The Greater Harm

In Germany experts are becoming concerned about the welfare of the children of Neo-Nazis. They are growing up in isolated communities, being taught the values of their culture, often also how to use weapons. They are sometimes kept from public schools, taught to shun outsiders or be suspicious of them. They read Nazi-era books, put together puzzles showing maps of Germany with 1937 borders and attend ideological camps. The question is, is it time for the state to intervene? Do the values of a free and open society prevent intervention? Or, does the potential danger to society these youngsters pose warrant some kind of intervention? It may not be an easy question but is still one that ought to be seriously considered in Germany as well as in any country where the political right is gaining ground. The question brings up a host of sociological, psychological, political, ethical, philosophical and moral issues, yet, given the increasing presence of right-wing groups in Germany and elsewhere, one that cannot be ignored. A possible way to tackle it would be to consider the issue of harm. Where is the greater harm? Is it interfering with the rights of a group who sets themselves apart and whose values are not constructive? Or is it to allow them to be who they are at the risk of the danger they represent for others and for society?