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Do conservatives deserve a punch in the nose?

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Smart v. Stupid

Do conservatives deserve a punch in the nose?

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, A grown man gave my son the finger today. The man was riding in his car, which was sporting a bunch of anti-Obama bumper stickers. Things like “Obama tortures me,” I’m told. You know the type.

So while my wife and son drove by, Jake gave the guy a thumbs-down. (He is his father’s son.) In return, the man gave an 8-year-old boy the finger. Yes, that finger.

Both my wonderful wife, Suzanne, and my young son took the attempted insult in stride. They looked at each other and laughed. To tell you the truth, when they told me, so did I. But it made me start thinking about something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately—Is it time to start punching conservatives in the nose?

There is actually a pretty good argument for belting these big-mouths. Here are seven reasons why you might want to consider it:

  • It’s not violence, although you can be sure that the bloody-nose guy will whine that it is. Cutting, shooting, breaking, burning and rape are violence. A good, old-fashioned punch in the nose is not. The act is dramatic, however, the lasting physical harm is mostly nonexistent.
  • Every right-winger believes in it. Of course, he mostly believes in it when he’s carping about liberals, but hey, that’s beside the point. For him, it’s just the start. "All that kid needs is a good spanking," he rants. We should throw away the key for criminals," he opines. He cheers when the subject of capital punishment is discussed. He yells “Let him die,” if some poor cancer slob was too dumb to buy health insurance.
  • A punch in the nose is a great wake-up call. First comes shock. Then he’ll grab the throbbing protrusion and—invariably—pinch it together while saying “You hit me!” in a high-pitched, nasally voice. Yes, a thump on the tip carries a ton of Shock and Awe™. The person can’t believe you did it and can’t believe you’re standing there smiling at them. Later he figures out that the punch was related to his big mouth. And therein lies the lesson.
  • As a bad thing, getting socked is highly overrated. Like giving a speech in your underpants, most people are much more afraid of getting punched than it deserves. In reality, it ain’t that big a deal. Either way you’ll have a great story. “I punched an asshole and he beat me up” will still earn respect from your buddies.
  • But there is a low chance that you’ll actually be hit back. These blowhard righties are paper tigers who are ruled by fear. They’re afraid of everything unfamiliar or unexpected. That’s why they can’t tolerate change or choice. And trust me, nothing is more unexpected than a rap on the snout.
  • Incivility desperately needs a price tag. Peaceful nonviolence is great for the organized protest of a totalitarian master, but really lousy for one-to-one situations. When you greet incivility with tolerance, you simply encourage it. If you truly believe in peace, cooperation and a civilized society, you have to be willing to be the instrument of its defense. Well, your schnoz-hammer does anyway.
  • The entire fabric of our society would be improved if loudmouth right-wingers didn’t know who among us might offer them a knock in the nostrils.

Of course, there are potential downsides to snout-slapping some jerk. Principal among them, you might get one back. There is also the possibility that you’ll get arrested, although that involves the jerk admitting that he got owned. There is also an outside chance you might spend a night in jail.

But redefining the relationship between cooperating citizens and anarchists is an important job. Because by our tolerance we’ve let these people get louder and louder while simultaneously getting dumber and dumber. It’s time to redraw the boundaries.

We used to tell women not to fight if they were being raped. We used to tell robbing victims not to try to run. Remember when we used to tell passengers not to resist if their plane was highjacked? “Be tolerant of intolerant jerks” is the same sort of good idea that wasn’t.

Those who behave badly need a reason to think twice about it. A punch in the nose might be just the right cultural medicine. Just sayin'. ...

Jimmy Zuma splits his time between Washington, D.C. and Tucson. He writes the online opinion journal, Smart v. Stupid. He spent 5 years in Tucson in the early ‘80s, when life was a little slower, swamp coolers were a little more plentiful, Tucson’s legendary music scene was in full bloom, and the prevailing work ethic was “don’t - unless you have to.”

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