That's the Spirit

Caesar Civitella, who killed more than a dozen Nazis in World War II and helped capture more than 3,800, has a message for the neo-Nazis who staged a deadly rally in Virginia over the weekend.

"I would tell them that we have no use for Hitler-type philosophy in the U.S. and that they can either stop being a Nazi or people will give them bodily injury," said Civitella, 93, of St. Petersburg.


jaed said...

That is not the spirit. In this country, we have freedom of conscience and you can think what you like and say what you like. If you adhere to an ideology that Americans find repulsive—even one as disgusting as Nazism—you may find no one willing to pay any attention to you, but you still have the protection of the law. Which means that no, others cannot physically attack or injure you with impunity, no matter how offended they are by what you think or say.

I honor Mr. Civitella's service to our country. I can't honor this kind of statement.

Eric Blair said...

Dude, the spirit of this country has, more often than not, has been to stomp on those that had ideas, or were, disagreeable to those doing the stomping.

And that is not an endorsement, just an observation.

jaed said...

Obviously it's happened. Often. Americans are human and we don't always live up to our ideals.

Still, "that's the spirit" is usually meant as an accolade.

Eric Blair said...

Perhaps. But Nazis. Come on.

Grim said...

The right spirit is that we are not going to have Nazis running America, come hell or high water. If it comes to fighting, I think fighting for that principle is justified.

Same with communists, really. If you want to run a commie 'zine out of your basement during your spare time between faculty meetings, that's fine. If you try to take over the country and run it as a communist state, violent resistance to that is justified insofar as it is necessary to stop it.

jaed said...

What he said was "they can either stop being a Nazi or people will give them bodily injury". I don't see anything in there about Nazis running America.

If they tried to take over and turn the United States into a Nazi country, then yeah obviously.

raven said...

You guys are missing the crux.

WHO gets to define nazi? That is the point.

Let the left define, and we are on a path to "every white person who is not a Marxist SJW is a nazi".

Grim said...

I was going to let Civitella do it. He seems to know his business.

Grim said...


I don't see anything in there about Nazis running America.

The point is that the principle isn't absolute; it's pragmatic. (Which is a characteristically American approach to philosophy.) Of course you can advocate for whatever you want; the answer to bad speech is better speech, not violence. Unless and until the bad speech looks like it really might work, at which point violence is acceptable as necessary.

There actually is a solid philosophical principle buried in there, but it's not the obvious ones. It's the pragmatic one.

Tom said...

Well, in the spirit of technicalities, Civitella didn't say they should be attacked, merely that they would be.

Christopher B said...

So if some USMC vet of Iwo Jima says,

"I would tell them that we have no use for JAP-type philosophy in the U.S. and that they can either stop being a JAP or people will give them bodily injury"

Are you going to agree with that, too?

Grim said...

Phrased that way, it sounds like there's some necessary connection between the WWII Japanese government and the Japanese people. I wouldn't have any problem opposing the WWII Japanese governing philosophy, which was intensely racist and similarly murderous (look up their testing of plague bombs on captured Chinese populations, with the hope of eventually using that bioweapon technology on the American West Coast).

That stuff we beat down in WWII needs to stay beaten down. The Communists don't need to make a comeback either. That either philosophy is being taken seriously should be alarming; that both are resurgent is even worse.