T Nation

Moral Equivalents?


When I struggle with a topic; most importantly, I study it out in my own mind and come to my own moral and ethical conclusions. Many I still struggle with.

When I struggle; I will often bring it to “PWI” for discussion.

In the realm of Politics, and with “hot-button” topics like race…I will often find people drawing “moral equivalents”, that when looked at more deeply are no where even close. Yet, if one just looks at it just on the surface (which many people do)…they seem equivalent.

While someone will certainly say “Example?”…being on PWI now for close to 15-plus years now makes me realize that the thread will become THAT topic…AND THAT TOPIC ONLY.

I’d like the thread to initially move along with some thoughts before it’s (probably) inevitable high-jack.

What say 'ye?


Antifa may be violent but just being violent doesn’t make them as morally corrupt as KKK or Neo-Nazis.

Too many people think the debate between those two groups automatically ends once they start punching each other.
Nope. KKK and Nazis are evil and wrong before they’ve even left the house.

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Now that there is no objective morality there is also no need for any type of rational thought when creating a moral equivalent.

Like Nards just did. Saying that one person acting with the intention of hurting another when both are based on personal prejudice is better than the other is to say that one type of prejudice is better than another.

Now one group has been given licence to attack the other. Its bullshit. But to the person who can’t draw a rational equivalent it doesn’t matter because its their bull.


I never condoned the violence.

And hating Nazis does not make you equal to a Nazi. Being “prejudiced” against them is not the same as them being prejudiced against…well, a whole lot of different kinds of people.

No, but you justified it. Antifa violence is not as bad as the white supremacist violence because they aren’t as morally corrupt- and they’re carrying it out on the white supremacists.

Thats bullshit.


Read what I wrote again.

To use a simple example for you, if two people are fighting and one says “1+1=2” and the other says “1+1=5” does the 1+1=2 guy lose the argument because they both started punching each other?

I think you saying that they both are automatically wrong and/or equal because they got violent is a lazy way to get out of the debate.

No. You justified antifa violence by saying that they are morally superior.

I stated that without some objective morality there is no need for rational moral equivalents.

What you did was a perfect example of my point.

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No. I said they are morally superior.

They’re basically Marxists so you have Nazis vs Communists. Only a fool would make that call…a useful idiot.

As an aside…it’s interesting to me that the greater discussion on Moral Equivalents appears on the “Trump: The First Year” Thread…

I think people use moral equivalents because a) it’s a lot easier to say X is like Y rather than write multiple paragraphs to explain your position b) because comparing something to say Hilter adds weight to your argument (in theory), and/or c) people don’t understand or want to account for the differences between situations (ie they want to take the easy road and make it black/white), which is lazy and stupid. A good example of C is the Zep threads about single payer.

Moral equivalents are intellectual laziness for a real discussion or debate and, as you said, often don’t really make any sense once you go beyond the surface.

The same is true for a lot of things like reading an abstract and extrapolating correlation or causation when none is there. Read through the biology of race threads for numerous examples…


No, they are all just as morally corrupt and evil. They are all evil long before they leave their house. You might be missing the fact that Antifa are fascists. Being fascists, they are every bit as evil as fascists.

And even if we make the distinction between communists and fascists, I’ve never understood why people think communism is any less evil. Generally I find that said people are largely ignorant of history.


Nazis, KKK, Anitfa, Profa, BLM, BLT, all pale in comparison to planet fitness owners right? Surely we can agree on that


Whats with the sandwiches? Is nothing sacred?

This iconoclasm has to stop somewhere. I’m making a stand at sandwiches. Especially a good ole blue collar sammich like the BLT. Its not like those fancy sandwiches enjoyed by upper middle class white people. Those sopressata with asiago on a ciabata need a good smack.

I don’t like tomatos. More room for bacon. :bacon: bacon :bacon:!

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"The standard for antifa ideology is anti-capitalism, anti-fascism of course. Those are kind of the two main pillars, but within that, encompassed, it also comes with being anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-ableism, anti-transphobia, anything like that and just protecting people who are marginalized and oppressed.” - Antifa activist

(Antifa literally stands for "Anti-fascism).

You might not like their tactics, but their ideology isn’t evil or comparable to that of Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists.


Yeah, they can’t just use “fascist” as an insult when there were real Nazis there on Saturday. Better to be very specific.

Yes both sides are bad but one has a few mainstream beliefs so if you had to rank them they would not be equivalent in morals. They can both be evil but we are talking about equivalence here and its not a black and white issue.

They don’t even have an ideology. They just attack what ever they don’t like and say that it is against what ever they’re for.

There is tons of footage on youtube of their antics and rioting which makes their declared position complete garbage.

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You’re obviously not familiar with them. They date back to the Spanish civil war where they murdered other leftists who weren’t aligned with Stalin. They’re every bit as evil as the worst neo Nazis.