The Great Hippo wrote:Regardless, I'm not saying shooting Hitler in the face would save the day. I'm saying that if you found out some guy was about to shoot Hitler in the face -- and you knew what you know now -- I don't think you'd be the guy who yells "HITLER, WATCH OUT!". I think you'd probably just shrug and let it happen. It's not like shit's gonna turn out much worse, and, I mean -- it's Hitler. He's already responsible for a lot of deaths, and he's gonna be responsible for a whole lot more.
Honest, I don't know. It's hard to argue that someone else would be more evil than Hitler, but I would argue that many of them would be more competent
than Hitler. Keep in mind, he didn't quite finish wiping out the prisoners he had, and never got to make a real concerted effort to wipe out the Slavs, primarily because he lost the war when he did, and particularly toward the end, he was making some terrible top level decisions that nobody was willing to challenge. If he were killed and replaced by, for example, someone
I'm trying to demonstrate that for certain values of 'punch' and 'Nazi', you're probably okay with someone punching a Nazi. Or maybe not; maybe you are the guy who'd yell "HITLER, WATCH OUT!". In which case, uh... good luck with that moral code there, Rorschach.
Okay, if we're moving into ad hominens... actually, I don't really care. Says more about your character than mine anyway. Doubt I'd go out of my way to save Hitler, but I also wouldn't be arguing that we should be pardoning the assassin, maybe giving him a shiny new gun so that he could extrajudicially murder a few other people that our precogs told us will grew up to be evil.
Also, nice work with the false dilemma, but as I've already explained--repeatedly--I'm not okay with punching Nazis for both principled and practical reasons.
Replace "people I don't particularly like" with "people I know don't believe certain people should have rights at all".
And again, I'm still not okay with it. There are many people--many generally decent people--who believe that citizens should have greater rights than non-citizens, that convicted criminals of certain categories should have many important rights stripped away. There are people who don't agree certain rights are rights that the government should protect. I would like to believe that the best path forward is to convince them that they're wrong, and not a bullet to the head or systematic government censorship.
The moment I lay my hands on you to stop you from killing someone, I've violated your rights. Sure, I've done it in pursuit of protecting rights -- but a right is violated regardless of the reason why it was violated.
That's one of many interpretations that's largely consistent with how we do things. Another is more of a social contract theory: Government protection of our rights is what we receive in exchange for agreeing to abide by those same laws when they protect the rights of others, and by breaking that law and trying to violate the rights of others, you've abdicated your rights. In other words, there is no crime that needs to be justified, because the moment you tried to kill someone, you abrogated your right not to be killed by me, your victim, the police, or some other bystander.
I'm pointing out one situation where I might be flexible: Black people are literally being murdered by cops. Meanwhile, a bunch of white Nazis are screaming racist shit at them while under the protection of those very same cops.
Do you have some footage I haven't seen, because from my understanding, the black people were also being protected by a different subset of those same cops.
I'm not denying that there are some very bad cops who have earned the hatred distrust of the black community. In fact, I believe that the even "good cops" are guilty because they see precisely what's happening and do nothing to condemn it. (Sorry, I know how my ideological consistency bothers people.) South Carolina had some bad police shootings, but Charleston was also the place where the police and the rest of the community really came together after the racist church shooting. Also, IIRC, Charleston was one of the places where the police actually didn't
use disproportionate force against the BLM protesters. While I don't think the Charleston black community necessarily trusts the police completely, I also don't think that they were worried about the police and the Nazis all taking up arms together to wipe them out at the protest, as you seem to be trying to imply.
I mean, yeah -- I'm a pacifist who abhors violence. But I also try to keep in mind that it's incredibly fucking easy for me to be a pacifist who abhors violence.
I'm not a pacifist. I don't particularly abhor violence. In fact, I enjoy sports that closely simulate violence, and in my very few experiences with real violence, I honestly enjoyed it too for the parts where I wasn't mostly terrified. But for me, developing a coherent moral system isn't about finding a way to justify me doing things I like and avoiding things I dislike. I have no problem using violence to stop violence, or to prevent imminent violence. However, when the violence becomes more distant, more uncertain, more abstract, then the response also has to be attenuated. If a guy tells me, "If you don't pay me back, I'll come over and rob you next Tuesday," I don't think that justifies shooting him in the face. If someone writes a manifesto arguing that people shouldn't generally be killed, but that we should be flexible with the idea of personal rights when it comes to folks who murder unborn babies, then we should absolutely do something to oppose him, but probably not blowing up his car with him inside.
Some people gotta throw punches just to stay alive. And if you've been in that sort of situation, it's really hard to know when you're not in that sort of situation.
I have been in that sort of situation (well, maybe not death, but a very serious beating by a larger group of people than I had on my side was certainly in the cards.) It's still easy for me to know the vast majority of the time. If a Nazi is giving a speech to rile up his fellow Nazis and frankly didn't particularly want any Nazis to be around, and you specifically seek him out in order to punch him and gain Youtube fame, that's probably not a situation where you absolutely had to throw a punch to stay alive.
Are there grey areas where I would agree that it's not reasonable for a "normal" person to fear for his life, but more reasonable for a guy who has been exposed to frequent violence to do so? Absolutely. But let's not kid ourselves, we're not talking about the kind of situations where you're just minding your own business and a bunch of torch-wielding skinheads start following you. We're not talking about the fact that a Nazi is probably more likely than the average person to try to hurt someone or to deliberately threaten someone in a way that justifies self-defense. We're talking about a bunch of guys who want to go find a Nazi to punch in the face because Nazis all deserve to be punched and apparently that's the best contribution they can make to our society.
Edit: In response to your needless indignant straw man side note, I never made any assertions about how you would personally react, and honestly, I don't really care how you would personally react. What I care about is the fact that a non-zero amount of other people would likely react with sympathy. Let's not forget, America was pretty damn anti-Semitic before the war. It's part of the reason we were so slow to get involved. Everything that Hitler said about the Jews, Americans agreed with--the only point at which we differed was the extent to which we were willing to do something about it. The Holocaust changed everything--images of the emaciated bodies of people who many of us didn't even regard as equals changed hearts and minds. The need to prove we were nothing like the Nazis pushed us to demonstrate our belief in racial equality in a way that the abolitionist movement and the Civil Rights movement never quite did.