Last week's episode of "The Good Fight" — a CBS All Access drama frequently fueled by left-wing talking points and decided dislike of President Donald Trump — portrays a character punching a Nazi in a bathroom, which was followed by an all-out brawl in the street between Nazis and Nazi-haters.
Amid the melee, the character who threw the bathroom punch — Jay Dispersia, a law firm investigator — speaks directly at the camera and pushes the Antifa-like view that violence is an acceptable way to deal with abhorrent speech. (Content warning: Profanity):
Is it alright to hit a Nazi unprovoked? I was always taught to never throw the first punch, never instigate. Defend, but don't attack. But then I saw a video of the white nationalist Richard Spencer being punched in the face during an interview, and I realized Spencer was in a pressed suit, wearing a tie, being interviewed like his opinion mattered — like it should be considered part of the conversation, like neo-Nazism was just one political point of view. And then I realized there's no better way to show some speech is not equal. Some speech requires a more visceral response. It's like Overton's window — that's the term from which ideas are tolerated in public discourse. Well, Overton's window doesn't mean s**t unless it comes with some enforcement. So yeah, this is enforcement. It's time to punch a few Nazis.
Interestingly, the episode portrays Democrats and Republicans teaming up to battle the Nazis in the street, which might come across as unusual, given it would seem to serve as a softball scenario for demonizing the GOP — but it seems "The Good Fight" doesn't go for the easy plot line in that respect.
'Always feels great to watch Nazis get punched'
As you might expect, a couple of reviewers seemingly enjoyed the violence in the episode, which is aptly titled "The One Where a Nazi Gets Punched."
Scott Tobias of Vulture said "sometimes it's really satisfying for a piece of art to deliver on its title, especially if it involves literally beating back the surge of white supremacists in this country" and called the episode "like that first deep breath of fresh mountain air — crisp and pure and totally invigorating. Always feels great to watch Nazis get punched."
Chancellor Egard of EW suggested the episode title "might make you hopeful" and noted the "cathartic, funny, theatrical, and unsettling brawl."
Rob Dreher of the American Conservative makes no bones about disliking neo-Nazis and the alt-right, but warned that "a scripted network television show aired with approval a statement encouraging street violence against [Spencer], and against those who agree with him, in an effort to silence political speech."
More from Dreher:
Having taken the position that "some speech is not equal," and that there is "no better way" to demonstrate that than to beat up unpopular speakers, what is the limiting principle, CBS? What would you, CBS, say to some right-wing person who attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar over her words, you having promoted the point of view that violence is the best way to set the limits on free speech?
I'm old enough to remember when liberals defended the right of racist deplorables to gather peaceably, because by so doing, liberals were defending important liberal principles enshrined in the First Amendment. I do not enjoy seeing peaceful American citizens, however disgusting their words and beliefs, being physically assaulted to punish them for their words, or to deter them from speaking — and you shouldn't either. Not even Richard Spencer. CBS is not a bit player. It's a Hollywood mainstay — and for the sake of being edgy, woke, and of-the-moment, it has violated an important taboo in liberal democracy. CBS is the Antifa network.
On that note
A 1981 TV movie based on the real-life controversy over Nazis who wanted to march in Skokie, Illinois — to the horror of Jewish people in the area — culminated with a thought-provoking perspective from a Jewish representative of the ACLU. He argued to the angry community that the Nazis should be allowed to march as a way of protecting the rights of Jewish people to maintain the right to speak out against them. In other words, the answer to hate speech is more speech, not shutting speech down.
Ironically, CBS is the network that aired "Skokie." Check the scene:
(H/T: Hot Air)