Nazi filth - such as these at Charlottesville- do not merit first amendment protections given if they ever came to power they'd abolish them.
Walk down any city street in Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne or Bonn and you cannot help but notice there is robust free expression. Merely engaging German citizens of any of these burgs for a few minutes discloses it. But one thing you will never hear is any defense of Nazi memes, nor will you see Nazi flags - unless you can locate a WW II museum. Indeed, even the effort to spread such toxic nonsense can earn the person a year or more in prison, and significant fines.
Have the Germans gone bonkers? Have they gone over the top? No, they merely learned from bloody, barbaric experience after 6 million Jews were dispatched in Hitler's death camps, and tens of millions perished in bloody fashion around the world - with over a million Germans who had to pay for Hitler's insanity. Germans learned enough from their history not to be so daft as to enable toxic memes and mind viruses under the pretentious baloney of "free speech".
In May, 1985, near Bielefeld, Germany, I met with two former Wehrmacht soldiers who themselves had resolutely refused to join the Nazi party. (About 5 percent did join to receive perks the others did not such as extra rations, clothes etc.)
In Teutoburger forest with Dieter, left, and Hans, right - along with our translator Reinhardt.
The two former soldiers, Dieter and Hans, were part of a German choral group my wife Janice was then performing with. Anyway, we went to the Teutoburger Forest where one battle was fought near the end of the war. When I asked Dieter and Hans about the Nazi influence in Germany they responded almost in unison:
"We learned to our lasting shame that the Nazis took advantage of our freedom principles (associated with then Nuremberg democracy) to put themselves in power and stay there long enough to destroy Germany and Europe. We now know much better!"
They were referring to how Hitler and his Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or Nazi party used the democratic process itself to catapult Hitler into power and then used the mechanics of then Nuremberg government and the Reichstag to destroy all principles of free expression using the Enabling Act. See e.g. http://www.dw.com/en/the-law-that-enabled-hitlers-dictatorship/a-16689839
THIS is specifically why the Nazi party, Nazi offshoots or Nazi spokesmen cannot be allowed the privilege of free speech or protections under the First Amendment. Why? Because we already know from history (in 1930s Germany) the template they would use against our democratic, constitutional edifice. Simply put, we can't take the chance that history will repeat, ever again.
But Americans, having never undergone what Germany did, simply don't get it. Even the brightest - like fellow members of Intertel, fail to grasp why the Germans are as tough on speech as they are. Back in November last year I cited the words of fellow member Steve Mason writing in an essay: 'Dangerous Ideas', (Integra, Nov.-Dec, .p. 18) :
"Here's a really Dangerous Idea: The Holocaust is a hoax. It must be a Dangerous Idea because simply repeating those five words will get you jailed in more than a dozen countries, including: Belgium, France, Germany, Romania and Poland."
Mason then made an absurd parallel putting the "holocaust hoax" on the same "dangerous idea" level as the Apollo Moon landings hoax. In the latter case, citing all kinds of nonsense "evidence", e.g. American flag "rippling" on an airless world, from idiot lunar landing hoax websites.
This analogy showed Mason lacked any balanced rational insight to compare these two. In effect, comparing the claim of hoax for an actually recorded historical genocide to a nonsense claim which is easily refuted by reference to lunar laser ranging experiments - only made possible by the fact laser reflectors were left on the lunar surface....by humans.
Mason appeared to regard both ideas as merely equally "goofy". He scribbled, in regard to the lunar landing deniers (p. 21):
"The last I heard no one was locking them up. Being goofy isn't against the law, so what is it about questioning the death camps that creates such a stir?"
The Germans today take heed of George Santayana's famous words "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it." They would rather err on the side of legal heavy handedness than regret it later when a future Fuhrer tries to duplicate the inhuman acts of the earlier one. Impossible? Then read the Financial Times article below ('Ideas That Fed The Beast of Fascism Flourish Today') on how the same forces active in Europe in the 1930s are also present today:
The same goes for racial supremacy doctrines such as today's Neo-Nazis spout. They can't be allowed to gain any more of a foothold in a nation already riven by race. The Nazis especially can't be allowed a say - in a park, city town hall or anywhere - because we know they are now also about enacting policy with an ally in the White House. (WSJ, Aug, 17, p. A1) The Nazis cited in the piece also made it clear they no longer aspire merely to more marches and rallies but policy changes. These could include everything from limiting immigration, especially of Mexicans and Muslims, to building a border wall using taxpayer money, to fielding a new "security" arm similar to the Nazi Gestapo.
A recent WSJ interview ('The First Amendment Is For Nazis Too', Aug. 26-27, p. A11) with legal academic Richard A. Epstein saw him trying to argue that even Nazis deserve first amendment protections. This coming from a Jewish academic who appears to have unlearned or forgotten the lessons of history, period. He argues in abstract jargon about the "solipsistic left" and "nonactionable offense" but has no clue what these terms really mean - say as they applied when the Hitlerites used their speech to take over Germany.
"There are certain harms that are nonactionable and offense is one of them. If I say something that you find truly offensive, you may protest, you may speak - but what you may not do is to sue me in order to silence me, or to get compensation from me. Counter speech is the appropriate remedy under these circumstances, suppressing speech isn't"
Which I can agree with in nearly all circumstances - but not all. That includes holocaust denial as well as circulation of Nazi memes and mind viruses including the proposed extermination of all untermenschen (inferior humans) and also the open advocacy of policies that would terminate the very free speech those like Epstein argue for. Those were the same policies advocated by Adolf Hitler, as evident in his Mein Kampf, as well as promulgated by current Nazis. In Germany these riff raff are sued, fined or locked up and that ought to be a standard applied here too,.
If an ideology (like Nazism) ultimately seeks to destroy the very 'free speech' it currently claims to use (under the 1st amendment) we are now in a meta-context. This is exactly the meta-context Hitler and his bunch methodically employed in the early 1930s to convert Germany to a one-party state with NO subsequent free speech for anyone but the Fuhrer - and certain of his groupies - like Joseph Goebbels and Rudolph Hess.
As my German friend Reinhardt put it, if an ideology has as its ultimate goal the extirpation of the very speech it uses currently to spread hate, it cannot be allowed circulation. It then becomes no different from the smallpox virus - say released by insane people under the doctrine that "all living things or potential living things, like viruses, have the right to survive and compete for existence in our world".
In his WSJ interview Epstein claims:
"Freedom of speech means that you have the right to use your own resources to advance your own causes. But it doesn't give you, in the name of free speech, the right to take somebody else's telephone, somebody's house or somebody's anything to use for your own purposes"
Thereby making the point that freedom of expression is "embedded in the much larger and comprehensive system of property rights".
And yet Epstein appears to forget, or never processes, that this is exactly what the German Nazis did to the Jews. First, they used the very free speech allotted them by Nuremberg democracy to get enough people to believe in them and vote for them in the 1932, 1933 elections. (In the elections held in March, 1933, a record 88.8 % of the electorate turned out, and 39, 343, 331 votes were cast. The National Socialists received 17,277,328 or 43.9 percent, entitling them to 288 deputies in The Reichstag.) Then, once in total power- after Hitler became Chancellor - they terminated all extant liberties and the laws on which the German parliament (Reichstag) was based. (Google 'Enabling Act') Then, they seized all Jewish property - including businesses, homes and bank accounts. And finally - they dispatched those dispossessed Jews to concentration camps where they were exterminated as "untermenschen", e.g.
Scene outside of Mauthausen concentration camp photographed by Russian soldiers who liberated that camp in 1945
THIS is precisely why NO Nazi ideas or memes must ever be permitted the "oxygen" of free speech to spread, ever again. Like the smallpox virus it must be isolated and kept at bay with a zero tolerance policy. Epstein himself is a blatant fool for even remotely considering modern day followers of this bestial philosophy to air their toxins.
Epstein, vaunted legal guru that he is, is also totally wrong about Google's firing of James Damore, the right wing nitwit who posted a ten page memo trying to tie women's job performance to their biology and innate mental aptitude. He insists (ibid.):
"Google is basically massively intolerant. Here was a guy a data analyst, wo was not even against diversity. He said he wasn't".
Disclosing a naivete on a par with awarding Nazis free speech. In fact, any person with more than air between the ears reading Damore's memo saw exactly how opposed to diversity he was, no matter what he "said". (Hitler also "said" he'd lead his countrymen to a greater, more enriched future and 'Lebensraum'. How did that turn out?)
As for firing Damore, Google was perfectly entitled to do so. In the case of 'Waters v. Churchill' the Supreme court made clear that an employee's speech is not protected if the employer believes the speech might interfere with the efficiency of the employer's operations. Since it is clear that allowing Damore's presence (after his memo went viral) would definitely undermine Google's efficiency of operations, it was clear Google had to give this right wing troll the heave ho, all the Right's whining aside.
Let me add here, for completeness, that preventing Nazis "oxygen" for their speechifying need not depend on the feds to achieve it. We've already shown here in Colorado Springs how a simple boycott can persuade a major resort to ditch plans to provide these vermin a platform. See e.g.
The beauty of the Springs boycott is that no one was really trying specifically to take away the "speech rights" of the Nazis and white supremacists, merely their platform, their venue. The could have chosen another one but up to now have decided not to. This may be all the alert and aware citizen can do now to halt the spread of these virulent memes - but in the COS case, it was enough.