There was a time, such as when a trio of anti-war reds started the ACLU, that the Bill of Rights was seen as an instrument that might occasionally be useful to the defense of worthy causes like pacifism, labor organizing, and anti-racism. The enemies of those worthy causes, like capitalists, militarists and white supremacists, having a great advantage to start with, fended for themselves without the assistance of people they vocally despised, exploited, and persecuted.
Somewhere along the line, the idea that everyone has the same rights, morphed into an obligation to defend anyone’s rights, despite any evidence that helping avowed enemies is less self-destructive than it appears on the surface. That we’re now at a point where the Redskins trademark and lynchy frat boys garner more avid civil libertarian support than Ramsey Orta, makes the folly of this exceptionally plain in a uniquely disgusting way. But this is the predictable result of chickens making tactical alliances with wolves.
Recognizing this is not tantamount to uncritical support for things like hate speech laws. It’s simply rejection of reactionary politics and whitewashed repression flying under cover of free speech fairy tales. It’s to insist that, regardless of where we are on the free speech spectrum, we’re no more obliged to actively defend racists and corporations than we are to provide a shuttle to a cross-burning.
Any friend, even an anguished friend, of a nazi, or any other flavor of white supremacist is no friend of mine. In fact, they’re an enemy. This goes triple if they also insist corporations are people. White supremacy and corporations don’t need our help, and anyone who says by helping them you help yourself is a liar or a fool. Whatever its proponents intend, First Amendment absolutism is, in practice, an extremely clever ruse that very obviously serves power. It’s long past time to call bullshit.
Also, free Ramsey Orta
- Frat Boys, Redskins and Ramsey Orta
- There’s No Such Thing as First Amendment Absolutism
- Magic Paper Theory
- The White Supremacy Difference
- Precedent Hardly Matters
- Putting the Libertarian in Civil Libertarian
- Free Ramsey Orta