Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hear No Evil

A Greek reporter was pelted with eggs and yogourt by a group of protesters on the air who had issue with his invited guest. It turns out that the guest in question was a neo-Nazi and member of a highly controversial nationalist party with anti-immigration viewpoints. While it's laudable that the protesters came out to express their views, they might have done more harm than good.

On the one hand, they didn't target the right person. The invited guest was not the victim of the food fight, the host of the show was. He put on a brave front, allowing the attack to happen with little resistance and then quietly walked off set. Their attack would have been more successful and arguably more fun to watch had they had the right person.

On the other hand, nobody got a chance to hear what the guest might have had to say. While it's always dangerous to give a platform to the extremists and pro-hate groups, it might be even more dangerous to cover our ears and pretend that they don't exist. Part of being able to combat evil is to know it; denial and ignorance has rarely taught us anything. Ironically, ignorance is the very thing that is used by pro-hate groups when they defend their views.

Years back, there were groups that wanted to ban Mein Kampf by Hitler because of its views. Regretably, this document is a piece of history, and should serve as a warning to future generations of the dangers of hate and violence. It does not propagate more hate if we're smart in our approach and educate people properly on the importance of tolerance. If you're going to fight a problem, you need to know what you're fighting against.

Pro-hate groups will do themselves in by their arguments, which are often entirely intellectually void and unsupported by things like science and reason. They should not be given a long leash to say and do whatever they want, but we should be aware of them and why they're wrong.

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