I think I made my concerns loud and clear when it comes to Neo Nazi’s and the KKK in my blog yesterday. And I did not hold back criticizing President Trump’s less than clear condemnation. However, there is a greater issue that threatens the very fabric of our society. It could actually result in the end of America as we know it.
The issue is the stifling of free speech. The Constitution is meant to be our Bible, so to speak, regarding the United States. It is meant to tell us what laws are legal or illegal. It guarantees our personal freedoms. However, unlike the Bible, the Constitution can be changed. But it is very hard.
It’s so hard that it has only been changed 17 times since the initial Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments, were adopted shortly after the Constitution was written. The first of the ten says this.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We now live in a society were the first amendment is being ignored and it appears that the Charlottesville police did not do their job in protecting the rights of the disgusting white supremacists. Being Jewish (and human), I have nothing but disdain for the KKK, Neo-Nazis, David Duke, Richard Spencer and the like. They are the worst of Americans. And yet, they are American.
The is why the super-far-left-progressive ACLU took Charlottesville to court to fight for the right for the racists to have a rally. In other words—the freedom of speech and to peaceably assemble is so important, that the ACLU when to court for Nazis. (It can definitely be questioned as to whether or not their assembly was peaceful…riot gear?)
Someone asked me yesterday, “What if it is hate speech?” Yes, the constitution protects hate speech. Free speech scholar Eugene Voloch writes in the Washington Post:
I keep hearing about a supposed “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment, or statements such as, “This isn’t free speech, it’s hate speech,” or “When does free speech stop and hate speech begin?” But there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Hateful ideas (whatever exactly that might mean) are just as protected under the First Amendment as other ideas. One is as free to condemn Islam — or Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, or whites, or illegal aliens, or native-born citizens — as one is to condemn capitalism or Socialism or Democrats or Republicans.
But it’s the Klan!
Today it is the Klan, tomorrow it will be pro-lifers or Planned Parenthood. Once we start making exceptions for other citizens to arm themselves and attack those exercising free speech, we begin a slippery slope towards a dictatorship or Stalinist styled government, replete with secret police and citizen spies.
In 1986, I was walking in Manhattan with Dr. Michael Brown. I was a student and Dr. Brown was speaking in New York. We came upon a group of Black Hebrew Israelites (I think that is what they called themselves) and they were spewing every kind of hate you can imagine. It was chilling, but that is their right under the first amendment.
And let’s be honest, it is easy to want to stifle the rights of hate groups of all kind. When I saw several people with Nazi flags at the Charlottesville rally, my blood boiled, but as disgusting as it is, it is their constitutional right. It is illegal to take up arms against those using speech we disagree with, as the Antifa groups did this weekend. You can protest against someone else’s speech, but you cannot silence them or attack them for that speech—only in the rarest of cases can the police stops someone’s speech.
- Fighting words—where one is threatening someone else
- Incitement to violence
- A few other minor areas
But it makes me so angry
Someone wrote me and said something akin to, “These people, the Antifa, believe that they are the only thing standing between the KKK and lynching.” I disagree with the statement, but either we have a country of law and order or anarchy. I know there is tremendous distrust of police and the more we hear, the more it seems that they did a horrible job of separating the two groups in Charlottesville, but the Police are there to stop people from being lynched (and come on—when was the last time we had a real lynching in America? It was 1981, if you really want to know).
We have fostered a generation that believes that if anything offends them, then they have to lash out. Goodness, I have been lashed out against several times just today (and it is only 1:00pm) and I don’t feel the need to fight someone or challenge them. Maturity is not getting offended. Proverbs says, “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
So, my question for the pro-Antifa folks is, when is it not okay to show up armed to prevent someone from exercising their first amendment right to free speech?
- When I see BLM activists chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry’em like bacon,” (which actually may be a violation of the First Amendment rights, because it is a call to violence).
- What if there is a pro-abortion rally? Can I show up with sticks and chains to shut them up?
- Can I stop people from protesting for hire wages?
- Can bosses attack union members who strike?
The answer is no (in case that wasn’t clear). Might point is that once you silence one group through violence or the threat of violence, then it is only a matter of time until all speech is silenced.
American’s Unique Place Among the Nations
What makes America great is our freedoms and liberties. That is why we rebelled against England. It is why we have a Constitution that is for every person. That is why the rebels risked their lives, as they wrote the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…
Once we start limiting the rights of some citizens, it is not long before we limit the rights of all citizens.
How ironic, that Charlottesville, of all cities, host a Freedom of Speech Wall where citizens can express their views. (https://www.visitcharlottesville.org/listing/freedom-of-speech-wall/2211/)