August 17th, 2017

Free speech for me and not for you

All too predictably, there’s a call in the NY Times for the ACLU to “rethink” its support of freedom of speech for Nazis.

It’s from a lawyer named K-Sue Park, who works as “a housing attorney and the Critical Race Studies fellow at the U.C.L.A. School of Law.” The text of the op-ed demonstrates a rather pragmatic attitude to the principle of freedom of speech. My comments are interspersed in brackets:

The hope is that by successfully defending hate groups, its legal victories will fortify free-speech rights across the board: A rising tide lifts all boats, as it goes. [No, the hope is that by successfully defending hate groups, its legal victories will protect their rights to free speech, because those rights belong to them too in a free society and must be protected.]

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. [No, it has nothing to do with that, because freedom of speech does not exist merely between those of exactly equal power, it exists for all, and its goal is not to overcome racial discrimination—laudable though that goal is. Its goal is to protect liberty, even for those whose views we detest.]

I volunteered with the A.C.L.U. as a law student in 2011, and I respect much of its work [when it furthers your own political goals, I have no doubt that you do]. But it should rethink how it understands free speech [physician, heal thyself]. By insisting on a narrow reading of the First Amendment [narrow reading=reading you don’t like; it’s actually a very broad reading], the organization provides free legal support to hate-based causes [yes, yes it does, but you seem to think only the groups you approve of should have recourse to free legal support. Isn’t that the same sort of argument that the civil rights movement used to fight against?]. More troubling, the legal gains on which the A.C.L.U. rests its colorblind logic have never secured real freedom or even safety for all. [Nope,, they haven’t yet succeeded in creating the utopia that you would no doubt create for us if only you had the power.]

I could keep going with this—because K-Sue Parks certainly does—but I think you get the idea.

21 Responses to “Free speech for me and not for you”

  1. Ray Says:

    The ACLU was founded by communists and atheists and it’s pedigree shows. If I recall correctly, the California legislature declared the ACLU a Communist front organization.

  2. neo-neocon Says:


    I dislike some of what the ACLU does, and am aware of their leftism. On this issue they’re on the correct—libertarian—side, however.

  3. Lurch Says:

    The ACLU picks and chooses the civil rights they are willing to support (note zero support for our Second Amendment rights) but Neo’s spot-on about their correct defense of free speech. The anti-speech monsters need to be resisted and kept in their cages. Liberty dies if these people win out.

  4. physicsguy Says:

    “The anti-speech monsters need to be resisted and kept in their cages. Liberty dies if these people win out.”

    Despite the tremendous efforts of FIRE, they’ve already won out in academia, and now apparently making great inroads in the corporate sector. Unless something changes, I’m afraid liberty is already on life support and the plug is about to be pulled.

  5. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Faux intellectuals like K-Sue Park are today’s “useful idiots” busily constructing the philosophical and legal prison bars that will form their future enslavement.

    They imagine that the gulag reeducation camps will only be for the “deplorables” (RINOs) with the “irredeemables” (Constitutional conservatives) necessarily sent to the killing fields.

    The ‘Trotskyites’ are always astonished when the ‘Stalinists’ show up.

  6. Dave Says:

    When will these social justice warriors understand that being a racist is completely legal? advocating for racist laws is legal too (same reasons that people can support and advocate Sharia Laws without being arrested) Nazi wasn’t taken out because of their beliefs, it was because of their war crimes they committed and violation of human rights. Jesus it is sad that even lawyers don’t understand that. You can’t arrest or hurt someone for wrongful thoughts or expressing those thoughts in legal ways. If bad thoughts are legal, I would be doing hard time now for the many dirty thoughts I had for Jennifer Love Hewitt as a teenager.

  7. Dave Says:

    the United states declared war on Nazi Germany was because Nazi violated human rights, not because they hate. If they only hate but not kill they would still exist now. China hates Japan, North Korea hates South Korea, Russia hates America, hate itself without illegal actions doesn’t constitute a crime, so sad that something as fundamental as this still needs to be discussed.

  8. DNW Says:

    ” Dave Says:
    August 17th, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    the United states declared war on Nazi Germany was because Nazi violated human rights, not because they hate. “

    Well, the United States declared war on Germany because Germany declared war on us first; as Herr Stupid figured he would “honor” his alliance with Japan which had already attacked the U.S.

    We have on occasion warred against dictators and violators of human rights- in the Sudan, in Iraq, in Granada and Panama; and almost never with American liberal approval, unless it was a matter of say, bombing Serbia.

    If you really want to have a laugh sometime, listen closely as left-liberals defend the ability of murderous dictators to murderously dictate on the basis of a “sovereign nation” argument.

    We don’t see them arguing we should kill Maduro, do we. In fact if you said that you hoped that someone would assassinate Maduro, the same left-liberals who have written that they hope Trump is murdered, would without much doubt, react to the Maduro remark with “outrage”.

  9. Romey Says:

    A classic total defense. Free Speech, you either have it or you don’t. Many people have said before, it’s not the popular that needs to be defended, but the unpopular and controversial speech that the right to say it is nearly absolute.

    To be extremely facetious, the truly fair way would be for me to decide what is allowed.

  10. n.n Says:

    re: national socialists

    there’s a call in the NY Times for the ACLU to “rethink” its support of freedom of speech for Nazis.

    On one hand, on the other hand, always and forever.

  11. AesopFan Says:

    The ACLU is more subtle than the NYT, or else they are playing good cop – bad cop on purpose.

    Even Glenn Greenwald understands the game.

    Last week, the ACLU sparked controversy when it announced that it was defending the free speech rights of “alt-right” activist Milo Yiannopoulos after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to allow ads for his book to be displayed on public transit. Lost in the debate was that other groups the ACLU was defending along with Yiannopoulos were also censored under the same rule: Carafem, which helps women access birth control and medical abortion; the animal rights group PETA; and the ACLU itself.

    For representing Yiannopoulos, the civil liberties group was widely accused of defending and enabling fascism. But the ACLU wasn’t “defending Yiannopoulos” as much as it was opposing a rule that allows state censorship of any controversial political messages the state wishes to suppress: a rule that is often applied to groups which are supported by many who attacked the ACLU here.

    THE FLAWS AND DANGERS in this anti-free speech mindset are manifest, but nonetheless always worth highlighting, especially when horrific violence causes people to want to abridge civil liberties in the name of stopping it. In sum, purporting to oppose fascism by allowing the state to ban views it opposes is like purporting to oppose human rights abuses by mandating the torture of all prisoners.

    One of the defining attributes of fascism is forcible suppression of views (“For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason,” wrote Umberto Eco); recall that one of Trump’s first proposals after winning the 2016 election was to criminalize flag desecration. You can’t fight that ideology by employing and championing one of its defining traits: viewpoint-based state censorship.

    The ACLU is primarily a legal organization. That means they defend people’s rights in court, under principles of law. One of the governing tools of courts is precedent: the application of prior rulings to current cases. If the ACLU allows the state to suppress the free speech rights of white nationalists or neo-Nazi groups — by refusing to defend such groups when the state tries to censor them or by allowing them to have inadequate representation — then the ACLU’s ability to defend the free speech rights of groups and people that you like will be severely compromised.

    It’s easy to be dismissive of this serious aspect of the debate if you’re some white American or non-Muslim American whose free speech is very unlikely to be depicted as “material support for terrorism” or otherwise criminalized. But if you’re someone who cares about the free speech attacks on radical leftists, Muslims, and other marginalized groups, and tries to defend those rights in court, then you’re going to be genuinely afraid of allowing anti-free speech precedents to become entrenched that will then be used against you when it’s time to defend free speech rights. The ACLU is not defending white supremacist groups but instead is defending a principle — one that it must defend if it is going to be successful in defending free speech rights for people you support.
    * * *
    Greenwald apparently supports the “goals” of BLM, Muslim jihadis, and Antifa; he’s just smart enough to realize that the sword of justice cuts both ways — when it’s allowed in the fight.
    The Left may be depending too much on its current control of the judiciary to want to listen to him.

  12. GRA Says:

    As a non-white American I find America’s obsession with race (read: “Well that’s racist!”) highly amusing yet highly disturbing and bizarre. This obsession is mostly held by the American ideological left; if I could ship Van Jones to Russia I would.

  13. Ymar Sakar Says:

    According to the Latter Day Saint canon, America has been obsessed with white and dark skin colors since 500 BC.

  14. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Free speech is only for the imagers of a god, not for the serfs, peasants, and slaves that serve the divine hierarchy.

  15. steve walsh Says:

    I propose we ask K-Sue Park, and those that agree with her, that if it is ok to disallow some speech who will decide? Oh, and will she be agreeable if the person designated is POTUS?

  16. AesopFan Says:

    Ymar Sakar Says:
    August 18th, 2017 at 12:20 pm
    According to the Latter Day Saint canon, America has been obsessed with white and dark skin colors since 500 BC.
    * * *
    That is a common but bigoted misreading of the text and the doctrines of the LDS Church.
    Get educated before slinging slurs, even if they are intended as cutesy (although irrelevant) bon mots.

  17. AesopFan Says:

    steve walsh Says:
    August 18th, 2017 at 12:56 pm
    I propose we ask K-Sue Park, and those that agree with her, that if it is ok to disallow some speech who will decide? Oh, and will she be agreeable if the person designated is POTUS?
    * * *
    See the Greenwald quote above.

  18. steve walsh Says:

    Well then, thanks for the tip. Have to admit the obvious: skimmed over the posts before I posted.

  19. Ymar Sakar Says:

    That is a common but bigoted misreading of the text and the doctrines of the LDS Church.
    Get educated before slinging slurs, even if they are intended as cutesy (although irrelevant) bon mots.

    It is almost definitely the canon, since I can testify under the Holy Spirit as to that exact truth.

    For those not clued into the difference between Protestant/Catholic closed canon and Latter Day Saint canon, the difference is generally that the First Ecumenical Council up to about the 4 or 5th one, is still recognized by both Catholics and Protestants. But the Eastern Orthodox doesn’t not recognize the canon up to the 4th Ecumenical Council, just the 3rd.

    The Latter Day Saints, however, have rejected probably almost the entirety of the Ecumenical Councils that form the foundation of pretty much 99.9% of all Christendom in modern and pre modern history.

    But with that context out of the way, there are two sources for the 500 BC issue.

    One is in the Book of Mormon.
    The Other is LDS hierarchy’s refusal to accept blacks as priests, due to the curse of Ham.

    The latter was most likely a relic of Jim Crow’s influence, the Civil War, and various other Masonic plots by the second Prophet of the Latter Day Saints, Brigham Young. Real Politic had an effect. If Utah had accepted whites mixing with blacks on that level, and that would mean black priests would have access to single white women, the rest of the states might not have liked that. The other part was theology, the whole issue with whether Ham was cursed so that he could never have the priesthood. Later on, this policy was changed due to direct revelation, but only after Jim Crow’s effect and the Civil Rights had pushed the boundaries. Interracial mixing was still a concern, but not one that would break into open war. The preservation of Utah and the Saints is the number one priority of the LDS hierarchy. Not political correctness or obedience to the world’s canon.

    My sources are based on the doctrine in the Book of Mormon canon and neutral LDS literature. It is definitely not something you can effectively fight against, Aesop, merely by acting out of an emotional reaction to the loyalty of your faction. You would have to be possessed by the Holy Spirit to be capable of adequately contesting this issue on this matter.

    So we know that the modern church in question was for whatever reason, conscious of skin color. So the FairMormon reinterpretation of the LDS canon is that skin color was not an issue.

    If skin color is the issue, then a single Lamanite with a group of Nephites should be easy to spot. But, in this case, it is not. Why, then, the need for a Lamanite at all in Moroni’s plan?

    A “native” Lamanite was probably needed because there were differences in language or pronunciation between cultural Nephites and Lamanites (compare between Ephraim and others’ shibboleth, Judges 12:6). Note that the Book of Mormon says that “when the Lamanites heard these words,” they relaxed and accepted the Lamanite decoy with his Nephite troops. What they could see had not changed, and surely if a dark-skinned Lamanite shows up with a white-skinned bunch of Nephites, they would be suspicious no matter what he said. But, if Nephites and Lamanites are indistinguishable on physical grounds if dressed properly, then their sudden reassurance when a native Lamanite speaks is understandable.

    This fact was probably obvious to Mormon and Captain Moroni. The text does not spell it out for us (since it was obvious to the writers), but the clues are all there for the careful reader.

    This passage is nonsensical if literal skin color is the issue. It makes perfect sense, however, if Nephites and Lamanites are often physically indistinguishable, but have some differences in language which are difficult to “fake” for a non-(cultural)-Lamanite.

    I agree that cultural accents would have played a disproportionate role. However, if I was running a deception operation, I would have the lighter skinned people standing in front of the setting sun, and when evening comes, put them at such a distance that their faces cannot be clearly distinguished without torch light. The only person that’s face would be clearly seen, would be the leader, the speaker, the Lamanite descendant. The text does not sell it out for you, but the clues are there for those under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They do not mention evening, even though it would be a major factor in visual range and accuracy. Perhaps they have never considered how to disguise a large group of people.

    Ancillary, the Hopewells are said to be the descendants of the previous Nephites. Their skin color is not white, nor is it light, but darker. Perhaps that is a genetic contamination from the South, Incans or Aztecs, but genetically speaking they are from different groups. Haplogroup X is the Hopewell Indians, and the Incans/Mayans/Aztecs are some other group entirely. Epigenetics can easily explain why a previous fair skinned genetic group suddenly gets a darker skin tone in a single generation.

    There is nothing common or bigoted about Ymar’s analysis. Something you should have realized by now.

  20. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The issue of white skin is a genetic issue even from the days of Noah.

    I surmise based on my own research, that Noah’s DNA was adjusted supernaturally, in order to ensure that the Genesis Six experiment’s deleterious giant genes would be completely wiped out, even after the Divine flood.

    This bypasses the need to argue about whether the flood was global or just world wide (horizon to HOrizon). It also bypasses the need to argue about whether there was only one incursion of the fallen angels on Mount Hermon or more than one. The genetic trait introduced would have passed directly to the post flood world, even if his 3 sons had married women with nephiliim contaminated lineages.

    The Book of Enoch, none of the 3 are considered a standard work of the Latter Day Saint canon, but it is mentioned in one passage of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is a standard work. Just as with the Protestant and Roman bibles, the Book of Enoch is extra biblical. The Latter Day Saints are probably more likely to accept it as scripture, than the closed canon systems, but that would have to wait for a future time to determine.

    Enoch’s people and city was also lifted up and preserved. Probably because his father was Jared, and in the Days of Jared the angels went to Mount Hermon to start the Genesis six experiment.

    That way, there are two sources of the remnant of the human species. One from Enoch’s city, and another from Noah. Even if either was contaminated, there would still be a remnant that can sustain the original plan.

    The details are not even told to the prophets and leaders of the Latter Day Saint hierarchy, Aesop. Why do you think you, of all people, lacking any divine link, would be justified in receiving knowledge that not even the upper echelon individuals are ignorant of?

    Do you not know the mystery of the hand of the divine. The Left hand does not know what the Right hand is doing, and that has always been on purpose.

  21. Sean Says:

    Maybe it’s time the Right started agitating to censor Left-wing speech. Istm that being pro-free speech is the default compromise between two sides that would like to censor each other. Except in this case, only one side wants to censor the other, so where would you expect a compromise to land?

    Being more tolerant of them than they are of us doesn’t work. Compromises always favor their side, that’s how progressivism works.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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