Political Revolution

The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville | The Intercept

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Written by JoAnn Chateau

If we value the principle of free speech, we must allow it for all voices — even of those with whom we most heartily disagree — because it protects free speech for everyone living in a democracy, including you and me.

If we want to be a people of integrity, we must calm our emotions and put on our logical thinking-caps: Principles remain the same regardless of people, place, or time. Glenn Greenwald lays it out…

“…The ACLU has always defended, and still does defend, the free speech rights of the most marginalized left-wing activists, from communists and atheists, to hardcore war opponents and pacifists, and has taken up numerous free speech causes supported by many on the left and loathed by the right, including defending the rights of Muslim extremists and even NAMBLA. That’s true of any consistent civil liberties advocate: we defend the rights of those with views we hate in order to strengthen our defense of the rights of those who are most marginalized and vulnerable in society.” ~ Glenn Greenwald

READ MORE: The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville | The Intercept

Be aware. Be objective.


About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


  • Greenwald is correct. The ACLU must defend all free speech in adherence to its mission. That does not mean, however, that white supremacists who voice their sick ideology should be immune from any social backlash. Actions do have consequences.

    • Right on. Giving the benefit of the doubt, I’ll guess the rally organizers did not want violence. However, some factions had torches (reminiscent of KKK lynchings) and carried guns – both meant to instill terror. I think the man who killed Heather Heyer was a loose cannon, acting on his own. I suspect that at age 20, his schizophrenia recently manifested full-blown. I will add that having a U.S. President who instigates hate is a strong factor that may push vulnerable mentally ill people over the edge. A deplorable situation. Let the white supremacists take their knocks.

      • Why are we letting this mentally ill person hide behind his illness. I acquired schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in my early 20’s. I was not getting in my car and intentionally hitting fellow citizens who were also exercising their right to free speech. Yes, some mentally ill people are pushed to the edge but still. We all have the power to exercise some self control. This person must take responsibility for his actions. If he is really sick, let him get some treatment.

      • My point is that he acted on his own, not under the auspices of the rally organization, and that he probably had not yet been diagnosed with a mental illness (and receiving treatment) — if, indeed, he has one. I surely did not mean to imply that people who suffer mental illness are a danger to society. I’m very sorry for not being more clear. If anything, people suffering from mental illness deserve extra protection from negative aspects in society — from con artists to hate mongers. Still, I know that folks who deal with any kind of disability don’t need or want to be coddled — because of the strengths and abilities they DO have. Thanks for adding an important comment. Peace.

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