If you’re looking for people to blame for the events in Charlottesville, you can add liberals to the list, particularly those in the ACLU and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ability to march in Charlottesville comes directly as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1977, with the ACLU arguing for neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, where many Holocaust survivors lived.

In the case, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977), the ACLU got the liberal bloc of the court to determine that the use of the swastika was a symbolic form of free speech entitled to First Amendment protection. The court also ruled that the neo-Nazis, under the right of assembly in the First Amendment, could march through the predominantly Jewish city near Chicago.

As a reporter for Newsweek, I covered the Skokie story and found myself puzzled about the events back then. Today, as I teach media law, I still am rather puzzled why the neo-Nazis in Chicago and Charlottesville were allowed to protest. Here is some background on those events: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-neo-nazi-skokie-march-flashback-perspec-0312-20170310-story.html

On its website, the ACLU lauds its stance as “taking a stand for free speech.” Moreover, the organization notes: “The notoriety of the case caused some ACLU members to resign, but to many others, the case has come to represent the ACLU’s unwavering commitment to principle. In fact, many of the laws the ACLU cited to defend the group’s right to free speech and assembly were the same laws it had invoked during the Civil Rights era when Southern cities tried to shut down civil rights marches with similar claims about the violence and disruption the protests would cause.”

The ACLU says now that it will not defend people’s freedom of speech and right to assemble if they carry guns. I guess the Second Amendment doesn’t count anymore.

Nevertheless, here’s some of what is protected under the First Amendment:

–People can burn a flag.
–Burn a cross.
–Say “f***” in public but not on the radio.
–Curse a police officer.
–Use hate speech.
–Show sexual intercourse on HBO and the Internet but not on ABC.
–Call Marines homosexuals during a funeral as long as you are on a public sidewalk.

Many members of the liberal bloc on the U.S. Supreme Court supported these protections, while some, if not all, of the conservative bloc did not.

The argument usually follows the notion of the marketplace of ideas—a theory put forward by John Stuart Mills that all ideas should be allowed to be expressed because only those with the most validity will triumph. Furthermore, an arbiter of what constitutes improper speech might exclude disagreeable opinions.

Somehow, I think the founders may have had other ideas about what should constitute freedom of speech and right to “peaceably” assemble. The founders generally agreed that freedom of religion was the most important characteristic of the First Amendment, but there was a split when it came to other parts.

As the Heritage Foundation notes in its extensive background on the U.S. Constitution:

[John] Marshall and other Federalists argued that the freedom of the press must necessarily be limited, because “government cannot be…secured, if by falsehood and malicious slander, it is to be deprived of the confidence and affection of the people.” Not so, reasoned [James] Madison and other Republicans: even speech that creates “a contempt, a disrepute, or hatred [of the government] among the people” should be tolerated because the only way of determining whether such contempt is justified is “by a free examination [of the government’s actions], and a free communication among the people thereon.” It was as if half the country read the constitutional guarantee one way, and the other half, the other way.

The founding generation undoubtedly believed deeply in the freedom of speech and of the press, but then, as now, these general terms were understood quite differently by different people. Many people did not think about their precise meanings until a concrete controversy arose; and when a controversy did arise, the analysis was often influenced by people’s political interests as much as by their honest constitutional understanding.

When people argue that President Trump should be blamed for the actions of neo-Nazis, just tell them to read about Skokie and thank the liberals for providing the ability for wingnuts to speak and to assemble.

By John Ruberry

Around this time yesterday during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia one woman was killed and 19 others were injured when they were rammed and run over by a person driving a Dodge Challenger.

James Alex Fields Jr, 20, was allegedly the behind the wheel of that muscle car. He’s been arrested on numerous charges and presumably the case against him is very strong. According to multiple media reports Fields is a white supremacist and an admirer of Adolf Hitler. He was also prescribed anti-psychotic drugs. But that doesn’t mean Fields doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong.

In my opinion Fields is the archetypal contemporary member of the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party–a disturbed, and yes, dangerous person who has, as the British say, “toys in the attic.”

Multiple media sources are calling the racist rally, formally known as Unite the Right, a white nationalist event.

Every year, however, the Nation of Islam, which espouses black separatism, holds a Saviour’s Day event, usually in Chicago, to celebrate the birthday of the NOI’s founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad, who claimed that black people are divine and whites are wicked. According to Muhammad, whites were created by an evil scientist named Yakub. But because blacks are part of the victim class, according to establishment media mores, Saviour’s Day can never be a black nationalist rally. You can laugh off the Nation of Islam, which has about 50,000 followers, but one of its members, the since-executed John Allen Muhammad, was one of the Beltway Snipers who murdered 17 people–whites and blacks–in 2002. The other killer was John Lee Malvo, a teenaged illegal immigrant from Jamaica. One of the duo’s motives for the murders was to extort money in order to open a community for homeless black youths to be trained as terrorists in Canada.

Many Muslim groups condemn the National of Islam as a heretic sect.

Despite his surname, John Muhammad’s NOI membership was downplayed, even ignored by the mainstream media in its coverage of the attacks and the subsequent trials. He was not labeled a black nationalist. In 1995 Muhammad was part of the security of the Nation of Islam’s Million Man March, although the NOI leader, Louis Farrakhan, denies it.

None of us is all good–the potential to commit evil exists in all of us in different degrees. And of course no race or ethnic group is all good or all evil.

Yet here we are, well within the 21st century, and I have to point that out. Sad.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocks

Today’s funded disruption of peace happened in Charlottesville, VA.  At least one death has occurred – a driver intentionally plowed a vehicle into a large group of pedestrians.

People want to know how I “feel” about it, or at least they claim to want to know that.

From what I can see, I’m supposed to publicly condemn one of the participatory groups in this deadly farce, whether it’s the White Nationalists, ANTIFA, or BLM.

I have written more than once about the latter two, and one can logically assume that I do not subscribe to the ideology of the former. So, when people ask me what I think about all this, I am suspicious, as if they are giving me an opportunity to flash the sign of which gang I belong to. To attack or not to attack? Crips or Bloods?

People have even become angry with me today because I haven’t been all-Charlottesville all-the-time since the crack of dawn. I’ve been resisting putting forth another opinion piece or railing against violence or lamenting the dead because:

  • I despise virtue-signaling, shame-mongering, and poorly targeted poo-flinging, and, most importantly,
  • Most protests and riots are intentionally seeded – with death and destruction being features rather than bugs.

The funders of multi-act plays like this, like Baltimore, and like Ferguson hope that most of us are busy hounding each other over meaningless ideological purity tests, defending individual honor, and pointing fingers. That makes hiding sensitive actions easier. What kind of actions? I don’t know, but I prefer to wait and watch.

And I am not a member of your gang.

UPDATE: Two more dead.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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