Tag: punch a nazi

Radicalization and Terrorism are Mostly Useless Words

By Glenn Verasco | United States

Note: This article was initially published on HowToCureYourLiberalism.com in October, 2017 after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. I am publishing it again with some edits in lieu of the YouTube HQ shooting and new revelations about the Pulse nightclub shooting.

I’ve wanted to write about the abuse of the word terrorism for quite a while. The horrible shooting in Las Vegas provides another opportunity to do so.

Whenever an individual strikes a crowd with a vehicle or mows people down with a gun, I, and I assume many other people, become somewhat preoccupied with the individual’s identity. Is he a Muslim? Is he a reclusive older white man? Is he an immigrant? Is he a young Black man? Is he a sexually-frustrated teen?

Reactions by people and the media seem to depend on the answer to these questions. If he turns out to be Muslim, many assume he is a Radical Islamic Terrorist. If he turns out to be an older white man, many assume he is a right-wing extremist. If he turns out to be an immigrant, many assume he exemplifies rampant criminal activity abroad. If he turns out to be Black, many assume he is an anti-police activist or a gang-banger. If he turns out to be a young man, many assume he used psychotropic drugs, has daddy issues, or was rejected by the opposite sex.

No matter the identity, some blame the World Wide Web and other mediums for being breeding grounds for radicalization. This can lead to the dangerous suggestions that governments ought to police the internet and censor so-called hate speech, having confidence that doing so would prevent future mass murders from taking place.

The idea that someone can become radicalized is silly. Radical simply means ideologically extreme. Someone who believes that all people are equal is a radical. How can you get more extreme than all or equal? Someone who believes in the flat tax is radical. How can you get more extreme than flat? Someone who believes in single-payer healthcare is radical. How can you get more extreme than single? Someone who believes in God is radical. How can you get more extreme than God?

The only way to avoid being radical is to contradict yourself or to waffle between opinions constantly without ever taking a principled stand. And I don’t mean to deride all people who are politically or ideologically inconsistent. Perhaps there are reasons to apply certain principles in certain instances while discounting them in others. Perhaps taking a principled stance across the board is impossible, so attempting to do so is a futile effort. But the fact remains: if you’re not radical, you’re bound to be hypocritical.

What I would like to propose is an end to concerns about motive when a violent act is committed.

Of course, I do not mean that intention should be ignored. If I intend to hit a baseball, and I unintentionally injure a passerby, accusing me of assault would be ridiculous. And motive is also useful when defining the degree of an intolerable act like murder. If one plots for months to take his uncle’s life as a means of inheriting his wealth, he is more sinister than one who lashes out in a moment of rage, such as a husband coming home to his wife in bed with another man.

What I mean is that one’s overall political, religious, or social views should be ignored when one violates the rights of others. By ignoring these views, we will find that radical and terrorism are not useful words, but in fact dangerous words when courts and governments acknowledge them.

So-called Radical Islamic Terrorism is the obvious example to analyze. Outside the incredibly rare, clear instances of calculated mass murder by an established, political organization, most notably the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda, murders committed by “Muslims” in the name of “Islam” are not terrorism. Terrorism is rational (which is not synonymous with good or correct). That means developed ideologies and long-term plans play a central role in its orchestration.

An individual who read something on the internet and decided to commit mass murder does not deserve the presumption of rationality. It is unimaginable for any moderately rational person to conclude that spraying bullets into a crowd without a tremendous deal of support has any chance of winding up in something other than hasty death or imprisonment via law enforcement. Individuals who make these choices are unlikely to consider the consequences of their actions with enough depth to even reach the point of asking these questions.

In short, how can one who is so incompetent as to fail to realize or even care about the inevitable result of their violence be considered radical? They aren’t thoughtful enough to be considered terrorists, let alone radical.

What’s more, at what point does one formally qualify as a Muslim? Or a Conservative? Or an Environmentalist? Or a Communist? Can one speak his political identity into existence? Does some supreme authority govern the criteria one must meet to be legitimately part of a social or ideological movement?

Or is it utterly subjective? And is it wholly possible that two self-proclaimed or linguistically-defined members of the same sociopolitical or religious group have little in common in terms of underlying philosophy and agenda?

Over the past few years, due to the success of populist politics and a handful of small, mainstream-media-hyped demonstrations, a popular question has been posed: is it okay to punch a Nazi?

Nazism and other forms of identity-driven Authoritarianism are certainly radical, and horrible acts of terror and violence have been committed in their names. But what makes a Nazi a Nazi? Auto-designation?

The problem with the German Nazis was not that they believed Aryans were a superior race. That’s silly and annoying, but it’s not that big of a deal. The real problem was that they murdered 6 million Jews (and millions of others) and invaded sovereign nations. Had they committed the same crimes via another ideology, for purely practical reasons, or out of sheer boredom, the death toll and destruction would remain equally abhorrent.

If a Nazi is a person who is preparing to annihilate an ethnic (or random) group of individuals (i.e., an actual Nazi), attempting to physically apprehend him is not only just, but possibly obligatory. An attack on him is an attack on terror.

But if his beliefs and words are extreme, and he has yet to harm a fly, aggression against him is an attack on free thought and free expression, not terrorism. Physically attacking an actual Nazi is not just combatting the ideas of Nazism; it is violence. There is no difference between murdering for the preservation of the White Race and murdering for the preservation of the environment. Murder is murder.

All in all, condemning and combating radicalization accomplishes nothing aside from putting all of our rights to free speech in jeopardy. What says your sincerely-held and innocuous beliefs won’t be deemed radical and unacceptable next?

We’re very lucky to live amongst other human beings, the vast majority of whom are too preoccupied with survival and finding happiness to consider extreme acts of violence. Don’t let rarities like actual terrorism drive our existence further away from perfection.

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The Stupidity of Politicizing Video Games

By Willie Johnson | USA

Nearly every young person today plays video games, an entertainment medium that has been extremely common since it first gained popularity in the early 1980s. In those days, basic 8-bit games were meaningless fun for children, but as platforms became more advanced and adults began taking part, issues completely irrelevant to the games themselves were imposed on developers and players alike. Claims that violent video games cause aggressive behavior or influence decision making have long been the subject of controversy, but in today’s climate, many games are unfairly politicized and used as ammunition for certain viewpoints.

It’s no revelation to say that the purpose of games is entertainment, but keeping this obvious fact in mind when debating political issues is not always simple. The settings of video games range from atomic wastelands to futuristic space stations, and making comparisons between fact and these fictional scenarios is an easy way to enhance an argument. Goals of these games are also an important factor, because one ideology pitted against another, even in entertainment, is fuel for debate. For example, it is in this way that certain radical groups on the American left claimed that the newly released Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (in which the protagonist fights Nazis) will anger right-wingers; the conclusion that right-wingers are pro-nazi had already been made, so any negative depiction of the Third Reich must be against their ideology. Ridiculous.

Such controversy surrounding games not only hurts feelings but sales, too. Wild claims that a game represents a certain political viewpoint are bound to turn away many of those who are opposed to said viewpoint, in turn hurting video game companies who are more often than not just trying to sell a product for the sake of entertainment. That’s not to say that the premises of some games aren’t based on politics, just that forcing ideologies upon games that do not claim to represent them can negatively impact business. The livelihoods of the nearly 50,000 people who work in the video game industry no longer rely only on the quality or playability of their products, but the political atmosphere as well.

The controversy that erupts over video games is usually short-lived, but it represents the ongoing issue of politicizing every part of culture and society today. Keeping politics out of the realm of entertainment and entertainment out of the realm of politics would be beneficial to both, preventing audiences from being alienated and keeping the industry itself going strong. Next time a debate arises over the mindless killing of digital zombies, it would be best to ignore it altogether.

The Sick Racism of The New York Times

By Mason Mohon | USA

These last few days, social media has been abuzz with a New York Times article that is seen by many as shocking, putting in generously. The article’s title was Can My Children Be Friends With White People?, which in itself would be disturbing enough for a title, but reading through I discover that it goes from bad to worse. The article’s entire intent seems to be to make a bad problem worse. Ironically, on the same day, The New York Times published an article titled We’re Sick of Racism, Literally. Clearly, they are not sick of it. They’re sick with it.

The author of the first controversial article is a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. This expertise did give him grounds to diagnose a problem, and mostly correctly too. He pointed out the prison population and the targeting of black individuals through the war on drugs, which are very real and very serious problems within America and ones that we should be having an open conversation about, but that is not the author’s intent. The author makes it clear that he views it as nearly impossible for his black children to make friendships with white people, and he does not see the possibility of friendship between whites and blacks anywhere.  

I will teach my boys to have profound doubts that friendship with white people is possible. When they ask, I will teach my sons that their beautiful hue is a fault line. Spare me platitudes of how we are all the same on the inside. I first have to keep my boys safe.

Well, you’ve diagnosed a problem. That problem is the racial division within America. Thinking the way to cure this problem is to cut ties and give up hope of friendship is an absolutely senseless proposition that will not help anyone. Teaching your sons that they cannot be friends with white people is only going to sow the seeds of division deeper, and we will end up with more ignorant senseless ideological catfights like the one in Charlottesville.

The author teaches his children to discriminate. The other article The New York Times published on race that day sited a 2015 study that showed being discriminated against decreases cortisol, “a natural hormone that helps the body deal with stressful situations.” Low amounts of this hormone can be dangerous, resulting in depression, obesity, cancer, and death.

Putting two and two together, one sees that The New York Times advocates for discrimination in the same day that it publishes about the negative health effects of discrimination. This is not an accusation of “reverse racism.” Discrimination is discrimination, no matter who you are and who you are doing it to. Black people can discriminate against white people, and the effects will be the same. The law professor says to “spare [him] platitudes of how we are all the same on the inside,” yet science is science, and we will all be getting the same negative health effects and illnesses from these disgusting acts of division.

The alternative is clear. Many know about Daryl Davis, the kind-hearted black keyboardist who got many KKK members to disavow their racist ways through friendship. Clearly, even the most hateful lines of division can be bridged. Giving up hope is not going to help things, and advocating for what you news outlet calls detrimental to health is counterproductive. Don’t discriminate, and tell your kids that they can be friends with whoever is kind to them. Befriend your enemy. Hug a Nazi.

Hug a Nazi

By Mason Mohon | FLORIDA

On Thursday, white supremacist Richard Spencer spoke at the University of Florida. Riots ensued, and members of anti-racist, Antifa, and other groups went to the streets, as is expected in modern America when bigoted people are given a platform for speaking.

Florida governor Rick Scott expected nothing less, so he declared a state of emergency in Florida the Monday prior to the event. At first, I saw this as a bit of a joke. A man coming to speak is met with the same action as a long string of hurricanes, but the joke of the matter died off as soon as the fighting began.

I usually pay these riots little mind. The best way to solve conflicts of politics is not violence, but rather they should be solved through peace. For a while, the anti-Trump crowd took up the mantra “love trumps hate”. This idea of responding to what they see as bigotry with peace and love is a noble one, but it is not a response they stuck to. The left has taken up a less peaceful, and a more ignorant, violent mantra: “punch a Nazi”.

Pathetic.

The same ideological camp that had been mature enough to respond with kindness has now bent to the side of violence. This, along with the virtue signaling of the far-right through the idea of Pinochetian “physical removal” is not going to get anyone anywhere positive. The only result has been increased political division and hatred coming from all sides of the political spectrum.

So what is the alternative?

I don’t have to come up with one because someone already made one. The alternative method is to hug a Nazi. A man named Aaron Alex Courtney decided to do something bizarre in the midst of the recent riots. He approached a white supremacist, asking him why he was so filled with hatred. When the white supremacist refused to respond, he did the unimaginable. He hugged him.

Courtney asked once again, with the hateful man in his embrace, “why do you hate me?”

“I don’t know.” Was the response.

And that is the best response. There is little to no actual reason to hate other races simply for the sake of them having a different skin color. Racial nationalists join these groups because they want to feel special for something they took no part in accomplishing. So when racial nationalists are faced with the question of why there is no sensible answer.

Nobody wants to join the ideology of a jerk, so showing kindness to people of other political camps is going to make a much more serious difference then resorting immediately to threats of combat.

So don’t punch a Nazi. Hug one, and while you’re at it, hug a leftist too.