The Public Safety Pretext: Liberal Leaders and Writers Seek To Protect The Public From Free Speech

220px-nancy_pelosiBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the call of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to cancel the permit of a conservative group seeking to hold a “Patriot Prayer” event in San Francisco.  As discussed in the posting today on Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin’s call to end a Free Speech event, leaders are latching on to a new way to limit speech. While professing fealty to free speech, Pelosi, Arraguin, and others seek to deny it on the basis for how critics might react.  The West has grown weary of Free Speech and these are the voices calling for greater restraints and regulation of speech. It is the new anti-speech pretext: leaders seek to protect the public from free speech in the name of public safety.

Here is the column:

Many in the United States appear to be losing faith (and patience) with free speech. Various Democratic leaders and commentators have called for limits on free speech to target “alt-right” groups, from declaring them terrorists to denying them the right to demonstrate in public. This week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered a mixed metaphor as a substitute for our bright line rule protecting speech.

Pelosi demanded that the National Park Service deny a permit for the conservative “Patriot Prayer” event in San Francisco. In an interview, she said, “The Constitution does not say that a person can yell ‘wolf’ in a crowded theater. If you are endangering people, then you don’t have a constitutional right to do that.” In point of fact, there is nothing unlawful about yelling “wolf” in a crowded theater. Wolf attacks in movie theaters are not particularly common and unlikely to cause panic. Most urban audiences would assume it was a misplaced reference to a Kevin Costner film.

225px-Oliver_Wendell_Holmes_Jr_circa_1930Pelosi appeared to confuse the quote of Oliver Wendell Holmes in the Supreme Court decision in Schenck v. United States, which said, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.” Pelosi also appears unaware that Schenck, which is viewed as one of the court’s most troubling rulings, was effectively overturned in 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio.

0640e2af71Ironically, Schenck is a case that should deeply offend most people. Charles Schenck and Elizabeth Baer were convicted under the Espionage Act of 1917 for simply opposing conscription. The two socialists called on their fellow citizens not to “submit to intimidation” and to “assert your rights.” They argued, “If you do not assert and support your rights, you are helping to deny or disparage rights which it is the solemn duty of all citizens and residents of the United States to retain,” and described military “involuntary servitude.”

Today we view such statements as core protected speech, but Holmes said that opposing a draft was like “falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic” and creating a “clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” Consider that for a second. Merely opposing a war and conscription was deemed to be causing a “panic” and a “substantive evil” that the government must prevent.

Pelosi’s garbled use of Schenck is telling. It is not those speaking but those who want to silence speech that are a “clear and present danger” to our system. Just as the Wilson administration was furious with those who opposed the war, Pelosi is furious with those who oppose her values. By simply declaring their speech as inciteful, Pelosi wants the government to stop them from speaking on public grounds.

Of course, she ignores that many would view liberal groups as inciteful and “evil.” Many conservatives have objected to the violence at Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests. Indeed, many liberal groups now oppose the same type of military interventions by the Trump administration that Schenck opposed in the Wilson administration.

Pelosi’s “schencking” of free speech places her on the wrong side of history but nevertheless with a growing group of speech-phobic liberals. Among the chorus of people criticizing free speech as a weapon of the right are two professors who wrote recent columns in the Washington Post and New York Times.

In a column in the Washington Post, Skidmore College Professor Jennifer Delton decried how “provocateurs seek to bait liberal institutions by weaponizing the concept of free speech.” She warned that free speech is facilitating rather the deterring these groups and that “quoting Voltaire is not going to preserve anyone’s liberties — least of all those populations most vulnerable to vicious racist, misogynist and anti-Semitic attacks.”

Delton encouraged people to move beyond free speech inhibitions and, chillingly, that liberals have previously denied free speech to different groups: “American liberals were forced to sidestep First Amendment absolutism to combat a political foe… when New Deal liberals purged U.S. communists from American political life.” While Delton stops short of calling for purges of anyone deemed “alt-right,” she suggested that, given “the threat posed by the actions of alt-right provocateurs,” past censorship and criminalization of speech “may bear revisiting.”

In an editorial in the New York Times, K-Sue Park, a housing attorney and the Critical Race Studies fellow at the UCLA School of Law, rails against “color-blind” approaches which “support hate-based causes” and insists that such “colorblind logic [has] never secured real freedom or even safety for all.” She calls for an end to this broad protection of free speech as based on “a misguided theory that all radical views are equal” and that ‘it fuels right-wing free-speech hypocrisy.”

These voices advocate content-based discrimination of speech, long anathema in our country. It is part of a trend sweeping across the West with crackdowns on any speech deemed intimidating or inciteful or hateful. Pelosi would bar the right of conservatives to speak on the basis that their event might pose a threat to public safety, particularly given counter-demonstrators drawn to such events. Thus, free speech depends not only on what you are saying but how it will be received by others. The rally was canceled by the organizers out of concern over counter demonstrators, but Pelosi believes that the group should not have been given the choice.

We do not need the First Amendment to protect against popular speech. Pelosi and others seek to convince a free people to surrender a core freedom by focusing on how free speech is being used by unpopular groups. They might just succeed in bringing about a new era of censorship. Voices calling for speech limits play to the fears of a society that can come to view free speech as an abstraction or even an irritation. The truly sad part is that they use free speech to convince others to diminish it.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

148 thoughts on “The Public Safety Pretext: Liberal Leaders and Writers Seek To Protect The Public From Free Speech”

  1. It is not just “speech”. It is the right to assemble and assemble so as to petition our government for redress of grievances and in that assembly or gathering or blog we speak and write and draw things.
    Can the Klansmen wear their hooded outfits, gather at the levee in Cairo, IL and burn crosses and be protected from police or government interference?
    Can the anti Trumpsters gather and shoot guns in the air?

  2. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    Turley looks again at how under the guise of public safety various politicians seek to restrict free speech and thus by extension freedom of thought. According to these promoters of safety the only free speech is that which accords with their view. It is an evil trend. Furthermore, Trump with his vitriol and stupidity only makes it easier for them.

  3. I want to give a hand to Turning Point USA for standing up for free speech and against sexism by professors. This is a national student group started just a few years ago by a student that is having a positive impact at the universities. Charlie Kirk is the founder, someone I support. Those on the left will hate the fact that the movement is growing and now is in many states with many chapters.

    Shocking Sexism and Racism by Leftist Professors at University of Nebraska
    Campus Reform reports on a horrific incident that occurred at the University of Nebraska on Friday. Katie Mullen, a Nebraska sophomore, heads the Turning Point USA chapter on campus. She was “tabling” various posters (“Big Government Sucks” is a favorite), stickers and the like on the university’s campus.

    As Ms. Mullen was manning her table, three or more professors began to harass her. They carried signs attacking Turning Point, screamed profanities, and shouted the usual drivel about “fascism,” “white supremacy” and so on. One of the teachers, Courtney Lawton, a PhD student and lecturer, gave Mullen the finger.

    The professors created enough of a scene that a university administrator told Ms. Mullen that she would have to leave the area. Subsequently a campus police officer determined that she had a right to be where she was and allowed her to stay. Later, however, she was escorted away from the area for her own safety.

    This video captures some of the action. The professors’ conduct is disgusting, particularly when directed against a student:

    Many have condemned the teachers’ outrageous actions, although as of this writing the university has not taken any action against them. There is one aspect of this incident that, as far as I know, has not been commented upon, and that renders it particularly disgusting.

    If you listen to the video embedded above, you will note that Courtney Lawton keeps referring to Katie Mullen as “Becky.” She says, “neo-fascist Becky right here, Becky the neo-fascist right here.” This is odd. Did Lawton somehow think that Katie’s name was Becky?

    I don’t think so. This is the sort of thing that most people don’t know, but the Urban Dictionary says “Becky” means “a basic bitch.” It also means “hot white girl” and denotes a woman who enjoys giving oral sex.

    It is this last meaning that was celebrated by a rapper named Plies in his rap titled “Becky,” which has been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube.

    I am quite certain that this was Courtney Lawton’s reference. Not content to scream stupid political smears, she called a Nebraska sophomore a “basic bitch” and associated her with fellatio. This was sexual harassment at a minimum, likely with a racist element (“hot white girl”) as well.

    One more thing: the kind of vileness celebrated by Plies and indulged in by Lawton has been legitimized by Barack Obama and other liberals. Obama invited Plies to the White House along with other rappers, but Plies turned the president down.

    As repellent as these people are, the story has a happy ending. Katie Mullen was back in business with her Turning Point USA table yesterday. She said that she signed up 56 students on Friday and more than 60 yesterday. The leftists’ attempt to silence her has failed.

    http for this article and the videos :

  4. I can’t imagine the outrage to be seen in Berkley if a Jain displays a Prateek Chihna and gives a Bellamy Salute.

    1. A private school in one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. makes symbolic p.c. gesture that costs them absolutely nothing. Yawn.

    2. Don’t believe anything in the Daily Mail; a known source of Faux Neuz.

  5. “Pelosi and others seek to convince a free people to surrender a core freedom by focusing on how free speech is being used by unpopular groups.” I agree with this, not only for the First Amendment, but for the Second, as well. There is a troubling trend, in general, where the Left is systematically going after the Constitutional freedoms of individuals in the name of the greater good. They subvert individual rights to that of the faceless group. And they want a Progressive Government (not Trump’s Government) to decide what is good, right, and allowed for that group.

    I think that moderate Liberals are really more like Classical Liberals, and therefor on the right side of the spectrum, but they don’t realize it.

    1. And may I add that Patriot Prayer was not a racist event. Its organizer is not a hate group, nor is it listed as any hate group.

      Rather, as is they are want, Pelosi et al spuriously declared that Patriot Prayer was a racist event and would draw violence. The racists said, oh, really, and decided to come. Patriot Prayer did not invite them, nor did they want them. Between the racists wanting to come, and Antifa threatening violence, the event was cancelled due to security concerns.

      In effect, Liberals declared innocent people to be racist, which made racists try to affiliate with them, and then the whole thing was threatened with violence. Innocent conservatives were silenced by Liberals.

      It is only OK for Progressives to protest and organize or hold any event at all. Or speak. Or write.

      Liberal Fascism.

      1. Boy, unless you really are a girl and not a boy named Karen (Not judging, it’s a free country) they could really have a used a brave, outspoken whatever you are (on the internet no one knows you are dog) back in Nazi Germany to stand up and shout, “F#ck this PC Nazi crap! I want to be a liberal fascist again!”

        1. Great. Now you’ve got that song, “A Boy Named Sue” stuck in my head. Thanks a lot!

        2. FTW, we are not living in The Weimar Republic. The Patriot Prayer event would not have been The Beer-Hall Putsch. The cancellation of that event is not The Enabling Act. Karen’s phrase Liberal Fascism [2:58 pm Aug. 30th] may have been a rejoinder to Natacha’s phrase Radical Conservatives [12:50 pm Aug. 30th].

          1. P. S. FTW, Karen S is so obviously a woman that it is equally obvious that either you’ve read precious few of her posts on this blog or you’re just pretending to be functionally illiterate.

  6. It’s time to recognize and prosecute sedition, insurrection and treason.

    These people reject the entire Constitution including the 1st Amendment right of freedom of speech.

    They have stated clearly that they intend to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America.

    Freedom and Self-Reliance have been replaced with “central planning,” “redistribution of wealth” and “social engineering” straight out of the Communist Manifesto.

    “Treade a worme on the tayle, and it must turne agayne.”

    – William Shakespeare

    “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

    – Adimiral Isoroku Yamamoto

    1. George, you’re over-reacting, again. Which people have stated clearly that they intend ‘fundamentally to transform’ America? Antifa? The Black Bloc? Nancy Pelosi?

      Where can we read or review those clear statements in their authors own words? I seriously doubt that Antifa, The Black Bloc nor Nacy Pelosi are even capable of making clear statements to begin with.

      But I still read you just fine, George. Remain calm.

      1. An incoherent, hysterical and artificial diatribe by an artificial party with artificial status obtained by artificial bias, artificial favor and artificial public assistance.

        Pride in accomplishment is appropriate.

        Repeal the 19th Amendment and “Affirmative Action Privilege.”

  7. When the Klan guys came out to my house in the country in So. Illinois one night they were chanting something about free speech. I chanted free speech right back when I shot one of them with my rifle.

    1. California is now the fifth largest economy on the planet and feeds most of this planet, as well as all the red states, which are still comprised of many of the same states that tried to secede from The Union over slavery and then assassinated Lincoln, the first Republican president in America. Sherman ( tried to warn the South, as he was the military college superintendent in Louisiana at the time:
      >You people of the South don’t know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don’t know what you’re talking about. War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it… Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth—right at your doors. You are bound to fail. Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If your people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.
      It was a bitter and bloody struggle, as civil wars often are. There is a terribly sexist “What do you say” joke which I shall employ in service of answering your question:
      “What do you say to a woman with two black eyes?”
      “Nothing. She’s already been told twice.”
      So it will probably be bayonets and rifle butts again, some people do need to be “told” twice. But this time it will only take the state of California to do the severe and bloody ass-kicking again, with both hands tied behind its back.

      1. Quite the rant. Does anyone have the Rosetta Stone translation into sane language?

        1. Nick, I know nothing of hieroglyphs. But I’m guessing the translation might be something like:

          California is going to scorch the earth from Atlanta to Savanna. Total warfare.

          I disapprove of that statement. There are nuclear weapons on “both sides.”

        1. Steve, I think we should start a GoFundMe California secession page. Anyone who understands that state can see that within the next decade, under the weight of unfunded govt. employee pensions, that state is going to implode. A tech crash will cause riots in the streets.

          1. Nick, I’ve been watching CA for a long while and somehow it keeps its head above water. I’m not sure how, but it just can’t seem to fail. However, the migration of tech jobs from Silicon Valley to Austin has exceeded 1,400 households per year. Toyota is moving its US headquarters from CA to TX: 4,000 jobs and Toyota estimates that 75% of those employees will relocate. So, to pay for pensions and government giveaways CA raises taxes which chases employers and employees away, usually to a Red State. Also see Connecticut. Also see Chicago. Also see Detroit. BTW, in 2016 the average cost to rent a U-Haul truck from CA to TX: just at $2,500 one-way. From TX to CA: approx $1,1000. (What is 4,000 times $2,500?)

            1. Steve Haas, 4,000 times 2,500 equals 10 followed by 6 zeros, or $10,000,000 (aka ten million). If CA taxes that at 2.5% you get $250,000. I’m guessing at the sales tax rate for CA, and that they have one.

        2. Agreed. Then we could kick Californians out of everywhere else for being undocumented. And FYI to the above ranter: California doesn’t feed the U.S., 80% of its crops go overseas. The wealth in California already doesn’t benefit anyone but California billionaires by and large, it would not be the end of the world for them to drop out.

    2. D. C. I don’t believe you. I think you’re just pretending like so many others on this blog.

  8. (music)

    Knights in white satin.
    Never reaching the end.
    Letters I’ve written and have meaning to send.

    Let’s burn the cross now…
    The tide is so low.
    People from China..
    Knowing Jim Crow.

    And I love you. Oh, … etc

  9. Call the men in the white suits. If that don’t work then call the men who recall The Third Reich.

  10. “They might just succeed in bringing about a new era of censorship.”
    It’s already too late, Professor Turley. What is this country coming to? I just told the n*****s who moved in next door to me to move quickly and GTFO or get a Burning Cross on the lawn in an email and over the telephone. Now I’m looking at 5 Years for terroristic threats! What about my first amendment rights? Perhaps you or Glenn Greenwald will take my case? The ACLU HAS REFUSED ME 5 TIMES! Useless communists!

      1. Enigma, I suspect that FTW’s comment was a parody of a bigot. Otherwise, FTW would have a multiple personality disorder–which is, admittedly, possible given his quotation from Gen. Sherman.

    1. There are obvious exceptions to free speech, including threats, bribery, and so on. Free speech is to allow the freedom of thought, and the expression of ideas. It doesn’t protect you from the consequences of threatening your neighbors.

  11. No one is suggesting limiting the content of the speech of the radical conservatives: just the time, place and context. Those limits are acceptable. The radical conservatives are free to say whatever they want, but not where ever or whenever they want, especially in the current climate. Claiming that their right to free speech is being abridged on the grounds of content censorship is disingenuous.

    Thanks to the Divider in Chief squatting in our White House, the country is more divided than ever before and passions are running high. He not only praised the avowed racist Joe Arpaio, he pardoned him without going through the usual vetting process or requiring an admission of wrongdoing and showing of remorse. He equated Nazis and White Supremacists and those who object to their rhetoric. There are times and places where extreme conservative rhetoric foreseeably would incite trouble, and one of them is San Francisco at this time. Let them go to another venue where trouble is not foreseeable.

    1. Radical conservative? Isn’t that an oxymoron? A contradiction in terms? Or maybe just a plain old garden variety moron?

      1. FTW, The original conservatives called Adam Smith a radical. Contemporary conservatives regard Adam Smith as a veritable prophet of Israel. Whence the phrase “radical conservative” stems from an anachronism built into the very history of conservatism that conservatism is supposed formally to eschew.

        Unless we’ve always had a merchantilist system of economics.

    2. I live in the bay area and work in SF. I am old enough to remember the riots at SF state and UC Berkeley. Today I see the UC system proclaiming the BDS movement as anti-Semitic and revoking their right to free speech. I am of the left, but I am not a radical who believes beating someone into submission is a solution. It comes as no surprise to me that citizens of the most militarily aggressive nation in the world today turn to violence to get their way (kkk, nazis, antifa and other violent protesters). Giving away our rights is never the answer…

    3. “are free to say whatever they want, but not where ever or whenever they want,”

      I think it is time for Natacha to retire to her rubber room.

      She has completely lost what free speech is all about and then follows with hallucinations.

      1. Allan, I enjoy reading Natacha. Surprise! Surprise! She has not “completely lost” the gist of free speech. Nor is her position exactly the same as the Schenck decision. She is not advocating that anyone should be arrested for violating The Espionage Act of 1917. But I know someone who wants political dissidents arrested for terrorism rather than vandalism or assault. Have you looked up The Palmer Raids yet, Allan?

        1. Diane, I didn’t have to look up the Palmer Raids. I knew all about them. But, the real question is whether or not you looked up a definition of terrorism or formulated one to show me why your definition differs from my dictionary definition. [I understand anyone’s reluctance to identify a group as terrorists. I find such a reluctance as well, but in an intellectual dialogue such as the one we were having I don’t resort to insults when I don’t have a reasonable response.]

          I have no surprise in the fact that you say you enjoy reading Natacha. We have a difference of opinion, but I noted in one of Natacha’s posts that I agreed with a segment of her thinking. In fact what she said was quite similar to what Trump said on immigration. I have yet to hear a response from her on something Natacha and I both agreed with. I think upon seeing her agreement with Trump Natacha might have withdrawn to her rubber room.

          1. Allan, you say you don’t resort to insults while telling Natacha to retire to her rubber room. Either you don’t know what an insult is or you’re lying to yourself as well as to the rest of us.

            I gave you all the definitions of terrorism you’re going to get from me. Further requests from you are petulant badgering. Stop being a stranger to yourself, Allan.

            1. P. S. Allan, The Gallianists sent letter-bombs in the mail to public officials. While they were not charged with terrorism, letter-bombing and bomb-throwing would be a useful addition to your definition of terrorism, Allan; if for no other reason than to allow you to distinguish real terrorists from the terrorist figments of your imagination.

              1. I await not tidbits, but your definition of terrorism to replace mine which was about one sentence long. By the time we are finished you will likely have a book of hundreds of pages and claim that is your definition. You are not placing yourself in a good light, Diane.

            2. “Allan, you say you don’t resort to insults “

              You are trying to read people’ minds again and you are failing. Where did I say I don’t resort to insults? I do and have when I find that person insulting. One of our early discussions involved you making a bad mistake and finally admitting you were wrong. I thought that was commendable and said so. We then had other conversations where you became frustrated so instead of defining your terms you utilized insult. That is OK with me. I have a tendency to write at the level of who I am writing to.

              I actually found significant agreement with Natacha and told her so and that some of her ideas regarding immigration were similar to Trump policy. She ceased discussion on that point of agreement. Perhaps she strayed too from her comfort zone in leftist ideology. It’s amazing how much many of us might agree on things, but to stray from the leftist ideology is considered a deep sin where people are dismissed and relegated to the dead. See Google’s firing of the engineer who said nothing wrong.

              You never provided a definition of terrorism rather your definition was loosely implied in a huge amount of rhetoric. That is not a definition.

                1. ” you’re far too keen ”

                  Thank you for the compliment.

                  I was not writing about myself rather correcting your mindreading capabilities about what I was thinking and wrote.

                  I think you are keen enough after this length of time to have decided on the correct definition of terrorism. If you can’t come up with a satisfactory definition you can try your mindreading capabilities out on the deceased Mirriam or the deceased Webster.

    4. Your level of delusion is truly impressive. I have seldom seen a statement so thoroughly negate its own premise in the *same statement* so effectively. Have you thought about running for office?

    5. Natacha, I admire your fortitude. But the G8 and G20 would have a hard time finding anywhere in The U. S. to hold a summit under your thesis of incitement to riot. That, in turn, might well be a goal at which The Black Bloc aims.

      Did you know that The Palmer Raids OF 1919 were preceded by letter-bombings against public officials carried out by Italian Anarchists known as Gallianists? So far neither Antifa nor The Black Bloc have given our government any provocation even remotely of the sort that The Gallianists gave Attorney General Palmer in 1919. If they ever do, then Nancy Pelosi might have harder time singing her current tune.

  12. No, JT is wrong about one thing. The WEST has not grown tired of free speech – – – the mostly Liberal Leaders of the West have grown tired of free speech. The real question is WHY? What exactly are the Liberal Leaders sooo afraid of???

    In a general sense, a cult leader, or authoritarian government like the Nazis or North Koreans, seek to control the narrative. The specifics of what they are afraid of is pretty obvious – the cult leader fears the family and friends of the cult member telling him/her how badly they are being used – The Nazis fear the people finding out how badly the war is going – The North Korean government fears its people finding out how cuckoo Kim Jong Un is, and how much better people outside NK are living. Each of which means that knowledge equates to problems for those in power.

    But what specifically is it that the Democrats fear most? What is their excuse for going all Hitler on conservative speakers and free speech?

    IMO, the biggest fears are two in nature:

    1) The Democrat’s victimology narrative;
    2) The Democrat’s illegal alien narrative.

    Because the first is what allows the Democrats to keep a lock on the black vote, and thus in the big cities particularly to control the money, and often the choice of senators. The second is the new wave of potential voters that the Democrats hope to control to stay in power for another hundred years.

    They simply can not risk having Americans openly question those narratives, because neither of them make any sense as far as making America better. They only serve to keep Democrats in power.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. You are simply wrong on so many fronts. First, the mostly-Republican hotel, restaurant, landscaping, construction and other business owners and operators who rely on low-skill, cheap, below-market, no fringe benefit labor don’t want immigrants to be deported. Paying Americans a living wage and providing safety on the job and fringe benefits is more expensive. That’s why it hasn’t happened. It would be very easy to send ICE agents to all of these places and round up the illegals and then fine the employers. Why hasn’t it happened? Democrats are not driving the lack of immigration enforcement, and their support of illegals is based on compassion, not dollar signs. They’re not hard to find. Look in every hotel laundry/housekeeping department, restaurant kitchens, landscaping and roofing contractors, non-union construction, pallet manufacturers, office and private housekeeping and maid services, fruit and vegetable picking and other low-skill, low-paying jobs. Go to anyplace that has a Western Union service whereby money can be wired to Mexico on a Friday evening, such as grocery and convenience stores and check cashing stores. How many untaxed billions leave this country every year? Democrats aren’t the problem, and there’s no “narrative” attributable to them. It’s the Republicans, mainly the wealthy ones, who are the problem, if you believe there is a problem.

      Secondly, the mere presence of people wearing swasticas incites anger and push-back and the foreseeability of trouble merely because of the symbolism of the emblem and its history of genocide. No one is preventing their speech, but they don’t have the right to start trouble, either. They know people of good conscience object to them and their message, and they want to incite trouble, so that people like you can scream that their First Amendment rights are being abridged. Communities have a right to take reasonable measures to avoid foreseeable trouble, and while they cannot limit the content of speech, they can limit the time and place when public property and public safety are involved. When a group stands for hate and genocide and will likely attract lots of objection, those standing for hate and genocide can find another location to spew their venom. This is not a violation of their First Amendment rights at all.

      1. Natacha: I find your views hateful and intolerant. Your language offends me and your tone is overtly aggressive. While you have freedom of speech, you don’t have it here. Your views are diametrically opposed to what everyone believes. I demand that you be banned from this blog, that you be fully researched so that we can prove what we already know: that you are a facist and that you foment anger.

        Satire is always useful. And fun. And effective.

        1. Not surprisingly, you have no substantive response to any points that were raised– just the usual ad hominem personal attack. Just like your President: he lashes out with insults at anyone who criticizes him, which is a list that grows every day. How can there be a dialogue with someone who cannot articulate a response that is not personal and insulting?

          1. Natacha doesn’t catch satire even when it comes with a little coda labeling it. You’re spiritual twin Jill uses the term ‘neurodivergent’ for herself. Hmmmm…..

            1. Satire is not a substantive response This is a serious topic: the claim that banning hate groups who incite civil disobedience is a pretext for banning free speech. Not true, but then, those of you who are fans of Fox News don’t really care.

              1. That is your problem Natacha. You want to define who is and who is not a hate group and where they can express their feelings. That thought process means you don’t believe in our Republic and instead believe in totalitarian rule that defines hate the same way you do.

              2. the claim that banning hate groups who incite civil disobedience is a pretext for banning free speech. Not true,

                Well, Pumpkin, some of us have been around a while and are familiar with the usage of the term ‘hate’ by political sectaries (and also by racketeers like Morris Dees). We know how you roll.

                1. Yes, I confess being guilty of feeling that those who wear the swastika stand for hate and promotion of genocide and stirring up trouble, so that makes me a “pumpkin”. Those of you who don’t have a problem with skinheads marching down the street with the “Heil Hitler” salute and wearing swasticas are something else. Ignorant and insensitive seem too mild to describe your deficiencies. See, my family used to live next door to a Jewish family who escaped from Nazi Germany, and who lost the entire rest of their families to the concentration camps. I also was friends with a man who had been a seminarian in Riga, Latvia, and who escaped to England and eventually to America, after the Nazis rounded up the Bishop and all of the priests and brothers who were his teachers and took them to the nearest woods and executed them. So, when I see skinheads marching down an American street wearing the swastika, something within me wants to do something more about it than just complain.

                  1. Natacha, I don’t get paid to listen to you free-associate.

                  2. So that qualifies you to be the official Person In Charge of Designating Hate Groups? And how often do you see these skinheads marching down the street, anyway? If they don’t loot, or destroy property (*cough* *cough* *cough* *cough*) or attack other people, just ignore them. They are a tiny sliver of the population, and by giving them attention you’re only encouraging them.

                  3. Those of you who don’t have a problem with skinheads marching down the street with the “Heil Hitler” salute and wearing swasticas are something else. Ignorant and insensitive seem too mild to describe your deficiencies.

                    Your feelings are irrelevant to the issue of natural rights, and in this case, free speech. I’m certain you would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful among all of the followers on this blog that don’t find these hate groups as the some of the worst humanity has to offer. This world would be a far better place if they no longer existed. That being said, they do exist and their freedom of speech is no different than yours or mine.

                    The unintended (hopefully that’s true) consequence of infringing the rights of those you feel should have them infringed is you remove the barrier between your rights and those with the power to infringe them.

                  4. Natasha knows Jews, and has actually touched Mexicans, Negroes and Indians. She wins the Triple Crown of Virtue Signaling.

                    Dear Natasha,

                    There were many tattooed Jews in Skokie back in 1977 who survived Auschwitz, Treblinka and other death camps. They did not whine when Nazi’s marched through Skokie like your stupid ass is now. They love this country and understand the 1st Amendment. You, are dumber than a bag o’ hammers and unworthy of being an American.

                    1. “The Supreme Court in 1978 upheld Collin’s First Amendment right to march, yet Collin never did, instead taking his demonstration to Chicago. I can’t help but think that the survivors’ widely expressed determination to stop him by force contributed to his decision.” – Howard Reich, from the following article


                      Reawakening the ghosts of Skokie
                      ‘Skokie: Invaded But Not Conquered’

                      by Howard Reich

                      January 16, 2013

                      Protesters and police officers prepare for a march by neo-Nazis in Skokie in April 1977. The march never took place but a documentary about the traumatic time in the suburb, “Skokie: Invaded But Not Conquered,” will have its world premiere Thursday at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. (AP photo 1977)

                      To me, a kid growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, Skokie seemed like any other suburb, its tidy houses sitting on impeccably manicured lawns.

                      Sure, on Friday nights and Saturday mornings you’d sometimes see Hasidic Jews strolling to and from synagogue. In temple, you’d catch a glimpse of a blue-green number tattooed on someone’s forearm. In stores, you’d often hear thick accents — rolled “R’s” and guttural consonants — borne of an earlier life in Eastern Europe.

                      But back then I had no clue that the tiny town where my family had moved from East Rogers Park when I was 10 was a kind of ground zero for Holocaust survivors in America. Even though both my parents — and my surviving uncles and aunts — had escaped the executions Hitler had planned for them, the uniqueness of Skokie utterly eluded me.

                      It took a neo-Nazi named Frank Collin to bring the point home, when he ignited a worldwide media sensation by threatening to lead his small band of followers on a march in Skokie in the late 1970s. The anguish he caused the survivors quickly became apparent through news stories documenting their outrage on TV and radio and on the front pages of newspapers everywhere. But the gravity of what they endured has come into sharper focus with a new documentary, “Skokie: Invaded But Not Conquered,” which will have its world premiere Thursday evening at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie and will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 on WTTW-Ch. 11. (Full disclosure: I’m interviewed in the film.)

                      In a way, I now realize, you could divide life in Skokie into two crisply defined periods: before Collin and after.

                      Before, Skokie seemed a nearly idyllic place, kids riding yellow buses to school in the morning and playing ball in the streets afterward, well into the evening. Beneath that picturesque facade, however, the estimated 7,000 to 8,000 Holocaust survivors who had migrated to Skokie — a town barely 10 miles square — suffered immense but private pain.

                      In our house, my father never made it through a night’s sleep without waking up several times, in his dreams killing Nazis, he said. My mother rarely slept in bed, instead sitting in the dark on our living room floor, peering out the window, as if keeping a vigil for dangers ahead. My sister and I were not allowed to take showers — only baths — and it took me years to understand my parents’ fear of them.

                      But though survivors like my parents yelled among each other about the miseries they had suffered and the relatives they had lost during the Holocaust, they kept a decidedly low profile outside their circle. American Jews in Skokie have told me through the years that they had no idea so many survivors lived in their midst.

                      That changed spectacularly after Collin emerged in the late ’70s. All at once, the survivors who had kept their pasts so veiled and worked so hard to try to assimilate into American life stepped into the spotlight. They told anyone who would listen that they would not allow Collin and his brown-shirted, swastika-wearing ilk in the place where they had found refuge after the war. They would go to court to stop him. And if that failed, they would meet him in the streets.

                      At the time, I was dumbfounded by the hysteria that gripped the survivors, including my father, who said he would “break Frank Collin’s head,” and I believed him. To me, Collin seemed like a clown who had stumbled into a degree of media notoriety that hadn’t been seen here since, perhaps, Richard Speck had killed eight student nurses in 1966. Why would my father, and the other survivors, even give this pathetic man such attention and importance?

                      But the survivors witnessed this spectacle with very different eyes. They had seen another pathetic man rise to become chancellor of Germany in 1933 and the architect of their near-destruction. Collin had made a point of using the same language as Hitler, speaking on TV interviews about “the final solution to the Jewish question” (though Collin himself was the son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor).

                      To traumatized survivors in Skokie, this was not the First Amendment debate that would be litigated all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. To them, the issue was much simpler than that: The Nazis were back and promising to continue their quest.

                      As then-village counsel Harvey Schwartz once told me, “When someone wants to come marching into your town, with the announced intention to kill you, there was hardly anything left to discuss.”

                      The Supreme Court in 1978 upheld Collin’s First Amendment right to march, yet Collin never did, instead taking his demonstration to Chicago. I can’t help but think that the survivors’ widely expressed determination to stop him by force contributed to his decision.

                      So though Collin won in court, the survivors won where it counted: in the streets where they lived.

                      More important, though, the grand legal and public battles of 1977 and ’78 transformed the survivors and the town they had made into a shtetl (a small Jewish village) in America replete with synagogues, Hebrew schools, Jewish delis and kosher markets and butcher shops. After Collin, they opened the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in a storefront on Main Street, a few blocks from my family’s house, in 1984; built a Holocaust monument in downtown Skokie in 1987; persuaded the Legislature to make Illinois the first state in the country to require Holocaust education, in 1990; and launched the museum’s state-of the-art new headquarters at 9603 Woods Drive in Skokie on April 19, 2009.

                      Today, the world’s remaining Holocaust survivors are dying off, but their story endures.

                      And nowhere in America does it resonate more deeply than in Skokie.

                      Tribune arts critic Howard Reich is the author of “Prisoner of Her Past,” a book and PBS documentary.


                      Twitter @howardreich

                    2. Not exactly true… They were very upset and sought a court order to stop the march.

                    3. This was an excellent posting by anonymous one that I have a great attachment to. Take note, that these survivors assimilated into the American culture. Take note they received no or very little in the way of reparations. Take note they didn’t become dependent upon the American government. Take note how they would have protested without violence remembering their own suffering. Take note they weren’t asking for anything more than to be left alone. Take note they didn’t complain and whine like some we hear so frequently. Take note that the Nazi’s were legally permitted to march. And finally take note of their children and grandchildren and how educated so many became as doctors, lawyers, etc.

                      We seem to have an upside down world today with a lot of people that do not recognize what freedom of speech means and some that cannot stop whining even though they never faced a holocaust.

              3. “Fox..yada yada..Trump..yada yada yada yada. Rush yada yada yada.” Natasha.

            2. Desperate, LOL! You can’t make this up. Again, you note most of these alt left folks are humorless and dumber than a bag o’ hammers. Studies show smart people have a better sense of humor than stupid people. Natasha and FTW help prove that.

              1. Nick, I’m pretty sure that FTW is sarcastic. Although his sarcasm is not exactly humorous. Meanwhile, the worst that I can say about Natacha is that she is occasionally agonistic. And I’m one, too. And so are you. As well as a great many other posters on this blog. Surely agonistics are occasionally called for; and most of the time Natacha is, in fact, substantive, anyhow.

                P. S. Defining intelligence as the ability of someone to laugh at one’s own jokes is an insufficiently intelligent definition.

          2. How can there be a dialogue with someone who cannot articulate a response that is not personal and insulting?

            Thanks to the Divider in Chief squatting in our White House,

            but then, those of you who are fans of Fox News don’t really care.

            You’ve been watching Fox News, haven’t you?

            while Kellyanne is one of the physically ugliest females in politics who lies incessantly and pivots away from substantive questions about her boss, people like you focus your hate on Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, attacking their looks and anything else you can think of. Another poster on another site called Kellyanne the Wicked Witch of the Swamp. Hilarious!

            And that’s just from this one thread. Good luck with that whole I want to be taken seriously effort.

          3. Well, then, Natacha, here’s the substantive response. I lawfully able to declare your speech as offensive; or for that matter anyone’s speech as offensive, vile, ignorant or hateful. All I have to do is feel it and say “I’m offended”. However, I do not have the right to confine your speech to “just the time, place and context.” Nor does the government (see: First Amendment). But while you believe that “those limits are acceptable”, you should consider that sometime in the future when someone else in power finds your speech unacceptable, you (Natacha) may be limited to a “time, place and context called” prison, or work camp, or North Korea, or the grave. Give any government official that kind of power (and a pen and a phone) and the knock on the door might be for you. Or me.

            There is a reason the First Amendment is first.

            1. Steve Haas, have you ever heard of the expression, “fighting words?” If you haven’t, maybe Nick will explain it to you. The so-called fighting words are a permissible defense, as a mitigating circumstance, in some assault cases. I mention it because it is relevant to Natacha’s position on foreseeable trouble and possibly even incitement to riot. Racial epithets, for instance, are often admissible as fighting words. Whence the use of racial epithets might not be protected speech.

              1. P. S. There are several Supreme Court decisions upholding the “fighting words doctrine” as a permissible restriction on free speech. There are also several Supreme Court decisions narrowing the application of the fighting words doctrine to “personal” speech versus “public” speech as well as precluding “content-based” and “view-point-based” limitations on public speech.

                Nevertheless, the fighting words doctrine is still a recognized limit on some instances of free speech.

                1. Diane, it is nice that you are able to enter the minds of so many people knowing what they will do or say. I guess your ability to read minds means that you and Natacha know exactly when a group shouldn’t be permitted to speak so that their ability to speak is denied.

                  The Nazi’s won their right to march in Skokie despite their despicable behavior. Everyone knew what was on their minds, but today we have Diane who can predict unprotected speech so that such speech can be denied in advance.

                  Keep utilizing your fine linguistic ability to figure out ways of denying free speech and protecting those with the support of leftist authorities that violently attack another’s right to free speech.

                  1. Allan, you are willfully ignoring the fact that I do not agree with Natacha’s view on foreseeable trouble and incitement to riot. If you truly regard anyone who disagrees with you as a member of the thought-police, then it is you, Allan, not Natacha, who should consider retiring to a rubber room.

                    Nevertheless, provocation by insulting words is part of the definition of assault in many jurisdictions. The limitation is that the insulting words have actually to be uttered or written; otherwise there is no assault. Try to keep that in mind the next time you contemplate locking up Antifa and The Black Bloc on terrorism charges for the erstwhile non-criminal offense of having violated your delicate sensibilities.

                    1. “ you are willfully ignoring the fact” Mespo, see (1) below.

                      Once again you pretend you can read minds, Diane. I find that incredibly boastful.

                      “If you truly regard anyone who disagrees with you as a member of the thought-police”

                      I thought you were a member of the thought police. In the last several discussions your conclusions preceding your insults and were based upon you reading my mind.

                      Now I have to read your mind because the last paragraph is a bit disjointed, so let me clear things up… Firstly, though certain phrases may be considered unlawful in certain jurisdictions, (1) words alone I do not believe are considered an assault unless those words contain the intent of causing physical injury or some type of unlawful contact. Maybe (1) there are statutes in some areas that change the definition of assault. Perhaps Mespo who I believe is a lawyer can help us out here.

                      “keep that in mind the next time you contemplate locking up Antifa and The Black Bloc on terrorism charges”

                      I don’t wish to lock anyone up for the use of words, but violence is another thing. The use of baseball bats, crow bars etc. while protecting oneself with shields and helmets indicates violent behavior. You believe those actions violate what you call my “delicate sensibilities”. Objecting to almost being beaten to death in my world doesn’t qualify as “delicate sensibilities”. It sounds like to you it does as long as only theose on the right side of the isle are being beaten.

                      As far as terrorism charges go, yes, Antifa might fit into the category of terrorists, but individuals can also be prosecuted criminally until adequate exploration took place to call Antifa a terrorist group. They already meet the criteria of terrorism as far as violence and intimidation to accomplish a political aim, but we don’t understand the group’s nature well enough yet.

                      By the way while we are discussing these things I am still awaiting your definition of the word terrorism. For some reason you have been afraid to provide one. That is quite curious.

              2. Diane, that’s quite a stretch. Justifying the in-advance denial of a person or group meeting, marching or chanting because they might say something in public that someone else might view as “fighting words”. OR, as I suspect, claiming that physical attacks on an otherwise non-violent group is justified because of the “fighting words” concept.

                It always saddens me when I hear an adult scream: “It’s not my fault, [Mommy]: he made me do it!!”

                1. Steve, I agree. It is a stretch. Prior restraint. I think that’s what they call it. It’s also not my official position. I feel guilty when I read people criticizing Natacha and I don’t stick up for her. I wish I could help her out more. But I can’t.

      2. Natacha, some of the things you say here sound correct. Yes some employers hire illegals and that keeps their prices down and the wages of some American workers down as well. It also increses the taxes for the working person as illegal children tax our schools, illegals without health insurance tax our hospitals and illegals without adequate funds tax our safety nets. All this while sending American dollars back home across the border. However, you are wrong about compassionate Democrats. They believe in funding these things with other people’s money and on the backs of the American worker.

        Trump, on the other hand likely won the election based upon his stance on protecting the American worker. You have that in common with Trump.

      3. You are using a very, I would argue overly, broad definition of the word “incite”. Your whole argument rests upon your, in my opinion, inaccurate usage of the word “incite”.

        1. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

  13. Nancy Pelosi is involved with voodoo & witchcraft. Maxine Waters controls Nancy’s soul.

    P.S. I have a collection of bobble head dolls. Put needles in Nancy & Maxine bobble head dolls. Consulted with Voodoo witch doctor for maximum results.

  14. Not that it matters, but I think she was confusing the boy who cried “wolf”, with the “fire in the theater” SC case quote.

  15. Professor, congrats on a great article. I’ve been following you for years. This is one of your best.

    While I’m concerned about the future of Free Speech, I’m not worried or disraught. The Antifa and Berkeley episodes won’t spread very far.

    HOWEVER, I’m thrilled and joyful that liberal Democrats, especially Pelosi, are taking the approach of calling unpopular speech a threat to public safety. We conservatives have yet another set of examples to use in the 2018 mid-term elections of how the left wants to chip away at Constitutional freedoms. Any liberal candidate who takes Pelosi’s side invites media ads showing the Antifa riots; any liberal candidate who opposes Antifa, invites Antifa riots. It’s as though conservatives developed (in a secret lab) a “candidate virus”, akin to a computer virus, that attacks the host. It’s one thing for a liberal candidate to say “I hate Trump”; some conservatives will agree. It’s quite another for a liberal candidate to say “I hate what conservatives say and I will work to criminalize their speech.” And conservatives will be happy to put those words in liberal mouths.

    If conservatives need something to band us together in 2018, it’s the prospect of the Pelosi-ists judging what speech is Free.

    1. If you ever need those lovely lips surgically removed from where you have most conspicuously planted them, I have a dull razor blade and will do it for cost.

      1. FTW, you are out of line. That last comment was a verbal threat. Verbal threats are not protected speech.

        You’re on notice FTW.

    2. You’ve been watching Fox News, haven’t you? They don’t cover all of the negative fallout from the Arpaio pardon: rather, they do the Kellyanne pivot and rant on and on about Antifa. Also, while Kellyanne is one of the physically ugliest females in politics who lies incessantly and pivots away from substantive questions about her boss, people like you focus your hate on Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, attacking their looks and anything else you can think of. Another poster on another site called Kellyanne the Wicked Witch of the Swamp. Hilarious!

      1. Kellyanne is one of the physically ugliest females

        Natacha’s been filmed buying shoes:

  16. There would be universal outrage against every individual or group shutting down free speech if we simply put a badge on them and called them Law Enforcement Officers.

    1. I hope you’d be right about that, Olly. I’m not so sure that that wouldn’t provoke Hobbes’ war of all against all.

      1. My point Diane was with respect to how difficult it appears to be to get reasonable and rational people to agree that Antifa is a legitimate threat in this country. There seems to be so much effort to brand them as being among the alt-this or that, Left or Right, that there is no focus on the actual threat they pose to our society. My suggestion was not to give them a badge, but rather to consider their actions from the viewpoint they are sanctioned by the government; with a badge. That should laser-focus everyone’s attention on the threat Antifa really is.

        1. Olly, I understood your point about universal outrage. I will further agree that were the government to deprive leftist groups of their free-speech rights, the political left would be up in arms over it. I will go even one step further and admit that were that same government to deprive right-wing groups of their free-speech rights, precious few leftists would complain about it. But some of us would.

          Meanwhile, from roughly 1885 through 1925 or thereabouts the anarchists reached the peak of their public support in America, then threw it away with bomb-throwing and bomb-mailing violence. As repugnant as Antifa is, they have not yet done anything even remotely like their mad-bomber predecessors. So you’ll just have to wait until Antifa starts murdering people before you can petition the government to lock them up on terrorism charges and throw away the key.

          1. Diane,
            If the government were to deny any individual or group security for their right to free speech, then I would expect most on the Right would be objectively outraged, those on the Left would be subjectively outraged.

            So you’ll just have to wait until Antifa starts murdering people before you can petition the government to lock them up on terrorism charges and throw away the key.

            The sad reality is that statement is probably true. But given the fact so many support the by any means necessary approach to power in this country, I’m not confidant that would be enough to turn the tide. Look at the number of murders nearly every weekend in Chicago. How many no-go zones must be established before this country wakes the f*** up.

            1. Olly, you bring up a fascinating point. How many criminal street gangs would qualify as terrorist organizations using Allan’s definition [ . . . the use of violence and intimidation to achieve political aims] . . . where a political aim might be construed as intimidating the local Neighborhood Watch into not reporting crimes nor suspicious persons to the police?

              1. “How many criminal street gangs would qualify as terrorist organizations using Allan’s definition [ . . . the use of violence and intimidation to achieve political aims] . . .”

                Diane, Such foolishness. I provided major parameters of what terrorism is ( so happens to be a dictionary definition). Our laws, not our definitions dictate what institutions are considered terrorist organizations.

                You are tripping all over your big words. Try taking baby steps.

          2. “As repugnant as Antifa is, they have not yet done anything even remotely like their mad-bomber predecessors. ”

            Diane, We really don’t know the death toll due to Antifa. There are direct and indirect causes of death and since Antifa is not a tight organization implying a death is not due to Antifa could be incorrect. We have had cops killed. Who caused the killing BLM? Was it due to their chants of “pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” inciting others to kill? Was an Antifa element involved? Is there any connection between Antifa and BLM? I am not accusing. I am asking questions that need to be considered.

            Here are some organizations that might be intertwined with Antifa. Showing Up for Racial Justice, ANSWER the Workers World Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and By Any Means Necessary, Refuse Fascism. Have deaths been associated with any of them?

            Antifa-affiliated website ‘It’s Going Down’ Wanted to make the nation “ungovernable” using “mass insurrection,” “mass resistance,” and “all manner of physical violence”. Take note of the words PHYSICAL VIOLENCE.

            It sounds to me like you have a number of deaths in your mind before changing the way things are being handled (“As repugnant as Antifa is, they have not yet done anything even remotely like their mad-bomber predecessors.”) and are waiting for the deaths to mount before considering a solution to the problem which has been going on for decades.

            1. Allan, the burden of proof is on the State. Because the State will have to make its case in a court of law. Unless Antifa is declared a terrorist organization. Whence the State’s burden of proof might well become zero, zip, zilch, nil, nada, neechevo–bupkes! Therefore the State has to wait for terrorist acts to have been committed before the State gets to declare political dissident groups to be terrorist organizations.

              Remember, Allan, we have a Constitutional republic.

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