US Opposes Ban on pro-Nazi Speech

The Associated Press has an interesting article on the (routine) decision by the United States to vote against a UN resolution calling on nations to ban pro-Nazi language and organizations.  (Efforts have been made to remind people this isn’t new under President Trump; the US has voted against this annual resolution for years.)

In what seems like a rare moment of clarity, the government is defending exactly what Americans claim they value: free speech, even if it is offensive speech. The government is not acting to silence that offensive speech — nor is it supporting others’ attempts to silence it. By the same token, by supporting free speech, the government does not inherently support the content of that speech.

Often today people think they should be able to silence “hate” speech, or that it should be outlawed altogether. They claim their “tolerance” of another’s speech is only called for until that speech becomes “intolerant” — at which point they are permitted to attempt to restrict, silence, or otherwise prevent the speech they don’t like.

This has been true for recent incidents involving racist speech. It’s also been true for incidents involving Christian speech.  In fact, this is the same logic cited in some efforts to restrict military religious freedom.

That’s not how the American society was supposed to work. That’s why the Constitution is written the way it is. If “free” speech was only agreeable speech, it would not require protection.

Perhaps one day those who say they are “progressive” and “tolerant” will be reminded of their history, as well as the modern day truth that men and women have volunteered to stand up every day to protect their right to free speech — even if it’s speech with which they don’t agree.

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