In 2016, a video of white nationalist Richard Spencer being punched in the face by an unidentified assailant went viral. As it did so, a question that was first asked in World War Two rose to the surface of public debate again: is it morally permissible to punch a Nazi? Some consider these increasingly-publicized acts of violence to be slippery slopes that endanger free speech and compromise morals, while others consider games of whack-a-fascist to be their God-given right, as well as their moral duty.
No, it's not okay to punch Nazis
Punching Nazis might sound satisfying, but if we want to uphold our morality, both individually and societally, we must find other means to mitigate the threat of fascism.
It's not okay to punch anyone
On a gut level, it might feel good to see someone as evil as a Nazi get punched. However, pacifists realize that violence is an evil in and of itself, and even the worst people deserve to be treated humanely.
In the face of evils like bigotry and fascism, it’s tempting to take the eye-for-an-eye route, punching Nazis as an attempt at retribution. However, this approach only causes more of the violence we are trying to avoid.