazis make an excellent Schelling point against which good, patriotic Americans (or people, like SJWs, who are only pretending to be good, patriotic Americans) can rally.
Yet – as is almost always the case – the devil is in the definitions.
One of the major problems with invoking a label in politics is that it tends to be subjectively applied. Someone is a “Nazi,” for instance, not because they actually are, but because the one calling them that disagrees with them and wants to get others to disagree with them as well. Such tends to be the case with Richard Spencer. Now, it can easily be granted that Spencer holds to positions which are both well outside the mainstream as well as being offensive to many. I’ve discussed elsewhere my own disagreement with the sort of white nationalism represented by Spencer, which I think is unrealistic, atheistic, and globalistic. However, calling him a “Nazi” is actually pretty stupid. That word means something very specific. A “Nazi” is a “National Socialist,” which is a specific and fairly well-defined ideology that goes far beyond “says stuff about race that I don’t like.” Whatever other things Spencer may be, a “Nazi” is not one of them. But because he takes some pretty controversial positions on race, the charge superficially appears to apply in the eyes of people who don’t really take time to think deeply about these issues.
However, my purpose here is not to defend Richard Spencer or his brand of white nationalism. Rather, I say all of the above to say this: Blithely throwing around emotionally-charged slanders like “Nazi” for the purpose of scoring political points is idiotic and repellent, especially when 99.9% of the people to whom it is being routinely applied are manifestly not. That this has formed a large part of American political discourse for decades serves only to highlight the fact that democracy is a failing political system, specifically because most people are simply not capable of handling themselves within a democratic framework. This has been especially demonstrated over the past few months by progressives, most of all the type of progressive who makes up the “Antifa” movement and who are prone to things like vandalism and assaulting strangers on public streets, as we saw in Washington D.C. this past Friday.
As obnoxious as mere words may be, it becomes quite a bit more disconcerting when we observe the radical Left – and not just the pencil-necked, low-testosterone pink-haired types who seem to dominate street-level progressive activism – seriously asking the question of whether or not it’s okay to “punch Nazis.” First of all, if your answer to this question is anything other than “No,” then you’re an idiot. This is especially the case when we consider that the people whom “Antifa” considers to be “Nazis” include basically everyone who is not a socialist. Seriously, there are progressives on social media who literally think that if you’re not a hard-core socialist, then you’re necessarily a Nazi. And a lot of them think it’s perfectly fine to physically assault these “Nazis” (i.e. basically everyone who is white and not a progressive).
So let’s say that you’re some kind of right-leaning normie who opposed illegal immigration and affirmative action and political correctness, like a FReeper or something. You’d be tempted to think it’s okay to “punch Nazis” because, by gum, Nazis are anti-American and Grandpa Bob punched Nazis when he was on Omaha Beach back in 1944! Ah, but you see – to the people arguing that it’s okay to punch Nazis, YOU’RE a Nazi. So are all your friends and family who are Trump supporters. So is Trump himself. Shoot, so is your Grandpa Bob, since he wasn’t too keen on desegregation later on and probably still holds some racial views typical for his era. Hence, we arrive at the irony of Antifas bragging about being the heirs of the Allied soldiers who defeated Nazi Germany even though they would condemn about 99% of those soldiers for being Nazis if they were here today. If nothing else, merely being white makes you a potential Nazi, since you’re the beneficiary of the progressives’ mythical “structural racism” which “codifies white supremacy” in America.
Think I’m exaggerating? Then why did Antifas attack Frank Luntz (you know, the guy that has those focus groups after each presidential debate) as a “fascist” and throw glitter into his eyes (which could have blinded him)? Frank Luntz is about as inside-the-beltway mainstream as you can get. Even he didn’t get away from being branded and attacked.
This whole “punching Nazis” thing is an incredibly bad idea for several reasons.
First, there’s the fact that “Nazis” punch back. And since Trump supporters and those on the alt-Right tend to be higher testosterone than the average American male, this means that they’ll be able to hit back harder since they are more likely to pump iron and know how to fight effectively. Also, they’re well-armed, much more so than your typical hoplophobic progressive dweeb. Whoever on the Left thought that it would be a good strategy to demonise 64 million angry, heavily-armed people and then try to legitimise physically assaulting them needs to be fired. The main result of this, if they really try to act on their “punching Nazis” fantasies, will be a whole lot of progressives who end up getting beaten up or even shot.
Second, most progressives still have not caught on to the fact that the legal atmosphere in which they are operating has completely changed within the past week. They no longer have a friendly president and a friendly justice department setting the tone from the top down. In previous years, progressives could commit acts of violence and get away with it because the progressives in charge would either do nothing or else give them slaps on the wrist. Further, people who responded to their violence with violence would face prosecution. Now, however, progressive hooligans actually face serious consequences for their actions. Just ask the 230 Inauguration Day rioters who now face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 fines apiece.
Third – and the most important reason of all – is that the precedent that will be set by legitimizing, and even normalizing, violence against political enemies will only serve to tear apart even further the already weak social fabric in America. Further, it certainly wouldn’t stay contained to righteous progressives punching nasty old Nazis. After all, Muslims have killed far more Americans in the past 40 years than Nazis have so why shouldn’t it be okay to punch Muslims? Gays caused the AIDS crisis which has killed many, many more Americans than the Nazis did, so why shouldn’t it be okay to punch gays? Once you open the door to this against one type of enemy, you’re not going to be able to close it for all the others.
Really, the prime culprit for all of this is democracy itself. When you give massive numbers of unworthy people a part in government, you only increase social turbulence and the attendant instability within society. Democracy gives its participants a false sense of their “rights” while simultaneously encouraging them to resist any enforcement of responsibilities. It is likely for this reason that Plato observed,
“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.”
Democracy leads to license, which then leads to all the sorts of degeneracy that we see today, which will in turn lead to democracy’s collapse.
Old Plato knew what he was talking about, too. The history of archaic and classical Greece was one of failed democracies. While there exists within every governmental system at least some potential for class envy and strife, democracy was early on noted for its especial tendencies in that regard. Within a polis, such strife could develop into what the Greeks called stasis, which was essentially an intractable divide between two factions, typically one of them being democratic and the other aristocratic (i.e. poor vs. rich, which sounds like today’s socialism). Stasis was often resolved essentially by having a civil war of some sort. Unfortunately, that seems to be the direction which the United States of America is headed with our own stasis.
The Greeks had an option which we do not have today. Often the losers in a polis‘ internecine strife had the choice of packing up and colonizing some other place around the Mediterranean. They’d get a few ships, some tools and weapons, and some seed corn, and would be able to go off in search of a place of their own. A fairly substantial number of Greek colonies outside of Greece itself were founded in this way.
Unfortunately, today we live in a world that is pretty much all filled up. Until we figure out a way to reach the stars, we’re all pretty much stuck with each other. This makes the maintenance of social order all the more important. The best way to maintain right order, of course, would be to abolish politics and return to regal and aristocratic authority. The fewer who presume to make decisions for everyone else, the less trouble you generally tend to have. When invested with legitimate authority to exercise power, the wise ruler will be a blessing to his people which the shifting masses cannot ever be. However, since a return to this type of authority doesn’t seem to be in the offing apart from radical structural changes which will likely only accompany a society-wide collapse, we have to make do with trying not to make our democratic system any less stable than it already is. One way to do this, most rational people would agree, is to heartily discourage individual citizens from “punching Nazis,” or anyone else. Screech as they will about “fascism,” progressives who attempt to turn their fantasies into reality should find themselves facing the heavy hand of the state. If not, then it’ll be the heavy hands of the Trump supporters they were attacking. The progressives have the choice whether to behave like civilised people or not. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that they make the right choice.