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Posts Tagged ‘Charlottesville’

Let’s have a discussion about Free Speech.

To begin, let’s go over the basics. The First Amendment does not give you or me the right to say whatever we want; our freedom of speech does have limits. Incitement to violence, threats of violence, and defamation are three of the very few exceptions to this freedom. Hate speech, though, actually is a protected form of speech, as Justice Brennan pointed out in a Texas v. Johnson, concerning flag burning:

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

Given this as a foundation, it is clear that the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and others of that racist ilk who descended upon Charlottesville last weekend had every right, under our Constitution, to assemble and spew their hate.

However…

They do not have a right to be heard.

They do not have a right to be accepted.

They do not have a right to an audience.

And they most certainly do not have a right to beat, assault, maim, or murder.

As a result…

They should expect to be shouted down at every turn of every street corner of every town.

They should expect to be shunned, ostracized, and condemned by every reasonable person who lives outside their twisted clans.

They should expect to be turned away, denied access, canceled on without notice, and prohibited any privately managed venue.

And they should expect to engender our disgust, and our retributive fury, for the crimes they commit.

Some people have tried to equate the two sides that faced off in Charlottesville, saying that there were violent acts from both factions. While we will never know who threw the first punch, we do know which side came with shields, torches, clubs, and guns. We do know which side surrounded a church and chanted Nazi slogans while the congregants were praying inside. And, of course, we do know which side drove a car, at speed, into a crowd.

I do not condone violence, but if I have to choose between the Nazis and the Maquis, between the Gestapo and the Jewish resistance, between the slavers and the slaves, I know which side I choose.

There is no moral equivalence between these two sides. None. And anyone who cannot see that deserves to be called out for it, shamed, castigated, and voted out of office.

k

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