Godwins law in the title of a post, that should never be normal.
Punching Nazi's, a topic of much debate online over the last few days and the vast majority are in favour of it. Know a Nazi, go punch him (or her) in the face while they aren't expecting it, so many people saying it's acceptable to do this. So few people saying it's wrong and those who do object are being subject to a lot of name calling and insults.
Where did this come from, well for those of you who don't have the Media and social media streaming into your heads 24/7, on Friday a man named Richard Spencer, who is well known in the US for his far right political stance, was giving an interview when a passerby charged him and punched him in the head.
Memes, cartoons, a veritable social media tea cup storm.
Now Mr Spencer is, politically, a far far right activist. This is a man who is anti immigrant, anti Semitic, anti feminist, racist and who gives a Nazi salute. He is prominent within the Alt Right political movement and is a white supremacist. So by many standards not a nice person.
But his views and actions don't actually break laws that he could be arrested for, just as the people who protest against poppy sellers in the UK aren't breaking any laws, or the people who stand in our town centres telling people that they will burn in hell for their many religious sins. Or for that matter people who keep repeating that the poor, sick and unemployed are scrounges cheats and parasites.
Me, I have this strong urge to punch the Sec for Work and Pensions in the face, the current one and very strongly want to punch IDS. I won't though because of two reasons, one being prison would stop me having a computer, the internet and all the coffee I drink, and two, it's actually wrong even when angry to up and punch people in the face.
So is it right to punch a Nazi? Or to ask the question another way, is it right to punch someone who holds a political view you don't like. Is it OK to punch someone, or to hit them or kick them because you disagree with them or because they disagree with you. It would make watching parliamentary debates more interesting, would people start voting for cage fighters as MPs?
Let's go further, I'm not a small person and while I'm not as strong as I was when a lot younger if I punch someone I could easily do enough damage to kill them, so my punching someone is like a smaller, weaker person hitting them with a stone or a club.
Or a knife.
Or the person punched could fall over and hit their head on the ground, so many ways an accident could happen.
Which is why punching people is called assault and is against the law of the land, because you are deliberately trying to hurt someone, to cause them harm. The debate recently has been on the single case of punching a Nazi rather than punching a man with an unpleasant political agenda, because everyone knows Nazis are bad people who deserve to be punched.
Everyone knows Nazis, remember the war, remember Hitler, yea them. Nazi's.
But there is a yawning gulf of a difference between the genocidal bastards who engulfed Europe in war, murdered many millions and made millions more refugees and some bloke with far right political views you don't like.
Now for those of you confused by the difference between giving an interview in the US and fighting a war in Europe, I'm talking about you here Will Wheaton with your shoutout tweet, fighting an enemy combatant in war is legal, they are trying to do the same to you, assaulting someone because you disagree with their political views is actually a crime.
So did you answer YES or NO to my headline question?
Is it acceptable to punch someone with far right political views just because you call them a Nazi. If yes then it must also be acceptable to punch someone with far left political views because you call them a communist. How about punching a Tory because they are the government and you hate their policies and politics? How about punching a Corbyn supporter because everyone knows Corbyn is to blame for everything that is going wrong in the UK?
How about punching a policeman because they are trying to oppress your right to riot? How about punching someone with a religious view that is opposed to yours? Or punching that person ahead of you in the queue who is wasting your time by talking to the cashier instead of packing and getting out of your way.
Where is the line drawn, where is it acceptable to punch someone and where is it not? When is it a crime and when is it acceptable because the person who is being punched is hated by someone or some group.
Let's face it, if it becomes acceptable to punch someone because enough people dislike them no Tory would be able to walk the streets.
We in the western world, currently at least, have the protection of Law to express our views reasonably freely. My blog would get me arrested in a number of countries worldwide, either because of the crime of opposing the ruling party or because I am a Humanist / Atheist and deny the existence of gods. The same freedom that allows me to comment on Glorious Leader May and her latest speech full of evasions, half truths and lies also allows people to express political views or religious views that are disliked by many people.
Someone attacking me in the street, punching me, because they hated the fact that I deny the existence of god, that is a crime. I would call the police and report them (after giving them a good solid encounter with my walking stick, just once though because self defence only allows you one blow) for assault. Not just because they had attacked me but because they had attacked someone they disliked.
If you are ready to punch a big bloke you disagree with then you are ready to punch a smaller man, or a woman. It's probably easier once you reach that point to attack someone smaller and weaker than you are. It doesn't matter what the justification is, how angry you are or how unpopular the politics or policies the victim may follow, assault is assault.
Our law sets limits on what can be said, hate speech, incitement to violence and the like. Our laws also protect people from attack, from assault, from someone randomly walking up and punching you in the face. This protection CANNOT be provisional, there cannot be exceptions or cases where it is acceptable because of who the victim is. Muslims unpopular in your area, they are still protected by law, how about Jews, it doesn't matter if you and that big gang of mates hate them, they are human beings and have the protection of the law.
The same applies to people with far right political views, calling someone a Nazi doesn't remove them from the protection of the law. That is a precedent we don't ever want to set, that the protection of the law ceases to apply to people because the majority disagree with their politics, religion, gender or sexuality.
Once we start removing the protection of the law from people just because, then we become the Nazis.
Sadly given how many people seem to think assaulting people because of their political views is allowable, we already are.