I am taking advantage of the shutdown of the comments section to run this video. One of the reasons I have done so is the reprehensible amount of low-level and in some cases explicit support for the neo Nazis from some members of the commentariat. And they are neo Nazis. The reporter from Vice, who was embedded in their ranks, did a remarkable job of keeping a poker face and getting them to speak on camera.
What was planned for Charlottesville was not an exercise in free speech. It was an exercise in intimidation of Jews, blacks, and other minorities by men who were armed with guns, bludgeons, and other weapons and bragged about their ability to engage in violence. The headline quote is a boast from the leader of the white supremacists. They used Nazi imagery and Nazi chants. If you can’t see the difference between this and the advocacy of views you have no powers of discernment.
As a US lawyer now living in France wrote:
Charlottesville was an incitement to riot. The Europeans I work with were blown away. Not only the neo-Nazi’s and KKK but also (and especially) the “militia.” They couldn’t believe that ordinary people could buy weapons and walk around like that. One said here in France you might be warned but would more likely be shot on sight by the police or army carrying an assault rifle like that. Considering how many fewer people they shoot on a per-capita basis that says something.
I just blasted off a comment, somewhere, that the “slippery slope” argument is bunk. 1) Germany and France have outlawed hate speech and there still exists lively debate, including hard-right and hard-left politicians; Marine LePen just came in second (she was clobbered in the final election, but even that had nothing to do with speech restrictions: she badly lost a debate), and 2) Inciting a riot is and remains a federal and state crime. I don’t like prohibitions on speech but that wasn’t “speech” – they were not trying to make a point. They were there to intimidate and incite violence.
This sort of thing has no business being tolerated in the US. At least 50 million people died in World War II in the war with the Third Reich and its allies, including over 400,000 US servicemen. One of my mother’s friends is a Battle of the Bulge survivor. The Holocaust was not limited to Jews, although they were its main target. The Nazis also slaughtered at least 200,000 handicapped people, 1.9 million non-Jewish Poles, one million Slavs, 100,000 homosexuals, 130,000 Roma, and 1000 members of the Roman Catholic clergy.