Don’t Punch Nazis. (Day 122-123)

I appreciate that there is an overwhelming desire to punch Nazis.  It sounds fun, it will theoretically feel good, and you’re “fighting evil”!  But you’re not Captain America/Wonder Woman, and this is not a fantasy novel.  I assure you this conflict doesn’t end with you throwing some sweet punches for 112 minutes while feeling righteously vindicated, and Bam: suddenly the world is saved.

The battle against forces that want to hurt you and change the world you live in is not new; this is the entire history of human civilization.  There’s lots of history to be learned from, both violent and non-violent, but there’s no history of “That guy had terrible ideas, so I punched him, and he changed his mind and joined my now-perfect community”.

If you want to go to war, then GO TO WAR.  No half assed righteous indignation and emotional catharsis, cloaked in pretty words and shallow justifications.  Don’t buy this “I’m showing righteous restraint by *just* punching these people I believe are threatening my and other people’s lives” horseshit.  Obliterate your enemy, don’t bloody their nose then pat yourself on the back for being a good person.  Invade Grenada and leave, don’t dick around in Afghanistan for decades.

If you’re not willing to do what it takes to *win* a war, don’t dabble in violence.  There’s plenty of infinitely more effective ways to combat terrible ideologies than throwing a punch, and plenty of groups who need money and manpower who will gladly accept your support.

Defend yourself from truly imminent violence, if you’re capable; get the hell out of the situation otherwise.  But punches?  If you throw the punch first, you look like a bully.  If you return a punch for a punch, you’ve started a fistfight.  If you throw punches when they brought weapons, well, I sure as hell hope you *are* Wonder Woman or Captain America, ’cause normal people end up in the ER.

Figure out what world you want to live in, do your research on what does and doesn’t work to create, maintain, grow, and defend that world, and do whatever that is.  Growing good ideas and changing minds is hard, long, and frequently thankless work, but the very violent alternative is far worse.

No matter what world it is you want to live in, though, you’re not getting there by punching Nazis.  And you’re making it way harder for everyone else to build a better world while you’re at it.

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