With all the outrage going around lately with the news of protests and counter-protests, I thought I’d throw in my two cents. I think we can learn a lot from their presence in our country. Here’s some reasons why:
1) The absurdity of mainstream media
I’m not talking about any news outlet in particular. I don’t like any of them, and haven’t watched TV news in about 15 years. I think it’s funny how much this tiny group of people is/was covered, and I’m sure it makes them very happy. “Hey guys, we’re on TV!” Meanwhile, there are lots of other newsworthy things happening in the world.
It also seems like the news that IS reported about them is always sensationalistic -- the events and clips that will get the biggest response/outrage. We use words like “nationalist”, “fundamentalist”, “terrorist”, “supremacist”, “racist” without any clear definition or clarification about what these words mean. Sometimes words like this obfuscate the full truth, and news media is skilled at this.
2) Nazis show us our own depravity
Many people wonder how these groups can exist in our “enlightened” country. It’s really not surprising to me at all. Maybe we’re not as amazing as we thought. Given the conditions/culture in which people can grow up, and their family circumstances, maybe I’d be in the same boat. Maybe I’d be a Nazi too. Those who protest loudest that “they would NEVER…” lack a basic understanding of human nature. Nazis help us to remember that we are *all* succeptible to evil, pride, and prejudice.
Many folks’ reaction to these people is “I hate them and I want to punch them.” I find it so ironic that people justify hatred and violence because the people they hate also hate. In other words, those I see preaching tolerance/love/respect loudest are sometimes the least likely to extend those things to those with whom they disagree. When we react in such a way, we show just how depraved we really are.
“A cat will look down to a man. A dog will look up to a man. But a pig will look you straight in the eye and see his equal.” -Winston Churchill
3) Nazis remind us of our commitment to free speech
Nothing tests our country’s values like people we strongly disagree with. Do we try and shut them down because we disagree, or do we defend *their* rights as citizens too? The right to be heard, to peacefully protest flaws in government (we can all agree there are many) is something we need to be vigilant to defend.
4) Nazis force us into moral dialog
Is our worldview really superior to Nazis? Our morals inherently better? About everything? How do you know? It’s my hope that groups like this force us into a better understanding of morality in the attempt to separate ourselves from those ideals.
Why is it wrong to be racist, for instance? “It’s just bad” isn’t a very good answer. Racists (hopefully) force us into honing our defintions of “good” and the source of it.
Hopefully, Nazis get us beyond our ignorant, self-centric morality. Sometimes it’s the greatest evil that forces us to look to the greatest Good.