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-   -   Is Offensive Political Violence Ever Justified? (http://www.u2interference.com/forums/f199/is-offensive-political-violence-ever-justified-220662.html)

Caleb8844 01-23-2017 11:51 PM

Is Offensive Political Violence Ever Justified?
With the Richard Spencer incident in the news, I'm sure this is a topic being discussed elsewhere in the more page-heavy threads of this forum.

I want to discuss offensive political violence generally and from a perspective of moral/ethical theory. Instead of discussing Spencer, whether he deserved it, whether he promotes violence, whether he's a neo-nazi, etc, I'd like to discuss whether different meta-ethical philosophies justify or prohibit offensive political violence when the receiver is:

1) Not initiating violence
2) Not reasonably expected to initiate violence in the near future
3) Not actively soliciting others to engage in violence

What's everyone think? Can this ever be justified? If so, what logic did you use to conclude that? If not, what moral precepts prohibit it? Not overly interested in feel-y shit -- let's just discuss the ethical logic.

Political Violence from the Left:

Political Violence from the Right:

cobl04 01-24-2017 12:19 AM

I wish the bloke had hit him harder.

No sympathy whatsoever for a literal racist being punched in the head.

Caleb8844 01-24-2017 12:24 AM

So what ethical philosophy would you use to justify it, though? That's what I'm curious about.

I don't believe that a utilitarian philosophy works, because it's not as though racists are going to stop being racists out of fear of being punched, and it likely only brings more sympathy to their causes.

Anything that requires generalization also probably won't work, such as Kantian ethics with its Categorical Imperative. The reason it won't work is because it would require you say that "I am allowed to commit violence against those whose opinions i deem unacceptable," is a universalizable rule. If everyone is hitting everyone else who they think has bad opinions, what you've actually created is a "Might = Right" ethic. I'm sure that's not intended.

So, I actually have a pretty hard time finding a way to reasonably justify political violence with any moral theories I can come up with.

Additionally, as I stated in the introduction, it's more interesting to discuss political violence in general rather than in specific cases. It's philosophically useless to judge anecdotes.

cobl04 01-24-2017 12:28 AM

The philosophy that nazis should be punched in the head.

Seriously. I get where you're coming from but I don't think hands-holding or rational explanations stop them from being racists either. So might as well punch the cunts.

Strong language I know but I'm yet to see a gentle loving nice quiet approach change the mind of these scum-sucking pricks.

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Caleb8844 01-24-2017 12:29 AM

So, at what point is a thought dangerous enough to invite physical violence to rid the world of it? Because, while I fully understand the gut reaction you have to this and am not immune to such a reaction myself, there is an element of Thought Crime policing at play, undoubtedly.

I am, however, talking about political violence in general. Note that Gavin McInnes is also included in the original post

BVS 01-24-2017 05:19 AM

I think we have to be careful calling either of these "political violence from the ________".

That label seems to give it some legitimacy, or at least a sense of organization rather than an individual or personal nature. Sure there's overlap; but in the instance of the first example we don't know where he stands politically he may have just been personally angered by someone who doesn't think his existence is as important as those of white skin.

The second is probably closer to an example because at least we can presume they are aware of each other's political stances, but still it just comes off as an asshole easily provoked.

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anitram 01-24-2017 07:43 AM

I think it's almost impossible to have this discussion with anybody who doesn't have a philosophy degree because truthfully how many people have any idea what Kantian ethics are?

Headache in a Suitcase 01-24-2017 08:35 AM

I can't say that I condone punching someone in the face for exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech.

i can say, however, that i've watched the video of this douche getting sucker punched set to Born In The USA about 5 dozen times already.


in the end, it's a reminder that free speech is not without it's consequences. if you're going to spew hateful shit, somebody might just punch you in the face.

IWasBored 01-24-2017 09:36 AM

It's pretty satisfying watching that nazi's face melt off at the end of raiders of the lost ark. :shrug:

Diemen 01-24-2017 09:49 AM

My maternal grandparents were part of the Polish underground smuggling Jews out of the country. They were both imprisoned by the Nazis, and my grandfather (who died when my mom was a teenager), was tortured and would have died at Auschwitz had he not managed to escape from the train ride there (evading Nazi patrols by hiding in the woods for nearly a month).

So I'm not too sympathetic to the plight of a well-dressed, articulate white man attempting to make Nazi ideology appear mainstream and normal. That said, I don't believe that sucker punching people satisfies anything other than a base level sense of revenge/karma (which I'm definitely not immune to - I admit to a not-insignifcant sense of satisfaction watching that racist asshole get punched). What I wish would happen is that news organizations don't simply allow someone a (literal) microphone to spout their hatred unchallenged, but take these people to task and challenge their extremism at every opportunity.

In our current journalistic climate, I'm not sure if I can hold out much hope for that.

DaveC 01-24-2017 11:08 AM


corianderstem 01-24-2017 02:08 PM


Originally Posted by Headache in a Suitcase (Post 8137852)
I can't say that I condone punching someone in the face for exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech.

Agreed. In this case, I would have no problem with the puncher being charged with assault.

On the other hand, I sure don't feel even remotely bad for the punchee.

Headache in a Suitcase 01-24-2017 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by corianderstem (Post 8137939)
Agreed. In this case, I would have no problem with the puncher being charged with assault.

On the other hand, I sure don't feel even remotely bad for the punchee.


corianderstem 01-24-2017 02:10 PM

I know caleb is looking for a deeper conversation, but unfortunately I can't contribute much more than that.

Irvine511 01-24-2017 02:19 PM

I'll offer something.

It's difficult for a gay person to criticize riots, because the modern gay rights movement started with a riot at Stonewall when a bunch of transwomen got sick of being rounded up and harassed by the police.

Violence shouldn't be promoted, confined, or go unpunished. But we often need people willing to take those consequences in order to give voice to the voiceless.

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