Is it OK to punch a Nazi (if your intention is to uphold the rule of law)?

Normally, I try to leave the mad house that is mainstream US politics alone. We’ve enough madness at home to want to go seeking it elsewhere.  This probably shouldn’t need saying, but clearly (judging by some of the general commentaries) it clearly does…

The question that has been troubling me, however, is this: is it OK to punch a Nazi?

Because it sounds from eye-witness reports like there genuinely was violence on both sides at Charlottesville. I’m not saying both sides were equally guilty, not at all. Only one side drove a car into protestors and killed a woman, and only one side was marching for the overthrow of multicultural democracy and the triumph of white supremacy.

But, if eye-witness accounts are to believed, some of the anti-fascist protestors went there for a fight, and they got one. Some have argued that their violence was justified and necessary – one side is defending liberal democracy and the rights of minorities, the other is trying to attacking them. Some have defended anti-fascist groups as the heroic defenders of liberal democracy.

Michael Eric Dyson, sociology professor at Georgetown University, opined: ‘when you go to cancer treatment, the radiation is tough treatment, but it is meant to remove the cancer.’

But is the best way to defend the rule of law really to punch a Nazi in the face?

I won’t try to answer that question here, but do read on

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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