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Don't engage with fascists

Submitted by JoeMemo in Anarchism

Any attempt at civility or discussion with a fascist is doomed to fail. Regardless of what they claim, fascists aren't interested in any form of debate, compromise, or exchange of ideas. Their only goal is to give their toxic ideology an appearance of legitimacy.

We are, by our very nature, pure anathema to the fascist. We espouse racial and economic equality which makes us, to the fascist, degenerate scum. He sees us as corrupting his proud heritage and willfully disrupting what he views as the natural order. We are vermin to the fascist, fit only to be exterminated.

You must remember that genocide is one of the central tenets of fascism, and whether they admit it publicly or not, something all fascists believe is necessary and just. They are well aware of what society will allow and will craft their statements carefully so as not to be immediately rebuked. They frequently cloak themselves in democratic ideals, like freedom of expression and right to assembly, while simultaneously working to destroy them.

Their only purpose in debating you is to make their toxic beliefs easier for the masses to swallow. If you engage a fascist in civil discourse, then they have already won.

Comments

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

Rule-based ethics does not do good for anarchists, I think. Rather the meta-approach just be as informed as you can and make the best decision you can while being aware of and sensitive to the full context.

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__deleted_____ wrote

Unless you can do it face to face in a venue you control, there's really nothing to be gained by debating a fascist.

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justice wrote

My only hesitation with this is that any kind of formal debate acts to some degree as a legitimizing platform for the different viewpoints presented; the debate frames the window of acceptable and valid discourse. When one party does not intend to debate with any sense of intellectual honesty, when their goals would in fact ultimately include the removal of public discourse of this nature, including them in the debate is in the first place a political decision with political consequences. It is already ceding ground to the fascist.

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[deleted] wrote

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justice wrote

Well, as I believe you might readily acknowledge, I think the left-right spectrum is a dramatic oversimplification of the complex field of political/moral/philosophical viewpoints that have existed, that could exist, and that people currently hold. It has its uses, as there are schools of thought (or schools of anti-thought as the case may be) that are related to or have developed out of one another. But in general, it’s necessarily an imperfect depiction of the “placement” or categorization of ideas. To that extent and on those grounds, I too reject the left-right dichotomy as illegitimate and in many circumstances useless or meaningless.

But then it depends on who you’re asking. Because on the other hand, and at the risk of contradicting myself by now using an oversimplification, so-called leftist movements have in theory aimed always to remove forms of oppression. What those individual movements recognize as oppressive might differ, but I would agree, from my under-informed standpoint, that this rough definition of the Left is reasonable. Under that definition, I don’t see how anarchist thought could not be considered leftist.

So I suppose I mean that I’m a little confused by your comment. Basically, sure, if we could somehow know that none of our potential audience or opposition in a debate could ever be persuaded by the argument that the state is illegitimate, then why debate them? But how can we guarantee that no one will be persuaded? You were persuaded yourself, after all. I guess I’m not sure why we should decide not to engage in a debate with anyone at all, if that is what you’re suggesting.

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vacuousaptitude wrote

We are, by our very nature, pure anathema to the fascist.

I love being their boogeyman. It's a lovely sensation to know that they go to sleep fearing that their beautiful children will grow up to become me.

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zorblax wrote (edited )

Usually when I see a fascist in the wild, I'll meme at them in that "restate their statements in a stupid way" way. Works super well when the things they say are actually stupid.

Also, exposing fake news for what it is is pretty effective, if time-consuming. Simply dismissing it without finding a conflicting source(what works best is finding the original source of an article's information, finding that it is in fact either made up or completely misinterpreted) will simply make the fascists more sure that they're right. They like to think of themselves as free-thinking, so if you show some actual free thought they'd often prefer to slink back into the shadows than expose themselves as an ignorant sheep.

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closed wrote (edited by a moderator )

You sound a lot like an alt-right person demonizing a Jew.

Whether they think you are vermin is quite irrelevant. Engaging gives you the opportunity to change their opinion, learn more about them, and the opportunity to improve your own understanding and arguments as well.

They are usually happy to engage and are becoming more and more emboldened. You may want to pick your conversations, but this manner of closed-minded cowardice is a great way to defeat yourselves.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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closed wrote (edited by a moderator )

I have had many online conversations with people that'd you'd call fascists.

You can't expect to see, or have any change admitted by them in an adversarial conversation. Regardless of whether they change or not, the conversation is worth it, if only to get to know them better, test out different approaches etc...

They are people too, who believe their actions are for some manner of moral good. If you believe your actions are also just, then the aim should be to seek understanding.

Explicitly avoiding conversation just makes you appear intellectually weak and closed-minded, and really aids their cause.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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closed wrote (edited by a moderator )

They don't need you to legitimize them as people, they are legitimate people already.

Yes, they seek conversation, it spreads their ideas, expands and strengthens their movement and builds their own confidence in their beliefs.

Please try to explain exactly how a conversation between one of you and one of them should somehow aid their movement and hinder yours? Unless of course your philosophy is inherently weaker, which could be the natural conclusion of an outsider.

It's true I don't talk with any 'fascists' in person, I engage/converse with them regularly online, over periods of months.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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closed wrote (edited by a moderator )

I would prefer that those who strongly disagree with his advertised ideology voice their objections, whether that means merely passing remarks or engaging in a more extended conversation. Your 'awkward and dismissive' atmosphere sounds more like a free pass for this person. If I walked around with a swastika on my arm (believing in it) and nobody said anything, I think I'd feel relieved and emboldened.

Why is he able to 'spout rhetoric that easily proves his point' while you are seemingly unable to? Surely, even outside of deep conversation, there must be some simple verbal points that can be used against this master of public debate? These people were the personification of evil during WWII: for you to tell me that we are now unable to match them in simplified public debate isn't encouraging.

Personally, I think punching them without them initiating physical violence is going out of your way to concede the moral high ground: which is no small feat against a Nazi. I prefer to be nonviolent.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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closed wrote (edited by a moderator )

I think my understanding of social pressures is sufficient. Being given the silent treatment and a wide berth wouldn't bother me much - your local Nazi is made of sterner stuff than you think. After all, they seem to be walking about risking violent assault from you.. do you seriously think 'being awkwardly dismissive' is going to do anything at all? Some will probably take it as a sign of respect!

Again, you are telling me that you are incapable of besting this Nazi in public debate. That is very bad news.

I'm tempted to discuss eugenics with you, but you have a website full of people who don't appreciate Nazis at your disposal. I suggest you do a little group brainstorming regarding effective public debating strategies, and public responses to Nazi talking points. Many of you seem to waste your time categorizing imaginary forms of government that nobody cares about - you really should focus more on practicalities.