Who gets to speak? Who is allowed to protest? According to Yvette Felarca, “not fascists.” http://reason.com/blog/2016/06/26/anti-fascist-leader-very-proud-of-white
Note that the “fascists” had a permit, had gotten permission for a peaceful rally, and were attacked by a much larger number of “anti-fascists.” There are videos and still images going around. WeaselZippers had a good run-down, as do other sites. But, according to the “anti-fascists” what they did is OK, because they are the good guys, defending the world from evil and hateful things. Like standing on the steps of the state capitol and espousing ideas that other people do not like.
I confess, I’m all in favor of free speech as long as I agree with it. And once or twice I have quietly cheered the “hecklers’ veto” when it happened elsewhere to people I did not care for. But that’s the problem. Is speech free or is it not? If someone gets a permit to stand on state (or city, or federal, or county) property with a bull horn and say things I disagree with, and the police do not try to prevent armed protesters from beating the living daylights out of the people with the permit, does this not say that the state/government favors one side over the other, and that it does not really care to tolerate unpopular speech?
Right now there is fuming and resentment that certain Internet social media services have decided to censor speech, either at the behest of certain governments (Germany most notably and officially) or because the owners and operators of the services do not care for certain types of speech. Those are privately owned businesses. The US Supreme Court ruled back in the early 1950s that a mall is not the public square and so can restrict the right to petition and protest. By extrapolation, Facebook, Twitter, and other privately owned services are not the public square either. I don’t like it, especially things like “shadow banning” where a person is blocked for unspecified reasons and they don’t know they are blocked unless someone asks why their page or feeds can’t be seen. BUT, again, those are private entities and the 1st Amendment does not apply.
What about places where the 1st Amendment does apply? Is there speech that cannot be tolerated? Yes, it is called incitement to riot and is illegal. You cannot whip up a mob and send them to attack someone. You cannot “falsely cry ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater” in order to watch the panic and to enjoy laughing at the people being terrified, trampled, and possibly killed.
“But” says the organizers of the incident in Sacramento, and their fellow-believers elsewhere, “we’re preventing fascists, homophobes, racists, and other bad people from inciting violence by keeping them from spreading their message. We’re the good guys. We’re different, and so we have the moral right to chase people with sticks and drive off the media, if that’s what it takes to stop homophobes and racist fascists from corrupting other people and terrorizing LGBTQs and People of Color.”
This is where I run into a wall, hard. Because that is exactly what the real Fascists, the NSDAP’s thugs and later the SS, the NKVD and KGB, people who murdered religious dissenters, and other such charming groups argued as well. The Chinese Communist government censors everything and punishes protest because it, like the Chinese Imperial government, believes that it has a mandate to protect the People from corrupting ideas and bad views. And the government that turns a blind eye to “anti-fascists” today may very well turn around and hammer them into powder tomorrow. The “anti-fascists” were ignored by the police until blood spilled and people were seriously injured. What happens when the “anti-fascists” fall out of favor with a government, be it city, state, or federal? Who will protect them from those who oppose their views?
You see, some of my ancestors fled a number of places because they believed in G-d “the wrong way,” or did not agree with the State. And various political figures in the US today, and public intellectuals, say I should be arrested and sent to prison because I don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change.
“But” say the self-proclaimed people of good will, “you must punish hate speech. Words intended to wound should not be tolerated or printed.”
What is hate speech? To call someone a Paddy or Brigit was a grave insult in some parts of the US in the 1800s. What about kike, wop, ‘ski, or dago or Mick? Those were fighting words. Is someone more dead because they got killed out of ethnic hatred as opposed to being killed for supposedly stealing another gal’s man? I dislike the KKK. I dislike the Communist Party of the USA. I dislike a certain purportedly Baptist protest group. There are a lot of other organizations that if they disappeared tomorrow, I would not shed a tear. But so long as they are saying their piece peacefully, are not calling for murder and mayhem, are not attacking people, have gotten permits if required, then heck, I’ll just avoid where they are. And giggle when they make fools of themselves. They have the right to speak their mind. They have the right to their beliefs. I may not like what they say, but they have as much right to assemble as do people I support wholeheartedly.
Speech is free of government control and favoritism or it is not. The government cannot favor, or be seen to favor, one group or the other (with the caveats listed above). There is no reason why the “anti-fascists” should be permitted to attack peacefully assembled White Nationalists, or White Separatists, or anyone else, and the media. Because the “anti-fascists” are becoming exactly what they claim to be opposing. Not that they really know what the Fascists were, I suspect.
Or perhaps they do. The tactics of the Italian Fascists were absorbed by a great number of other groups with much gusto and approval – as long as the violence was against “those bad people over there.”