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Violence: Just Thinking or Law?

Howell Hurst Uncategorized


I have been trying to think through what must be going on inside the heads of people who become violent Nazis and White Supremacists – all those so utterly divorced from the commonly-shared values of most Americans.

There is in them surely a deeply seated anxiety, an irrepressible fear, of anyone “out there,” who is not exactly like themselves “inside here.” Where mentally does that kind of discord from the majority occur?

It seems it can only come from one of two places: outright definable insanity or, more likely in most cases, from ignorance: due to a lack of adequate acquired factual knowledge from which to make rational decisions and define rational behavior.

Whichever, the real issue we seem to be facing in America might be more directly addressed if we considered the laws we have that almost seem to encourage such thinking to be permitted to totally disrupt our entire nation’s functioning.

We cannot lightly consider altering our laws allowing free speech. But, we might note that some democracies have done so, making it illegal for citizens to promote and demonstrate publicly hateful and violent “Isms” as accepted tools of their ability to think for themselves.

This is splitting a very fine hair, – but, after all, that is what the discipline of Law is. We might ask ourselves, would we conceivably want, for instance, Nazi-ism defined as illegal? Unless I misunderstand, Germany, I believe, notably has such as law.

We fought against and militarily defeated Nazi-ism and Fascism in World War II. Is it not debatable that they should be allowed in America the freedom of expression we permit other political concepts that do not promote public violence?

Debatable is the operative word here. I am not saying this is the way it should be. However, is it not an alternative legal viewpoint we might want to consider worth public debate?

Should a protracted public debate about it occur, would it not certainly put the issue front and center and help establish clearly the extent of our collective opinion on the issue? Might not that help us effectively deal with it?

If the numbers of Americans agreeing publicly in such a debate reached the percentage I estimate they might, would it not be a clearly idealized legal expression of our majority commitment to non-violence and non-hateful philosophies?

Should that occur and be translated into concrete law, might it not be an irrefutable collective statement that the vast majority of us believe members of such hate groups to be, not valid citizens, but rather outright enemies?

Are the concepts of Nazi-ism, Fascism, White Supremacy, and the like so questionable, that we Americans might find our democratic rights injured by legally banning them? A tough question. That would have to be part of the debate.

Not clear is exactly how correct we would consider it in America to prohibit the legal existence of such violent hate groups.

Our country, which has historically defined itself as being predominantly Christian, but which also has from its inception expressed, in legal tracts by Jefferson and others, complete freedom of religion, might find such a debate requires all of us to reflect more deeply and more accurately on our collective philosophical state of political thinking.

Just a suggestion, from my tiny corner over here.

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