(re: “There’s no room for the intolerant in our society,” Aug. 24)
The U.S. Supreme Court has made it quite clear in many decisions over the years that hate speech is protected by the freedom of speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Even the burning of the American flag, which hundreds of millions of patriotic Americans consider the most offensive form of “hate speech” there is, protected by the Constitution.
There is personally nothing more offensive and hateful to me than seeing my beloved country’s flag spit upon, urinated upon, trampled upon or burned. But I have to accept it, because it’s the law.
And it is this same free speech clause that protects those two infamous so-called works of art — a crucifix submerged in a glass of urine, and a painting of the Virgin Mary smeared with dung. Would you have blamed devout Catholics or Protestants had they stormed the Brooklyn Museum when these two hateful pieces of artistic crap were exhibited?
I wouldn’t. But they didn’t, because fortunately, they were law-abiding people who reluctantly sucked it in.
Now let’s turn to Charlottesville, Virginia, where the “Unite the Right” rally was recently held. This is what noted civil rights attorney Normal Siegel had to say:
“The ‘Unite the Right’ rally participants have the right to carry those historically repulsive torches, wear offensive uniforms, engage in bigoted expressions, and call for the preservation of Confederate statues. In an open-carry state like Virginia, they have a right to wield weapons in public, too. They do not have the right to engage in any illegal or discriminatory conduct.”
“Opposition groups have the same First Amendment rights to counter demonstrate. But they, too, cannot engage in any illegal conduct.”
However, and you wouldn’t know it from the reporting, there were other hate groups at the rally besides those on the right. I refer specifically to those two left-wing extremist groups antifa and Black Lives Matter.
The word “antifa” means “anti-fascist,” and is Orwellian terminology. This organization is, in reality, a fascistic mob of violent “brownshirts,” who together with their fellow “brownshirts” in the Black Lives Matter movement, have suppressed free speech in colleges and universities throughout the country.
They do so by invading auditoriums and drowning out the invited speakers, or by threatening violence, or by actually committing violence.
You won’t see these demonstrations on MSNBC or CNN, but you will see them shown on Fox News. On “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” I have also heard speakers from the BLM organization calmly discuss why they have the right to determine what constitutes “hate speech” and why they have the right to do whatever they feel is necessary to stop it. The law be damned!
Unfortunately, these lawbreakers have (so far) been getting away with their criminal actions because gutless college presidents and gutless (or complicit) Democratic politicians have restrained the police from enforcing the law.
Hate is not a one-way street. It emanates from extremists on both ends of the political spectrum, the far right and the far left. But like it or not, their hate speech — just like that of the American flag burners — is protected by the First Amendment.
However, criminal acts are not. It is way past time to let the police do their jobs.