It’s not a matter of going around hitting people “just ‘cause.” These people are a threat, an immediate threat. Spencer and others like him serve a specific function — to recruit others and inspire them to do harm.
What Spencer is doing is a protected activity, assuming it’s not done in a private venue, and the “inspiration” does not cross the line into “incitement”. I don’t want to live in a country where they CAN’T engage in those activities, and neither do you. Trust me on this one.
“After he got punched, he said if that keeps happening their movement will fail. In situations like this, waiting for each individual to commit violence is an act of suicide.”
Logical fallacy here. Because it is granted that “being punched out” will cause their movement to fail, it does NOT logically follow that NOT getting punched out” will enable their movement to succeed. Their movement is absurdly tiny. He’s run that same meeting in Washington DC for what, 10 years? They get the same 200-odd misfits each year. You’re overreacting, in my view.
“They have to be stopped before they become too powerful and it’s too late. They’re already in the White House and influencing policy that causes real-life harm to millions of people.”
There is no credible evidence that white supremacists are “in the White House.” There is a huge chasm between Bannon’s economic nationalism and white supremacy. The two are systemically unrelated.
“How far do you want it to go before you’re willing to say they are an immediate threat?”
I would have to see a bill being seriously debated in Congress that unambiguously gives the majority rights that the minority does not have, or removes rights from the minority. The chances that that occurs approach nil.
“Does that not seem like a threat to you?”
No. And being a Muslim in the US, I’ve thought about this more personally than you have. US immigration laws are not particularly restrictive compared to other nations, and all that’s happening right now is that they’re being enforced properly for the first time in…..well, ever.
“And I have zero regard for the rule of law in these matters.”
Then you’re an undependable partner in democracy.
“Saying it’s okay to punch self-proclaimed neo-Nazis who are actively recruiting is in no way the same as saying it’s okay to punch everyone you disagree with or anyone you think might be a neo-Nazi.”
Well, I am more comfortable by half, I suppose. You seem to be acknowledging the risk that people who will punch an obvious Nazi might, in an angry mob scene, decide somebody who just happens to like his hair cut short is, without any evidence other than a buzz cut, a Nazi and punch him too. But, what you’re not acknowledging is that there would be no risk of that at all if people would just not punch other people. That’s my point.
I am curious as to your opinion of the woman at the Berkely/Milo riot who was pepper sprayed by a protester simply because she was wearing a MAGA cap?
Yes, there are differences, as there are with all comparisons. But, again, what we’re trying to do here is make sure that the unrighteous minority does not become an entrenched unrighteous majority. Wouldn’t it be nice, for once, to stop something from happening rather than looking back on it in hindsight and saying “if only we had…”?
The debate we are having is one of risk. I see no indication whatsoever that any of these anti-things you mention (anti-immigration and anti-LGBT sentiment, along with Islamaphobia and general racism) are becoming entrenched.
If the survey data starts to show an increase in these tendencies, I reserve the right to change my mind. But I likely will not want to punch anyone.