ACLU

A 'Broader' Understanding of the First Amendment That Excludes Right-Wing Racists

An ACLU critic argues that the group must forsake freedom of speech in order to save it.

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Michael Nigro/Sipa USA/Newscom

In the wake of last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, the American Civil Liberties Union is facing a backlash from people dismayed that an organization dedicated to defending freedom of speech thinks that mission includes defending the right of white supremacists to hold a rally in a public park. Some of the ACLU's critics mistakenly claim that "hate speech" is not protected by the First Amendment. K-Sue Park, a critical race studies fellow at UCLA, takes a more nuanced (or maybe just more confusing) position, arguing that the ACLU's reading of the First Amendment is too "narrow," by which she means it is too broad.

Writing in The New York Times, Park argues that the ACLU gives short shrift to barriers that prevent people of color from participating in democratic debate even if they theoretically have the right to do so. "The hope is that by successfully defending hate groups, [the ACLU's] legal victories will fortify free-speech rights across the board," writes Park, who worked for the organization as a law student. "While admirable in theory, this approach implies that the country is on a level playing field, that at some point it overcame its history of racial discrimination to achieve a real democracy, the cornerstone of which is freedom of expression."

Not so, says Park, since "the power of speech remains proportional to wealth," while "police intimidation of African-Americans and Latinos" persists. Because of "structural discrimination and violence," she says, "the legal gains on which the A.C.L.U. rests its colorblind logic have never secured real freedom or even safety for all." Instead of defending the First Amendment rights of racists and corporations, Park argues, the ACLU should "imagine a holistic picture of how speech rights are under attack right now" and "research how new threats to speech are connected to one another and to right-wing power."

One way speech rights are under attack right now (as always) is the argument that they should not apply to disfavored speakers, who from Park's perspective include right-wing racists and people organized as corporations. By asking the ACLU to think about freedom of speech "in a broader context," she is actually asking the ACLU to abandon the principle altogether. The whole point of the principle is that it applies regardless of who you are or what you are saying. If the ACLU gave up its "colorblind logic" and started using racial and ideological filters to pick First Amendment cases, it would no longer be defending freedom of speech; it would be defending the interests of particular social and political groups.

Freedom of speech does not require the "level playing field" of Park's dreams. It is obviously true that wealth helps people get their messages across. So do fame, good looks, and verbal felicity. But those advantages do not render freedom of speech a nullity, any more than applying the Fourth Amendment to mansions as well as shacks or guaranteeing due process to rich as well as poor defendants makes those protections meaningless. To the contrary, legally guaranteed rights matter most to people without the social and political connections that might provide protection from official harassment.

The right to speak your mind without fear of punishment may not translate into the "real freedom" or "safety for all" that Park wants, but it is still instrinsically and instrumentally valuable, and the strength of that right depends on its consistent application. That is why the ACLU's First Amendment victories do in fact "fortify free-speech rights across the board."

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  1. K-Sue Park, a critical race studies fellow at UCLA, takes a more nuanced (or maybe just more confusing) position, arguing that the ACLU’s reading of the First Amendment is too “narrow,” by which she means it is too broad.

    Given that “critical race studies” are INHERENTLY racist, shouldn’t he not be teaching racist bullshit? The “white privilege” bullshit eminates from that shithole of an “academic theory”.

    One way speech rights are under attack right now (as always) is the argument that they should not apply to disfavored speakers, who from Park’s perspective include right-wing racists and people organized as corporations

    So, the ACLU has no rights then. Intriguing.

    And we’re all aware that ALL right-wingers are “racist”, right?

    1. No no no silly Corporations they like have all the rights in the world. Planned Parenthood (Good Corp) they get to spend all they want and speak all the want. NRA(Not good Corp) Does not. Sierra Club(Good Corp) Exxon Mobil (Bad Corp) George Soros(good guy) Koch brothers(bad guy) don’t you see how that works. LOL

      1. I wish they would just be honest about it.

        1. Come now, a little social constructivism never did any harm. The ACLU itself understands this very well, which is why the organisation has carefully refrained from commenting on the inappropriate “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated, so-called judge in America’s leading criminal “parody” case. See the documentation at:

          https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      2. Speaking of PP – the ads for it on my local station have stopped even trying to pretend anymore by clearly stating women should use them for a doctor’s appointment in order to ‘insure your insurance money goes to support them.’

    2. I disfavor all minorities, all women, all icky-sexuals, all Demoncraps.

      So now they have to shut up, right?

  2. K-Sue Park, a critical race studies fellow at UCLA, takes a more nuanced (or maybe just more confusing) position, arguing that the ACLU’s reading of the First Amendment is too “narrow,” by which she means it is too broad.

    We need someone from the ALCU and the CLAU to weigh in on the validity of speech rights for all. Honestly, I really am surprised that the First Amendment has persevered with the steady increase in intellectual lightweights in academia and the Fourth Estate who seemingly have no idea the value of free speech for others.

    1. I really am surprised that the First Amendment has persevered with the steady increase in intellectual lightweights in academia and the Fourth Estate who seemingly have no idea the value of free speech for others.

      ^ This. This is a big part of what drove me out of academia.

    2. Has the phrase “while admirable in theory” ever NOT been followed by some asshole statist pronouncement to bring down the jackboots?

    3. Park it. K, Sue?

    4. Only because the Constitution is so damn hard to change. I give my thanks to our forefathers that have the insight to include those strict and hard to change rules.

    5. Like so many academics and SJWs, K-Sue confuses equal opportunity, which the law can be reasonably expected to supply, with equality of outcome, which it cannot. This fundamental problem is rife throughout “enlightened” societies all over the world and it will ultimately be their demise.

  3. Really can’t imagine a group with less power and wealth than neo-Nazis and their ilk.

    1. Me too. However the media has found their windmills to tilt at. The advantage for them by blowing their threat, power and presence up they get to tie any Republican to them and therefore Trump. Look at the GOP running to every camera they can find to show how much they disavow Trump for not disavowing fast enough. It is a winning strategy for them. Notice how they cover up the fact Spencer is a big single payer proponent. These cats had a rally in Madison Square Garden in 1939. Think about that a massive rally in a city whose population is dominated by almost every group they hate. Now they can barley get 300 cats at a rally in the South.

      1. Right-wing fanatics committed the second-worst terrorist attack in US history, continue to shoot up churches and commit other acts of violence, and just drove a car into a crowd of people.

        We should at least pay some fraction of the attention to them that we give to Muslims.

        1. True, Tony. But left-wing fanatics have killed millions.

          1. Damn, I actually heard you switch your brain off when I read that.

            1. No, that was the sound of your cognitive dissonance kicking in.

        2. The question is: how much concern for “blowback” should we give the right-wing fascists?

          1. Blowback is blind to ideology; you can expect it whenever the injured party feels justified in retribution, it doesn’t matter who the party is or what they “stand for”.

        3. An appropriate fraction indeed. Something like a decimal point followed by a half dozen zeros and a few random digits ending in a percent sign.

          .000000284%

        4. Sure. .00001% is “some fraction”. It’s about the right ratio of neo-Nazi murderers to jihadist murderers.

          But I’m for paying a much more significant fraction of my attention to the likes of the City of Charlotte, which is a much more significant threat to my freedom than the League of the South or Vanguard America.

          Virginia ACLU chief Claire G. Gastanaga: “… law enforcement was standing passively by, seeming to be waiting for violence to take place, so that they would have grounds to declare an emergency, declare an ‘unlawful assembly’ and clear the area.” https://reason.com/blog/2017/08…..-in-charlo

    2. I live in the South and I have never met one as far as I know.

      1. Honestly, I have met some but they are usually the type of people that fix air conditioners for a living. They are not what one would call “powerful” or “politically connected”.

  4. Ummm…how can you write this article without noting that the ACLU has already announced that it will not be defending all speech anymore if the protesters are ‘armed’ or vaguely if they ‘incite violence’.

    Read Volokh or the WSJ today.

    1. “Odd statement from the ACLU: ‘White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech’ [UPDATE: National ACLU endorses the statement]”

      Volokh Washington Post

      1. Violence isn’t speech tho.

        1. Read the article then comment

          1. No, I feel like I can make that statement about your post without reading the article.

              1. I did.

        2. “ACLU Will No Longer Defend Hate Groups Protesting With Firearms”

          WSJ

          1. No surprise there. The ACLU has always had a blind spot where guns were concerned. For the longest time, they were in the “The RTKBA is a ‘collective’ right, and so it can be infringed whenever the state desires.” With Heller and MacDonald, the Supremes told them, “Bullshit”… but I still don’t see them standing up for the Second Amendment.

        3. ‘Violence isn’t speech tho.’

          Well, based upon what I have been reading and hearing lately, it appears that some believe that their violence is speech (and therefore protected) while your speech is violence (and therefore not protected by the constitution).

        4. Gee, who would have figured that out if you hadn’t informed us?

          Oh, wait, Volokh already did. “Everyone, I take it, agrees that violence, white supremacist or otherwise, isn’t speech.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh -conspiracy/wp/2017/08/16/ odd-statement-from- the-aclu-of-california-white-supremacist- violence-is-not-free-speech/

          But he has more to say than that. You, on the other hand, not so much.

      2. Hey! You are stifling debate with this right wing whataboutism!

        1. Is it ‘whataboutism’ when this article is ‘about’ the ACLU and they have begun an expected sellout on speech (similar to their sellout on religious liberty and protest when it concerns pro-life groups)?

        2. I’m no good at sarcasm, my apologies, Mickey

          1. I don’t engage in sarcasm all that often, but Gillespie’s bad faith dismissal’s of arguments against the pearl clutching about Trump in his post annoyed me.

            1. Gillespie often annoys people and he knows it

              1. But unlike most of the Leftists, Gillespie is sometimes right.

                1. Well, even a stopped clock is right two times a day. (That’s analog 12-hour clocks for those who are confused.)

          2. It’s fine. We’re all autistic here, we understand.

      3. WakaWaka, so are you condemning ANTIFA and BLM for their hate speech? You said violence is not free speech. The BLM was implicated in the murder of 5 Dallas police officers. Then ANTIFA and BLM have been implicated in multiple riots and violence across this nation during the past 2-3 years in major cities and universities. Do you condone that activity or are you going to condemn them also? My resolve is to have congress ban the ANTIFA, BLM, white supremacists, and Nazi groups totally. Only one problem with that, it is unconstitutional. All of these groups have the right to speak their mind, but none of them have the right to physically attack the other. All those involved in the violence on Saturday need to be arrested and charged.

        1. You’re misunderstanding WakaWaka. His comment, at least the one above, is on the incoherence of ACLU.

        2. “involved”?

          So, the right to self defense is a nullity to you?

      4. Would this making the point that violence and speech are different? Brilliant.

        1. If they had said as much, there would be fewer concerns. The particular statement that WakaWaka refers to was in response to a question of whether the ACLU CA would be representing some Free Speech rally. As you may imagine, that answer left everyone rather confused.

    2. Reading it over, it kinda seems like they want to have it both ways. They don’t seem to make any solid commitment to anything. They want to tell their liberal followers that they oppose white supremacist ideas and don’t support violence, without committing to not defending speech rights of white supremacists. What is left is a vague and fairly meaningless statement without more elaboration. The answer to Volokh’s question didn’t provide any clarity.

      In the initial statement, they say “If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution.” So it isn’t stating they won’t defend anyone who is armed, but rather that marching armed AND with the intent to harm people is not protected. Ultimately, it comes down to how they’ll interpret incitement and “intent to harm” in practice. If they stand by the legal definitions of those terms as they’ve done historically, there really isn’t a change here and I think it’s more just about reassuring their supporters. If they going to be interpreting those terms more loosely that doesn’t matchup with the actual legalities at play, then they will be weakening their commitment to the First Amendment.

      1. As I say below, a lot of people really need to write more precisely and less ambiguously. You’d think a bunch of lawyers would know how to do that.

        So I suspect the vagueness is intentional, so they can have it both ways. I suspect a lot of their donors will have threatened to stop giving if they don’t declare the bad people unpersons.

      2. Actually the mere act of vigorously exercising First Amendment rights while armed makes it very easy to cross the line from ‘bearing arms’ to ‘brandishing’ – from speech to intimidation/incitement. And while many will speciously argue that the 1st Amendment requires the 2nd – that is legally a specious argument.

        Doesn’t surprise me at all that the ACLU isn’t going to try to draw these lines.

        1. So you lose your First Amendment rights when you exercise your Second? Interestingly, the Courts have never found this to be true

          1. The ACLU is the government?

          2. I think he’s more saying that your 1A rights are really, really unambiguous if you are not armed. If your speech is punctuated by you waiving an AK-47 in the air, you’re treading a finer line.

          3. That’s not what I’m saying and you know it. I’m saying that speech (an attempt to persuade/manipulate via words) while armed can easily turn into forcible intimidation/incitement (which is not protected – nor is it ‘acceptable until the moment the bullet leaves the muzzle’). That is not even remotely controversial or surprising. And the reality is that takes an extra ordinary discipline on the part of both those ‘peaceably assembled’ and those doing the verbal speechifying/manipulating to avoid crossing that line.

            There is no reason the ACLU should be trying to distinguish which groups do have that discipline/restraint and which are merely a rabble where violence is a very possible outcome (as it was at Charlottesville). Maybe GOA or NRA will try to wade into that thicket – which btw also has some SC cases that define when that ‘peaceable assembly’ line is crossed – but no reason why the ACLU should.

            1. So if you have a handgun you should be forbidden from marching in a protest? There is no case law stipulating that when you exercise one right you lose another. Brandishing a gun (which can be defined as intimidation) is quite different from merely being armed.

              It amazes me that some people will attack the NRA for pandering to the Right (rightly so), but will do mental gymnastics to defend an ACLU that is conceding (and has conceded in the past) several individual rights.

              1. Yes I know that ‘brandishing’ is different from ‘bearing’. So does the NRA and GOA who are very explicit in acknowledging that most (90% according to them) successful self-defense is done via brandishing. And they know that brandishing IN THE HOME is legally very different from brandishing IN PUBLIC. Indeed, they present themselves as experts in the difference.

                So let the NRA/GOA do their own heavy lifting if they want to do so. And if they want to avoid pandering to the right, then maybe they should start by defending antifa or Black Panthers or Philando Castile or somesuch armed subgroup opposing armed neo-Nazis/KKK assemblies. Course – their own membership might not be very interested in that either.

                It seems perfectly reasonable to me that the ACLU avoid this entirely – since their membership ain’t interested either. Controversial enough that they have to associate with crappy content. Let someone else parse ‘peaceable assembly’.

        2. I sort of wish that whatever person throws the first punch, swings the first bat, throws the first rock will get 3 rounds of medium-caliber rifle ammo in the chest – and that every aspect of the event is scrupulously recorded on video for the world to see.

          Clear cut self-defense. Proper operation of the Second Amendment. You want more of the same? No problem. Just act violently again.

          1. I kind of hope that a large group of Muslims advocating jihad and armed with suicide vests – surrounded by a large group of neoNaziKuKKs armed with whatever – surrounded by a large group of antifas and commies armed with whatever – all march together and figure out among themselves what speech is inflammatory and what is protected. Maybe with some random elements of all three driving through each part of the crowd at whatever speed they deem to be appropriate and yelling whatever they want out the windows just to make sure that things get more mixed up.

            I’m sure they can do so. And if not, well no loss.

        3. No, it doesn’t.

    3. Link

      I wish people would write with more precision.

      but take the clear position that the First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence.

      A plain, literal reading of that quote from the CA ACLU chapters would suggest that people who engage in or incite violence no longer have any protection from the first amendment from government actions, which is clearly wrong and I don’t imagine is what they really want to say. I suspect what they mean is that assembly and speech for the purpose of doing violence or inciting is not protected, but everyone already agrees with that. SO maybe what they really mean is “we want to suck up to our far-left donors, so we won’t defend icky people as vigorously anymore.”

      1. Maybe. But, how do you determine intent beforehand? Maybe, it’s nothing, but considering that the group has reversed its position on some key individual rights in the past (religious liberty and protest when concerning pro-life groups are the most prominent) it wouldn’t surprise me if they reverse course on this either.

        1. There may be some cases where people run their mouths and indicate an intent to attack people. In most instances, that’s probably not going to be the case though. I’d be mildly surprised if there was a significant shift in their actual stance. I read it as pandering to left-wing supporters and donors, so Zeb may be correct that they might be less active in supporting rights of those groups even if they don’t change their actual position on it.

          1. “that they might be less active in supporting rights of those groups even if they don’t change their actual position on it.”

            In which case the myth of the ACLU as a non-partisan defender of ‘free speech’ (which is really the last individual right that they truly defend) must be dropped. They’re no different from the NRA pandering to the Right.

            1. I don’t think the ACLU is non-partisan at all. I think they’ve been pretty good at being consistent in defending free speech specifically, in the past (and their sheer size has amplified their value in that regard). They’ve been much less stellar in some other areas, and I hope they don’t go down that path with speech.

              1. Me neither. Someone needs to defend all speech

            2. I think they may be reaching that point, sadly. My regard for the ACLU has been dropping for some time, but I had to give them some credit for being good on speech, not following the herd on Citizens United, etc.

              Speech has kind of been their trademark issue for a long time. If they get squishy on speech, they can go to hell in a woodchipper for all I care.

            3. In the NRA’s defense they support pro 2A candidates. Have seen them support one or two congressional Dems in my purple state. Though they did pick Romney over Paul, which was Wayne saying he liked $5,000 dinners over )50 ones.

        2. As I just posted above, I suspect it’s intentionally somewhat vague.

          Of course, you can’t determine intent beforehand if they don’t tell anyone.

          1. Right. How many Nazis declare they’re going to shoot up a bunch of people at their march? Wouldn’t that already make their speech unprotected. I suspect that the ACLU will just stop defending these people by stating that their past statements are ‘incitement’ and ‘violent’.

            1. We shall see, I guess.

            2. Well if Charlottesville is an example – then they ARE violent and inciting and their ‘speech’ is at best irrelevant and more likely contributory to that.

            3. Then they’d better be ready to stop defending antifa, BLM, and all the other leftist groups, who have on numerous occasions shown their propensity to incite, and be, violent. And in those cases, it wasn’t when confronted with a counter-group wanting to deny them their rights.

        3. But, how do you determine intent beforehand?

          You just make it up. Like everyone does. For thousands of years.

          The ACLU can only be embarrassed by defending the rights of out groups. If they decided not to defend the rights of a group they probably should have defended, well that little slip-up will always blow over in a day or two.

        4. They do still defend religious liberty, just not of icky christians. They continue to fight cases for muslims to keep their beards in prison and stuff like that.

      2. assembly and speech for the purpose of doing violence or inciting is not protected, but everyone already agrees with that

        i agree it is not protected; i do not agree it should not be.

      3. A more accurate statement that does not pander to any particular group might be:

        “The First Amendment does not protect a right to engage in violence.”

        As I recall (and I could be wrong about this), the Supremes have decided that even speech that advocates violence is protected – so long as it does not advocate the imminent commission of violence. That is, one might say, “We should take up arms, march on Washington and kill every politician who _____ (fill in the blank)”. But not “Go to your congress-critters office and blow it up NOW!”

        Anyone with a clearer recollection of this?

  5. This professor/fellow is Exhibit A in why we should eliminate federal student loans. Is there any possibility that any student would actually pay to learn this nonsense if the money came from their own pocket?

    1. Actually, yes, there are going to be some coconuts in every bunch. But without student loans, you wouldn’t be forcing so many through the indoctrination.

  6. One argument to people who think “hate speech” should be restricted or illegal, I give them the example of the Westboro Baptist Church. They were able to show how vile their views were, pissed off a lot of people. But neither they nor their detractors were violent. And because of that, most people who were on the fence on gay issues started moving towards gay marriage and other pro gay issues. I think Westboro did more for the cause of gay marriage in the last 10 years than all the Pride parades could possibly hope to do.

    1. I doubt most people have any idea what Westboro is or what they do.

      1. Westboro was pretty prominent 3-4 years ago, but had been pretty quiet recently. Or the media just found other sensationalists to sensationalize.

        1. My original statement stands.

        2. I think their leader died a couple years back – and they’ve been pretty quiet since.

          1. Wonder if his funeral was protested.

    2. Unlikely.

      Most people didn’t know about it care about the Westboro Baptists until they started protesting the funerals of soldiers.

      The decade before that, when they regularly protested the funerals of people that died from AIDS? No one cared.

  7. Trump is in charge. He will define hate speech.

    You REALLY want that? REALLY?

  8. The power of free speech also remains proportional to your number of Twitter followers. To make things fair, each person should be required to have the same number of followers: none.

    1. Can we exclude Tinderfessions from this requirement?

  9. So, in Park’s view, to what extent one has rights is based, in part, on one’s racial identity? This would imply a legal caste system of rights based on race, and yet she thinks she is fighting racism with this notion?

    I am not sure one can possibly argue against such an irrational position other than to tell her it is idiocy.

  10. “The right to speak your mind without fear of punishment may not translate into the “real freedom” or “safety for all” that Park wants, but it is still instrinsically and instrumentally valuable, and the strength of that right depends on its consistent application. ”

    You’d think an article containing this sentence, and referencing free speech and Charlottesville might include at least a passing mention of Antifa.

  11. “”If the ACLU gave up its “colorblind logic” and started using racial and ideological filters to pick First Amendment cases, it would no longer be defending freedom of speech; it would be defending the interests of particular social and political groups.””

    Just thought it was worth repeating.

  12. OT: Apparently the one thing Trump can do that will piss off some of his supporters is fire Steve Bannon. Lol

    1. All anti-war people should bemoan Bannon leaving. He was a non-interventionist voice in the administration, at least

      1. I don’t like the guy at all, but I do hope his opposition to military action in North Korea was not why he was dismissed.

  13. On one hand, environmentalist groups will oppose fracking because regardless of it being less carbon intensive than coal or oil, they don’t think the solution to their problem involves finding more sources of carbon dioxide. On the other hand, moving to natural gas (obtained by fracking) is the most important development in the fight against global warming.

    At some point, you start to question their commitment to environmentalism and start realizing that their policies reflect whatever drives donations. At some point, they become more of a feel good service than a group legitimately committed to saving the environment.

    On the one hand, the ACLU is an organization that fights for civil liberties and our constitutional rights. On the other hand, selling honest liberalism probably doesn’t drive donations quite like it used to. If you want to sell yourself to donors, these days, you might present yourself as being at the forefront in the fight against rednecks, the Klan, and neo-Nazis. Your rusted on support will probably stay with you even if you stick up for Nazis, but the marginal support–who might give their money to someone else?

    1. Fracking isn’t even economical right now and you’re defending it as the *only* possible alternative to other forms of fossil fuels. It’s also causing fucking earthquakes. Who’s the one doing buttwork for donors, again?

      1. I frequently think you couldn’t possibly be a bigger idiot and you constantly prove me wrong.

  14. Craft beers are flavorful because they’re made in small batches. To scale a beer to be successful for the mass market, you have to make a beer that tastes neutral like Bud Light. When punk rock is something people only see in seedy venues downtown, it’s violent and frightening. To make it popular, it needs to look and sounds more like Green Day or Blink 182.

    It’s the same thing with any big business or charitable organization. The bigger you get, the more what you do is about appealing to those marginal supporters.

  15. I wish people would give up the ridiculous belief that disavowing X means unequivocally supporting Y, either implicitly or explicitly.

    1. Yes, folks, he’s serious.

      He actually cried about that.

      1. And this guy is actually such a huge asshole that he has nothing better to do that switch around handles so he can be an anonymous dick to people on H&R.

        1. Yes, folks, he actually cried about that.

          1. Being lazy today, I see. No new handle special for me? Now I’m really going to cry.

  16. people dismayed that an organization dedicated to defending freedom of speech thinks that mission includes defending the right of white supremacists to hold a rally in a public park

    stupid people need the most attention.

  17. The freedom of the Jewish bakes to refuse to bake a Nazi wedding cake comes from the same principle as the freedom of the Nazi bakery to refuse to bake a Jewish wedding cake*.

    Why is that so fucking hard to understand? Just because one side is a hated, bigoted, insane group of politically disfavored assholes, and the other side are a bunch of Nazis**, doesn’t alter the principle. The speech is free. It musy be, for everybody, or it is free for nobody.

    *whatever the hell that is

    **I kid, I kid. Relax.

  18. The ACLU has always dealt with what are by nature difficult issues (cue some retard explaining how they’re not difficult at all, especially if you don’t put much thought into them). As I think this article talks about, it was difficult for its early Jewish patrons to accept defending the rights of Nazis. That is not cut and dry, and people always bitching about the ACLU for not being on their pet bandwagon are always curiously lacking in their own efforts to expand freedom beyond bitching on the internet.

    I would have them retain their more purist constitutional rights mission and let other groups deal with social justice problems, but I am no more entitled to tell them what to do than any of you are. Still, there are problems in society that directly involve “too much” freedom of speech, and it’s not enough to insist that the position that requires the least amount of thought is the correct one. I think perhaps the single biggest impediment to human progress in this country and hence on the planet is the existence of propaganda. Without that propaganda, we could get ourselves out of a certain incredibly misinformed muck. But then the assholes who buy into that propaganda are in charge now, and I don’t want them touching speech rights. When people who value objectivity are back in power, I’ll revisit the thought.

    1. “I think perhaps the single biggest impediment to human progress in this country and hence on the planet is the existence of propaganda.”

      Propaganda like this:

      “Still, there are problems in society that directly involve ‘too much’ freedom of speech.”

      You’re not very fun to talk to. You know why that thing you said is wrong and stupid. But you are willing to argue contrarywise cuz Trump, and racism, and whatever.

    2. And you’re an Oklahoma yokel with an internet connection.

      If you want to start diagraming a hierarchy of trust, go ahead.

  19. K-Sue Park, a critical race studies fellow at UCLA

    Sorry, I don’t care about the views of anyone with a FICO score below 780.

  20. Don’t go read the comments section of the NYT article cited with a full stomach.

    Unless you can categorically state that the KKK etc. has exactly the same constitutional freedom of expression rights as any other American you haven’t a fucking clue about the function and purpose of the First Amendment.

    1. Ignorant retards define free speech as a positive right. A right given to right-thinkers by right-thinkers government officials. Free speech is good speech, spoken by good people, who do good, and think right.

  21. I’m a long term donor to the ACLU. i find it fascinating that people form the left and the right read a case or two and think that the ACLU is protecting ‘the other side’. That is not at all the case. The ACLU was designed to protect free speech irrespective of your politics and they do take cases from all over the political specturm.

  22. The freedom of speech is for everyone, even if that speech offends someone. There are no laws that say a person cannot offend with their speech. How ever, yes you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire. All people are free to say what is on their mind. I do not agree with Nazi’s, white supremacists, ANTIFA, or the BLM, but they all have the right to speak their piece. If I don’t like it, I need to leave or plug my ears. None of these groups has a right to physically attack someone because they disagree. That is an assault charge. The job of the police is ensure that NO violence takes place. In this case, the police were ordered to stand down. Who the h3ll told the chief to do that??? No one is questioning that!!! Who allowed busloads of anti-free speech, ANTIFA and BLM ,to get into the same area as these idiot marchers?? The police should have turned the busses back. The more you look at the situation the more it looks like a setup. To deny this was a setup is likened to having your head in the sand. The FBI needs to investigate and find out who told the chief to order a stand down and who financed the busing in of these other groups.

  23. “One way speech rights are under attack right now (as always) is the argument that they should not apply to disfavored speakers, who from Park’s perspective include right-wing racists and people organized as corporations.”

    Standing proudly at the head of the public trough is the profoundly un-populist Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

  24. Free Speech is for everyone and no one person or group gets to pick and choose, if that happens it is a slippery slope to Fascism.

  25. I want to shout “MOVIE!” in a crowded firehouse.

  26. It’s reassuring that the position taken by Sue Park is so imbecilic that it will not be taken seriously. She bollixes rights and power, failing to understand that they are two different things. She then confusedly says that free speech is inherent in a democracy, which is childishly off point. Democracy is a method for choosing political office holders. Rights such as free speech are protected by a Rule of Law, the distinguishing quality of a republic. Then she asserts that people cease to be people once they organize themselves into a corporation. Fatuous.
    If this Parks idiot actually went to law school I’m glad it’s not the one I graduated from.

    N.B. All the above observations were drawn from the Reason article to which this comment is attached.

    1. Yes rights are utterly undemocratic. That’s the whole damn point.

  27. I don’t agree with the alt right but No one mentions BLM or AntiFa both of which are more violent and destructive. The more you give into or whitewash either extreme the more they demand and bolder they get.

  28. So how would all this badinage apply to Adolf Hitler in 1922, championing the cause of the poor, the unemployed, the forgotten war veterans and the disenfranchised? I can only assume Parks (Is it really “K-Sue” or is that a type?) would be cheering him on; all his biased free speech criteria point to it.

  29. You go to battle on the playing field you’ve got, not the one you wish you were on.

  30. The whole point of the principle is that it applies regardless of who you are or what you are saying.

    Whereas the whole point of a “holistic view” is to first decide what outcome you want (i.e., which side you prefer to have win) then adapt your principles as needed.

    I’ve been having this same argument with “liberals” for decades. They think they can invent new kinds of economics, new kinds of justice, new kinds of people, and new categories for everything else as needed, to exclude their laws from the principles they violate. But in reality it’s always just the same old story of hypocrisy and corrupt rule of man.

  31. Bless him! That’s really lovely.

  32. I remember when Bush The Elder used the epithet of “he’s a card-carrying member of the ACLU” against his opponent Dukakis (POTUS 1988).

  33. What the ACLU appears to not understand is that the Amendments are rules for the government, not the people. The first Amendment (for example) tells the government, that is the federal government, its employees, and contractors what they CAN’T (can NOT) legislate, decree, or “rule” on.
    It is really very simple. In fact it was designed to be simple. What the first 10 Amendments say are the LIMITS to the authority and autonomy of the Federal Government, their employees, and contractors,,, PERIOD! They are not “interpretable”. They are not to be some sort of rules/”laws” for We The People! They are very clear and concise statements on the LIMITS of the Federal Government.
    The “enumerated powers” are the duties of the different branches. The first 10 Amendments are the LIMITS to their authority and autonomy. The Oath of Office is the legal and binding contract that holds the SWORD of Law over the government or individuals within the governments, neck.
    As private citizens, we do not have to wait for a consensus of our “elected” officials to have the Oath of Office administered or utilized. We The People are under “the law” (9th Amendment) or the Common Law. The criminal legal system was originally intended for the government, not the people.
    How far have we fallen?

  34. What’s missing is LAW.
    If we accept the paradigm that rules/”laws” or rules called “laws”, ie: legislated, decree, or “rulings” are “law”, then we are simply playing politics. Mob rule. What politics DEMANDS is that the few can “legally” harm the many or the many can “legally” harm the few. This leaves the choice of Might Makes Right or Right Makes Might. A violation of true Law and decency in either case.
    Richard J Maybury coined the best version of “LAW” that I have read in a wonderful little book entitled “Whatever Happened to Justice”. “Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach on other persons or their property”.
    Morgan Freeman gave a lecture to the rowdy courtroom crowd in the movie “Bonfire of the Vanities” where he spoke of being “decent people”.
    Both of these example are fun to read/watch and should really coalesce the thoughts about the difference between LAW or decency and rules/”laws” (legislation, decree, or “rulings”)
    Government is force!
    Almost every “hot button” issue is really a legal issue between affected parties that has been taken to the force level that is authoritarianism.
    The real issue is authoritarianism/force vs Individual Liberty/Responsibility. Hate vs Love to use the latest meme.
    It is odd that people that really crave “justice for ALL” can’t or won’t see this little tidbit of historical truth.

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