Colorado’s Hate Crimes Laws, Explained
In recent weeks, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been waging a legal battle in Colorado against an anti-Muslim activist group called “Unite the Right.” The ACLU has accused “Unite the Right” of engaging in the “criminalization of free speech” by planning to hold a mock mass shooting at a “white supremacist” rally in Lafayette Park.
While their campaign to demonize “Unite the Right” is over-hyped, I think it’s important for everyone to understand just what’s at stake. The fact that the ACLU plans to hold the event at a very public place like Lafayette Park doesn’t really affect us here in Denver, where we face far more public, violent, and even criminal hate crimes every year. But to understand the real issue, we need to see what exactly the ACLU is getting at.
It is true that the ACLU is taking an adversarial approach to “Unite the Right” — a strategy that has been widely employed by social justice crusaders at every turn. But what the ACLU is really doing is trying to undermine the very idea of free speech itself.
The ACLU believes that “free speech” is nothing more than a meaningless catchphrase. Free speech is a nebulous concept that simply means that people can say whatever they want without consequence. It’s a meaningless phrase, which means that it is entirely susceptible to manipulation. Free speech can be manipulated for all sorts of purposes, including advancing the agenda of the Left and/or the Right.
The ACLU wants its activists and supporters to think that they are challenging and defending free speech when what they are really doing is trying to take it away. But “Unite the Right” is not fighting the ACLU’s right to free speech or even trying to