Much has been said about the First Amendment as of late.
Conservatives are boycotting the NFL due to the league’s unwillingness to stifle the 1st Amendment rights of players on company time. Liberals generally agree that this is outrageous and un-American.
In the wake the August free speech rally held in Charlottesville, however, liberals sang a different tune. Urine and acid was thrown on attendees as liberals everywhere lauded the perpetrators. Some even went as far to liken the violent hordes of Antifa counter-protesters to the American troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944.
In the fallout of the Charlottesville rally, tech companies such as Google, Cloudflare, and Twitter began turning the screw on the free speech of white nationalists. Again, liberals cheered.
As it happens, free speech is only popular in an ideological echo chamber. In a nation as divided as America, it is a precursor for boycotts, censorship, and violence.
The Inevitability of Political Violence
Political free speech is a long-term attack on the physical, financial, and ideological security of individuals or groups.
During the 2016 election, Trump supporters lined the streets of Californian cities shouting “build a wall” and “deport illegal immigrants”. Liberals were right to view the scene as an existential threat to many people who call America their home.
Does this fact make the many documented attacks on Trump supporters by Mexican protesters justified? Naturally, it depends on where one lies on the ideological spectrum.
In a multicultural society, ideology and identity become inextricably linked. If one out of three young Muslims in your country are sympathetic to the Islamic killers that massacred 50 people just blocks away from your flat, it serves to put you and your countryman’s differing opinions on corporate tax rates in perspective.
On election night, Van Jones coined an idiotic phrase to describe this phenomenon. A whitelash.
Of course, white Americans were destined to become consumers of identity politics the moment white Americans were destined to become a minority in America. When nearly everyone in a society shares a similar cohesive identity and culture, there is no need for identity politics.
Thus, it would seem, the jig is up. The football games white Americans used to anticipate have become vehicles to promote black identity politics and anti-American sentiments. Political rallies (at least for the right-wing) have become spaces for anarcho-communist violence. Even the American flag is racist, apparently.
So, yeah, white people are pissed off. The same way blacks are pissed when a cop guns down a black man under dubious circumstances. The same way Latinos are enraged when their family friend is deported to a country they have not seen in a decade.
In what has become a clash of cultures, one or more groups are going to have to win out. Free speech will not protect one from getting fired from their job, maced, deported, or hauled off to jail as a political prisoner. Given that the ideology behind each competing faction comes with a set of legal and economic carrots and sticks to be divvied up selectively, some will benefit while others suffer.
Free speech is fine until it becomes an existential threat. Then it has to be repressed. Violently.
That’s politics, and politics is violence. Avoiding this fundamental truth is juvenile.