Becoming the Enemy

Through social circles that I am a member of I’ve learned that a fascist is coming to Minneapolis. In of itself this is completely unimportant but what is important are the actions of those who are opposing him. Apparently there are groups of “anti-fascists” who try to organize against this openly fascist person. The problem is these “anti-fascists” have destroyed any legitimacy they could have generated by using fascist tactics themselves:

They were so effective in disrupting the event that police had to escort attendees out. The same happened a day later in NYC, where the event was not only disrupted, but both Irving’s tour manager Jaenelle Antas and neo-Nazi friend Alex Carmichael were pepper-sprayed. Faced with humiliation and defeat, Irving was forced to cancel his next few scheduled appearances, but the chaos did not end there. Days later his Chicago event was shut down when dozens of masked anti-fascists stormed into the Edelweiss restaurant turning over tables, destroying his merchandise, and assaulting attendees, while Irving and Antas locked themselves in a supply closet in a magnificent display of cowardice.

Emphasis mine. I despise fascism, socialism, and communism for the very fact that none of them can work unless violence is used to coerce the members of those societies. Fascist, socialist, and communist states generally make laws against criticism of the state in order to silence those who oppose them. They use the threat of violence to silence all opposition.

These “anti-fascist” demonstrators are using violence to silence those who disagree with them. They have become that which they claim to fight against. As much as I hate fascists they do have a right to say what they are saying. Having laws that protect freedom of speech are usually enacted to protect a minority whom speak against what is socially accepted. Although I despise the KKK, neo-Nazis, and authoritarians I would never consider using violence to silence them.

I’ve explained my hatred of hypocrisy before and these “anti-fascist” demonstrators are a great example of why. When you act hypocritically you destroy any legitimacy your movement has. There is no way to claim you are opposed to something while you are doing it. It’s the same as when your parents would tell you to “do as I say not as I do.” I’m not sure about yourself but whenever my parents said that I scoffed and felt their “reasoning” to be flawed.

The problem lies in the fact that there is such a thing as fighting an enemy so long that you become the enemy. When you focus on a specific goal you will eventually justify any action you take to yourself as correct so long as it opposes those you are fighting. Guantanamo Bay is a classic example where the United States has been fighting an enemy so long that the forfeiture of rights has been justified. There comes a point in any conflict where you have to take a step back and reassess the situation. You must examine your actions and prevent yourself from becoming what you are fighting.

These “anti-fascist” demonstrators have become fascist themselves by attacking those who they disagree with. The use of violence to silence your opposition is the tactic of an authoritarian. If your opponent brings violence against you then by all means defend yourself but if they are simply saying things you disagree with then you have no grounds for cause damage to their person or property.

I like the motto of the Ludwig von Mises Institute which is “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.” It’s Latin for “Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.” By using violence to silence those you disagree with you have given into evil.