It's been a crazy week. Like most of us, I'm obsessed with the news. Every hour seems to bring some new craziness.
I've been reflecting a lot lately on fascism. In particular, Wikipedia says that "Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as [a] means that can achieve national rejuvenation."
I've heard well-meaning people say that we need to prevent fascists from speaking, that we ought to punch them or riot or do whatever is necessary to stop them from spreading their hate, their desire for genocide, their glorification of evil.
Punching? Rioting? Political violence. As a means of achieving national rejuvenation.
Yes, we should oppose fascism and fascists. Counter their arguments. Block them from sight with angel wings or parody signs. Outnumber them, and turn your backs on them en masse. Mock them. Stand beside them and echo everything they say, like annoying six-year-olds. Get them so mad and so careless that they'll haul off and punch you.
If you're attacked, defend yourself. Meet force with appropriate counter-force. To paraphrase one of their own, let those who rely on force find out what happens when they are met by force plus mind.
No, you're not going to change their minds. But you might change the minds of those who are looking on, that vast middle ground of people who haven't committed to one side or the other, who don't want to think about it and don't want to get involved. They're the ones we need on our side.
Please, as difficult as it is, don't fall into the trap of thinking that violence is any means to achieve national rejuvenation (or your other goals). Because then you might defeat them, only to find that you've become them.