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Old 01-27-2017, 06:23 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Which leads into a big problem: The state may not be trusted for much longer to wield a monopoly on violence with anything resembling responsibility (if it ever did. See: police violence in the US) and to curb the excesses of the far-right.
I would say they should not have been trusted and evidence from the J20 all but confirms this (well, so does the news everyday). For all of the complaints about the Black Bloc, it was their medics on the streets that were braving the police's indiscriminate use of pepper spray and percussion grenades against children and their elderly caretakers. Whether its the Bloc or BLM or whatever group protesting, there is no shortage of apologists to state power and abuse who say, "Good, they shouldn't be protesting anyway."
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Old 01-27-2017, 06:54 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I think this is the mistake I made for a long time. Arguing that a society supposedly predicated on free speech and free thought should be able to tolerate even those who would, if given the chance, abolish those same freedoms. As a demonstration of the strengths of such a society, even: "We are so secure in our convictions that we can let the stupid spout their stupidity without taking harm."

After all, the stupid would never be more than a nuisance, right? Just weird blooms on the margins of society, best dealt with by mostly ignoring them.

But it turned out that Nazis and similar scum have taken "our" tolerance of their speech and community-building to mean that they'll never have to fear serious repercussions. Worse, "our" tolerance enabled the smarter among them to purposefully shift public discourse in the US, UK, Germany, France, Poland, etc. towards making some of their political ideas quite thinkable and acceptable for far too large a swath of our respective populations. And worse still, the populations so swayed already voted in near-fascism (US, Poland) or are far too likely to vote in near-fascism in the current climate (Germany, France, UK) for my peace of mind.

Which leads into a big problem: The state may not be trusted for much longer to wield a monopoly on violence with anything resembling responsibility (if it ever did. See: police violence in the US) and to curb the excesses of the far-right. It might soon be the far-right. In that sense it might already be too late to "make Nazis afraid again".

So, I'm saying - I guess - that we should have punched them sooner, and often. These people, as long as they hold onto inherently evil ideologies, should be afraid. They should be on the margins, not because they are unusual, but because a healthy mainstream should repel them. Violently, if necessary.
You misunderstand me. My arguments aren't based on a desire to protect Nazis' or extreme Islamists' or anyone else's freedom of thought or expression.

I am simply concerned to avoid, if possible, outbreaks of public violence. If the other side start it, then obviously people have the right to self-defence and can't be criticised for using reasonable force to end it, but I would rather not see public brawls start in the first place.

I'm also concerned about, once the free-for-all starts, where it stops. OK, we agree that Nazis have an inherently evil ideology and deserve a good hiding, but what about militant Islamists? If someone wants to take a swing at them, should the police intervene? Some people view advocates for readily available abortion as advocating the murder of unborn children -- I certainly don't want to give them a licence to attack pro-choice advocates. How is the line to be drawn (and by whom?) that distinguishes controversial or unpleasant opinions from those which are so bad as to justify punching their exponent?

Basically if we're going to say that, in general, punching people in the street should be unlawful (which I think it should be), then how do we define the circumstances in which "I punched him because he was expressing an inherently evil ideology" is a valid defence?

I don't necessarily object on principle to having it available as a defence, but I'm not at all sure what such a law would look like.
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Old 01-27-2017, 06:59 PM   #28 (permalink)
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neo-nazi's need to be put in the same class as child poronographers. Their 'free expression' becomes a magnet for others seeking to inflict harm on others (whether it's minors, or minorities).

Neither should be tolerated. Both should be as loathsome to anyone with a conscience.
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Old 01-27-2017, 07:10 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I'll take a crack at it.

While I understand your concern and in many ways agree with your sentiments about order, the position of the Antifa, or Anti-fascists, isn't one taken from a position of violence for the sake of violence. The rhetoric of a fascist begins primarily from a position of violence and coercion against certain groups of people who share either differing arbitrary characteristics or simply don't agree with them. They advance this notion, especially in countries with strong free expression, like the US/UK/Much of Europe by co-opting the strong notions of protection of free expression for all people. The trouble of that is two-fold, one is that they do not believe in what they are co-opting and two, their rhetoric and actions, as noted before specifically come from a position of coercive violence.

A particularly troubling modifier in the US is that there is generally very little that can be done to stop their speech legally. Antifa goes around this with the assumption that while a government may not step-in legally, they have a moral obligation to protect all people from the fascist views. Their traditions, often socialist or anarchist, begin from a position where protection and defense of another person is paramount to any notion of what the state deems as "civil" or even "civil discourse." To wit, a quote often attributed to Trotsky goes, "If you cannot convince a Fascist, acquaint his head with the pavement." (There is some argument about this attribution). This isn't stated to be edgy or bad ass, but of a tradition that in class warfare, every individual should be protected regardless of the notions of the state.

Alot of this comes from Marxist traditions about power and of course Trotsky's writings on fighting Fascism (and the what happened when people failed to fight it). There are other aspects of well including how Antifa views police elements but that's probably another argument. And yes, it should also be noted that since Antifa are traditionally anti-capitalist as well, a street level revolution isn't exactly undesired. Note some of the videos coming from the J20 marches, their fight extends as much to the trappings of power, the arms of power in the police, and the fascists, like Spencer, who would use, if he could, the power of the State to institute a fresh round of pogroms.
I am very aware that things are rather different in the USA, and perhaps the laws there serve to protect the verbal bully at the expense of his victims, who seem expected to display a saint-like patience. I think that, important though free-speech and freedom of expression certainly are, so to is the freedom to go about your lawful business in peace and without being harassed, and that freedom is maybe neglected in the US.

I'm looking at this, of course, from the point of view of someone who wants to uphold the rule of law in a liberal democracy rather than as a Marxist or Trotskyite. I understand those arguments, and I briefly had some sympathy with them when I was a lot younger (and even more foolish) than I am now, but I'm not wholly sympathetic with attempts to advance the revolutionary cause by attempting to co-opt popular anger about fascists or anyone else.

From a strictly historical point of view, I don't think it's just a question of the extent to which people are prepared to fight fascism in the streets that determines how things turn out. Clearly the working class were more than prepared to fight fascism in Spain, just as they were in Germany. Nevertheless, things turned out very differently in both Spain and Germany than they did in Great Britain. I think I would argue that, as with thing most things, the outcome depends on the specific time, place and historical and economic circumstances rather than simply on the tactics used.

I don't want to be unduly flippant, but I am concerned to prevent bad situations from getting worse, while I fear that many Marxists want simply exacerbate them in order to bring on the revolution.
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Old 01-27-2017, 07:14 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jopsy Pendragon View Post
neo-nazi's need to be put in the same class as child poronographers. Their 'free expression' becomes a magnet for others seeking to inflict harm on others (whether it's minors, or minorities).

Neither should be tolerated. Both should be as loathsome to anyone with a conscience.
Well, yes, I quite agree.

Arrest them, try them and, if they're convicted, sentence them.

However, I'm not at all happy about people beating up convicted child pornographers in the street or putting bricks through their windows, no matter how much I understand their anger and revulsion.
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Old 01-27-2017, 07:25 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
I am very aware that things are rather different in the USA, and perhaps the laws there serve to protect the verbal bully at the expense of his victims, who seem expected to display a saint-like patience. I think that, important though free-speech and freedom of expression certainly are, so to is the freedom to go about your lawful business in peace and without being harassed, and that freedom is maybe neglected in the US.

I'm looking at this, of course, from the point of view of someone who wants to uphold the rule of law in a liberal democracy rather than as a Marxist or Trotskyite. I understand those arguments, and I briefly had some sympathy with them when I was a lot younger (and even more foolish) than I am now, but I'm not wholly sympathetic with attempts to advance the revolutionary cause by attempting to co-opt popular anger about fascists or anyone else.

From a strictly historical point of view, I don't think it's just a question of the extent to which people are prepared to fight fascism in the streets that determines how things turn out. Clearly the working class were more than prepared to fight fascism in Spain, just as they were in Germany. Nevertheless, things turned out very differently in both Spain and Germany than they did in Great Britain. I think I would argue that, as with thing most things, the outcome depends on the specific time, place and historical and economic circumstances rather than simply on the tactics used.

I don't want to be unduly flippant, but I am concerned to prevent bad situations from getting worse, while I fear that many Marxists want simply exacerbate them in order to bring on the revolution.
That's a fair assessment actually and you are right that there are some who are more interested in creating the condition of revolution, pushing it so to speak, perhaps before its time is due. I'm sure you know that those people are called accelerationists. I don't necessarily agree with those tactics because frankly, I think the revolutionary mindset required to push that kind of change isn't here yet and pushing it too soon may very well trigger the sort of Vanguardist policies of Bolshevism and Stalinism, something I very, very much want to avoid as well.

I also tend to take Luxembourg's and Kropotkin's views on the issues more so than say Lenin or Mao in that revolution is a long term process full of starts and stops and advances. That's not to say I outright reject the tactics of Antifa and Anti-Capitalists elements however because like other voices, they have something to contribute if not as accelerationists but as those who have the courage to actually put their foot down when the time is right. To wit, the time and the place I believe is ripe to give the alt-right and the right nationalists hard push back into the darkness and to remind them that their views aren't acceptable and that their attacks will not be tolerated but on the other hand, a stateless democratic society requires a good percentage of conscious workers to stand up and say "enough" and I don't believe that time is yet here.
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Old 01-27-2017, 07:34 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
Well, yes, I quite agree.

Arrest them, try them and, if they're convicted, sentence them.

However, I'm not at all happy about people beating up convicted child pornographers in the street or putting bricks through their windows, no matter how much I understand their anger and revulsion.
My only reservation is that by committing crimes against these alt-right fuckheads, we give them a case to claim that they need 'special protection'.

They don't.
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Old 01-27-2017, 07:41 PM   #33 (permalink)
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I personally wouldn't have punched him, just because I wouldn't want to scrape my knuckles on that preposterous Beaker-fade.
We medievalists have just the thing. Pole weapon with padded tip. Just the thing for knocking over douche-nozzles from a distance.

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Old 01-27-2017, 07:49 PM   #34 (permalink)
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We medievalists have just the thing. Pole weapon with padded tip. Just the thing for knocking over douche-nozzles from a distance.

Harder to carry in protests. That's why we tend to fond of umbrellas and flagpoles.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:56 PM   #35 (permalink)
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You misunderstand me.
That is quite possible. : ) What I wrote about freedom of speech &c. was meant to illustrate how I used to approach things, arriving at a position that mirrors your current one in some respects: "Ah, these may be evil fucks, but in the grand scheme of things they are merely a nuisance. Our values are robust enough to weather their presence", with preservation of peace as a secondary but also important consideration.

I now think that my confidence in the robustness of the values of the open society was inappropriate, and I fear that in the current political climate a desire to avoid violence in the streets can too easily turn into an analog to Chamberlain-style appeasement. Nazis benefit from any freedom to act and speak, while their targets - often already under threat from multiple directions - only ever suffer for it.

I'm not, however, suggesting to systematically seek out Nazis in their homes to kick them bloody there. Nor do I wish for new laws that would exempt Nazi-punching from persecution. Just refusing to be in any way concerned about Spencer for once being confronted with the fact that, yes, he too can be hurt and generally appreciating the symbolic energy of that punch.

[Also, admittedly, a bit of a spite-reaction to liberals who are stupid about their no-punching stance. Such as Sarah Silverman, describing Spencer as a "wildly misguided young man who could have been changed with info & love but now will forever be closed."]
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Old 01-28-2017, 02:30 AM   #36 (permalink)
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I'd like to point out that punching a Nazi like this POS wouldn't even be an issue over here in Germany because his criminal ass would be in prison for Holocaust denial and the glorification of the Nazi regime.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:58 AM   #37 (permalink)
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I can't agree with the idea that it's OK to punch people even if their speech is abhorrent. It serves no useful purpose. It doesn't work unless you're willing to go all out Nazi yourself and send out mobs of antifascists to silence them by threats and violence... and by then you've lost even if you win. All it accomplishes is giving the actual Nazis ammunition.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:36 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I can't agree with the idea that it's OK to punch people even if their speech is abhorrent. It serves no useful purpose. It doesn't work unless you're willing to go all out Nazi yourself and send out mobs of antifascists to silence them by threats and violence... and by then you've lost even if you win. All it accomplishes is giving the actual Nazis ammunition.
Do you really think the Nazis really need an excuse for ammunition? A group of people whose core principles are the outright subjugation and extermination of the non-whites, LGBT, socialists, communists, anarchists, trade unionists, men and women who don't agree with them, whites who have "one drop" of something other than WASP running through their veins, intellectuals, feminists, religions other than those they profess? That's their core identity.
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:22 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Stonecutter View Post
I can't agree with the idea that it's OK to punch people even if their speech is abhorrent. It serves no useful purpose. It doesn't work unless you're willing to go all out Nazi yourself and send out mobs of antifascists to silence them by threats and violence... and by then you've lost even if you win. All it accomplishes is giving the actual Nazis ammunition.
Some people are gonna punch some people. That's just people. Doesn't make it okay. Doesn't mean we need to tolerate it.

On the other hand... wallowing in a bit of schadenfreude isn't a crime.

I'm all for 'free expression' but when what's being expressed is an intent to commit criminal or treasonous actions... I don't think that anyone can really successfully argue that that's 'protected speech'. Whether someone says they're going to kill the president, or strip a class of people of their constitutional freedoms shouldn't matter. Expression of intent to do harm deserves to be taken seriously and acted upon. If not by the government, then by individuals.
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Old 01-28-2017, 07:33 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Some people are gonna punch some people. That's just people. Doesn't make it okay. Doesn't mean we need to tolerate it.

On the other hand... wallowing in a bit of schadenfreude isn't a crime.

I'm all for 'free expression' but when what's being expressed is an intent to commit criminal or treasonous actions... I don't think that anyone can really successfully argue that that's 'protected speech'. Whether someone says they're going to kill the president, or strip a class of people of their constitutional freedoms shouldn't matter. Expression of intent to do harm deserves to be taken seriously and acted upon. If not by the government, then by individuals.
Depends, I think.
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is certainly protected speech.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:19 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Stating a desire isn't as damning as stating an intent.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:49 PM   #42 (permalink)
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I get where Argent's coming from. If I want to be morally self-consistent, I can't really condone people going up and punching Nazis sympathizers just for being there.

I can laugh when it happens, though...
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:08 PM   #43 (permalink)
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I'm soooooooo down with condoning punching nazis.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:05 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Do you really think the Nazis really need an excuse for ammunition?
Of course they do. They're trying to convince people who aren't even nominally Nazis, but are just kinda racist, that they're legitimate. To do this, They are trying to convince people that they're not actual Nazis, or that this not-quite-Nazi fellow traveler group that's basically Nazis are OK, and "the other side does bad things" is a real and effective argument. It works. It got fucking Trump elected.

And punching one Nazi is not an effective deterrent. If you want an effective deterrent using punching you need to have enough people punching Nazis that Nazis get punched basically every time they try to talk... even if they have bodyguards.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:30 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Well, I'm afraid I'm just going to have to disagree Argent.

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or rather...

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And so, I established in 1919 a programme and tendency that was a conscious slap in the face of the democratic-pacifist world (…) [We knew] it might take five or ten or twenty years, yet gradually an authoritarian state arose within the democratic state, and a nucleus of fanatical devotion and ruthless determination formed in a wretched world that lacked basic convictions.

Only one danger could have jeopardised this development – if our adversaries had understood its principle, established a clear understanding of our ideas, and not offered any resistance. Or, alternatively, if they had from the first day annihilated with the utmost brutality the nucleus of our new movement."
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:54 PM   #46 (permalink)
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Well, I'm afraid I'm just going to have to disagree Argent.



or rather...



~Adolph Hitler, 1934
And the denazification took 20 more years after WW2. Roughly a 50 year cycle and countless dead. This is what happens when you don't make Nazis afraid by whatever means possible.
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Old 01-29-2017, 03:28 AM   #47 (permalink)
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I'm very much in two minds about all this. On the one hand, seeing this Nazi getting thumped was certainly satisfying on a number of levels, but on principle I worry about thumping someone who's simply being interviewed, no matter how obnoxious he and his views may be.

This isn't so much because I'm concerned about freedom of speech or non-violence, but because I'm concerned about public order.

I'll draw my examples from the UK, since UK examples are the ones that occur most readily to me. Over here we have several extreme political Islamist groups whose ideology and policies are obnoxious to all right-thinking people. Similarly, we have several far-right groups like Britain First and PEGIDA UK (a rebranding of the English Defence League, I think), who are equally obnoxious. Both groups attempt to proselytise in the streets, and sell newspapers to passers-by, and so on.

While I am not unsympathetic to the impulse to clock members of either faction, I don't think it would be at all desirable to have their activities degenerating into running fights in the streets, either between the two different extremist groups or between members of either group and more rational citizens. Rather than have that, I think it's preferable to let them get on with selling their papers so long as they don't make too much of a nuisance of themselves.

I'm conscious, though, that I live in a country where, while we certainly value freedom of expression and association, we do recognise that there are other rights that have to be balanced against them. So if either group makes too much of a public nuisance of itself, the police can step in and make them behave, they can be prosecuted for incitement of racial or religous hatred, or hatred based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and if necessary the Home Secretary can, and will, ban them.

That, to my mind, is as it should be. I want the government, rather than individuals, to have the monopoly of physical coercion in a democratic society, so long as it exercises that monopoly fairly, dispassionately, and within the bounds of law and under the supervision of the courts. While the Battle of Cable Street is justly celebrated as an iconic moment in British anti-fascism, I would rather, in general, that the such marches are banned, or at least re-routed, as a threat to public order without the community having to mobilise to such an extent.

Ken White, at PopeHat, makes what I consider some very useful remarks on the subject: https://www.popehat.com/2017/01/21/on-punching-nazis/
Which begs the question: "At what point does militant mobilization become acceptable to you?"
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Old 01-29-2017, 04:00 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Briar Bing View Post
Which begs the question: "At what point does militant mobilization become acceptable to you?"
To me, "militant mobilization" becomes acceptable whenever, wherever, however it goes against neo-nazis and their ilk. And yes, that even includes violence. This scum ought to be doxxed, silenced and fought back whenever, wherever and however possible, "free speech" my ass: the reactionary and racist poison they've been spreading since after WW2 shouldn't be protected at all.

I think that my extremely anti-fascist POV has something to do with my left-wing upbringing (back then in his youth, my own grandfather was a member of the "Roter Frontkämpferbund" and literally fought against Nazis in the region where he lived), and my own bad experiences with neo-nazis in my former hometown Halle (Saale).
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Last edited by eighthdwarf Checchinato; 01-29-2017 at 04:10 AM.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:42 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Argent Stonecutter View Post
Of course they do. They're trying to convince people who aren't even nominally Nazis, but are just kinda racist, that they're legitimate. To do this, They are trying to convince people that they're not actual Nazis, or that this not-quite-Nazi fellow traveler group that's basically Nazis are OK, and "the other side does bad things" is a real and effective argument. It works. It got fucking Trump elected.
Yeah, I always write Nazi blogs, quote actual Nazis, cut my hair like a Nazi and use the Nazi salute when I'm trying to convince people I'm not a Nazi.

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Originally Posted by Argent Stonecutter View Post
And punching one Nazi is not an effective deterrent.
It's not a deterrent. It's a consequence. If you break the unwritten contract of social space and cross the line like this, you get punched. Everybody knows this contract exists. Everybody knows that breaking it makes you a willing combatant.
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Old 01-29-2017, 07:56 AM   #50 (permalink)
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https://timeline.com/this-1967-class...7dd#.tqxa28oj4

This 1967 classroom experiment proved how easy it was for Americans to become Nazis

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In 1967, when Ron Jones, a 25-year-old social studies teacher in Palo Alto, California, set out to teach his 10th grade students about the events leading up to the Holocaust, he found that many of them couldn’t get over the question of how ordinary Germans had been coerced into complicity with the regime.....But as a simulation of the normalization of fascism — the pleasure of membership, the creeping thrill of exclusion, and the comfort of discipline and rules — the experiment was unquestionably a success. It vividly illustrated the chilling conclusion theorist Hannah Arendt came to at the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann: that most members of the SS were “neither perverted nor sadistic,” but rather, “terribly and terrifyingly normal.”
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