Have we all lost our collective minds in this country? I’m seriously asking this question after the events of the last week. Ok, first of many disclaimers I will have to put in this piece to explain to the overly sensitive what I’m actually getting at. At no time during this entire post am I or anyone else with a rational mind condoning what the Nazis and supremacists stand for, at the same time I and others ALSO condemn hatred on the Left, i.e. Antifa, BLM, La Raza and other organizations devoted exclusively to hatred of any kind. That being said, back to the article.
Little background and simple truths of reality.
History is not pretty, there are countless examples through all of human history of people doing bad things. There are also countless examples of the virtues and strengths of humanity. That is human history, some bad, some good and some rather grey areas.
The First Amendment is not there to protect courteous and benign speech. It is there precisely to protect unlikable speech, speech that offends. There is no compelling reason to protect benign speech, we all implicitly agree it’s ok. There is, however, a compelling reason based in history to protect uncomfortable speech, speech that goes against the norms of society. The First Amendment was unique in human history at the time of its adoption. It’s extremely important in this discussion about this weeks’ events in VA.
Lack of equality of outrage on mostly one side speaks to the mindset that leads one down the path to the people and places I will discuss.
Erasing history is a common tactic of despots and totalitarian ideologies. Don’t believe me? Read up on Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, for crying out loud , look at North Korea and ISIS and you can see why this is a favored tactic. George Orwell spoke about this in 1984,
” Winston wondered vaguely to what century the church belonged. It was always difficult to determine the age of a London building. Anything large and impressive, if it was reasonably new in appearance, was automatically claimed as having been built since the Revolution, while anything that was obviously of earlier date was ascribed to some dim period called the Middle Ages. The centuries of capitalism were held to have produced nothing of any value. One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books. Statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, the names of streets – anything that might throw light upon the past had been systematically altered.”
Have we finally reached 1984 in 2017? Our history, even the shitty parts of it, must always be protected. We can not wish away parts of our history that are now distasteful. Otherwise, what is history? If there is no truth to history but what this or that group say it is, then what good is it? Where does this stop? Many people in our history that are considered good people, they did great things, also had a dark side. Newsflash, they were humans too, subject to all the foibles that face our species. Does that mean we erase any mention of them or images of them because that bad part of them offends us? There is a good-sized statue of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle. I’ve seen it, stood next to it. Who he was and the death and destruction he caused to millions upon millions of people since the inception of his vision highly offends me and millions of others. Do we get to have that statue now torn down? Using the logic of the Left, yes we do have that right…but I wouldn’t place bets on that going over well with their side. They are allowed to be offended, anyone else is not. They and they alone decide what parts of history are allowed and which must be expunged. History doesn’t give a flying fuck about your feelings, it is what it is, warts and all.
Time for a disclaimer: Nothing I’ve said so far or hence, implies or otherwise condones the horrible things the people I’ve mentioned have done in the past. It is merely to point out the dangers of where we are headed as a society if we don’t stop this insanity, now.
People can say what they want in this country, with a few prudent exceptions. The old, you can’t yell Fire in a crowded theater for instance. These are prudent because it deals directly with potential human safety if the statement is false and causes panic that results in injury or property damage. Merely being a distasteful person or group that is not actively being hostile or actively inciting a riot or violence is NOT against the law. I and millions of others detest everything Nazis stand for, but they have the right to peacefully assemble and redress grievances, just like anyone else in this country. There was a Supreme Court case dealing with this exact issue back in the 70s if I recall correctly. Forgive me if some of the details are a little fuzzy, doing this from memory. A Nazi group wanted to hold a parade or be part of a parade through the town of Skokie Illinois. The town is/was home to a large Jewish population, needless to say, the townspeople were not too happy with this. They sued to stop the Nazis from marching, it ended up in the Supreme Court, the Nazis won and had their parade. The Supreme Court said in their ruling
“The Illinois Supreme Court denied a stay of the trial court’s injunction prohibiting petitioners from marching, walking, or parading in the uniform of the National Socialist Party of America or otherwise displaying the swastika, and from distributing pamphlets or displaying materials inciting or promoting hatred against Jews or persons of any faith, ancestry, or race, and also denied leave for an expedited appeal. Held:
1. The Illinois Supreme Court’s order is a final judgment for purposes of this Court’s jurisdiction, since it finally determined the merits of petitioners’ claim that the injunction will deprive them of First Amendment rights during the period of appellate review.
2. The State must allow a stay where procedural safeguards, including immediate appellate review, are not provided, and the Illinois Supreme Court’s order denied this right.
Certiorari granted; reversed and remanded.”
As horrid as these people are, as long as they remain peaceful, they have the right to free speech. I don’t want them marching around, you don’t want it either, but our feelings don’t get to decide free speech rights. Because, as sure as the Sun is going to rise in the East tomorrow, there will come a time when something you say or believe will be deemed hateful or distasteful and banned. That is PRECISELY the reason the First Amendment says what it says and why it’s one of the most important things in human history. There is nothing in the Constitution that protects one from being offended.
This doesn’t mean you can say things without consequences. People get to call you a piece of shit racist if you express support for or engage in the B.S. of Nazis and other groups such as BLM, Antifa, La Raza. Can anyone name one peaceful event Antifa has ever attended without trying to intimidate or outright engage in violence?
A recent discussion I had in regards to this incident was enlightening. While universally the actions of the Nazis were condemned, it was only those on the right that also condemned Antifa and BLM. The Left , in essence, kept saying yah, But…..Nazis are worse or some variation on that theme. This is not unique to that discussion, you can see it all around you this week. As distasteful as the Nazis are, they had a legal permit to do their little marchie thing.
Antifa , seriously, can anyone show me a time when Antifa acted in a peaceful non intimidating manner, showed up and all hell broke loose. This was shortly after the Mayor and Gov. told security forces to stand down. Exactly what did anyone expect would happen?? And now a young lady is dead, and many more injured. You defeat these hateful groups like Nazis and Antifa by ridiculing them if they march. You turn them into a laughable caricature of who they are. You don’t engage in violence, on EITHER side…should I put in another disclaimer?……nah….I know ridiculing them is a simple solution to a complex problem and is said mostly in jest, but the fact remains. Any group actively engaging in violence in order to shut down speech they disagree with is far more dangerous to society than some idiotic racists who could barely gather 500 people for their “unitetheright” rally. Looks to me like the majority of Americans on both sides don’t want to join their little club. That’s a Good sign, not the cue to paint everyone on the right as supporting this nonsense.
A not so good sign is the utter lack of condemnation from those on the Left when it comes to violence perpetrated by some on their side. Violence started by Antifa, BLM and others is excused, or otherwise explained away as a necessary evil, etc etc. What is a rational person left to conclude when faced with that reality? As distasteful as Nazis are, they didn’t do anything violent until Antifa showed up. Disclaimer: this does not excuse the violence the Nazis engaged in, they should be punished too. How about all the times Antifa rioted to stop others from speaking at various college campus’ across the country? Don’t hear much outrage coming from the Left. People were beat up, some died, millions of dollars in damage was done to businesses, cars, other property. One would rationally consider that acting violently. Yet, many on the Left cheer these groups, hail them as heroic. Antifa, an Anti Fascist group using the exact same playbook used by Mussolini, Hitler and other Fascists to seize power….kind of an oxymoron when you stop to think of it.
Keeping us divided is the easiest way to rule over us and still keep their cushy gigs in DC and other government utopias. It would be awesome if the Left came down as hard on their violent members as we do towards ours and theirs. If we are fighting each other we’re less of a threat. Tired of being played yet? One last thing to consider. Nazism, Communism, Fascism, are ALL Left wing philosophies….Let that sink in for a minute or two.