I was not paying much attention to social media this past weekend, as I was working on a home improvement project, so I only had a vague idea of the events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia. I made a few comments to twitter, mostly re-tweets and one asking anyone that agrees with the protestors to unfollow me, and emphasizing it with vulgarities.
It wasn’t until late Sunday and early into the week that I really started to dip my toes into the waters so to speak and get acquainted with the disgusting display that took place.
I really won’t discuss the actual events that transpired, only to say that as a lover of liberty that has long rallied against the watering-down and redefining of what it means to be a “right leaning” conservative I am disgusted that those hateful, racist “alt-Right” protestors and the movement itself gets associated with “conservative” or “libertarianism.”
I will say that I am even more glad that I gave up my former blogging domain name years ago of Right Wing Rebel. Though I mainly gave that up because I have come to realize that the left vs right political spectrum is complete hogwash.
My biggest concern over the Trump candidacy was the nationalistic sentiment that his campaign swept up. “Blood & soil” is the polar opposite of the very idea that our country is founded on, the idea that all men are created equal, and our endowed by their creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But I don’t care to talk about Trump, Nationalism, or even racism really right now. What I really want to focus on, is something that has been brewing for a while now, but has really come to prominence these past few days and that is the “no free speech for fascists” or the “punch a Nazi” movement.
Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor-in-chief of Reason Magazine, recently asked the very valid question, “Do you really want Donald Trump deciding who gets free speech”?
… if fascists are to lose their free speech rights, someone must take them. And if you believe, as many of the counter-protesters do, that the white nationalists and their brethren were emboldened by the presence of a man in the White House who sees them as part of his coalition, then why on God’s good green earth would you want to turn around and hand that very man the right to censor anyone whom he labels fascists? Because I can tell you right now, the list of folks that Trump and the restive-but-still-Republican Congress would like to silence sure won’t look like the list those sign-wavers have in mind.
Living in a truly free and open society, truly respecting the concept of individual rights and liberty, means having to accept things that you dislike. That also includes having to accept some things that you find morally reprehensible.
Forcing the ignorant, disgusting and vile into the shadows does not eliminate ignorance and hatred. It just sweeps it under the rug where it is allowed to fester and grow like mold and spread into something even more hateful and disgusting.
The American progressive movement always claim to be the ones of peace, love, understanding and free ideas… but the caveat is, you are accepted only as long as that peace, love and understanding comes with the same pre-packaged manufactured group-think “free” ideas that they share.
The image that struck me the most this weekend was of the black police office standing guard and protecting the ignorant racists behind him.
Think about that juxtaposition for a moment.
Barely a full year ago, a crazed black power ideologue gunned down law enforcement in Dallas, Texas, where the media incidentally didn’t go bash ALL BLM supporters and ALL progressives, they pointed it out for what it was an isolated incident.
Now that police office, who is both a black life and a blue life but more importantly a HUMAN life and who is hated by many hardcore progressives who think all cops are corrupt is protecting ignorant fools who also hate him, albeit because of the color of his skin.
Things are not clear-cut. There is not one side, or the other side. There is not only right or left. There is not just black or white.
The issues facing us are far more complicated then anything I can explain.
Hatred begets hatred, violence begets violence. Ignorance breeds ignorance and anti-fascism, at least these days, is more often then not — fascism itself.
Free speech, as long as its non-violent free speech, must be protected and defended to full extent, even free speech that you find repulsive.
I’ll close out with the words of pastor Martin Niemöller, who knows a little bit of this, having spent a few years in a real Nazi concentration camp.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.