The Battle for Berkeley 3.0 Was a Fight Against Antifa

Rum, beer, women, movies, nice websites, gaming, etc., without interrupting the flow of martial threads.

Re: The Battle for Berkeley 3.0 Was a Fight Against Antifa

Postby Michael on Thu May 04, 2017 1:01 am

Steve, you were asking me earlier about NPI's ethno state and you said it is a political ideology. Maybe not. I think that if any steps are put into action toward that, it would basically be seditious and illegal.
User avatar
Great Old One
Posts: 11169
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 7:05 pm
Location: Guangzhou, China

Re: The Battle for Berkeley 3.0 Was a Fight Against Antifa

Postby Giles on Fri May 05, 2017 2:09 am

To my mind, the points made in this interview are the bottom line regarding violence as an adjunct to political debate. Either punching Spencer, swinging bike locks or other such "this underlines just how much I disagree with you, and you deserve it anyway" actions, from the left or of course from the right, or from any other extremist political or religious groupings. I've highlighted a few statements I think particularly apposite.

Well, many people on the internet seem to be quite conflicted about—
Well, I weep for our country in yet another way. No, you do not get to punch people even though they're ideologically despicable. You're not the first person who's asked me this! And it's deeply disheartening, I have to say! I gather the rationale is that because Richard Spencer and his ilk would punch us, if I can use that pronoun, then therefore it’s OK to punch them? But Richard Spencer isn't our moral teacher. We're not supposed to imitate Richard Spencer's behavior. Richard Spencer is despicable! We're supposed to aspire to the decent values that we were raised on and that make us proud of our country. Martin Luther King and his cohort during the Civil Rights Movement had a profound commitment to nonviolence. They deserve our esteem and reverence! Even when they were being beaten with clubs, they would not physically fight back against those who assailed them. They set such a luminous example for us, that has come to this—that you're asking if it's OK to punch people!

Are there any circumstances in which you think it’s OK to punch someone with Nazi-sympathetic views?
Yes. In self-defense. But it has nothing to do with their Nazi views. You have an ethical right to defend yourself against a physical assault.
(!!!!!!) But you do not have the right to respond to contemptible beliefs with physical violence. You organize politically. You struggle. You resist. You march. You vote. You run for office. We are not thugs and we don't respond with thuggery!

Let me read to you one comment that I saw on Twitter: “If you don't punch Nazis, Holocausts happen. That's what we learned from letting Nazis speak in public the last time. You have to punch them.”
That’s ridiculous. That's nonsensical. One does not flow from the other. Because one of the most monstrous catastrophes in human history occurred, it is not because people failed to punch Nazis. It simply doesn't follow. Nor does it follow that if you fail to punch Richard Spencer, there will be dire consequences. It would seem to me Gandhi's example or King's example are quite to the contrary. Where even allied against incredibly powerful armed opponents, genuine social change is possible without resorting to the gutter tactics of people like Spencer.

There are two different arguments here. One is: Is the behavior justified on its own terms? Is physical violence a morally justifiable response to the expression of odious ideas. In my view, it is not. The argument you're reading on Twitter is what's called a consequentialist argument. So this person is asserting that the only way to stop the rise of Nazism is with physical violence. And I think that's a quite dubious assertion. Even if one were doing a consequentialist analysis here, this is a dubious assertion. The assertion becomes: It is necessary to punch Richard Spencer in order to halt some impending Holocaust, and I just don't think that's true. It seems to me this fails both on the grounds of moral reasoning and on the grounds of political strategy.

This next question is not really an ethical question. But did you personally watch the video of Richard Spencer being punched?
I did not. It wasn't because I was averting my glance; I just didn't see it. I would make one other exception. I have read about images of Richard Spencer being punched set to music. That sort of thing. To delight in a kind of comeuppance when someone is hoisted by his own petard—when someone who advocates violence against others meets a kind of of nonlethal violence—to enjoy hearing about that, that's not a crime. That's not an ethical transgression. That's asking more of human beings than they can resist. When someone who's truly despicable gets punched in the nose, you commit no ethical transgression by enjoying that idea. Now we're describing—

Yes, yes. In the recesses of my heart, do I take any pleasure in this? Well, yes. Would I advocate this as an action or defend the action? Well, no. There are no thought crimes. If in your heart of hearts you're enjoying this, well, you do no one any harm. But no, you do not get to go out and respond to contemptible political ideas with physical ideas.

In journalism, when faced with a troubling question, it is customary to seek more than one source. So I reached out to another authority on ethical matters: scholar Aine Donovan, the director of the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth. She concurred. “I would make the case that even repugnant comments do not warrant a physical attack,” Donovan wrote in an email. “Violence begets violence. Civil society is predicated on civil discourse. This means that we use language, argument and persuasion to make our positions known—not a fist.

I would claim that in almost all cases, if you are an activist working for greater fairness, equality, human rights and against prejudice, discrimination, oppression, exploitation etc. etc., then any short-term "gain" you achieve by using violence against political oppnents turns into a far greater loss, an invalidation of yourself and your positions, in the mid to long term.

PS. I think (neo)nazis are despicable and whatever the IQ of particular individuals, they are also, in the deepest sense, very stupid.
Do not make the mistake of giving up the near in order to seek the far.
Posts: 337
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:19 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: The Battle for Berkeley 3.0 Was a Fight Against Antifa

Postby Steve James on Fri May 05, 2017 9:01 am

the question: Are there some ideologies that are so fundamentally opposed to things like free speech, the Declaration of Independence or other parts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, that they don't deserve its protection?

Well, if you're asking me from a moral point of view, the answer is no. The points about violence are a question of illegal criminal action, not about the philosophical reasons for the violence. If it's philosophical, then I'd ask whether (theoretically) Jews and others would have had reason to attack nazis before or after the Nuremberg laws were enacted? Of course, it's hindsight. But, would those attacks be considered attacks on free speech or ideas? They'd clearly be illegal.

And, yes, some ideas are seditious. I.e.: "overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontention (or resistance) to lawful authority." Sedition is illegal, but we have free speech; so, it's rarely prosecuted. Forming a new state (like the Confederacy) would be treason. But, presently, it's seen as just another acceptable idea.

This reminds of the criticisms that the ACLU gets when it defended the rights of nazis and kkk groups to hold parades. Of course they have a right to march. And yes, somebody might just throw stones. Shame, shame, shame. But, I don't see it as a deep plan by the establishment, etc..
"A man is rich when he has time and freewill. How he chooses to invest both will determine the return on his investment."
User avatar
Steve James
Great Old One
Posts: 15579
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 am


Return to Off the Topic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest