Unclear On The Concept

If “Freedom of Speech” were about protecting things everyone agrees about, there’d be no need for a law.

For those in any doubt, here’s my point of view on Free Speech vis a vis the thugs and cretins (and the Nazis and White Supremacists that they attack):

  1. If the “Nazis” are out demonstrating, I’ll join you in demonstrating (peacefully) against them. 
  2. If you want to shut down the Nazis right to express their noxious ideas, exempting their (or anybody’s) *civil speech* from the First Amendment , I’ll be protesting against you – exactly as civilly as you do it.
  3. If the “Nazis” make a tangible threat of real violence against anyone, I’ll join you on the barricades. 
  4. If you threaten violence against them? I’ll be behind my own barricade, watching you beat the snot out of each other, hoping you both get hurt really bad, glad to be rid of you both.

And if you say “I support free speech, but…” and spell out exceptions for people who aren’t actively inciting real violence (as opposed to displaying charged symbols), then you don’t support free speech.  Go away.

10 thoughts on “Unclear On The Concept

  1. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it Not Voltaire.

  2. I disapprove of what you say, will defend your right to say it, but will laugh at you for demonstrating your sub-room-temperature IQ.

    My attitude towards the Washington Post these days. :^)

  3. I have a modest suggestion: anytime someone is arrested for assault at one of these demonstrations, they lose their right to appear at any other demonstration for the rest of their life. After all, if we can take away the 2nd Amendment rights for abusing them, maybe we should do the same for 1st Amendment rights?

    AmIRightHere or what?!

  4. On a more serious note, those who advocate “hate speech” and other restrictions on the First Amendment are not thinking very clearly. Nobody should want to drive that kind of speech underground just from the practical standpoint, if nothing else.

    Consider the white supremacists as an example. Why did they demonstrate? They’re socially marginalized, to put it mildly, so they tried to make themselves feel empowered and notable by demonstrating. The practical effect of denying them any method of relieving their rage at perceived injustices, and denying them that relief would do at least two bad things. One, it would make violence as a relief mechanism more likely. Two, it would make secrecy more urgent and hide the members of this group from the watchers, much as law enforcement rarely asks for pedophile sites brought down because they’re too useful in generating leads.

    So this “exemption to the First Amendment” is a bad idea from even the practical point of view, much less the moral one Mitch propounds.

  5. Consider the white supremacists as an example. Why did they demonstrate?

    I would contend that if triggered monuments were not being under fire, there would be no such demonstration. This was provoked. Any type of hate provokes a response. Why is it Ok to condone and glorify hate on the left, but g*d forbid three is a reaction by the idiots on the opposite (some may argue parallel) side? Yea, yea, I know, it is a rhetorical question, but one that needs to be asked.

  6. Regarding the notion of prohibiting violent demonstrators from demonstrating, no–that’s 1st Amendment. What needs to happen is that mayors, police chiefs, and the President need to find their balls and actually prosecute those who attack other people and destroy private property. Punishment, after a jail term for those who are violent, would be a good long time cleaning up graffiti and the like. Let them understand from personal experience what it’s like to clean up someone else’s mess so they’re less likely to do it again.

    (good luck participating in other protests, by the way, when you’re in jail, Occupy and Nazi crowds!)

    I think we also need (and I am dreaming here) to have leaders who know, and will articulate, the fact that history is quite frankly messy, and that it’s important to have some reminders of this messiness. It’s important that the slave cabins at Mt. Vernon be seen, that we know and understand about Confederate monuments, and so on. Otherwise we forget and repeat their mistakes.

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  8. I’ll respect the 1A rights to LEGAL demonstration for groups that I personally despise (Nazis, Occupiers, Antifa’s, Westboro Baptists, BLM marchers, etc.). But they darn sure better understand that their rights end when “their fist reaches the tip of the other guys nose”!

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