During the weekend, someone shared a video showing neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting clobbered in the face as he was doing a television interview. Many of my friends approved of it, saying it’s always the right time to punch a Nazi. I tried to see it their way but couldn’t fully accept this. Nazis are stupid and wrong, of course, and sometimes do evil things, but resorting to violence against them only empowers them and makes us stoop us to their level.
A more useful response is to shun these losers. This drains them of power. Now, this obviously wasn’t a winning approach in the 1930s but Nazis are marginalized today and we should do all we can to ensure they stay this way. Beating them down puts us in the same league as them.
I kinda felt the same way watching another video showing former NC governor Pat McCrory getting heckled in DC this weekend as he walked down a street. McCrory was a hapless, spineless governor – a weasel who sold out the people who elected him – only now he’s a hapless, spineless former governor.
That battle’s been won, folks. No need to fight it again. McCrory can do no further damage to North Carolina. Don’t make him some kind of twisted martyr for the right by giving him even a second’s more thought or attention. The bigger fish still driving NC into the ground from their perch atop the General Assembly are the ones who need to hear from us. They can no longer hide behind McCrory. It’s up to us to hold their feet to the fire now.
On a related note, Vice talked to former New York Times Magazine’s ethicist Randy Cohen, who echoes my thoughts.