Posted by olvlzl
I won't be fair to fascists. I won’t be nice to Nazis. I will not give them a fair hearing. They've had their hearing and on their own terms. We've had their message aired universally, enthusiastically supported by conservatives here and abroad, and we have abundant examples of what happens when they achieve power. The combination constitutes probably the most ill-advised test of time given in recent history. And they've failed the viability test. We know the catalog of their crimes and we know that those crimes are the only part of their platform that they deliver on. They promise to kill people, to enslave people, to exclude people and to plunder the property of their victims. And that they can do. That is they can until either their own population or another has had enough and overthrows them. Victory, a higher standard of living, what they promise their supporters will be bought with that blood? No. They're not so good on that despite the lying Luce line.
Why anyone who pretends to be a liberal spends a second of their lives, though they live to be a hundred, being nice to them or defending their rights is one of the more idiotic results of the Code of Liberal Ethics. They've had their rights, as noted above. And their victims have had the full benefit of their exercise of those "rights". Why these liberal niceness scolds spend a second on the rights of fascists that they could spend on the rights of the victims of fascists is an exercise in ego of the worst kind. I will get to that in a minute after pointing out that I have made no guarantee of being such a nice person. No fascist should ever live in the expectation that they are going to see a benevolent smile from me. No liberal or leftist should expect me to be patient with the insistence that we be fair to them. As if the fascists were all going to attend a Developments in Contemporary Fascism seminar which will make living with them possible. Socialism develops, fascism has already found their true religion, racism, violence, slavery, theft and war.
If this apostasy isn't bad enough, it gets worse. I am an NMAS free speech absolutist. That, after L. Hansberry, means No More After Skokie. There is no reason for anyone on the left to come to the defense of the free speech rights of fascists.
Given their stated intentions and their history it is bizarre that any leftist would entertain considering the free speech rights of fascists. Why should any leftist give them the time of day nevermind a fully paid legal representation? The old reason given by the most easily stomached of our fairness monitors is that, "if they are silenced then we can be too". This argument has the virtue of replacing absolutist prissiness with an appeal to practicality. But it is empty. They haven't been silenced, they are all over the place. Ann Coulter's insane performance art is certainly not silent. And she's only one of the slew of dispund that fills the airwaves and makes it into print. We, dear friends, are entirely frozen out. Effectively blacklisted. The real left appears only slightly less often than plate spinners on our media. There is the pantomime of liberalism presented but it is such a transparent farce that even dismissing it gives it more attention than it deserves. Free speech sermons by liberal scolds is one of the more popular scenes of the farce.
As our friends in Canada sometimes point out, free speech is a right, it isn't the only right. Rights exist in tension, they don't exist outside of people and their owners don't exist in a vacuum. All rights may be absolute until they impinge on the rights of someone else. It is when they do impinge on other peoples' rights that things become less absolute than lends itself to facile philosophical contemplation between commercial pods and the length of a Village Voice column.
Let's take a variation on a classic. There is no right for a person to stand in the road outside your house and yell abuse at you for extended periods of time. Especially not at night. I doubt that someone could get away with standing outside your house and yelling adoration at you for several hours in the afternoon. It wouldn't be surprising if long and loud proclamations of affection met with a quicker and more forceful response by the police after your terrified call for help fifteen minutes into the incident. I have never heard a free speech absolutist defend this kind of speech and risk their own domestic tranquility. Why should a random night of sleep enjoy more protection than the one and only opportunity of an entire family to exercise the right granted by common decency, to hold a funeral free of the publicity stunts of hate cults? If a family can't bury their dead without the likes of the Phelps tribe turning their grief into a media availability, I don't want to be a part of your "free speech".
Free speech absolutists believe that they are acting out of high principle, I fervently want to believe it of some of them. There are free speech absolutists who I not only respect but love. But when you make free speech into an overriding absolute, an inflexible absolute, the principle becomes a petty scruple. It becomes moral schtick which includes the absolutist's imagined right, by virtue of their constitutional purity, to dispose of other peoples' rights without their consent and often in the face of their vigorous disapproval. The worst of them appropriate as the raw material of their media careers as "defenders of the constitution" the lives and rights of the victims of fascists, both past and future. Who the hell died and made them God?
first posted on olvlz Wednesday, May 17, 2006.