Opinion: Mob rule is the greatest threat to the First Amendment

The recent mob violence in Berkeley, Virginia and elsewhere is blamed by the media on “hate groups,” particularly so-called right-wing hate groups.

I do not support or approve of any group (organized or not) engaged in riots, whether in Berkeley, in Oakland earlier, in San Jose in 2016, in Charlottesville, or anywhere. Nor do I endorse or support anyone favoring or disfavoring any person on the basis or ancestry or race.

But I dispute that the KKK, founded by the Democrat party to intimidate newly-freed slaves into not voting, is right-wing; or that neo-Nazi groups are either. Remember that Nazi is an acronym for “National Socialist German Workers Party,” which is by definition not right wing. Neither group
has anything in common with constitutional conservatives, for whom everyone’s rights are equally important.

Remember that fascist is the name of the Italian party of Benito Mussolini, and that name derives from the Roman symbol comprising an ax handle made of sticks bound together — a unity symbol appearing also in the U.S. Congress and on U.S. coins. You’d remember these things, if you ever learned any history.

The leftist media, the East Bay Times included, complains that President Trump did not denounce the neo-Nazi and KKK groups forcefully enough on the day of Charlottesville (the media forgetting that other presidents avoided specific name-calling until actual facts were in evidence) and that he
denounced the lefty-mobs as well, but that same media has never complained that Bill and Hillary Clinton, and so-called journalist David Brinkley all praised and never denounced a grand-mucky-muck of the KKK who was a long-sitting senator. I recall Brinkley calling that person “The Conscience of the Senate.” Gag me.

All that aside, it seems that those people demonstrating against removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee did their demonstrations several times in peace until the leftist counter demonstrators chose to appear at the same time and place and violence ensued.

Lee was first in his class at West Point and was neither a slave owner nor pro-slavery, indeed he is said to have freed the slaves of his father-in-law after the latter died. I don’t think Lee should be in greater disrepute than that highly praised KKK senator. I had relatives of ancestors who fought and died to free the slaves and I have no particular affection for the Confederacy.

Recall that at Berkeley, the lefty media-darling mobs started a riot all by themselves, with the tacit approval of the university chancellor, and that no other hate groups were ever present. It was the lefties rioting solo to prevent free speech.

So there is a history of leftist hate mobs calling other people haters and starting riots. A great threat is the recent tearing-down of statutes, including Columbus, by hate-filled mobs (they left behind their propaganda: hating Europeans, hating America in general, hating prosperity and capitalism in particular). Do we now resort to mob rule to select public art ?

Mob rule, whether for tearing down of statues or for intimidating campus speakers should not be acceptable even to the left-stream media.

Perhaps the media could remind the leftist mobs — occupy, antifa (which apparently means “anti-first-amendment”), resist or whatever name they use this week — that their freedom of speech does not include preventing the freedom of speech of others.

Their riotous counter demonstrations should not be allowed at the same time and place as other groups, and it is not germane whether we agree with those other groups.

The greater danger is not free speech by the unimportant KKK or neo-Nazis, nor by Ann Coulter, but rather the prevention of that speech by mobs.

Russ Greenlaw is a resident of Livermore.

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