August 18, 2017

Shut up, Nazis (addendum)

Owing to brevity, there were a couple items I didn't include in my essay regarding the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville: the confederate monuments, and the anti-fascists.

Let's start with the confederate monuments. My opinion, for however little it's worth, is that the confederate monuments should stay where they are and counter-monuments should be erected immediately in front of or beside the confederate monuments, and educational centers against the danger and ignorance of racism should be built in their immediate vicinity.

The reason I didn't include the monuments in my original essay is mostly because the monuments were outside my primary focus which was condemning the fascism, racism, and authoritarianism on display at the UtR rally. So the attendees said, they wanted to protest the removal of confederate statues, but from what I saw the final sum they were really more interested in asserting white hegemony. I accept that the confederate monuments in question feed into this equation, but to my eyes they were just the aperitifs before the plat principal

I accept that I might feel differently about the confederate monuments were my life circumstances different, but I am who I am. Otherwise, I think that the fate of confederate monuments should be decided through exactly the process that's happening right now. We have a system in place to handle situations like this, and from what I can see it's working perfectly.

Regarding the anti-fascists, my opinion was in the original essay and still is now that comparing the anti-fascists to the actual fascists is a false equivalency. To explain why I feel this way, here's a question: If you were going to appear in court for a crime you committed, would you rather your fate be decided by a Moral Judge or an Ethical Judge? If you chose Moral Judge to determine your fate, he or she would ask, "What did you do?" If you chose Ethical Judge to determine your fate, he or she would ask, "Why did you do it?"

Depending on the nature of your crime, then the difference between the judges might not do you any good. For example, if you're guilty of raping a baby then you'll be universally condemned. There's not anybody anywhere who would see a way to justifying or excusing such an action - this is one of the few things that is considered both morally and ethically wrong among all people everywhere in the world.

But if your crime is punching a Nazi? Moral Judge asks, "Did you punch the Nazi?" According to Moral Judge, what you did is more important than why you did it. Morally, I think it's wrong to support vigilante violence because if I say I think it's okay for Nazis to get beaten in the streets, then who's to say that somebody else won't think it's okay for Satanists to get beaten in the streets? For the sake of my own self-preservation, that's a door I'd rather leave shut. 

Ethically, though, is a more difficult question. Ethical Judge asks, "Why did you punch the Nazi?" According to Ethical Judge, why you did it is more important than what you did. Ethically, I think it's wrong to let racists, fascists, and authoritarians go unchallenged because their stated goals are contrary to the pillars of the free, open, and democratic society in which I live that affords me the liberties and quality of life that I enjoy. 

The overt goals of the UtR attendees is segregation, and to hear them say it the creation of new ethno-states for each race will be as easy as sorting coins: you just throw a pile of quarters, dimes, and nickels into the trays, give it a shake, and in no time flat you've got quarters, dimes, and nickels in their own separate trays. See how easy they think it is? Just like coins in a sorting machine, people will allegedly self-segregate into their own homogeneous tribes. Despite the benefits of mixing, and all the studies showing the economic cost of racism and how it harms the overall economy, they'll still insist that segregation is the way to go.

However, the questions that get left unasked are: Who gets the arable land? Who gets the landfills? Who gets the clean drinking water? Who gets the swamps? Who gets the established infrastructure? Who gets to start over from nothing? Who gets to live in the lush valleys? Who has to live in the barren deserts? And most importantly, What happens when people don't want to leave? The obvious answer that the UtR attendees can't or won't state is that all these questions have a final solution.

For obvious reasons, I have no desire to see the implementation of the final solution and this creates a personal dilemma for me in which I'm morally opposed to the violent suppression of free speech, but ethically inclined to accept the violence of the anti-fascists. If there's a neat and tidy answer to this conflict between morals and ethics, I don't know what it is, but I sympathize with Meghan at Cvlt Nation who wrote:
Americans are four generations deep into anti-Nazi and pro-American democracy propaganda. The generations since WWII have had it drilled into their heads that they must fight Nazism and fascism at all costs; it’s what their fathers and grandfathers fought and died for. WWII soldiers are glorified to the highest degree in American mainstream culture for their defeat of a group that called for the extermination of all those who didn’t fit their Aryan and nationalist ideal. 
But when the new generation of Americans stands up against this exact ideology in 2017, instead of being called heroes by the president (and many, many other regular members of the US public – the same people who would probably tell me if it wasn’t for the US, Canada would be run by Nazis), they are called instigators, extremists and “Alt-Left.” 
This generation of anti-fascists is just doing what they’ve been told by their own history books is the right thing to do, while the fascist groups demonstrating for “white pride” and racist ideologies are being let off the hook for their blatant hate speech and promotion of ideals that literally run contrary to everything America says it’s about. Read more here.

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Freedom of Expression =/= Freedom from Consequences