US Politics

  • "Is it OK to punch someone if you think they're a fascist? Some people seem to think so.

    Not long ago, disreputable Right-winger Richard Spencer was attacked on live television. Spencer is often accused of being a Nazi though he disputes that label.

    He is undoubtedly a purveyor of white identity politics, however, and is notable for coining the term "alt-right". At the time he was attacked he was being interviewed on the street during the Trump presidential inauguration. A man came up, smashed him in the side of the face and ran off.

    A punch directly to the head is serious business. A blow to the cranium – even a relatively restrained one – can cause lasting damage. Spencer could have been seriously hurt or even killed.

    Nevertheless, for many liberals in the United States and elsewhere, the sight of such a villainous personage being clocked caused much glee. The offender was compared to Indiana Jones, Captain America, the Blues Brothers and other pop-culture icons who were famous for their (fictional) assaults on Nazis.

    Videos of the incident set to music went viral, with a former Obama administration speechwriter tweeting that, "I don't care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I'll laugh at every one."

    Since then, it has become clear that the idea of using violence against alleged fascists has gained some respectability.

    In the last week, Trump supporter and internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos went to speak at the University of California, Berkeley. When protests from pro-censorship students, faculty and activists turned into a destructive rampage, the event was canned. Trump supporters were reportedly attacked and video emerged of a young woman in a red hat being assaulted with pepper spray by one of the rioters.

    Shortly afterwards, Gavin McInnes, a comedian and another prominent Trump supporter, was set upon by a mob outside New York University, where he had been invited to speak. McInnes, who co-founded Vice Media, had to be sheltered by the police after being burned by pepper spray.

    The fact that the police protected him outraged one of the university's professors, who was filmed shrieking and swearing at the cops that they should be beating him up instead.

    There are all sorts of reasons why it is a bad idea to justify or encourage violence against those who hold repugnant views. Here are a few of them.

    The first problem is one of definition. The word "fascism" has been robbed of all meaning through years of overuse. In fact, as long ago as 1946, no less than George Orwell wrote that, "the word fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable'".

    To listen to the activists of the Left and Right, both John Key and Barack Obama were fascists. No doubt Bill English will get the same treatment. When the man who attacked John Banks with animal excrement was convicted for assault, he responded by throwing more excrement at the judge, saying she was a "fascist judge".

    When everybody calls everybody else a fascist at the drop of a hat and violence against fascists is justified, how are you not inviting violence by all against all?

    Secondly, the history of actual fascism shows that it thrives when fists start flying. The Nazis rose to power in an environment where physical brawling was part of the culture. When it comes to fighting in the street, ideologies committed to thuggery and passionate intolerance tend to have the advantage over the gentler forces of moderation and liberalism.

    So if you are really concerned that fascism may rise again, it doesn't make a lot of sense to applaud behaviour that recreates the conditions that enabled it to grab power in the first place. Don't throw Brer Rabbit into the briar patch.

    Then there's the simple fact that it's immoral to physically assault people on the basis of their political views – however gross they happen to be.

    In the aftermath of the Spencer attack, it was truly weird to see outlets like The New York Times, Washington Post and Vox Media wrestle with this notion like it was a serious ethical question. Even popular comedy site Cracked weighed in, asking, "So are we allowed to just punch Nazis now?" Their answer? "It's complicated."

    It really isn't.

    The whole point of liberal democracy is that political questions are resolved through votes and laws and not mobs and violence. People have the right to be grievously wrong and, as long as they do not call for the illegal overthrow of the state, to voice their wayward views. We really have no choice but to trust the public and our governing institutions.

    Because if you think it's OK to punch someone in the head because you think they're a fascist, then you might be one yourself."

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  • @gollum said in US Politics:


    I guess to be fair I left the country & went on holiday for 2 weeks 2 days after Trump won...

    Jeez Gollum, that's a bit of an extreme reaction. What'll you do if something happens in the country where you actually live? 😉

  • Hell really is freezing over! A decent opinion article on stuff!

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  • An American economist/writer noting the similarities between Trump and Muldoon

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  • The guy that inexplicably stops posting for nearly a month after the election notes that a poster he doesn't agree with hasn't commented in 24 hours. That is absolutely superb.

    @Baron-Silas-Greenback said in US Politics:

    Good article, but incredible that this isn't blindingly obvious to the majority of people that physical violence is not OK under any circumstances.

    Another thing that has irked me in the last few years is the large number of protests that are completely over-simplifying issues to the point that the protest is completely meaningless. And then when reporters show up to ask questions about what these people are protesting (I.E. giving them exactly the platform they should want to get their point across) they either have no idea what they are protesting, or just shout meaningless chants.

    The anti-TPPA protests were a great example of that. Very complex trade agreement that people protested against, but when push came to shove basically nobody protesting could articulate what they were opposed too.

    Another I saw recently was a bunch of people marching against the increased prison population in NZ (hitting 10,000). One of the signs read "Down With This Sort of Thing" which probably summed up their understanding of the issue.

    And we are seeing the same thing in the States post the election. The woman's march was a protest against... what exactly? All the footage I've seen nobody there could articulate exactly what the march was against, and a lot of them were contradicting each other. I've seen reporters attending various other protests to ask what they are protesting against and get shouted down with retarded chants like "Nazi Racist KKK, Trump Supporters Go Away" - which doesn't make any sense at all.

    Protests can be a powerful tool if it is clear what they want changed (E.G. woman's right to vote), but when they are just pushing a particular political agenda they become utterly meaningless and end up creating a fair amount of conflict.

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  • Just a reminder folks. This thread was shut down because it got too heated.

    As I understand it we are conducting "extreme vetting" on posts. Don't take it personally.

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  • @booboo said in US Politics:

    Just a reminder folks. This thread was shut down because it got too heated.

    As I understand it we are conducting "extreme vetting" on posts. Don't take it personally.

    Rancid. I deleted your post. Not because I disagreed with it (I actually liked it) , but because we want to avoid avoid this thread turning into a thread about posters again.
    I would have also deleted the posts that prompted your reply as well (@Gollum , @Catogrande ).. but the thread has moved on.

    And I can assure you that many posters posts are getting removed.. you just dont see them 🙂

  • @Crucial said in US Politics:

    I've decided that the whole Trump ride is great entertainment. It could get to be a bit of a scary ride at times.

    Mate its not an adventure unless you get a little bit scared occasionally 🙂

  • @gollum
    "Also, I'm almost missing Frank & co, this thread has got very quiet of late."

    I'm still here bro' I don't run away when things don't go my way 😀

  • On Flynn, I suspect there is more to it than he fibbed to Pence once.
    Trump usually doesn't bend to press pressure(or anyone for that matter)

  • Correlation, causality... or stuff that was just going on anyway?

  • Intel community trying to undermine Trump's presidency?
    Former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) (calls out Pizzagate at the end - ha ha )

  • @Frank It is actually terrible that the US spy agencies wire tapped a U.S. citizen, with no legal basis, and then released to the media. That is horrific. No matter what side you support, the ramifications are enormous.

  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback said in US Politics:

    @Frank It is actually terrible that the US spy agencies wire tapped a U.S. citizen, with no legal basis, and then released to the media. That is horrific. No matter what side you support, the ramifications are enormous.

    Because Fox News reported it it as so? Because that interviewee says so?
    The Russian ambassadors call was intercepted. Flynn was the other party. It wasn't leaked to the press, it was provided through the correct channels to the president. The leak came from within the White House. Trump said so via twitter.
    I don't know if this is some kind of tit for tat misinformation campaign to counter so called fake news but the blatant lies to the media are beyond spin now.

  • @Baron-Silas-Greenback Didn't I read that the wiretap was on the Russian ambassador, not on Flynn? I'd have thought they'd at least attempt to tap every single communication with the Russians that they can, not just official ones.

    Edit - sorry, Crucial was way ahead of me. Ignore me.


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