I am a bit late to the party, but I thought that I’d comment a bit on Richard Spencer getting punched in front of TV cameras
A lot of debate has been going since then, about whether it was acceptable to do so, and if, whether it was good tactics to do so in front of cameras.
Well, legally, it is clearly not acceptable, since it is assault. Morally, on the other hand, I personally don’t have a problem with someone literately advocating genocide and/or promoting an ideology which is based upon genocide getting punched. Some people tries to make the slippery slope argument, asking when it is OK and when it is not, implying that next step will be to punch granny because she voted for Trump. Well, no – the line is clear – if you directly promotes either genocide or an ideology based upon genocide, then it is acceptable. It might be acceptable to punch other groups, based on other clear criteria, but it doesn’t mean that anyone remotely related to the first group get punched.
And it is not like people hasn’t tried to debate Richard Spencer before.
On the tactics parts.
Some people think it might be a bad idea to punch Spencer in front of the TV cameras, as it allows him to play martyr, and others to claim that the left is just as bad as the right. I will concede that there is some truth to that concern, but I still think it is a good idea. Nazis and other white supremacists won’t go away if you play nice with them – maybe they will on an individual level, but not as a group/movement.
Every time someone has gotten rid of Nazis, it has required people to stand up to them physically.
Why should we believe that this is any different? Especially when they’ve got direct influence on the White House, and backing by senior members of the Trump staff?
No, the only way to get them to stop promoting their hate, is to show them that they are not accepted – this can be done through demonstrations, but it can also be done by the means of punching them, when a TV channel gives them a platform.
Or as I stated on Twitter, just after it happened:
Punching Nazis would lead them to be afraid of promoting their views openly. A consequence I’ll gladly accept.
— Kristjan Wager (@kriswager) January 22, 2017
So, in other words, I find the tactics of punching Nazis in front of camera effective in the sense that it will make the Nazis crawl back into the shadows, and stop them spreading their ideology. Given this, it could be argued that it is actually more effective tactics to punch Spencer in front on rolling cameras than away from the camera.