One group believes in white supremacy. The other believes in equal rights.

So why is violence from "both sides" a bad thing? Surely we should support those that fight white supremacists, with violence and with words?

I mean, it's not like you would say during WW2 that "both the allies and the nazis are violent, it's bad, very bad", like, you would support the allies.

  • 2
    I don't think this can be answered in a verifiable way. Whether something is "good" or "bad" is opinion based.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:06
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    @JamesK I am pretty sure most of people here will agree that "Rule of law" is an important part of modern day democracies.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:14
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    We already have enough borderline-subjective questions surrounding the Charlotteville incidents right now. Most of them are already full with low-quality answers with highly polarizing votes and pointless page-long comment flamewars below them. We really don't need any more of that here.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 11:26
  • I could provide examples of people who dislike nazism but think that violence is not appropriate, but this question seems to be more "Is X good or bad?", not "Why does organisation X believe that Y is bad?".
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 11:57
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    @phillip I agree but if that's the case, I don't agree with only shutting down only some questions on the topic. This question tackles things from a very different direction.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 14:52

3 Answers 3


You are advocating for mob rule. Indiscriminate and extrajudicial punishment of citizens you disagree with does not lead anywhere good, it is a main tenet of oppression and authoritarianism.

Civil rights have to be universal, once you establish an out-group with fewer rights and protections then you have handed the state the power to define the out-group and define what rights they have, this is dangerous for everyone, don't think you'll always be part of the in-group.

A US citizen has the right to protest, to express their political views without being violently assaulted, that right is not subject to people agreeing with them.

Also I wouldn't categorise the communism of Antifa as being morally superior to white supremacy or fascism.

As for the recent political violence in Charlottesville, that hasn't happened in a vacuum. Antifa have been trying to violently shut down right wing protests and speech, there have been a number of riots. What happens when one political faction attacks another isn't that the faction being attacked just disbands in the face of violence, they themselves organise to commit violence, the right were not just going to accept that Antifa were going to turn up and assault them every time they want to protest. So now both sides are turning up armed for a battle, which is madness and a clear danger to the wider public.

This result is entirely predictable, violence begets violence.

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    There is no 'communism' in Antifa in the US. Antifa is hardly an organized group here. By all means, criticize any violence from any group, but the constant "they are as bad as Nazis" argument is ridiculous. Nazis want to inflict violence on large swaths of society. That's their platform. The other side is fighting against that. The false equivalency argument is dishonest.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 14:58
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    @blip Antifa protests are saturated with communist flags and paraphernalia. Any group that fly's the hammer and sickle is as bad as those that fly the swastika. Also, Antifa hasn't just targeted self identified white supremacists it has violently attacked speaking events where the views expressed are no more extreme than mainstream conservatism and/or classic liberalism. People , who are clearly not Nazis, have been seriously injured in political violence perpetrated by Antifa. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:12
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    Are you referring to Charlottesville? I could be wrong, but I did not see any Hammer and Sickle flags. Antifa here isn't the organization it is in Europe. And, again, by all means, criticize their violence anywhere else. Even criticize their violence in Charlottesville, but consider them 'equal' with Nazis is wrong.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:21

Surely we should support those that fight white supremacists, with violence and with words?

You are asking for support for people who are engaging in illegal behavior, and who are then being rioters, vigilantes, or terrorists. (Depending on what they are trying to accomplish)

It doesn't matter what the other side did; there is a correct and an incorrect way to deal with situations. Rounding up some friends and beating in the heads of the people you disagree with is the wrong way to deal with the problem. It doesn't solve anything, it only makes things worse, and you're now forcing the government/police not just to deal with the white supremacists, but with the illegal actions of their opponents as well.


The problem with supporting violence against an ideological group, lies in the nature of society and the unspoken rules that are required for it to function.

At the most basic level, for a society that is larger than the number of people that one can verify as trustworthy (e.g. everything larger than a familiy structure), it is required that people show a basic amount of trust towards strangers. More specifically, for easy and quick interaction with "strangers", society as a whole needs to have the understanding, that they are safe from arbitrary violence (put simpler: people must believe that they won't get killed by a random stranger when walking down the street).

( more on that topic: http://hbanaszak.mjr.uw.edu.pl/TempTxt/Newton_2001_TrustSocialCapitalCivilSocietyAndDemocracy.pdf )

In order to facilitate this, most states create a monopoly on violence.


At least for now, a society completely without violence doesn't exist. States offer the next best thing. They strongly regulate who can administer violence when and where (accordingly: the police, everywhere, when it serves to prevent a crime).

Which brings us back to your question: If violence against a ideological group is allowed, that introduces a large amount of variance (Who is considered part of the group? Will other groups be targeted as well? Who will carry out the violence?), which hurts the trust in the state/societies ability to provide safety.

Instead of trusting in a single well defined ruleset and the organization that carries it out, people would have to trust that in the viewpoint of every individual they have contact with, they aren't egligible for punishment.

Slight hyperbole: People would stop interacting with each other out of fear. Society colapses. The End.