A viral video of a masked protester socking white supremacist and anti-Semite Richard Spencer in the jaw as he was being interviewed about protests at the presidential inauguration prompted an increasingly common question: when it is acceptable to use non-lethal violence against those who advocate ethnic cleansing?
It’s difficult for many to say out loud, but the violent attack against Spencer does not deserve condemnation.
Those who don’t underestimate the violent nature of white supremacy see these acts of intimidation—including the attack on Spencer—as self-defense.
Spencer advocates a white nationalism masquerading as nonviolent, despite his followers’ clearly apocalyptic fantasy language. His movement spurred an on-again-off-again-maybe-on-again armed march by Neo-Nazis against Jews in his hometown of Whitefish, Montana. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports a spike in racist incidents following Donald Trump’s election, including several dozen bomb threats against Jewish community centers. Even if Spencer maintains he wants a nonviolent sorting of the races, many of his rabid followers are having none of it, and he’s canny enough to know it. Up until months ago, it seemed that the alt-right might be extreme and reprehensible, but still operating under free speech. But when a movement becomes so inherently racist and violent, we must judge the attack on Spencer in the right context.
So if people take offense at Ari’s views justifying the violence against Spencer, I am sure he’ll be fine if they beat him up.
As American as apple pie. pic.twitter.com/WQ4z2UgWts
— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) January 21, 2017