I have seen too many posts and questions lately trying to deflect the issue at hand. And yes, I’m speaking of what happened last weekend. Stop hiding behind other issues. Speak up and take a stand.
The posts and questions are usually something along the lines of:
“Shouldn’t these statues remain? Aren’t we erasing history?”. Perhaps. But I also understand the hurt and awkwardness these statues generate with a large portion of Americans.
“But what about the violence committed by <fill in the blank with Antifa, BLM, ….>”. Absolutely despicable. And when they do, we should respond with indignation and condemnation as well. But hiding behind these arguments now, is like a child crying to go to a party because “So and so gets to go as well”.
What is at hand, is the unequivocal condemnation of any organization who preaches hatred under the banner of an ideology that has caused hundreds of thousands of people to suffer less than a century ago. I am talking about any neo-nazi organization. The flying of the swastika is reprehensible and should be called out as such.
One loses the right to criticize others when they fail to distance themselves from organizations that preach hatred and intolerance. One cannot ask for tolerance, while supporting intolerance. One cannot ask for criticizing intolerance, while failing to do the same.
It leads to the paradox of tolerance as very astutely summarized by Karl Popper, who himself had to flee the intolerance preached by the Nazi party in Germany in the 1930’s:
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”
You really don’t get to pick and choose which organizations you condemn for preaching intolerance, and which ones get a free pass.
Want to put out calls to critique Antifa or BLM? Want to advocate for preservation of history? Then learn from what history has taught us and denounce any neo-nazi ideologies.
Without that clear stance and condemnation, you have lost all credibility in my book.