Dan Arel is a social justice atheist activist. He is also a Christophobe, actually believing that “Christian terrorism is a bigger threat to U.S. freedom than Islamic terrorism.”
He is also one of the atheists who has been working hard to rationalize and justify the use of violence to help achieve his version of a utopia – Should we be okay with punching Nazis?
Thus, it’s not surprising that it looks like Arel is doing something of a victory dance after another social justice activist tried to gun down dozens of Republicans.
GOP weakens restrictions on gun ownership.
GOP relentlessly attacks the working class.
Then has balls to ask how today’s shooting happened
— Dan Arel 🏴 (@danarel) 15 June 2017
So let’s have a look at Arel’s atheistic attempt to justify punching nazis.
He begins his essay as follows:
Ever since the punching of Nazi Richard Spencer outside of the Trump inauguration on January 20, a debate has erupted about if we should punch Nazis.
There are a few layers to this argument and I want to address some now.
And these are real Nazis. Not someone people simply dislike, but actual genocidal, Nazi-saluting, Nazis. So don’t read this picturing some jerk in a Trump hat, but instead someone who is working to organize a movement that if successful, would eradicate entire populations.
Sorry, but the social justice movement does NOT have a good track record of carefully distinguishing between a “real Nazi” and “some jerk in a Trump hat.” On the contrary, they have a history of blurring such distinctions. Remember, we are talking about a movement that has targeted a social justice scientist, Bret Weinstein, as a “racist.” We are talking about a movement that labeled George Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney as nazis. In fact, Arel himself has accused people like Jerry Coyne of being aligned with “white nationalism.” Thus, those of us who value critical thinking are not fooled by Arel’s weak attempt to make it look like he is making a sincere distinction. Even if he were, we cannot count on his social justice readers and fans to make that distinction for the simple reason that they rarely do.
Arel then proceeds to defend the “Punch a Nazi” position by criticizing three objections:
- If accepted by most people, the “punch a nazi” position puts us on a slippery slope to societal chaos and bloodshed.
- Those who punch nazis abandon the moral highground.
- Those who advocate punching nazis find themselves in a position of opposing free speech.
Arel fails to rebut any of these objections, but I’m going to focus on the first one since his failure on this one eliminates the need to give his defense of violence any intellectual respect.
Given his atheism, Arel’s moral sense is guided by the principle of ends justify the means. And given his social justice advocacy, Arel’s thinking is clearly guided by his Id. The Id loves the “ends justify the means” argument because it gives the Id an excuse to act out its primitive instincts.
So Arel’s basic argument is that the nazis are such an existential threat (the Id’s fear) that by punching them now (the Id’s aggression) we can prevent the occurrence of genocide. In other words, commit interpersonal acts of violence in the name of the Greater Good.
Of course, this logic can be used to justify just about any politically motivated violence. All you have to do is package the Fear and Rage under some imagined “Greater Good.” So it’s rather obvious to rational people that Arel’s logic simply cannot be restrained to targeting Nazis and does indeed put us on a slippery slope to a bloody culture.
Let’s watch how Arel tries to sidestep this fatal flaw:
Can a religious person punch an atheist?
Should a religious person punch an atheist?
Can a person punch a Nazi?
Should a person punch a Nazi?
So how can I hold what sounds like such a hypocritical position?
It’s really simple actually. Ideas don’t exist on a plain.
Atheism and Nazism are not equally founded ideas and one advocates for harm and one does not.
Atheism is the nonbelief in gods. The end. It doesn’t color your views on race, sexual orientation, etc.
Nazism is an ideology based on white supremacy and the eradication, through genocide, of nonwhites (and many others).
A Christian, for example, can believe an atheist is evil for not believing in their god and punch them. Their action, however, is unfounded. They punched an atheist based on an appeal to their emotions.
We know Nazism is evil. We know their goals, we know where their ideology leads. If you punch a Nazi, especially if you’re one of those marginalized and threatened by their ideology, you’re acting in self-defense. Even if you’re a white person punching a Nazi, you’re acting in the defense of others.
So the slippery slope analogy fails immediately here.
The analogy fails in this instance because Arel chose a bad one. We’ll overlook his ignorance in thinking that Christians would want to punch atheists because they think it is evil to not believe in God and simply focus on the fact that Christians are not out there physically assaulting atheists for being atheists. There is no argument among us Christians about whether we should be physically attacking New Atheists.
So let’s look at better analogies, shall we? Arel’s “punch a nazi” logic is the same logic used by the few people who have bombed abortion clinics or murdered abortionists. For the abortion clinic bomber, they think they are fighting against the genocide of the unborn. They view themselves as defending the unborn. So in their minds, such extreme violence is justified in the name of the Greater Good. So how is “punch a nazi” all that different from “punch an abortionist?”
But why stop there? Why not “punch a Marxist?” After all, Marxism has a long, bloody, murderous history that includes genocide. Why not punch Marxists to prevent them from bringing such bloodshed and gulags to our country? Why not punch a Marxist if it will help us from following in the footsteps of Venezuela? If it’s okay to punch Nazis in the name of the Greater Good, it’s okay to punch Marxists in the name of the Greater Good.
There is yet another route for the slippery slope to travel. Why stop with punching a nazi when the same logic works for killing a nazi? If we are to punch nazis to keep from from acquiring power, killing nazis would seem to be even more effective.
There is simply no way to keep the logic of “punch a nazi” from spreading out to other tribes and involving violence that goes beyond punching. That is why rational and moral people deny their Id and refuse to walk down that bloody road.
Of course, there are many other problems with the “punch a nazi” meme, but this one is serious enough to completely discredit it. And the people who defend and advocate for it.