The United Nations, with no sense of irony whatsoever, issued an “early warning” against the U.S. last week in a report that recommended the government do more to tamp down the hateful white supremacist movement in the wake of Charlottesville. The U.N., which thinks nothing of giving un-democratic, totalitarian dictatorships a voice on the international stage, apparently thinks it’s time for the United States to revisit the First Amendment to make sure that the “rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly” are not abused. In fact, they believe the U.S. federal government must “ensure that such rights are not misused to promote racist hate speech and racist crimes.”
Let’s put it this way: Whenever you hear someone talking about the “misuse” of “rights,” you know they’re talking about taking those rights away. And so anyone who is interested in preserving the freedoms this country was founded on should be horrified by this warning. Because while the U.N. is a toothless organization that would disintegrate without U.S. participation, there are a great many Americans on the left who agree with their interpretation of the First Amendment.
To make a “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment would be to invalidate the whole purpose of the clause. Because once you give the government the power to decide what does and does not constitute such speech, they can use it in any fashion they like. And if you don’t think there will be significant disagreements, just look what is and is not allowed in Germany. Is it “hateful” to suggest that Merkel should not be letting thousands of unvetted migrant refugees into the country? Look at what is deemed hateful by America’s Southern Poverty Law Center – speech against Islamists and same-sex marriage. The very designation of “hate” is a political one, and if our First Amendment doesn’t protect political speech, then what DOES it protect?
No one likes to find themselves sticking up for Klan members and neo-Nazis, but the truth is that this is the only time there IS to stand up for our rights. This is when it matters. It matters when every bone of humanity in your body says, “Ah, to hell with those guys.” Because yeah, to hell with those guys. But they are protected by the same rights as you and I. And when we decide to make an exception for them, it won’t be long before someone makes an exception for us.