Nazis and Skin Cream

I went out drinking the other night with someone who punches Nazis.

Certainly, ever since Charlottesville, there’s been no shortage of people who advocate Nazi-punching. For a while there, my Facebook feed was awash with the emissions of people jizzing all over their keyboards at the prospect of punching Nazis. People who argued— generally with more passion than eloquence— that the usual rules of engagement and free speech don’t apply when dealing with Nazis, because, well, they’re Nazis. People who, in fits of righteous anger, unfriended other people who didn’t believe that it was okay to punch Nazis.  I haven’t seen such a torrent of unfriending since all those die-hard supporters of frakking, omnipresent state surveillance, and extra-judicial assassination-by-drone rose up and unfriended everyone who hadn’t voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election. Even the ACLU has been bitch-slapped into “rethinking” its support for “Free speech“.

So, no shortage of Big Talk. But this was the first person I’d hung with who actually seemed to have walked the walk. She attributes it to her Mohawk heritage; not knowing any other Mohawks, I can’t speak to that. But I’ve known the lady for most of this century, and she doesn’t take shit from anyone.

I gotta say, I found it refreshing. So many of these self-proclaimed Nazi-punchers don’t seem to have a clue.

It’s not that I have anything against violence per se. I’m no principled pacifist: I’m the guy who openly muses about shooting heads of state and selecting random cops for assassination. If anything, I’m more into the healing power of cathartic violence than most. But even I had to roll my eyes when I saw so many of those same would-be Nazipunchers retweeting the most popular tweet of all time, courtesy of Barack Obama— a quote lifted from Martin Luther King Jr:

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

As far as I could tell, all the likers and retweeters weren’t even doing this ironically. They actually didn’t seem to grasp the contradiction.

It only got worse when a bunch of right-wing 4channers repurposed a handful of domestic-violence posters, hoaxing up a fake Antifa campaign that took the Punch-a-Nazi meme and ran with it. Servers across the globe are still smoking from the outrage engendered by that little prank.

And yet— once you get past the fact that those images originated not from the left, but from right-wing trolls impersonating them— the hoax does not, in fact, misrepresent the position it’s trolling. It would utterly fail as satire or parody; it doesn’t even exaggerate for effect. It pretty much just echoes what the whole Nazi-punching brigade has been going on about these past weeks, using female models instead of males for illustrative purposes. And yet, people got really pissed about it.

The main difference seems to be that the trolls have higher production values.

The main difference seems to be that the trolls have higher production values.

What’s the take-home message here? That it’s only okay to punch Nazis if they’re male, or unattractive?  (A couple weeks back I actually asked this on on of the Facebook threads that was spluttering indignantly about the whole thing; so far, no one’s answered.) Or is the take-home, rather, that what’s said doesn’t matter so much as who’s saying it? When you get right down to it, is this just a matter of skin cream vs. gun control?

I guess that last reference could use some context.

It relates to a 2013 study out of Yale by Dan Kahan et al, a study for which I conveniently happen to have some illustrative slides because I mentioned it in a recent talk at Concordia. Kahan et al  showed data to over a thousand people— some right-wingers, some left, some statistically savvy, others functionally innumerate. Sometimes these data showed that a particular skin cream helped cure a rash; sometimes they showed the cream made the rash worse. Sometimes the data showed clearly that gun control reduced crime rate; other times, it showed the exact opposite.

Here’s the trick: it was all exactly the same data. All Kahan et al did was switch the labels.

Turns out skin cream is not a hot-button topic.

Turns out skin cream is not a hot-button topic.

What they discovered was that your ability to correctly interpret these data comes down to how statistically smart you are, regardless of political leanings— but only when you think you’re dealing with rashes and skin creams. If you think you’re looking at gun control data, suddenly politics matter.  If you’re a numerically-smart conservative, you’ll have no trouble parsing the data so long as they show that gun control results in increased crime; but if they show that gun control reduces crime, suddenly your ability to read those numbers drops to the level of a complete innumerate. You’ll only be able to interpret the data correctly if they conform to your pre-existing biases.

Gun control? Little more testy.

Gun control? Little more testy.

Smart liberals are just as stupid as smart conservatives, but in the opposite direction.  Show a numerically-savvy left-winger that gun control reduces crime, they’ll be all over it; show them the opposite and, once again, their performance drops to the point where they might as well not have any statistical smarts at all.

You’ve seen this story a dozen times in a dozen guises. Fitting in with the tribe has more fitness value than independent thought. Conformers leave more genes behind than independent loners, so our brains evolved in service to conformity.  In fact,we’ll be lucky if reflexive conformity is as bad as the malfunction gets: recent machine-learning research out of Carnegie Melon hints that we may actually be wired for genocide (hat tip to Ray Nielson for that link, by the way).

Illo credit: Mother Jones

Illo credit: Mother Jones

Tribalism Trumps Truth. ‘Twas ever thus; a smaller, pettier iteration took place not so long ago in our own so-called community.

God knows I’ve no sympathy for Nazis. I have enough trouble keeping my lunch down when I reflect upon the Tea Party. I do have doubts about the effectiveness of Nazi-punching as a coherent strategy, but I’ve never been one to rule out violence as a tool in the box.  And as for my friend, she’s on firm footing. She’s not only punched Nazis, she’s punched female ones, and she  doesn’t compromise the integrity of her position by retweeting any love-is-the-answer pablum from Obama or anyone else. She’s cool, at least. She knows which side she’s on.

But all those other incoherent people ranting on facebook? I just can’t bring myself to line up with people so resistant to cognitive dissonance that they honestly don’t seem to realize they’re talking out of both sides of their mouth at the same time.

I swear to God. It makes me want to punch someone.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Monday September 18 2017at 12:09 pm , filed under politics . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

72 Responses to “Nazis and Skin Cream”

  1. Thank you. Pretty much my exact take on all of this.

  2. I suppose if one *has* to commit criminal assault, might as well make your victim a Nazi.

    Otherwise, though, the Nazi-punching fringe are extremely counterproductive. They provide a target for Nazi sympathizers and the Nazi Sympathizer In Chief to draw their false equivalencies, and generally cause far more harm than the actual *Nazis* do to any agenda to oppose them.

    Seriously Nazi-punchers. Fuck off. You’re not helping–you’re a problem. From a coldly tactical perspective, the actual *Nazis* are more helpful to efforts to oppose white nationalism than you are.

  3. Re: ACLU

    I don’t see this as the ACLU rethinking free speech. The ACLU are free speech advocates. When one side deploys with automatic weapons, free speech is being suppressed. I’m sure we’re all aware of the chilling effect a firearm capable of killing a dozen people in seconds has on the ease with which people may speak in opposition. The groups that deployed in Charlottesville deployed with weapons to intimidate and suppress free speech.

    Gun advocacy and racist viewpoints may be protected speech, but guns themselves are not–they are heavily regulated objects. Just because it may have been technically legal in Charlottesville, for whatever fucked up reasons portions of the U.S. choose to make that sort of thing legal, doesn’t mean they aren’t detrimental to free speech for groups that advocate it, and aren’t subject to public safety concerns.

  4. To quote the humanist philosopher Chris Rock: They ain’t nobody above an ass-whuppin – just don’t do it. I agree. Everybody could probably do with a punch in the mouth at some point, but civilization requires that adults abstain from that shit. That interpersonal violence crap is what kids do when they can’t control their temper or think things through.

    Otoh, if you’re a grown up and you really really really need to punch someone, don’t be a pussy about it and wear a mask. If you can’t figure out any other way to vent your rage and fear, own it. OWN it. Let the guy you punch see who you are and know why you’re doing it, then take the consequences.

  5. Great piece!

    Peter you would be shocked at how popular you are on /pol/, particularly cripplechan’s /pol/. There’s a very distinct group that sees things from a not too distant viewpoint from you. Sometimes you just gotta look at the cards you have, the patterns of behavior you and your group have (before anyone comments who finds it hard to stuck with a diet?) consistently fall into and realize “maybe ethno states just make sense”. Maybe its arrogant to assume that our models and customs work for people who developed under very different conditions.

    I’m not fully on board with that line of thought, but you have to admit that there are some merits to the argument. Ethnonationalism is pretty much built into us, even our theology shows ethnocultural bias. Protestantism for the northern Europeans, Orthodoxy for the Slavs (minus Poland), Catholicism for the Latin nations. Hell there are literal “Chosen People”.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this

  6. DA: Otherwise, though, the Nazi-punching fringe are extremely counterproductive.

    I feel like this is yet another good and decent European thing that got twisted into something weird and unrecognizable here in ‘Murica.

    In Europe, the “Antifa” movement has been beating up neo-Nazis (a.k.a. skinheads, although that’s misleading, as not all skinheads are Nazis) for decades, and nobody really cares much. OTOH Europe (with the notable and extreme exception of some places in CE Europe) has fewer people who would openly identify with Nazi positions. It’s hard to draw conclusions.

    DA: the actual *Nazis* are more helpful to efforts to oppose white nationalism than you are.

    Footage of “white supremacists” gathered in Charlottesville is in itself the best argument against the notion of white supremacy (if that’s supremacy, what the hell does inferiority look like?). I thought the story of the guy who got fired from the hot dog stand summed up the tragicomedy of the moment nicely.

    The same argument holds when it comes to other groups from the societal fringe (cloaca) – racists, nationalists, anti-feminists, etc.

  7. Read this and about an hour later stumbled upon this:
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/antifascists-used-twitter-to-find-a-neo-nazi-walking-around

  8. I’m against the idea that anyone can be punched just for speech or belonging to a group (with caveats, below), not for their sake, but for mine. I mean, is not the current US administration kind of proof that ‘good people’ will not always be in power, and that a lot of people are unreasoningly convinced that liberalism is a mortal threat to them? You put a weapon on the table any side may grab at it more easily, including the bad guys, and when the weapon is the prevailing attitude that “it’s okay to beat people up in certain circumstances just because of who they are” that’s a very dangerous weapon to be leaving on the table.

    However, just as how I think if someone says “I’m going to shoot you” you’re justified in hitting them even if their hands is in their pocket and you don’t actually see the gun (wisdom’s another matter, but IMHO in terms of moral justification if you need to attack to stop the threat you’re cool here), when someone advocates actual racist violence, even hypothetical politically state-sponsored violence, you’re more justified in attacking back, particularly when you’re in a situation where they have the perceived political power where they feel they can talk about it openly even if that power may be inflated. So I guess my line is any individual saying “I’m a nazi, white people are superior and ideally the races shouldn’t mix” = I think you’re an idiot and won’t associate with you, but saying “given a chance I will put of your kind into ovens” = you’re justified getting a punching. And yes, I realize that can be turned around to the nazi-punchers themselves: “so can anyone advocating general nazi-punching be justifiably punched” and admit I don’t really have a great answer to that except I do perceive a difference between advocating violence based on something someone is born with and can’t escape versus a set of political beliefs that can be changed. Nobody has to be a nazi and thus a target of nazi-punching rhetoric. Few people who’d be a target of the nazi rhetoric have that luxury.

    And, secondly, there’s a sort of… ‘oh well’ quality with punched nazis. Like, I’m against vigilante justice. I think prisons should be safe. That said, if say a notorious childkiller is in prison and another inmate shivs him… ‘oh well.’ I’m not going to clutch any pearls over it. People get suddenly killed every day, I’m more broken up by an acquaintance losing a cat I’ve never met. If they catch the guy who did it, punish him because they broke the law, but I’m not going to waste energy being morally outraged by it. Similarly with nazis, if one gets punched, I’m capable of both thinking that in general it’s not a good policy and thinking the puncher should ideally be legally punished and of not caring too much when it happens or personally treating the perpetrator poorly. Heck, if police released a grainy picture of someone who punched a nazi and asked the public for help identifying the puncher, and I realized I knew who they were… you know what, I’ve got a lot of #$@! to do today, and calling in a tip just isn’t going to be on my priority list.

  9. Fatman: Footage of “white supremacists” gathered in Charlottesville is in itself the best argument against the notion of white supremacy (if that’s supremacy, what the hell does inferiority look like?).

    Indeed. Again from a purely tactical standpoint (ignoring the human victim cost or balancing it against the impact of more institution-level policy), keeping those clowns around provides an extremely effective way to make explicit that which is implicit in many legal and political agendas. It also serves as an albatross around the neck of far more dangerous actors–dangerous because unlike those groups, they might actually have some capacity for subtlety.

    At best, Nazipunchers contribute nothing towards those goals, and at worst, actively undermine them. The worst part is it cedes the moral high ground to fucking *Nazis*, which is like voluntarily benching your 7ft tall, dunk-at-will center to keep things needlessly competitive with the other guy’s poorly conditioned 5ft tall team. If Nazis have a redeeming characteristic, it’s that *anyone* can dunk on them.

  10. Peter, I lost you in your second last paragraph. Why is your friend’s integrity not compromised? I get that she punches the genders equally, but she’s still punching nazis, and reposting facebook articles. I’m going to argue that she’s not “cool”.

  11. Tactical considerations aside, if you punch a Nazi you may have committed assault, but they’re still a fucking Nazi, so no, you haven’t ceded the moral high ground at all.

    Also, this seems relevant: https://roachpatrol.tumblr.com/post/165494599082/jumpingjacktrash-terrorfoster-gogomrbrown

  12. Sadly, your friend’s political stance can accurately be described as “anti-debate”.

    Seems to me she is a willing participant in a movement/psyop designed to enrage conservatives to the point where “punching a communist” or “arrest the communist terrorists” becomes a thing. If it comes to that, we’ll officially live in the Police States of America.

    American conservatives generally favor small government and defend speech of all types, but intellectually consistent philosophers they are not. If convinced “enough is enough”, that its time to “bend the rules” by stooping to the level of Antifa, free speech will be a thing of the past (for a time, at least).

    It’s mind blowing to me that these Antifa members proudly sport the hammer and sickle, the symbol of the most murderous state regime in history, while unleashing literal violence against the symbol of a similarly murderous regime…scratch that…while unleashing literal violence against anyone who appears to disagree with them in public. If events keep up at this pace, all political rallies will result in violence. Thusly the state grows and free speech dies. It’s resurrection will be ugly, and there are no guarantees.

    Without words, there is only violence.

  13. A wise man once said, “They tell ya, ‘Never hit a man with a closed fist.’ But it is, on occasion, hilarious.”

    My problem with Nazi-punching has to do with the question of deciding who exactly is and isn’t a Nazi, and who gets to make that call. Someone walking around with a hakenkreuz armband, openly calling for the extermination of designated groups? In my darker moments, I think they could possibly use a little punching. They probably won’t learn anything from it, but I won’t weep salt tears into my pillow every night at the idea that someone, somewhere is punching a Nazi.

    But then we get into “Everyone who disagrees with me is a Nazi” territory. If someone defends the right of Nazis to NOT get punched, are they a Nazi? Is everyone who gets misty-eyed at the sight of the Confederate flag an actual white supremacist, or are many of them just misguided idiots who let their emotional attachment to ‘Southern pride’ and ‘rebel spirit’ blind them to the fact that that flag stood for some profoundly loathsome things? Are the incendiaries over at Breitbart punchable Nazis, or are they just assholes whose outpourings we, regretfully, have to accept under the rubric of free speech? There’s a definite “It’s complicated” area when it comes to determining whether someone meets the punchability criteria, and I’m not sure I trust the judgment of everyone who thinks they get to rule on the question. And the one thing I know for certain is that once we decide to start punching Nazis, a lot of non-Nazis are going to get punched too. Which is neither just nor helpful.

    To borrow another quote: “There are guys you can hit and there’s guys you can’t. Now, that’s not quite a guy you can’t hit, but it’s almost a guy you can’t hit. So I’m gonna make a fuckin’ ruling on this right now. You don’t fuckin’ hit him.”

  14. True story.
    More than a decade ago, I read an interesting post where a young fellow had experimented with making
    double-sided CD’s by gluing two single-sided cd’s back to back. I tracked down his email address and
    sent a short message off to him asking how his further experiments had turned out. Heard nothing back until…
    About 8 months later his father emailed me, letting me know why his son never replied. Turns out his young
    German son had cancer & had (apparently) been undergoing chemotherapy. Walking back home late one
    night, this young fellow had been set upon by a group of immigrants of Turkish extraction who had beat the
    young fellow so badly as to put him in hospital for a very long stay. It was the hair loss, you see, that
    resulted in him being mistaken for…a person of the nazi persuasion.
    Surprizing to me, how well the email conveyed the fathers anguish.

  15. (Hmmm, seems to me after that last post that I should balance the books & lighten the tone.)
    Not everyone that attends a nazi rally is necessarily a nazi – you could be just there for reseach purposes;
    http://www.somethingawful.com/news/nazi-rally-loser/

    I mean, c’mon, that’s a possible reason (although I can’t understand what’s with that guy in the picture
    with the Freddie Mercury moustache – wouldn’t any self respecting nazi feel just a little creeped out if
    a guy with a Freddie Mercury moustache stood that close right behind them? no?).

    Anyway, the author, Mr Free Speech Warrior makes it clear he was quite unfairly maligned – and
    as regards the other picture snapped of him (not shown in the article), well, he explains that it really
    was bad luck, that as the rally got really gee’d up, that he just happened to Heil.., um hail a taxi at that
    particular moment…

    Cheers

  16. […] Peter Watts has it with facile (and statistically ill-grounded) rhetoric about punching Nazis. http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=7645 […]

  17. I’m pretty firmly in “political violence will get everyone-and-I-mean-every-one in shit” camp.

    Punching civilians, at this junction, is tactically inexpedient even if you have a robust “nazi metric” that is somehow immune to human tribalism (a nazimetrist AI overlay lol),

  18. Ian:
    Tactical considerations aside, if you punch a Nazi you may have committed assault, but they’re still a fucking Nazi, so no, you haven’t ceded the moral high ground at all.

    Well there’s the part where you just physically attacked, with criminal intent to injure or kill, another human being because you disagree with their personal beliefs. Or is that only wrong when other so-called “terrorists” do it?

  19. So I’m wondering, at what point IS violence justified? As in, how many people are the Nazis allowed to kill (with the tacit approval of the police and government), before it’s OK to be violent back?

    I mean it IS possible to make the case that the guy who was killing black people and who just happened to have a copy of Hitler’s speeches in his house was just one disturbed individual. Doesn’t mean anything. And the guy who drove his car into a crowd of protesters, killing one? Just one isolated confused person. And so on, and so on, and each act of violence by the Nazis will result in stern finger-waggling at the antifa- “See what you made them do?”

    There is that rule: “Believe the autocrat. He means what he says.” And when Nazis say they intend to kill anyone they hate, well, there are those who believe them. But that’s evidently inappropriate.

    So here’s the question: How may people will the Nazis be allowed to kill before we are allowed to fight back? (please round down to the nearest million) And at that point, will fighting back do any good? Will it be too late to run?

  20. https://aeon.co/essays/what-the-ctenophore-says-about-the-evolution-of-intelligence

    Parallel evolution tree led to an independent emergence of nervous system based on different chemical reactions

  21. Anonymous:
    Great piece!

    Peter you would be shocked at how popular you are on /pol/, particularly cripplechan’s /pol/. There’s a very distinct group that sees things from a not too distant viewpoint from you. Sometimes you just gotta look at the cards you have, the patterns of behavior you and your group have (before anyone comments who finds it hard to stuck with a diet?) consistently fall into and realize “maybe ethno states just make sense”. Maybe its arrogant to assume that our models and customs work for people who developed under very different conditions.

    WHAT? This is like if Fight Club fans took Tyler Durden seriously as a role model, started sending Chuck Palahniuk fanmail about his principled anarchism

  22. DA: I don’t see this as the ACLU rethinking free speech. The ACLU are free speech advocates. When one side deploys with automatic weapons, free speech is being suppressed. I’m sure we’re all aware of the chilling effect a firearm capable of killing a dozen people in seconds has on the ease with which people may speak in opposition. The groups that deployed in Charlottesville deployed with weapons to intimidate and suppress free speech.

    Yeah, except people have carried weapons to protests before, and it only became an issue for the ACLU after Charlottesville— and the Charlottesville victim wasn’t killed by a firearm. No matter how they spin it, I suspect they just started reeling and backpedaling in the wake of a tsunami of tribal outrage.

    Anonymous: Peter you would be shocked at how popular you are on /pol/, particularly cripplechan’s /pol/.

    I kind of am.

    There’s a very distinct group that sees things from a not too distant viewpoint from you.

    I hope they’re not the same group that’s going on over there about how climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Jews. I got about that far and bailed.

    Fatman: Footage of “white supremacists” gathered in Charlottesville is in itself the best argument against the notion of white supremacy (if that’s supremacy, what the hell does inferiority look like?).

    I dunno. There are lot of people in N’Am who look like that; I can see at least a few of them checking out the footage and thinking, Hey they’re Just Like Me! I can even see them being right.

    DA: keeping those clowns around provides an extremely effective way to make explicit that which is implicit in many legal and political agendas.

    I seem to recall a similar point being made about candidate Donald Trump. He was a gift to the Democrats because it made it so blindingly obvious what idiots the Republicans were. In some quarters, Trump was considered Clinton’s greatest ally. Who’s laughing now?

    Well, okay. Me. But who else?

    KE:
    Peter, I lost you in your second last paragraph.Why is your friend’s integrity not compromised?I get that she punches the genders equally, but she’s still punching nazis, and reposting facebook articles.I’m going to argue that she’s not “cool”.

    Cool in the sense that, whether you agree with her position or not, it’s at least internally consistent. She doesn’t get outraged at accurate right-wing echoes of left-wing positions, and she doesn’t praise violence in the morning while tweeting Ghandi affirmations in the afternoon.

    And in all honesty, I don’t begrudge her her violent inclinations. On any given year it’s a toss-up whether the greatest number of unarmed people killed by cops is gonna be Black or Indigenous. Only for some reason, you hardly ever hear about the Indigenous deaths.

  23. Ian: Tactical considerations aside, if you punch a Nazi you may have committed assault, but they’re still a fucking Nazi, so no, you haven’t ceded the moral high ground at all.

    Yeah, that’s great right here, since we all happen to hate Nazis and none of us actually is one. Thing is, a lot of people also really hate towelheads, because noun verb 911. A lot of people really hate fags and dykes, because Leviticus and besides they’re why God is sending all the hurricanes. And a couple of polls have revealed that the one thing God-fearing ‘Murricans hate even more than Muslims is atheists, because they are destroying the very soul of America. I’m pretty sure a lot of people out there find my opinions every bit as evil and revolting as you find the Nazis; if you don’t believe me, go back and look at some of the comments that were being made back when Requires Hate owned the local left. (Or even before; I know of one person who, exactly on point, told people she wanted to punch me because I’d pointed out— quite politely, believe it or not— that Blindsight did not, in fact, contain the phrase “yellow taint” as she’d claimed, and that her claims regarding the inherent racism in that book suffered somewhat as a result.) At some point, setting the precedent of “It’s okay to hit somebody because their opinions are vile and disgusting” might just circle around and bite you in the ass.

    But what am I thinking. those kind of idiots could never rise to power in this day and age, amiright?

    EMP: Sadly, your friend’s political stance can accurately be described as “anti-debate”.

    Yeah, i think she’d agree with you 100% on that.

    EMP: If it comes to that, we’ll officially live in the Police States of America.

    If it comes to that? We will?”

    Dude, that’s what I like about you. Your charming, unfailing sunny optimism.

    EMP: If events keep up at this pace, all political rallies will result in violence. Thusly the state grows and free speech dies. It’s resurrection will be ugly, and there are no guarantees.

    Without words, there is only violence.

    This is all true. Then again, with only words, those who embrace violence— especially with the support, tacit or explicit, of the state itself— win. And again, there is only violence.

    It is at times like this I take some comfort in zooming back and regarding humanity as a bunch of ant colonies duking it out for territory. There’s violence, viciousness, genocide; but as a mild-mannered entymologist, who don’t waste your time on outrage. That’s just how this species behaves.

    buyerninety: Surprizing to me, how well the email conveyed the fathers anguish.

    That is an awful story. I think all those assembled in favor of Nazi-punching, however, would insist that they would never make such a mistake.

    Rose Embolism: So I’m wondering, at what point IS violence justified? As in, how many people are the Nazis allowed to kill (with the tacit approval of the police and government), before it’s OK to be violent back?

    My rule of thumb is it’s okay to meet violence with violence— but that violent rhetoric doesn’t qualify. It’s hardly a perfect rule, though; if someone knew someone else’s hot buttons, and pressed them repeatedly and with surgical precision to try to provoke them to violence, I wouldn’t have much sympathy for the surgeon if they succeeded. It’s a slippery slope, it’s a rich tapestry, it’s a muddy tidal flat. But it’s better than nothing.

    It has been argued that atheists are responsible for more and greater massacres than theists; I’m pretty sure that’s bullshit, but someone could still point to Stalin and the Nazi eugenics movement to justify punching me, because after all I’m a rabid Darwinist and look what those guys did in the past. I would not be too keen on that. And yet, it’s not a bad analogy to the argument you’re making.

  24. >My rule of thumb is it’s okay to meet violence with violence— but that violent rhetoric doesn’t qualify.

    Although, to be fair, isn’t much of the ‘punch nazis’ stuff just… meeting violent rhetoric with violent rhetoric? Tit for Tat?

    I mean, yes, there are people who actively go out and punch Nazis (and more who applaud them for it), but I think a vast majority of the people who go to the counter protests, the recent hysteria against antifa notwithstanding (largely pushed by the same type of people who organized the protests where they chant ‘Jews will not replace us’), even though they might wear stickers and such, are people who go there PREPARED to throw a punch if the racists get violent (as they often do, and often with significantly less consequences from the police than counter-protestors), but are mostly there to show that the white supremacist attitudes aren’t popular, that in fact they’re outnumbered by people who WILL fight against them if they try to enact their policies.

  25. Yeah the unfortunate yet key thing about the chans is free speech is not always correct speech. At least from what I’ve seen is that for better or worse your fans are “race realists”. Much like pedophiles, sociopaths, and pathological altruists are “wired” like that they tend to accept that general trends exist for various groups and there are often biological causes for these trends. Ethnostates are preferable to multicultural ones in general due to this but, given the right circumstances and people multiculturalism can work in certain areas.

    I mostly shitpost about the neurobiological consequences of the OCP (facinating topic btw especially with the androgenic progesterones and mate selection).

    A lot of what gets posted on 4chan is pretty much shills, agitators, and shitposters. But, damn do you find the occasional gem of insight. Go in assuming 90% of what you see is basically just there to scare off the “facts don’t real only feels” crowd and you’ll probably have a better time. “Pizzagate” is probably mostly bull, but it did enlighten me to historical blackmail rings like the British MP scandle in the 1980’s

    Best,
    Anon

  26. To me, the left’s response to Nazis and white-power activists today looks for all the world like an allergic attack. It’s a really vigorous response to a very minor irritant, and probably does more harm than good.

    And make no mistake, American Nazis in 2017 are a very minor problem. These jokers tried to mobilize an impressive gathering of hardcore supporters, and only managed a couple of hundred. They would lose a straight-up fight against the Jewish members of the Boy Scouts of America.

    I suspect the current American Nazi movement, such as it is, is actually negatively effective. Whenever they actually do anything, they energize so much opposition that they would have been better off doing nothing at all. They are shooting themselves in the head with great enthusiasm, and the best thing to do is to leave them to it.

  27. Peter Watts: Yeah, except people have carried weapons to protests before, and it only became an issue for the ACLU after Charlottesville— and the Charlottesville victim wasn’t killed by a firearm. No matter how they spin it, I suspect they just started reeling and backpedaling in the wake of a tsunami of tribal outrage.

    Spitting hairs maybe, but I see it as more of an evolution than a backpedal. They simply decided that supporting one form of free speech suppression to combat another was counterproductive.

    It’s important to note that the decision specifically highlights firearms, not *any* weapon. A board with a nail in it doesn’t kill a dozen people in seconds with the emotional squeeze of a trigger. Men armed with automatic weapons have a uniquely chilling effect on opposition speech.

    Yes, this occurred after a highly public debacle in which someone was killed, many people were trying to make sense of it, and a lot of thinking was being done. I’m not sure I’d bust their chops over this–I mean what’s the alternative? Should it be another highly public case of an unarmed black man being gunned down by police where *nothing* changes? Is being presented with new evidence not the time to re-evaluate and course-correct?

    The ACLU have been perfectly content to defend civil liberties in the face of withering public scorn for years, sometimes for supporting extremely unsympathetic groups. I’m skeptical about chalking this decision up to timidity, especially when it’s consistent with their goals.

  28. Peter Watts: I seem to recall a similar point being made about candidate Donald Trump. He was a gift to the Democrats because it made it so blindingly obvious what idiots the Republicans were. In some quarters, Trump was considered Clinton’s greatest ally. Who’s laughing now?

    Well, considering the boon Trump has been for late night comedy shows, probably quite a few people. We laugh so we don’t cry.

    However, as to your point, Trump was never seen as a credible threat. White nationalism *is* seen as a highly credible threat, because it is actively being put into place by policies that victimize many more people by far, by people with real power who are capable of more subtlety than the street level goose-steppers. White nationalists in power is not a speculative scenario.

    In my original, coldly tactical analysis–which, by the way, I’m free to make because I’m not a target for these groups or policies, and therefore dont have to process the same fear and anger as people being targeted do–I was not making a case for deliberately allowing hate groups to propagate. If I could wish them all away I’d do it in a second, as long as they were taking their ideology with them rather than leaving it in the hands of people that can do a lot more damage with it.

    I was simply setting up a comparison between the nazis and the nazi punchers as it pertains to the goal of combating institutionalized white nationalism. If forced to choose, I find the nazipunchers nearly always counterproductive to that, whereas the actual nazis can sometimes be of benefit.

  29. xbat,

    What is zerohedge for $500 Alex?

  30. Ok, xenophobia: “Learned,” or in the genes? Tend to think the latter since it’s also why incest, pedophilia, and certain large quantities of bacteria doing their thing is found disgusting.

  31. Rose Embolism: (with the tacit approval of the police and government)

    Both of those guys got arrested and will get the death penalty. How is that “approval”? This isn’t the Weimar republic where Freikorps killed rando anarhists and got off with two weeks in jail m8

  32. Satori: Both of those guys got arrested and will get the death penalty. How is that “approval”? This isn’t the Weimar republic where Freikorps killed rando anarhists and got off with two weeks in jail m8

    Did you forget the gang of Nazis beating a protestor in front of the Charlottesville police while they didn’t lift a finger to stop the violence? The right could get away with it because the protestor was black? This is tacit approval of the police and government. The Nazi rally organizers had friends amongst the police, and the police culture encourages the recruitment and promotion of white supremacists.

    Nazis only face consequences when they act egregiously and kill or maim someone they’re not supposed to, then they can’t hide it under the good ol boys club.

  33. I do believe the term for this in various circles is “virtue signaling”.

    Meaning that people retweet etc not so much to show the “enemy” that they are legion, but to show their “peers” that they are part of the group.

    A kind of self-maintaining initiation ritual i guess.

  34. I’m flabberghasted that the debate over the ethics of nazi punching is even taking place.

    I had uncles shooting nazi’s and they got medals for it. Hell, I had uncles shoot german’s who had been conscripted and were never members of the nazi party, and they were applauded. Some of the germans they shot were children, ffs (conscription had been lowered to 13 years of age at that point) and we celebrated *our* armed forces for it.

    We also wax nostalgic about carpet bombings of German cities and how brave the bomber pilots were doing nighttime bombing runs.

    So now people are upset about 2 (and counting) identifiable and self identified Nazi’s getting punched on camera.

    Why? Was a bullet preferable?

    The fact that this completely bullshit debate is even taking place is proof of how expert the fascist right is at directing media attention and public discourse.

    And you’re letting them.

  35. Rose Embolism: So I’m wondering, at what point IS violence justified? As in, how many people are the Nazis allowed to kill (with the tacit approval of the police and government), before it’s OK to be violent back?

    I’ll say one. Vigilantism still probably isn’t good for us from a civil perspective, but I’ll go ahead and spot you this one. I’ll even go you one better and say if a nazi even intentionally *injures* someone because of their beliefs it’s totally ok to punch them, because only a piece of shit would do that, right?

    The problem is, unless you know for sure the specific Nazi you’re punching has done those things, then you’re simply trying to injure someone because you don’t like their beliefs. You can’t punch an ideology. If you’re going to start punching people because you believe their belief system is dangerous to, or has caused the deaths of certain groups of people, you’d never do anything else. Very quickly you’re going to start punching people it’s not so “cool” to be punching.

    Bear in mind my objections are mostly pragmatic. I just dont think it works in the way it’s being done, and it’s actually harmful to the ostensible goals in question in the larger picture. Show me a comprehensive plan for this kind of violence and sufficient evidence that it’s effective in eradicating ethnically adjacent ideologies, and I’ll re-evaluate.

    I mean we would need to be really organized, right? Some sort of command structure–a club maybe, with its own identifying gestures and lingo. Maybe a uniform so people can easily identify us and we can strike terror into the hearts of the filthy Nazis. Ooh! A symbol…like a logo. How about the House of Stark Direwolf? Awesome…Winter is Coming, Nazis. The whole punching thing isn’t proving very effective–the Nazis just get back up and keep existing, so we’re going to need a more effective strategy. Maybe some sort of place where we can just round them up and store them while they await processing.

    Just spit-balling.

  36. Greggles: I’m flabberghasted that the debate over the ethics of nazi punching is even taking place.

    I’m dumbfounded that you’re flabbergasted. I haven’t seen any “poor Nazi” arguments here, only pragmatic ones.

    Greggles: I had uncles shooting nazi’s and they got medals for it.

    Ah, yes, I know this story. And after your uncle and his Great Generation had seen the ultimate result of certain modes of thought taken to extremes in their holy slaughter, they returned home and abolished all traces of such thinking. They definitely did not return a land that had just interred an ethnic segment of its own population into camps, nor did they preside over generations of institution level ethnic suppression that victimized millions.

    Oh drat. I seem to have gotten than ending wrong. Maybe that was on the Director’s Cut.

    Greggles: So now people are upset about 2 (and counting) identifiable and self identified Nazi’s getting punched on camera.

    It only takes one to dominate a news cycle and completely undermine the efforts of all the principled non violent protesters. One person selfish enough to put their need for gratification above the needs of entire groups of people, and give the opposition exactly what it wants. It will then be used to frame events in false equivalencies, and various other political chaff to confuse and deter opposition to far more subtle and far more dangerous initiatives.

    Punch one Nazi, and potentially throw millions under the bus to do it.

    Anyone who ever physically attacks other people for their belief system believes the other’s belief system to be abhorrent. It’s how we rationalize it.

    Nazis are assholes. If you fall into the trap of violence against someone you dont like, you are also some degree of asshole. All that’s left are two assholes arguing which one ingested more corn. People dont have much patience for that debate.

    Greggles: Why? Was a bullet preferable?

    Certainly not. Bullets being highly lethal would likely result in murder–the removal of all potential from a human life. Bear in mind that White nationalism/supremacy/Nazism are lifestyles/ideologies that people can and do reform from.

    It does irritate me that people equate “punching” as a relatively consequence free way to chastise someone though. All physical violence is potentially lethal. People can be crippled or disfigured by a fistfight. I’ve seen people rushed to the hospital, their lives in peril from internal organ damage after a physical altercation. I think some people have simply seen it overly sanitized in too many movies.

    Greggles: The fact that this completely bullshit debate is even taking place is proof of how expert the fascist right is at directing media attention and public discourse.

    And you’re letting them.

    The only people letting anyone do anything, are people advocating willfully walking into the trap of nazipunching. It’s a trap, and it will be used to victimize other people.

    This is why mandatory Gom Jabbar testing should never have been removed from the curriculum. Endure the trap to remove the hunter. The street level Nazis aren’t the hunter, they’re the hounds. They bray to goad emotional responses rather than effective ones.

  37. It isn’t just the pseudo “Nazi” punchers who do not have a clue. It is also, and perhaps especially, the genuine “Nazi” punchers.

    Left wing fervor in support for violence against civilians can only garner sympathy for their opposition, particularly in the contemporary ethos of celabratory victimhood, which was constructed by the left. People who punch “Nazis” are turning the very narrative that their political allies have spent decades building against themselves.

    We are witnessing a true reversal of the momentum of the political pendulum. The left has dominated academia, media, and simple polite speech for more than a generation, but that trend is changing now. The accelerating incoherence of their message, even just over the last five years, marks the occasion.

    “Should we exalt victimhood status while simultaneously making victims out of our enemies? Should we espouse anarchic ideals while simultaneously adopting the strategies of autocrats? Should we denounce Nazis while embracing Nazi tactics? Do we still pretend to value free speech while attacking those who speak freely?”

    These are the disjointed ramblings of a dying entity, gasping for breath and mired in dementia. Far right totalitarianism will be heralded in by the blood steeped vomit and death throes of Western liberalism. I can hear a dry heave with every Tweet about punching “Nazis.”

  38. DA,

    Show us the data. Only that will convince us of, of …. never mind.

  39. Correction to the above. Hounds “bay”, donkeys “bray”. I hate it when I mangle metaphors.

  40. Ultimately this is about the alt right. It is an international movement even though individuals within it claim the nationalism monicker.

    NYT Opinion: Undercover With the Alt Right.

    And this, as well as the Alt Light, comes on the heels of Obama and Trump, US healthcare and gay marriage changes, Hillary running. It’s not difficult to see individual members are motivated by fear.

    But given that it also is pushing back against anything smacking of socialism, I gotta also wonder about ye olde Gladio and what all those older Nazis and their offspring have been up to since NATO put them in place since WWII in order to influence politics throughout Europe in favor of oligarchs and multinational corporations.

    Follow the money? Good luck with that.

  41. DA,

    First off, punching nazi’s in the face *is* in fact utilitarian as it discourages recruitment in a massive way. Much of the draw of fascism for the young men they prey upon is that it’s steeped in the “tough guy” tropes of toxic masculinity. It’s a major deterrent for young men vulnerable to that type recruitment to see one of their leaders crying for milk:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30fGIGWYBww

    Not looking so tough. tl:dr No warboys, no Immorten Joe.

    Secondly, freedom of speech isn’t and calmly debating whether the other sides goal of genocide isn’t some kind of moral imperative that ‘polite’ society is somehow subject to. Freedom of speech is a legal imperative for governments to not martial state force to suppress their citizenry. For the rest of us it’s a peace treaty. You and I can debate away and that’s all fine and good, peace treaty is intact. The moment you start advocating the violent slaughter of The Enemy of The Moment (currently muslims, but that can change) you’ve breached the peace treaty and we get to punch you in the face.

    I’ll expand to be clear: We can all sit around and argue about the best apportionment of tax revenues (transit? education? housing? bitumen extraction? military? border control?) until we’re all blue in the face and its all good. You start to advocate directing state resources towards killing off a whole fucktonne of people and all bets of ‘polite’ discourse are off.

    Thirdly, refraining from punching nazi’s lest they cry victim is hilariously obtuse. THEY ARE ALREADY CRYING VICTIM. LOUDLY. They’re crying that they’re being victimized by: feminist’s, Black Lives Matter, Cultural Marxists, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, &tc And the solution to their victimization is to kill all their opponents. Refraining from punching them will not make them quiet down, and see the error of their way and it will certainly not stop them from organizing.

    On to your statements that are worth a response:

    You said: “Nazis are assholes. If you fall into the trap of violence against someone you dont like, you are also some degree of asshole. All that’s left are two assholes arguing which one ingested more corn. People don’t have much patience for that debate.”

    I’m fine with being an asshole, everyone has one and all people are to one degree or another. Your attempt to elide that I was advocating violence against someone I don’t like is pathetic an and lame. I’m for punching nazi’s not conservatives, libertarians, liberals, dippers, anarchists or whatever. I’m looking forward to you apologizing for such a poorly constructed straw man argument. And only engaging in a course of action if it’s pure is hilariously wrongheaded: no human endeavour is pure. It’s the best argument of doing nothing.

    You wrote: “It does irritate me that people equate “punching” as a relatively consequence free way to chastise someone though. All physical violence is potentially lethal. People can be crippled or disfigured by a fistfight. I’ve seen people rushed to the hospital, their lives in peril from internal organ damage after a physical altercation. I think some people have simply seen it overly sanitized in too many movies.”
    When the hell did I ever say that it was relatively consequence free? When the hell did I ever put the word ‘punching’ in quotes, implying some other means of violence was acceptable? You’re putting words in my mouth and making slippery slope arguments.
    It’s not that I think that a well administered punch to a nazi’s head doesn’t have the potential for something more serious than a fat lip, I just don’t care. And yeah, as stated before, I’m comfortable being an asshole to a degree.

    You wrote: “The only people letting anyone do anything, are people advocating willfully walking into the trap of nazipunching. It’s a trap, and it will be used to victimize other people.”

    It’s not a trap. As I said earlier it’s a counter recruitment technique that removes the “tough guy” mystique that serves a recruitment tool for you men. Here, watch this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_J5l8YaHn4

    :)
    How many 17 year olds are thinking “Wow, Nazi’s are tough! I wanna be like that guy!!”

  42. It seems a lot of nazi-punchers out there don’t know history, do any of them ever heard of the KPD? I wont even link to it since I expect some of you will have the decency of doing a bit of homework. Do it before you continue reading this and give me a half-assed reply.

    Now, we all know the “official” version of why the original nazis rose to power: hitler got rejected from art school, france demanded too much compensation for WWI, the hyperinflation of the mark, etc…

    But the one key factor they always forget is the KPD

    The KPD tried a putsch years before the NSDAP, and they also failed though in a far more violent way. After that they went through more democratic channels, which is fair, but the violence didn’t stop. The KPD had their own equivalents of the brownshirts, they just didn’t bother to wear an uniform.

    The problem arose when the NSDAP went from a bunch of idiots talking shit in a dark corner (sounds familiar?) to an actual political force. Of course they were still small and irrelevant, the KPD got far more votes than them. But they enraged the far-left KPD with their far-right discourse.

    So what did the KPD do? they punched the nazis, sometimes killed them

    At this point you might be thinking “so what?” and even like the KPD even though that as old-style communists they had ideas that would put them to the right of today’s far-right since they believed that gays needed to be “cured” from their bourgeois disease.

    The problem is that much like today everyone who disagreed with them was a nazi. Just like today you see antifa knuckledraggers beating anyone with a slipback hairstyle the KPD was more than happy to brand anyone they didn’t like a nazi.

    Then beat them, or outright kill them.

    So what happened? that the average german began to fear the KPD more than they feared the nazis. After all the nazis didn’t went around beating and killing people almost at random (they saved that for later…) so for a lot of people they became the lesser evil.

    And so little by little the KPD lost votes. Extreme views further isolated it from the SPD which created a fragmentation that prevented the creation of a united front against the nazi party. Any similarities with today’s situation between centre and left democrats and the green party are I’m sure pure coincidence and not stupidity repeating itself.

    It also didn’t help that many KPD members were jewish, even if technically former jewish since they were old school communists who completely rejected religion and were even shunned by the german jewish community. But nazis didn’t care, they even had charts to track how much of a “jew” you were, funny enough in a similar way to how nowadays the far-left likes to calculate how “white” you are so they can discredit anything you say. The “progressive stack” is nothing but a modern equivalent of rassenschande which rejected any contributions made to germany if the person wasn’t a pure white aryan.

    So what’s the point of all this? well unless you live under a rock which itself is under a mountain -like many hillary supporters did during the last election- you are probably aware that popular opinion of the far left and progressives in general is going down. Things like charlottesville are isolated events to the average joe, while antifa, BLM and other radical groups constantly calling for killing cops and white males is not.

    The alt-right has already reached levels of support among whites that are equivalent (if not higher) to the levels nazis had in the late 1920’s. Despite all the talk about whites dying (which is true) the reality is that right now they are still the majority, and they will still be the majority for more than a couple decades.

    So needless to say I actually fear for my brown latino ass since while antifa and other radical leftists (which ironically enough are mostly lily-white people) can simply shutup or even become turncoats and join the alt-right I CAN’T. People seem to forget the holocaust happened in less than half a decade, and that with early 1940’s technology.

    All it takes is one, ONE submarine crew going rogue and minority dominated cities like mine will be glassed by a SLBM. All these far-left white idiots openly calling for a civil war when the mostly-white mostly-conservative US military is far more likely to join the new nazis can go fuck themselves with heir delusional bullshit. They make jokes about punching nazis when all they do is get more people to agree with the nazis.

    I seen white people who had no problem with me starting to look at me with disdain, like I’m part of “the problem”. I even seen white latinos I considered part of my community joining the ranks of the alt-right because they are tired of far-left WASP trying to forcibly share their own burden of guilt with other whites who came from the same impoverished countries I came from and were until recently still discriminated by WASP whites for having a latino name and therefore being “spics”. They can’t check their privilege because they don’t have one.

    So yes, the new nazis might eventually lose, but that doesn’t change the fact that last time they still managed to kill millions of people. In fact far more people died due to the nazis than the number of nazis that were killed during the war.

    And one small detail: old nazis didn’t have nukes. I seen the things most of the alt-right says online and they are far more nihilistic than old nazis were. Some of them are well aware their days are numbered so they might as well like goebbels said “slam the door so hard that the universe will shake”.

    Except this time they actually have the means to do so.

    So whatever, thanks for contributing to my future extermination.

    Maybe if I’m really lucky I might end up as a shadow instantly burned against a wall instead of buried alive in a mass grave.

  43. Greggles,

    Nothing you are saying makes any sense. Odds are your disgustingly homophobic and racist grandparents who would force fellow black soldiers to sit behind nazi POWs at the theater and forced japanese americans into almost-concentration camps would rather join these new nazis and punch the crap out of you.

    The war happened because the nazis were exterminating half of europe, because they didn’t plan to stop and were even designing weapons to attack america. Your comments equating a bunch of skinhead idiots with a war machine that killed millions are so abysmally lowbrow to the point it’s as offensive as the shit the alt-right says.

  44. Greggles: First off, punching nazi’s in the face *is* in fact utilitarian as it discourages recruitment in a massive way.

    This is a fascinating claim. Do you have evidence to support it? Because most casual observations would tend to suggest that many aggressive or problematic ideologies thrive on scorn and conflict. As well-developed systems of thought, they have defense mechanisms against it and have even learned how to thrive on many forms of persecution. Case in point, the U.S “war on terror”. Has that been better or worse for radical recruitment do you think? I’m asking, because I honestly dont know. But I know what it looks like.

    You ever notice how many radical groups like this seem to *want* the physical conflict? They come prepared for it, and revel in it. Numerical mismatches don’t seem to mean anything to them. But they’re happy as shit over the physical conflicts. Why is that do you suppose? Do you think it’s safe to give them what they want?

    I’m not smart enough to make any sense out of that, but perhaps one of the bigger brains on the “Crawl might chime in.

    Honestly, this is all unfair of me. I haven’t, after all, supported my own claims with any degree of rigor. I’ve been mostly timid in my argument, staying close to things I hope many people would consider axiomatic.

    This claim though, is extraordinary. You know what they say about extraordinary claims.

  45. DA,

    Likening a well directed right cross to wide spread bombing campaigns followed by violent and illegal military occupations is such a ridiculous analogy that it’s hard for me to believe that you’re serious.

    I’d say that making that type of stretch is the opposite of timid, rather reckless actually. And it’s light years from axiomatic.

  46. Greggles: First off, punching nazi’s in the face *is* in fact utilitarian as it discourages recruitment in a massive way.

    DA: This is a fascinating claim. Do you have evidence to support it?

    Greggles: Likening a well directed right cross to wide spread bombing campaigns followed by violent and illegal military occupations is such a ridiculous analogy that it’s hard for me to believe that you’re serious.

    So, no then? Pity.

    I was really hoping you were on to something.

  47. DA,

    *sigh*

    I have oodles. But it’s not really in my interest to engage with a person who makes use of ridiculous equivalencies while claiming ‘timidity’ , slippery slope arguments, pretentious claims of being axiomatic while doing those risible stretches. In short, you’re pulling troll moves.

    If you’d actually frame a question that didn’t resort to any of those techniques (and dropped the hectoring, snide tone) I might be tempted to answer.

    If you can do all that, you’d also be able to state the burden of proof that you’d find acceptable. That way no one could accuse you of moving the goalposts.

  48. “First off, punching nazi’s in the face *is* in fact utilitarian as it discourages recruitment in a massive way.”

    I call bullshit. The only people it would discourage are those who are violence averse in the first place. For most of us, if we believe in something, when someone tries to shut down our ideological position using violence, the argument has ended. The default position is more violence, either immediately, or in the fullness of time, either by our own action, or the support of other, more action willing, like-minded individuals.

    There are all kinds of racists I’d like to punch, as well as a lot of other people who espouse idiotic ideologies that are not race-based but just as bone-deep stupid, but even if I could do so without legal or other consequence I wouldn’t because all it would do is further embed in those people’s minds that I am exactly the kind of asshole they think I am.

    I also can’t get away from the logical conclusions of violence. After hitting someone, what are they supposed to do? Turn the other cheek? At some point, there is no solution other than the complete elimination of everyone who doesn’t think like you. And, seeing as we’re on an SF blog, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch that at some point we’ll be able to target particular kinds of mind-sets with lethal viruses. I’m not sure how much good punching people will have done if this does come to pass.

  49. There’s that old tale of two cities I keep losing track of and cannot clearly even recall the era in which it supposedly occurred.

    There was, the story goes, a city-state in the formative years of Christianity which had a great interest in reason, nature, and what passed for science in those days. They were peaceful.

    Not far away was another city-state that had trouble letting go of some of its more superstitious impulses, some left over from whatever it was it believed before having converted and some inspired by the addition of the religious writings it had picked up. Fearful and intolerant, it did not like the thinking that the other city-state engaged in.

    The second obliterated the first and determined the general track that religious institutions would take.

    There is something to be said for “Don’t fuck with us,” even if that’s not the why motivating antifa.

  50. “There is something to be said for ‘Don’t fuck with us.'”

    There is definitely something to be said for that. The question for me is what strategy and tactics will effectively stop people fucking with me while simultaneously not turning me into them.

    That said, I’m not too sure about the “us” part. If I’m going to fight, it’s for the right to not be part of any group.

  51. Phil,

    It’s as though people read this line “First off, punching nazi’s in the face *is* in fact utilitarian as it discourages recruitment in a massive way.” And then stopped reading.

    I’ll clarify that “discourages recruitment” refers to stopping people from being involved with fascist movements in the first place.

    I felt that the next two sentences would have made that clear. Here they are again.

    “First off, punching nazi’s in the face *is* in fact utilitarian as it discourages recruitment in a massive way. Much of the draw of fascism for the young men they prey upon is that it’s steeped in the “tough guy” tropes of toxic masculinity. It’s a major deterrent for young men vulnerable to that type recruitment to see one of their leaders crying for milk:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30fGIGWYBww

    Not looking so tough. tl:dr No warboys, no Immorten Joe.”

    And to reiterate, I’m not for punching conservatives, liberals, libertarians, anarchists, communists and all the many other people with whom I disagree, just nazis.

    I keep having to make that point and I find it puzzling. I realize that people are naturally uncomfortable with discussing violence as a tool with utility (which says nice things about people, really) but it’s amazing how quickly people assume that punching a nazi = punching anyone who doesn’t agree with me.

    Phil:
    The default position is more violence, either immediately, or in the fullness of time, either by our own action, or the support of other, more action willing, like-minded individuals.

    They’re nazi’s, they weren’t planning on giving out flowers to people before getting punched. Nor were they planning on doing it alone.

    I also can’t get away from the logical conclusions of violence. After hitting someone, what are they supposed to do? Turn the other cheek?

    They aren’t going to turn the other cheek (incidentally, one interpretation of that gesture is that it’s a pacifist demand for respect due to an equal) they’re going to fall down, if the punch is properly administered. And yes, the logical conclusion of violence is to retaliate, which is why you should run away immediately afterwards and not get caught.

    (…)And, seeing as we’re on an SF blog, it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch that at some point we’ll be able to target particular kinds of mind-sets with lethal viruses. I’m not sure how much good punching people will have done if this does come to pass.

    It’s not a stretch to theorize that such a virus would be theorized, designed and tested -especially since the US experimented with “gay bombs” in the early 2000’s. But it is a stretch to assume punching a nazi would lead to one.

  52. Is it possible that this entire post was put together as an experiment to gather data to either refute or support Godwin’s Corollary?

    If so, well played Peter.

    Well played.

  53. Greggles,

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. There are many people I’d love to smack on both ends of the political spectrum (leaving aside for the moment that conceptualizing political views as being on a spectrum is completely retarded) just to see their eyes widen, but unless someone is actually physically threatening someone I care about (and those can just about be counted on one hand), in which case there’s a possibility that one of us will be killed, I’m probably going to leave it to the state to enact any necessary violence. My confidence in the state to act competently and morally is pretty thin, but it seems to me that that’s a reason to come up with better ways to do things. The alternatives are interesting (J G Ballard’s High Rise comes to mind), but not palatable to me.

    I checked out that clip and it left me feeling people will use it to confirm the stances they already hold. I don’t understand the mindset of people who categorize people on the basis of “race”, but my sense is that that mindset is not going to be altered because someone who thinks the way they do got maced by someone who doesn’t.

    I know firsthand the mental inflexibility of people on both the left and right, and their willingness to argue partisan positions in the face of contrary evidence (as Watts notes Kahan shows empirically – that was good to learn), and it really makes me want to hit them, but I know if I do it won’t change the way they see things. I expect it wouldn’t change a racist’s views either.

  54. Phil,

    I think we are in agreement about the utility of changing a persons political views through violence.

    That’s zero.

    You’ve completely missed my point of what I’ve been saying. When I say ‘counter-recruitment tool’ I’m not talking about people who are currently nazi’s.

    I’m talking about people (mostly young men) who are potential recruits.

    Many get drawn into it because of the ‘tough guy’ transgressive imagery that skins and various flavours of fascist groups project.

    So, showing them up as week and physically vulnerable keeps potential recruits away.

  55. Greggles,

    I guess it could work that way with some, although I wonder what they’d do to meet that need instead, and if there would be blow-back with those already recruited.

  56. Phil,

    And that’s a fair concern. It may be that they drift off into some other violent activity, but at least it wouldn’t be a militant political movement whose end goal is genocide. Hell, they might even become anti fascist activists.

    Based on the ARA activists in Toronto in the 80’s and 90’s once the fascists get kicked out, domobilized and discredited, the antifascists just kinda fade away. Starved of new recruits the nazi-skins organisations faded away as well.

  57. Phil:
    “There is something to be said for ‘Don’t fuck with us.’”

    There is definitely something to be said for that. The question for me is what strategy and tactics will effectively stop people fucking with me while simultaneously not turning me into them.

    That said, I’m not too sure about the “us” part. If I’m going to fight, it’s for the right to not be part of any group.

    One of the problems with that particular movement is its connection to genocide. I don’t really think punching a genocide-backer makes one a genicide-backwr. As for the group, non-Nazi or genocide-opposed I think works well enough.

    As for non-violent response, there’s ridicule, which I am particularly fond of. However, it should be noted that a German politician present when Hitler and company stormed their meeting shouted repeatedly, “This is a comedy.” It really wasn’t.

  58. Anonymous: We are witnessing a true reversal of the momentum of the political pendulum. The left has dominated academia, media, and simple polite speech for more than a generation, but that trend is changing now. The accelerating incoherence of their message, even just over the last five years, marks the occasion.

    I wouldn’t say there is evidence for “reversal”. True, some on the “left” are embracing a less intelligent, less rational, more incoherent message. However, there is zero evidence of a more intelligent, more rational, more coherent message being put out by the “right”. So yes, the quality of discourse overall is suffering, but one side is still much more moron-heavy.

    Greggles: Is it possible that this entire post was put together as an experiment to gather data to either refute or support Godwin’s Corollary?

    Interesting – does Godwin’s Law apply when one side in the debate self-identifies as Nazis?

  59. Fatman:Interesting – does Godwin’s Law apply when one side in the debate self-identifies as Nazis?

    Somewhat ironically, the moment I go looking for citation of the corollary, I can’t find the one I recall. (The moment Hitler is mentioned, the thread is argument is automatically lost by the person mentioning him) Or rather, I’m confronted with an embarrassment of choices, some similar some wildly divergent. It appears that the law has been a victim of it’s own success since everyone seems to be claiming it for themselves.

    I think that the moment in a debate where a person self-identifies as a nazi and mentions hitler in a positive manner, the debate is definitely over.

    I’ve spent some time further up in the comments section describing what I think the appropriate follow up should be. (Just don’t get caught)

  60. Fatman,

    A reversal in the gestalt of civilizational political sentiment does not require a particularly coherent or rational message. In fact, it could be argued that since most contemporary political movements are populist at their core, that political rhetoric must be void of strictly intelligent or rational dialogue. In order to have mass appeal to the lowest common denominator, political messages must be more base, more “reptilian.” Absence of logic in politics isn’t just benign, it is actually necessary.

    The scholars and educated people who subscribe to the ideology of any party do not need to be swayed or targeted for advertisement. They know why they’re there. The people who do need guidance and leadership are the ones who do not think things through entirely, and so a certain degree of incoherence in their politics is expected.

    A swaying political pendulum has little, if anything to do with intelligent or coherent messages. It has more to do with the various factions and interest groups in society responding to prevailing conditions and incentives that exist in modern civilization. A political message is more like a social adhesive that binds huge masses of people from different statuses, classes, careers, and areas together in pursuit of a specific set of purposes. However, in order to appeal to all of these different individuals, the essence of the movement must be packaged in a way that will appeal to the greatest number of people, since that is what the inverted hierarchy of democracy demands. Naturally, this means the omission of truth in favor of emotion.

  61. Fatman,

    Oops, left this part out:

    So in marking the trend reversal with the accelerated incoherence of leftism, I wasn’t suggesting that it is DUE to that incoherence. Just that the increased incoherence was a symptom of the movement falling apart entirely. While a lack of cohesion is expected to a degree in political movements, I don’t see how one can survive with so many directly contradictory ideas.

  62. Think there are those who realize the movement is falling apart, descending into gibberish. However, some of the newer alt-right stuff coming mostly from a younger crowd is scary smart-*sounding.* And I recall some Y comments here where he was quoting studies to support some uncomfortable positions. There’s money and power behind both flavors.

  63. Anonymous: since most contemporary political movements are populist at their core, that political rhetoric must be void of strictly intelligent or rational dialogue.

    No argument here.

    Anonymous: While a lack of cohesion is expected to a degree in political movements, I don’t see how one can survive with so many directly contradictory ideas.

    I don’t see those ideas as being that contradictory, or the message as particularly incoherent. Even in the heyday of democratic “leftism”, there was always an anarchist faction on the movement’s fringe, much more powerful than the quasi-anarchists of today. It never amounted to anything. Most people are comfortable with the “beige”, regardless of political leaning.

    Deseret: However, some of the newer alt-right stuff coming mostly from a younger crowd is scary smart-*sounding.*

    There’s a difference between an intelligent argument and a specious argument. And most, if not all, arguments coming from the “alt-right” can be dismantled with ca. 30 minutes of very superficial internet searching. These arguments are custom-made for trolling and online flame wars: post a few comments that seem to make sense at first glance, other posters take sides, and a few minutes/hours later people are hurling abuse at each other without even thinking about your original post.

    This is also why preventing “alt-righters” from speaking in public is dangerous, IMO. When you ban hate speech, you turn it into a taboo, and people are drawn to taboos. Rather, you need to confront it with rational arguments and expose it for the nonsense it is. E.g. German law did not ban the publishing of Mein Kampf once the book went into the public domain, but requires all versions to come with copious annotations – I think this is the correct approach.

    It’s disgusting and incredibly difficult to listen to someone spew garbage and insanity and to try to come up with rational arguments to counter points which aren’t really points. But it’s the only way to do it.

  64. I get how it’s cycled to it, but I still kindof dislike calling such folks “Nazis”. We already have a term that describes them as such while also (correctly) implying their knockoff, cheap, soft-reboot quality: “Neo-Nazis”. Calling them “Nazis” plays into the grandiose self-delusions they have a bit too much, I feel.

  65. keithzg,

    This is actually quite brilliant! We can extend that list to include noobie-Nazi’s!

  66. It’s pretty disingenuous to attribute the “Nazi” moniker to any modern political movement, in any way. For the purpose of inferring what is relevant in politics, Nazis do not exist. The number of Nazis influencing policy, sentiment, ideas, or speech is exactly zero. More accurately, the most extreme elements of the inchoate right wing resurgence could be called “fascism,” of which the origin is ascribed to 1920’s Italy, but has philosophical roots that are hundreds of years old.

    Today, “Nazi” is an intentionally hyperbolic pejorative term intended to demonize certain ideologies, by associating them with the most extreme and notorious iteration of fascism, or similar governing systems. Oddly, “fascist” was also already a pejorative by the time “alt-right” showed up in political lexicon. Apparently, “fascist” just isn’t extreme enough. I’m convinced that if elements of the left were not such devout atheists, they would be denouncing the new right as “Satan incarnate.”

    Even prominent figureheads in the new right wing movement, while embracing the term “Nazi” ironically because it pisses off their opposition, do not seriously proclaim to espouse Nazism, or neo-Nazism. Many of them actually do explicitly subscribe to fascism, and it is much more accurate to describe them as such.

  67. When talking about how people feel “threatened” by antifascist action, keep in mind that the average american is objectively much more threatened by white supremacists and fascists(there is significant overlap between the two) than by antifa.

    http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/683984.pdf

    People killed by right-wing extremists since 9/11: 106

    People killed by left-wing extremists since 9/11: 0

  68. popefucker: the average american is objectively much more threatened by white supremacists and fascists

    You used the concepts “average American” and “objectively” in the same sentence. That sort of attitude isn’t going to get you anywhere.

    Anonymous: More accurately, the most extreme elements of the inchoate right wing resurgence could be called “fascism,”

    That is more accurate, although “fascism” doesn’t quite fit the bill either, IMO. Fascism connotes organization and territorial expansion. Modern “fascists” don’t seem to be looking to organize, and support the closing of borders and discrimination within those borders, rather than the conquering of new lands. If they can be said to have an “ideology”, it would be an amalgam of extreme racism and anti-intellectualism, with elements of Nazi/fascists dogma thrown in for added flavor, e.g. anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and the hatred of all things “cosmopolitan”.

    However, “stupid racist assholes” doesn’t quite have the ring of “Nazis”, or even “fascists”.

  69. Context matters. When the nazis are running an actual country, gassing people, and invading neighbours, you aren’t going to stop them with love.

    However when they’re pathetically buying their loser flags and torches, wanting to get punched so they can play the victim, it may not be very useful to give them what they want.

    That being said, their whole ideology is already saturated with victim complex, so their provocations are probably not helping them all that much even when they do get punched.

    In somewhat related, there’s a lot of old footage of nazi sympathizers getting punched in non-nazi countries, during 1930s.

    At the end of the day, anyone under a literal nazi flag condones mass murder, and as such is plain more evil than any opposition, hence even if they succeed at getting themselves punched they’ll still be doing things that make them look much worse.

  70. D,

    and when they don’t get punched, they get to parade around how weak the “SJW cucks” are and be what fascism really wants to be: the ideology of strong men being strong and controlling other people.

  71. popefucker,

    The fact that you posted that report, believing that it substantiated your claim, tells me you didn’t read it.

  72. Where Nazis and Wall Street algorithms connect.

    Major funder of alt-right made bank with financial tech company.