"If you don't believe WN have a right to voice their opinions (regardless of how tasteless or horrible you think it is) then you DON'T BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Period." (Michael Blevins a.k.a. VonBluvens)
Some time back I wrote an article entitled "We Have Freedom of Speech - So Shut the Hell Up!" Interestingly enough, that article was written in response to another who was defending the actions of Michael Blevins…the same person quoted above. Now I find myself revisiting the whole freedom of speech issue once more.
Perhaps no words are spoken more frequently by the racist contingent than "We have freedom of speech." And, you know, they are right. Their right to spew their hatred from the mountaintops has been upheld time and time again - both in the courts and in the public domain. The fact that they have to keep reminding people or keep having to have the courts speak to the issue simply demonstrates how unpopular what they have to say really is.
So…they have freedom of speech and that should be the end of it. Not quite. Not really. While we may have to put up with their hateful and repugnant message being screeched from the steps of public buildings and beloved monuments - we don't have to 1) Like it; 2) agree with it; or 3) be silent. There is nothing in the Constitution of the United States that says while one person is exercising his/her right everyone else has to shut the hell up. That's the good news.
And there is more good news! They may have freedom of speech but that right does not give them license to abrogate our right to the very same freedom of speech. Case in point: one of the most virulently racist people in America today is Hal Turner. The over-the-top shock-jock of racism and sleaze consistently calls for violence, governmental overthrows, and assassinations of public officials, has admitted to having a good relationship with law-enforcement on all levels, and exercises his right to freedom of speech weekly on his radio show and daily on his website.
Hal Turner seems to continue to fly under the radar of law-enforcement in spite of his reprehensible incitement to violence. When I recently alluded to the fact that in my opinion Turner should be locked up, Michael Blevins took great issue with that belief, again citing "freedom of speech" and claiming that I, somehow, stood against the Constitution. It's a familiar argument and one that really is overused and patently ridiculous. And this is why…
When the Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution of the United States the document reflected the era - and the era was much different than 2006, on that we can all agree. Because of this it is absolutely amazing how that beautiful and insightful document has stood the test of time with very little alteration. It's also very true that the very mention of any such alteration is met, still today, with vociferous and strenuous resistance. There is an almost phobic reaction at the very mention of such a sacrilege.
What is that reaction all about? We, as Americans, have enjoyed freedoms unlike any other country on Earth for a very long time and we cherish those freedoms. Protection of our rights and our freedoms is taught to us through our parents and through schools. We are indoctrinated - and I think rightfully so - into believing that these things must be protected at all cost. We are told that others are envious of us and our freedoms, that wars are being fought to protect our freedoms (even if that is a lie), and that these freedoms are what make us the greatest country on Earth.
Patriotism is a wonderful thing. But…there is a problem. Does anyone believe that when the Constitution was written the authors could envision sometime in the future, a group of neo-Nazi's wearing armbands and waving swastikas around while advocating the overthrow of that very same government that is protecting them and their rights as they stand in front of a national monument wrapped in a mantra of "We have freedom of speech?" Could they see that far? I submit the answer is no.
Furthermore…isn't it interesting that the very group who would overthrow our government and replace it with their fascist views seems to so cherish and utilize the very document that makes our country great?
This same mind-set scrambles for media recognition and then cries "poor me" when the media presents them as they really are. While "using" the Constitution to its' own end, they would censor the press and those that disagree with them. And should they ever achieve their outrageous goals, they would then engage in what they call "The Day of The Rope" where the "Jewish" media moguls, "race traitors," liberals, et.al. would be hanged. Sure…the Constitution was meant to protect that.
So, where do I stand? Am I against the Constitution and free speech? Not at all. I recognize the brilliance that those preceding us displayed in writing one of the most perfect of all documents. I also recognize the wisdom and thought that went into the ratification of each of the amendments that changed that document. The value of the Constitution is unquestionable - as is the protection of those rights which belong to all of us.
I find it appalling that there are those within the boundaries of this country who would abuse and denigrate the work of our predecessors to achieve their own despicable agenda. Regardless of how often they invoke their freedom of speech, they seem to forget that with rights comes responsibility. They also fail to recognize that when the exercising of their rights denies us our rights their rights cease to exist.
Do I think Hal Turner needs to be locked up for what he says? Oh yes, I definitely do. Whether he, in and of himself, presents a danger isn't the question. What is in question is his irresponsible behavior. As a public figure - which he certainly is among the racist and internet crowd - he has a responsibility to the populace to not incite others to violence or criminal behavior. When he shirks that responsibility then he has abused his right and the rights of others to feel secure in their homes and their surroundings.
When Michael Blevins and Michael Schnieder aired their January, 2005, program with the slogan "No Jews Alive in 2005," and called for a mass attack on Jews - they should have been arrested. They should have been dealt with and kept away from a public forum, in my opinion.
That being said, it didn't happen just as it won't happen with Hal Turner. And why? Because the Constitution of the United States protects them.
Within the last couple of days, this issue has become even more argued as the Vanguard News Network, along with its' forum, was closed down over perceived threats to Canadian officials. As the arguments and debates seem to find no real substance or solution it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out given the fact that a foreign governmental power seems to have been able to abrogate what the racists call their right to free speech. In review of what was supposedly said by Linder and taken as a threat by public officials, I can say that I doubt very seriously, when compared to other statements being made across the web, that what Linder said would be in violation of American law. At any rate, we might be seeing the setting of a new precedent.
In the meantime, the racists and hate-mongers of America will continue to spew the most venomous of all diatribes across America and be protected while they do it. And while that document is protecting them, they will keep on using that protection as they search for the opening or the opportunity to deep-six the document and the ship it came in on. They will praise Al Qaeda, and suck up to Iran - because they have freedom of speech. They will call for the assassination of congressmen and women and applaud the murder of federal judges. They will try to rewrite history and advocate genocide. And they will be protected. But what they fail to understand is Karma - the blowback is a real bitch.