Tag Archive | Nazi

An Evening With a Nazi

There’s so much to say in preface here that I’m not entirely sure where to start. I guess I’ll begin by saying that emotions are funny things, and all the rationality in the world doesn’t keep them from being felt. Self-control allows one to guard one’s behavior from the wild motivations of emotion, but this does nothing to change the emotion itself. A person feels how they feel, and no justification is necessary–or possible.

Tuesday night I was invited to the studio to sit and watch an episode of Freer Talk Live, an offshoot of Free Talk Live that is broadcast intermittently and only on Twitch. This was a very special episode where we were to be joined by none other than the Crying Nazi, Chris Cantwell. You can imagine my desire to be part of this, I’m sure, as a quick search of his site shows that the word “transgender” is mentioned an incredible fifty-nine (59) times on the first page alone. It’s entirely fair to say that transgenderism is his pet issue, and is what he perceives as the largest and most dangerous symptom of the shadows he’s imagined are conspiring to undo him and the society he craves. Moreso than Jews, moreso than immigrants, and moreso than Muslims, he focuses peculiarly on the topic.

Thought I was kidding?

To be clear, when I went on his show as part of my campaign for sheriff, I did not then know that he explicitly called for the execution of trans people. I still would have gone, because there is nothing from which I back down, but I want to note how I underestimated the raw hatred he would emit in our encounter. While he was cordial, there was an underlying hatred to everything he said. I knew of his vile indiscretions, but to be in the room with someone while they openly propagate such hatred is a different thing. Only a few minutes in did I realize, “Oh, god. This is an honest-to-god Nazi. A literal, dyed-in-the-wool Nazi.”

But I stayed, and we created what is still being praised as one of his best episodes, by his fans and by mine.

Despite then admitting that I did not fit into the mold he imagined for trans people, and despite his statement that “If trans people were all like you, I’d have no problem with it,” in the months since, he has doubled down on his anti-trans rhetoric. While I don’t follow him or the stuff he says, when he becomes a topic of conversation, for whatever reason, I give myself a quick refresher on what a dangerous person he is.

Oh, no, he himself is not dangerous. There has been much confusion in our libertarian circle whether people fear the man, and I have absolutely no fear of him. Nor do I fear his ideas. The worst he can do, and the worst that can come of his ideas, for me is death. Since I don’t fear death as a matter of course, I don’t fear individual things that could cause it. My fear of his ideas, should they gain widespread prominence, is for the innocent out there, the trans people who aren’t on the frontlines by choice in an ideological conflict and who are merely trying to live their lives, the ones who have thanked me for my efforts, because they see the greater vision I’m trying to portray: a world of peace and tolerance, not revenge and hatred.

However, I was not actually on the show, because another person, who hosted Free Talk Live that night, had the right to claim the chair. I’d be lying if I said I went for a reason other than the hope that a seat would open up. Seeing as we have no Jews at the station (though my boyfriend is Jewish), it was strange to me that we’d have on someone explicitly hostile to one of us while denying, rightfully or not, said person a seat at the discussion table.

I remarked to my boyfriend that I was concerned the optics of two straight cis, white dudes sitting down to talk to an actual Nazi were not good, and even then I didn’t anticipate how decidedly friendly they would be. I did not expect or want endless arguing, but anyone expecting or wanting to see a Nazi challenged by the FTL crew should avoid the episode in question.

As I said at the start, emotions are funny things. I’ve no right to be on Free Talk Live or Freer Talk Live, or even to be present when the discussion is happening, but emotions are what they are. I stayed for two hours of the event, and finally left, because it was stated to me that I was not on a mic, which is an in-studio, polite way of telling someone to shut up. Being uninterested in listening to his hate continue to go unchallenged, though certainly possessing the self-control to sit and be silent, I decided a moment later that my time would be better spent doing literally anything else, and I left.

This, while expected, has been the source of my ire through the last 24 hours. I’m emotionally drained, with zero desire to deal further with any of it, or to interact with the involved parties, but the event, much like the presence of a trans chick in the room with an actual Nazi, is an elephant, and I’m also not one to refuse my bite of the behemoth.

So two things happened that bothered me. The first was not having a seat offered to me to confront this person who loudly and unequivocally calls for me to be tossed into the ovens. The second was a firm but polite reminder of this.

Irritatingly, the person in the other chair was conspicuously quiet through the entire thing, and I’m pretty sure I spoke more than he did, simply by (wrongfully) grabbing the mic nearby and talking. Of course, and further grating my raw nerves on the subject, he stated today that he’d “probably” have given up his chair at some point.

Probably? At two hours in, it was pretty obvious he had no intention of doing so. He sat there on his laptop for two hours and never made any move to do anything, but if only I’d stayed for fifteen more minutes, no, everything would have been different…

This was a common thread today, with it repeatedly claimed that they ultimately challenged Cantwell, but that it’s “during the third hour”–after I’d left. They’ll have to forgive me for not believing this. I made an effort to watch the hour I missed, and not fifteen minutes after my departure did Cantwell go on an anti-trans, hate-filled rant that was met only by laughter. Laughter from this associate of mine, and not a word of rebuke.

Needless to say, under no circumstances will I watch the episode further.

Nor was there rebuke for his rejoicing in the death of the girl at Charlottesville, or for his open statement about using euphemisms to hide his blatant racism from Twitch censors. It compounded a feeling of already being wounded to see such hate go unchallenged, a gargantuan elephant in the room that was repeatedly and carefully sidestepped by the seated hosts.

There is nothing about Cantwell I find threatening, intimidating, or upsetting. I’ll gladly go toe-to-toe with him in any venue. Although suspected, I did not leave because I was angry, upset, or otherwise bothered by anything having to do with Cantwell directly. I left because there was no challenge to the hatred he expressed, other than myself, and it was made clear that my input wasn’t welcome. I’ve got better things to do with my time than watch a Nazi rant freely.

So I don’t know where I stand or even why I’m writing this, except that it’s a notable thing that happened, and I skipped out on The Call to Freedom yesterday because of it–and am likely doing so again today. This is the way I handle things; I retreat and lick the wounds. But, to be clear, there are no wounds in any way caused by Cantwell. I’d even say they’re self-inflicted, due to how I had no right to be there anyway, but, as I said, emotions are what they are and can’t be rationalized away.

But I’m now exploring the possibility of beginning a show called “She Talk Live” with Jackie, who has quit Free Talk Live. Many people seem interested in listening, and I think we’d be fools not to pursue it. So stay tuned for that.

Punching Nazis?

Question: At what point does a person’s political ideology become a determinant factor in whether it’s okay to inflict violence on them?

Answer: It doesn’t.

A lot of people have talked about this idea, whether it’s okay to punch Nazis, whether the NAP allows it, and even whether it means the NAP should be abandoned. It’s often treated as a “Gotcha!” question for Libertarians, either because the answer is so nuanced that the asker attests the libertarian has no answer, or because it causes the libertarian to stumble out of the gate. After all, Nazis are Ultra Super Evil, so it must me okay to attack them! So if your guiding principle doesn’t allow you to attack these symbols of unchecked evil, then your guiding principle has problems.

Right?

In some ways, it can be a difficult question to answer, and I understand why much ink has been spilled over attempting to dissect it and come up with an answer. This usually deals with the core of Nazi beliefs and the idea that it is the Nazi’s intention to use force, violence, and coercion against others; therefore, inflicting violence against the Nazi is an act of prevention.

But that’s the wrong answer.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by magician parlor tricks that cause us to chase down obfuscations. The question is stupid and unworthy of an answer in the first place. It relies on widespread hatred of the very word “Nazi,” often regardless of whether a person knows what Nazism professes, and attempts to bait people into expressing any sort of sympathy with these people widely considered the symbols of evil. Nazis are the safe bad guy in any form of entertainment for a reason.

In fact, the person’s political identification is irrelevant to the question. Is it okay to punch a socialist? A communist? A racist? A sexist? A Muslim? A Christian? An anarchist?

“No” on all counts.

A Nazi?

“Well, you see, there are some complexities…”

“No” is still the answer.

Part of this idea that Nazis represent The Devil Incarnate is the notion that all Nazis are the same and believe exactly the same things to exactly the same extent. This is an assumption we don’t apply anywhere else, and for good reason. We all know that we’ll have a very difficult time finding two Democrats who agree on everything, two Republicans who agree on everything, two socialists who agree on everything, and you can forget finding two libertarians who agree on everything. I don’t think I’ve ever met two Christians who agree on everything, or two Muslims who agree on everything. But two Nazis who agree on everything?

It’s just assumed. “Oh, yeah, definitely… All Nazis are the same.”

I know that the propaganda during World War 2 was extremely effective, and that it has permanently colored our society, but it’s time we put aside the propaganda and evaluated things as rational adults. The fact is that, at the height of their power, lots of people were Nazis. And the reason that Hitler kept the Holocaust as quiet as he could was precisely that he knew the common people of Germany, many, many of whom were Nazis, would never have been okay with his proposed Final Solution. Many Nazis defected from the country and the party, not because they disputed National Socialism but because they rejected the Holocaust. That wartime propaganda still lingers, but all Nazis have never been the same.

The question has nothing to do with the NAP; it has everything to do with virtue signaling, as the asker attempts to test the waters to see if he can goad the libertarian into expressing virtues different from his own, at which point the libertarian can be called a Nazi Sympathizer, and, since everyone hates Nazis, it means whoever asks the question generally wins in public perception. A fair question is “At what point is it okay to use a person’s political beliefs as a factor in determining whether it’s acceptable to inflict violence upon them?”

The answer to this question is, “It’s never okay.”

Recently I read an article by a libertarian who wants to re-evaluate the NAP because it allows racists to be considered libertarians, and the author doesn’t like that. He seems to struggle with the idea of tolerance, that we must tolerate behavior and ideas we don’t approve of, as long as the person doesn’t use force, violence, and coercion. Since using force, violence, and coercion are the only ways to be intolerant of an idea, it basically means that “Everything is tolerable except force, violence, and coercion.”

While I can see why people would struggle with this, there is no identifiable link between a person’s religious or political beliefs and their willingness or unwillingness to use violence. Progressives have for decades condemned the use of violence, but now are the prime actors initiating it. If you ask some people, Hitler was a Catholic. If you ask others, he was an atheist. Whether Stalin’s atheism had anything to do with his atrocities is good troll-bait. Whether Islam has anything to do with the large amount of extremism coming out of the Middle East also makes good troll-bait.

But the reality is simpler: the reason we can’t find any direct correlation between a person’s beliefs and things like terrorism is that there really isn’t one. A few years ago, I came across someone who asserted that people who are homophobic are actually gay and just can’t accept it. That’s absurd, and the reasoning behind it is aggressively unworthy of our species. So a man who hates pedophiles is secretly a pedophile and can’t accept it? That’s the reasoning we’re going to go with on this?

As “evidence” of this claim, another person came forward and said, “I used to be homophobic, and I’m gay, so it’s actually true.”

No, it’s still not true. You’re connecting dots where there are no dots to be connected. You were homophobic and you are gay; you weren’t homophobic because you are gay. This person’s upbringing and social environment would have led him to be homophobic regardless of his orientation. Being gay is simply what allowed him to stop being homophobic. We find the same pattern everywhere, with people attempting to draw correlations between religious beliefs and violence, and between political ideologies and violence.

Is the man hateful because he is racist, or is the man racist because he is hateful? Is the man willing to use violence against black people because he’s racist, or is he racist because he’s willing to use violence against black people? Or is his racism unrelated to his willingness to use violence, and his racism merely determines who is the recipient of his willingness to use violence? In most cases, the latter. Being a white supremacist won’t turn a non-violent person into a violent one. I’m sorry, but it won’t. Neither will being a black supremacist, an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Democrat, or a Republican.

In nearly all cases, extremist positions do not create a willingness to use violence. They are merely used as an excuse. The people who bombed abortion clinics didn’t do so because Christianity made them looney. They did so because they were already looney, and parts of Christianity gave them an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway. Ditto for Muslim extremists, atheist extremists, socialist extremists, racist extremists, and other extremists. And in all of these cases, for every one who is batshit nuts and violent, there are 99 who are perfectly normal.

Question: Is it okay to punch a Nazi?

Answer: What the fuck kind of question is that?

Is it okay to punch someone who is engaged in act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone who is a reasonable and credible threat planning an act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone because you really, really don’t like what they believe? These questions don’t all have the same answer, and that’s why “Nazi” is used in the question. We’re just supposed to accept that all Nazis are supremely evil and willing, perhaps even eager, to kill everyone who isn’t a straight, white Christian. And even if that’s true about Nazis–which it isn’t, though it’s more likely to be true of neo-Nazis–it’s still the wrong question to ask, because the fact that they are Nazis isn’t a determining factor. The determining factor is whether the person is engaged in, or credibly planning to be engaged in, acts of violence and aggression. It doesn’t matter if they’re Nazis, socialists, anarchists, communists, capitalists, Christians, atheists, Muslims, or anything else.