Posted by olvlzl
It isn't free speech that I deny for fascists and Nazis, I believe that everyone has that as a matter of their having been born, "are endowed by their creator..." this piece is about the response of leftists, particularly the free speech absolutists such as Nat Hentoff to it.
The left has no obligation to do anything that could politically benefit our enemies. Not one thing. Our resources are very limited. We are always making choices in what we have the time and money to do. I don't follow their activities as much as I used to but I know that the state chapter of the ACLU here only took on a small number of cases due to lack of resources.
Fascists, Nazis and the right in the United States all explicitly work to deny people rights as innate as their right to free speech, they have huge resources at their disposal. I say that their advocacy for the abridgement and destruction of other peoples' and groups' rights, with increasing support on the Supreme Court, places their rights outside the area of our concern.
The pose of absolutism, re Skokie, has a politically damaging effect on the left. The Phelps citation was made because the issue was coming up and I imagined the self-defeating words coming out of the mouths of our defenders of the first amendment in support of people who would take away every one of my rights, likely including that to life itself. If my rights and my life mean less to a free speech absolutist than the rights of fascists who would rob me of them, then what other stand am I to take? Why should members of any group targeted by fascists sit quietly while they are aided by leftists?
In doing this I am far more generous than either group, fascists or absolutists. I only call for the deferment of the Phelps’ ability to make their hateful demonstration until it won’t impinge on the rights of people who have no choice about burying their dead, their right to speak would reman intact. If the fascists got their way someone would lose all of their rights and there would be no ACLU to file so much as an amicus brief.
The rumored plans for the Phelps to come to my home state of Maine to assert what we all know they assert at that time also influenced the writing of this. Just the threat had the family of a dead serviceman, his entire community and my state in termoil. Then the Phelps announced that they wouldn't be coming afterall. They got massive attention for themselves , the goal of a demonstration, afterall, without even bothering to show up. The family and community got a kind of pain no decent person would not try to prevent.
I hope no one missed that the piece didn’t call for leftists to take anyones speech rights away nor for the government to do it. We, dear fellow leftists, are not a court of law, we are not a legislative or executive branch, we are not even an unpaid government consultant we are not under any obligation to be even handed in OUR activities. We aren't now. We pick and choose as a matter of the most basic necessity. Let’s choose more intelligently is all I’m asking.
If someone doesn’t like the tone, I kind of get worked up about people who advocate stripping me of my rights and killing me.