|Richard Spencer, a Nazi, getting punched.|
So here's why it is absolutely OK to punch Nazis.
If someone's a Nazi, their ideology advocates violence. Left to their own devices, they will inflict harm on others that they see as lesser. As they think that they're a master race, despite the fact that so many in their ranks are overweight or stupid, this really means anyone. They believe they have the right to do this because hey, they're the superior ones and other races are not really human. They had a word for those people, 'Untermensch' ('under man', meaning less than human).
There's plenty of documentation to show what the Nazis did to people they classed as subhuman, going from enslavement to genocide, I'm not going to go into it here. What's important to Nazi-punching question is that this is central to the ideology. You can't be a Nazi without subscribing to the whole Master Race thing and, as an extension of that, the idea that others are lesser and should be subservient to that Master Race.
Now, most people are going to realise that this is a bad thing. If you don't, then you can basically fuck off, you're beyond help and can expect to get punched. So if it's a bad thing, you then have a choice of whether to challenge the beliefs or not. For me, given that not challenging means harm will be done to others, this isn't really an option, so the choice is then to challenge violently or non-violently.
Usually, if I disagree with someone, I will go the non-violent route. There's very few things that can be solved by punching someone because it doesn't change their beliefs. Normally, it's best to try and change a person's mind through reason and argument so that they can see that what they believed was stupid and then they change their belief to something less stupid. If someone thinks the earth is flat, you can take them on a round the world cruise.
BUT.. if someone believes that they are inherently superior to others and those others deserve to be enslaved or killed, that's a WHOLE other thing. That kind of belief isn't based on logic and won't be changed by it. Some Nazis will cite evidence for their beliefs, but they won't listen to why the evidence is flawed (hell, I'm still seeing the Bell Curve posted on Twitter by Nazis). There are all kinds of reasons why people get involved with far-right groups but scientific evidence of superiority is not among them. Instead, the ideology comes first, then evidence is sought to back up those beliefs. So you're really not going to have much luck challenging the ideology with science, logic or reason, because the ideology isn't based on any of those things.
This is where punching comes in. While punching a Nazi is not going to change their minds, it sends a very blunt and easily understood message that those beliefs will not be tolerated. You don't get to advocate genocide. You don't get to marginalise others based on race, disability, sexuality or whatever other stupid-ass reason you thought up to stop yourself feeling insignificant because, by God, you will get a kicking if you do. People may not be able to change your beliefs by discussion and reasoning it out with you, but they can make sure you're going to be scared shitless of trying to spread your hate openly to others.
And that is why it is not just OK to punch Nazis, it is good and even honourable to do so.
|For Great Justice!|