Should people who preach violence lose the right to free speech? | The Tylt

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Should people who preach violence lose the right to free speech?
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After deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, America is arguing the limits of free speech. The white power demonstrators had a permit (which the ACLU helped them get) but watching hundreds of men brandishing Nazi flags, toting assault rifles, and shouting for the extermination of black and Jewish people had many saying this "speech" was just incitement to violence and genocide. Others say letting the government police speech is a slippery slope. What do you think?

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Should people who preach violence lose the right to free speech?
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Yes, in America are you are allowed to be racist. You are allowed to burn the flag, criticize the president, and have subreddits devoted to how much you hate women or gays or Muslims. If we value free speech, we have to be judicious about silencing speech that we dislike or that makes us uncomfortable. But many say we have to draw the line at those who incite violence and genocide. People who advocate for brutality and murder of religious and ethnic minorities, who openly brag that they will use violence to establish a white ethnostate, who talk about exterminating their fellow human beings while stockpiling weapons? Maybe Charlottesville showed that incitement to violence does not deserve protection.

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But many subscribe to the old adage that the speech we find most offensive is the most important to protect. You can hate racism, fascism, and violence, but if we silence it, do we just drive it underground to fester further? Is it safer and better for us in the long run to allow the uglier fringes of our society to come out into the light so we can confront them? In the words of the director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

The First Amendment really was designed to protect a debate at the fringes. You don't need the courts to protect speech that everybody agrees with, because that speech will be tolerated. You need a First Amendment to protect speech that people regard as intolerable or outrageous or offensive — because that is when the majority will wield its power to censor or suppress, and we have a First Amendment to prevent the government from doing that.
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Many are quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous line about free speech not protecting an individual's right to "shout 'fire' in a crowded theater." When it comes to constitutional rights, we are constantly weighing out the needs of the group and the rights of the individual. Our Supreme Court has ruled that in some cases, an individual's right to free speech is superseded by the right of the group to remain safe from harm.

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Or, to put it another way: does this image look like free speech to you? A man in a hood hanging a noose outside of his car isn't technically breaking any laws, is he? But the threat of violence and intimidation is there, and it's designed to interfere with other people's civil rights and make them afraid to leave their homes. Here's the context:

In this May 3, 1939 file photo, a noose dangles from an automobile carrying Ku Klux Klan members, warning blacks to stay away from polling places for a municipal primary election in Miami. In spite of the threats, over 600 black voters cast their ballots.
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America is confronting the Paradox of Tolerance, a concept coined by philosopher Karl Popper. It essentially says that free societies must be tolerant up to the point of tolerating those who would tear down the society itself. KKK members who park in front of polling places with nooses to intimidate Black voters? They are tearing down society. They should not be tolerated.

Here’s another way to think about the Paradox of Tolerance: a tolerant society must protect its own existence if tolerance is to exist in the world. If tolerating intolerance results in the destruction and disappearance of tolerant society, then that tolerant society has a right to self-protection – in the form of refusing to tolerate intolerance. 

The Paradox of Tolerance suggests that we should view advocacy of intolerance and persecution as a criminal behavior in and of itself. Many European countries do have specific laws making advocacy of white supremacy illegal, in contrast to the United States.

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But others simply don't trust the government to be the decider as to what speech is hateful or inciting violence. Could Jeff Sessions decide that Black Lives Matter is inciting violence? Could people be jailed for burning the American flag? Even some who loathe violence and racism have understandable pause at silencing certain groups or communities.

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Example A: Martin Luther King Jr., who was constantly accused of inciting violence and treated as a threat by the federal government. 

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The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald is extremely wary of curtailing free speech in any way, shape, or form, even in the wake of Charlottesville.

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#ProtectAllSpeech
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should people who preach violence lose the right to free speech?
A festive crown for the winner
#DontProtectHate
#ProtectAllSpeech