SIO9: Punching Nazis, with Eli Bosnick

Recently the internet exploded in debate over a video in which neo-Nazi Richard Spencer was punched while giving an interview. Even the New York Times published an article that asked whether this is something that should be morally permissible. I have come out against violence over words of any non-imminently threatening kind, and my guest Eli Bosnick has come out strong the other way. Since Eli is an awesome guy willing to discuss disagreements and try to find the truth, he’s here to have a bit of a debate with me on what the correct course of action is re: Nazi punching.

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EnzederTerry KoleszarRikeSt. Ralphgou Recent comment authors

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kyle
Guest
kyle

After listening to the episode, engaging on facebook, and cobbling together some brief research from different positions on this thing (e.g., “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed,” “Nonviolence and its Violent Consequences,” “Nonviolence as Compliance,” etc.) I find I’m still conflicted. A few thoughts I had on the discussion: 1. While I understand that Trump overturning the ACA is not undoing a decades’ old tradition, the fact of the matter is that by overturning it (or more relevantly at this point, Republicans spending 6 years failing to maintain it, thus making it seem unviable, and leaving it ripe for repeal),… Read more »

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

*malevolent

St. Ralph
Guest

Hitler was “elected” in 1934. By 1936 he was pretty much unopposed as the de facto dictator of Germany. Three years after that he was invading neighboring countries and calling down the wrath of the free world upon himself and his countrymen. Then it took five years, about fifty million lives and God knows how much money to put the Nazis back in their can and start cleaning the whole mess up. Think about it: About ten years between “electing” a despot and allowing him to completely take over, to people shuffling through streets filled with the rubble of their… Read more »

gou
Guest
gou

I think mockery is better.
Imagine this: Richard Spencer at this protest. People shouting his own nazi quotes at him during that interview.
He can’t pretend he is just a normal guy who is concerned about certain problems. He can’t broadcast his propaganda.

This is legal and morally right.

(If that doesn’t work spray a swastika on his back)

Enzeder
Guest
Enzeder

I agree with Eli. 1. I think it is, and should remain, illegal to punch someone. And by illegal I mean there should be a serious attempt at prosecution, not just an unenforced law on the books as a technicality. 2. The main difference between Thomas’s alternate scenarios was the focus of violence. Muslims killing apostates are defending words. Nazi’s generally want to do harm to other people. 3. The legal threshold for inciting violence is pretty high and Spencer seems pretty good at dancing around that threshold. 4. How is it reasonable to assume a punch will result in… Read more »

Rike
Guest
Rike

Muslims killing apostates are defending words but not harming other people?
What?

St. Ralph
Guest

Yeah, it seems the dead apostates might have considered themselves harmed were they alive to say so. Or don’t they count? And if not, why not?

Enzeder
Guest
Enzeder

I tried to keep my comment short so it would be easy to read. But I’m no Shakespeare, so perhaps I don’t English good. However, I’m pretty sure I never said that no one was harmed when apostates are killed.

Tell me please, WHY do Muslims kill apostates? It’s my understanding that it’s because of a book (words), and a perceived harm being inflicted upon that book (words). Nazi’s on the other hand generally seem pretty intent on racial purity by eliminating all other races.

St. Ralph
Guest

And one of these things is better than the other?

Enzeder
Guest
Enzeder

Before answering that question, please answer this: Are Muslims and Nazis equivalent – generally speaking?

St. Ralph
Guest

Generally, no. I think there are nominal Muslims who wish to live in peace with others—even with non-Muslims. The ISL crowd, though, has a tendency to behave just as badly, if not worse than Nazis. Just as bad in that they are all for genocide and mass murder of people who don’t belong to their club, and worse in that they are more openly barbaric about it.

There will never be peace as long as there are people bent on the extermination of other people. Their motives are meaningless. There are no valid reasons for that.

Enzeder
Guest
Enzeder

That was the point I was trying to make. Poorly. If you see a Nazi, chances are they’re an asshole. If it’s a prominent/famous Nazi like Spencer, then him getting sucker punched somehow seems less wrong. Although, as I said, I’m with Eli in that I’m not comfortable saying that, and I’m not trying to say it’s right. By the same token, if someone cold cocked Anjem Choudary (an ISIL supporter), I’m not sure I’d feel any different about that than the Spencer punch. I’m torn between violence isn’t the answer, and that didn’t work out so well for a… Read more »

Rike
Guest
Rike

And what makes a book (and a book that is used to justify killing people over a book at that) more worthy of defending it by killing people than racial purity?
The book they are defending is the very book they think tells them to kill apostates. So they are killing people over presumed harm to their ideology and that ideology in part is to kill people who harm their ideology – It is somewhat different from what Nazis did – but better? How so?

Enzeder
Guest
Enzeder

Please show me where I said the following:
And what makes a book (and a book that is used to justify killing people over a book at that) more worthy of defending it by killing people than racial purity?

Enzeder
Guest
Enzeder

If not, which is worse?

Rike
Guest
Rike

I also want to address your ‘no violence worked so badly for Germans in the 30s’ comment but I can’t answer to it directly for whatever reason. There were people (communists and socialists mostly and I mean that not negative but as an accurate description of the politics they held. I am also German so while I am no fan of communist, socialism is to me no evil word per se) who tried violence against nazis before the 1933 election. The Weimar republic was filled with Street fights between Nazis and leftists and things like that especially in Berlin. People… Read more »

Enzeder
Guest
Enzeder

Again, please show me where I suggested violence was the correct or most moral or where I suggested it should be legal. As I said at the very start of my first post here, I agree with Eli’s position. Which is to say I don’t think violence is the answer, and certainly should NOT be legal or encouraged, but if punching prominent Nazi’s makes them not want to be punched and not go around suggesting that X race should be eliminated, then is it all bad? Please note I did not say it was good. You may be right, but… Read more »

Terry Koleszar
Guest
Terry Koleszar

I don’t think Spencer was punched for being a Nazi. He was punched for being a smug provocational jerk who is also a Nazi. He was not punched walking down the street or grocery shopping – he was being a sore winner at a protest rally. Not saying this action is justified, but the result is not unexpected. Thomas talked about potential outcomes to Spencer (punches can cause serious damage, no doubt), but did not discuss the fact that Spencer’s words and actions may provoke someone to punch him. He bears some responsibility for this outcome. Also, I do not… Read more »