With the recent tragic mass shooting in Wisconsin at a Sikh temple, there has been a lot of focus on the neo-Nazi movement. It does appear that the mass murderer was a neo-Nazi activist and a “hate music” performer. As a result, neo-Nazis and especially the so-called “hate music” circuit find themselves under scrutiny from law enforcement and the media. While we must condemn the disgusting beliefs of the neo-Nazi movement, which should have been relegated to the trash can of history after 1945, and punish any violent actions its members commit, we must also never sacrifice our basic values of liberty and freedom for all that our country is founded on.

While in fairness no one has seriously advocated cracking down on “hate music” or on neo-Nazis in general, given the political climate and the hostility to basic civil liberties than many politicians and media members have; it will eventually come in my opinion. After all, neo-Nazis are easy to demonize. They are the ultimate simpletons because they hate other human beings for the simple fact that they are of a different skin color and/or believe a different religion than they do. No sane or rational person should make common cause with them. However, the ultimate test of liberty and freedom is how the most despised among us are treated by the government. We cannot punish people because of the stupid political and racial views they hold just because a majority of a populace is repelled by them. That will eventually lead to tyranny. In fact, it will backfire. The best way to defeat extremism is for it to operate out in the open. Most people are decent and fair minded and will reject mindless bigotry. However, if you try to force it underground, it will radicalize and grow more violent and it will attract disaffected people looking for an outlet to release their frustrations against society.

When neo-Nazis or anyone else, affiliated or not to any group, gets violent for whatever reason, the state must punish them. However, they must be punished based upon the act alone, not the motivation. Now is not the time for new so-called “hate crime” statues which provide for enhanced penalties based upon the motive if the victims belonged to a protected class. All violent crimes are deplorable and the state should not make distinctions based upon politically correct thinking and feel good ideologies.

Finally, we as Americans need to live up to our nation’s promise that all men created equal in our own personal lives. We need to oppose race based preferences, regardless of which races are the beneficiary. We need to learn to stop stereotyping people of other races and cultures. We need to start building a color blind society and reject the divisiveness of multiculturalism.

This massacre needs to be a teaching moment about not just race relations, but about freedom itself.