That’s the opinion of Chris Hernandez, who writes:
Since I don’t care much for Nazis, it might seem surprising that I don’t think they should be punched. To be more precise, I don’t mind punching actual Nazis; the problem is, the people getting punched lately aren’t Nazis. Richard Spencer is in fact a white nationalist, but he doesn’t actually do anything except talk. Milo Yiannapolous is a gay Jew with an affinity for black men, which would have gotten him killed three times over in Nazi Germany. The people who went to his event at Berkeley weren’t Nazis at all, they were just regular people who wanted to hear a dissenting opinion. One was just a young girl who didn’t agree with the mob. She wasn’t punched, she got pepper sprayed for it.
And therein lies the problem. When we cheer a violent rioter because “he punched a Nazi!”, without having any actual evidence the victim was a Nazi, what we’re really saying is, “It’s okay to use violence on people because I think I know their opinions, and I’ve decided some opinions aren’t allowed.”
But hey, Nazi opinions shouldn’t be allowed. Right?
Yes, they should. Nazis suck, and Nazi opinions suck, but we live in America. ANY opinion is allowed; not every opinion is valid, not every opinion is respectable, not every opinion is or should be safe from well-deserved ridicule. But an opinion – ANY opinion – is harmless. In America, we don’t beat people up for their opinions.
. . .
Mob violence against people for having forbidden opinions is great fun and all, until your forbidden opinion is the one facing the angry mob.
There’s more at the link.
The problem with the accusation that someone’s a Nazi is that almost everyone throwing it around has no idea whatsoever what being a Nazi really means. I do. I’ve literally exchanged gunfire with real Nazis – those who actively, knowingly, violently support and propagate Hitler’s racial and cultural philosophy. I wrote about it some time ago. Believe me, there are so few real Nazis in America today that I doubt most of us will ever come within a hundred miles of one.
Another problem: violence begets counter-violence. If you beat up Nazis – or those you allege to be Nazis – don’t be surprised if next time, they come out in force to beat you up in return. It’s reality – and it has nothing to do with democracy. Do you believe in your democratic right to protest, or gather for political meetings, or vote for whom you please? Then don’t deny that right to others . . . or they may deny it to you.
It seems many on the progressive left in the USA have forgotten that lesson. If they carry on like this, I fear they may be reminded of it anew. Violently.