The Excited States of America – beware persecution from all points

A collection of nativists and racists, some of them wearing Nazi-themed clothing items, have just demonstrated in Charlottesville VA.
A guy driving a car also murdered a counter-demonstrator, and injured a number of other people.
All of us who dislike authoritarianism and racism are pissed off. These events tell us a lot about the pathology of many US citizens, and it is not a pretty pathology.
Being pissed off is OK.
What is not OK is for people opposed to the nativists and racists to try organizing the same persecution against them for their beliefs that they would probably attempt in a heartbeat if they were allowed to. That would be Un-American, and would also be descending below their level.
It is not a crime to be a racist or a fascist, or a Sovereign Citizen, or a Marxist, or an anarchist, or a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Everybody is entitled to their views, no matter how weird, wacky, unpleasant or repugnant, and they are also entitled to express them.
Whether they get to express those views without consequences depends on time, place and context. The First Amendment mostly only applies to government bodies, so if, for example, an employer in an “at will” state discovers that one of their employees was wearing Nazi regalia and yelling slogans, and they decide to fire that employee, they can probably do that. Whether it is a reasonable action may become a matter of debate. Personally I am against punitive actions against individuals based merely on constitutionally protected actions, since it tends to convert the individuals into martyrs, and can lend their actions a gravitas and credibility that they would not otherwise attain.
If these racists and nativists start to actively organize to subvert the democratic process, or start engaging in violent or illegal acts, then I hope that law enforcement throws the book at them. I hold the same opinion about Antifa and other anarchist organizations. Until they do engage in illegal acts, however, we need to combat their ideas and proposals peacefully, and not start to engage in petty harrassment and persecution.


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