While many would like to call the ACLU the “American Civil Liberal Union,” it is important to remember their critical stance regarding the protection of liberties for ALL Americans, and most specifically the 1st amendment of freedom of expression. Currently, the ACLU is under attack for defending Charlottesville protestors’ right to march. In fact, the ACLU even went as far to sue the city when they didn’t give the Neo-Nazi and White Supremacists the permit to protest where they originally wanted to. As tempting as it is for social liberals, like myself, to condone the Union’s defense of these protesters, we MUST remember what is at stake here. The ACLU takes significant steps to ensure that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation or general beliefs the right to free speech and assembly. Right now, from inside the Union, there is a movement to change this stance, and THIS CAN NOT HAPPEN.
All right, let’s back up. I think we can all agree that since 73% of Americans say free speech is worth dying for, it’s not going away anytime soon. But 100% unrestricted free expression? That’s another story. Many people are pressuring organizations like the ACLU, the US Government, and miscellaneous lobbyist groups to stop supporting 100% free expression. And most of these people are very passionate liberals. I want this to be a message to those people. Liberals: Right now, having restricted speech on Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and heck, even Antifa (these guys are an entirely different story for another day) might serve some benefit to our current state of national affairs.
It is tempting to think that when hate groups, especially those that would be considered “extremist” are silenced, the problems will stop. There are two massive problems with that assumption, however. First of all, the problems won’t stop. In fact, they will likely get worse! With groups being silences, it will only be a matter of time before bigger and badder rebellions start to form. Silencing groups whose goal is to scream, just adds fuel to the fire. The more you take away from them, the more they are going to want. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, the restriction of free speech is a SHORT-TERM ‘SOLUTION’ and will create infinite LONG TERM PROBLEMS. Sure maybe, in the beginning, the government only can silence a few groups. But what happens in the future? Oh, a few more here and there, all of a sudden, a lot of groups are silent. What if these groups in the future are legitimately speaking out to protect the people? What if YOU become one of these groups, and work to take back our liberties from a now oppressive government? Well, because you voted to restrict expression a while back, now you’re legitimate and needed rebellion becomes a whole lot more violent, and a whole lot harder for sure.
Minimal government involvement is the opinion of the overwhelming majority of US citizens, both Democratic and Republican, and making freedom of speech a decision for it to make adds an uncountable amount of problems to our democracy, and introduces elite influence. Very few people want that, and if they do, it’s because a system like that would give them more power.
So please, let’s keep our freedom of expression. Yes, a solution is needed to combat political extremism in America, but this is not the one.