The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

Guest Writer: Eitan Weiner

September 28, 2017

Here’s my take on the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia:

  1. Nazis are disgusting wastes of space for whom I have no sympathy for. Period. But, we live in America, and as long as this country abides by the Constitution, those Nazis still have a right to assemble, shout anti-Semitic slurs, promote racial hatred and wave Nazi/Klan/White Knight flags.

One of the common questions raised when debating the rights of these animals is “Is it okay to punch a Nazi?” According to the Constitution — the lens for all of my political beliefs as a constitutional conservative — the answer to that question is no. This leads me to my next point.

  1. Contrary to what many are saying, “hate speech” is free speech. I put hate speech in quotes not because I don’t think it exists, rather it is not a legal term that has any real weight in a courtroom. The heart of the First Amendment is specifically to protect “hate speech.” The Founders wouldn’t have felt it necessary to have the protection of free speech for commonly accepted speech; it was specifically designed to protect the most controversial of speech. The only speech that is not allowed in the U.S. is speech that explicitly calls for violence.

Obviously, there is a moral argument to be had about speech, and I want to give you my take on socially acceptable speech. I don’t think anyone, under any circumstance (unless it’s in an obvious, joking manner), should spew racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic or white nationalist speech. These types of speech are not productive in a society that relies on verbal communication.

  1. Violence is bad, no matter where it comes from. Aggression from Nazis and white nationalists is unacceptable, that goes without saying. Yet it still astounds me to see how there was a limited presence from the police and a late show from the National Guard. When hate groups are exercising their First Amendment rights, the last thing you want is to allow them to have contact with violent people on the other side, Antifa. The violence could’ve been avoided if the police separated the Nazi and the anti-Nazi protests.

Trump’s failure to denounce Nazis and white nationalists emboldens them. As they have openly expressed, Trump is “their guy.” They voted for him, they support him and they feel empowered by his silence.

The same is true on the left: the media failing to recognize any wrongdoing from Antifa only emboldens the radical left. It sets the tone for the future and tells violent leftists that their violence will be tolerated as long as it’s directed at anyone associated with the right.

Yes, I realize that we’re talking about Nazis and, no, I’m not drawing a moral equivalency between Fascists and Antifa. But the fact is that the outcome of both groups’ actions are the same: violence. In contrast to what the current political climate might have you believe, you don’t have to take one extreme side or the other. You can condemn Nazis while also condemning Antifa for their antics. Antifa have a history of suppressing free speech in the name of defeating “Nazis.” The problem with this is that their violence is directed at a broad group of people (peaceful protesters, conservative speakers and Trump supporters), not all of them being actual Nazis. Clashes in Berkeley and Sacramento are two prime examples of the kind of un-American sentiment that this group is fostering. Also, if it wasn’t for the heavy police presence in anticipation of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s talk at UC Berkeley, more people would have been hurt as police arrested nine weapon-wielding young men and women associated with Antifa.

This leftist group’s violence doesn’t help advance what many on the left claim is their goal: progress. I have no qualms with counter protests of Nazis or even protests against conservatives in general; exercise your right all you want. But violence simply isn’t helpful when it comes to politics, especially when many of their targets are not violent nor do they pose a threat to other’s safety.

I feel that we should condemn all acts of violence and set the tone for how politics should be played. An America in which political clashes are fought with fists instead of voices and the open exchange of ideas is not an America I want to live in.

 

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