So much for the tolerant left, you’ve probably gotten this sarcastic reply on Facebook or Twitter from some alt-right man-child broflake upset that you have the gall to criticize racism and bigotry. It seems that the line they’re trying to take these days is that if we aren’t tolerant of their intolerance there’s something wrong with us, but with all that’s happened in the last few months this statement has started to annoy me more than anything else.
While the right would have you believe that they are the only real supporters of free speech, it is clear they don’t even understand what the right to free speech means. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you are protected from criticism, it doesn’t mean that private organizations have to give you a platform for your speech, and it sure as shit doesn’t give your speech any sort of legitimacy.
Let’s have a quick example, shall we? In the United States, you’re the first amendment prevents the government from infringing upon your freedom of speech except under certain extreme circumstances. So you can stand in a park and yell white power if you want, but your freedom of speech doesn’t stop other people in that park from calling you, rightly, a Nazi freak who should take a long walk off a short pier. In the same vein, a local event hall can refuse to rent you space to hold your pathetic “I’m still mad that a black kid got the girl I had a crush on in middle school” rally, and when you rant about whites being a “superior race” it’s just as stupid and wrong as it would be in countries without such robust free speech protections.
The reason this stupid argument is on my mind now is that the alt-right has tipped their hand. Their “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville betrayed them for exactly who they are, white supremacist pigs. Prominent alt-right figures who continually claim they aren’t racist paraded around with literal Nazis and Klansmen, along with numerous other sub-breeds of skinhead scum. Looking through hundreds of pictures from the event it was hard to find any of them without multiple white supremacist symbols, they were just everywhere.
Baked Alaska, an alt-right figure I have actually seen speak here in Berkeley and who proudly proclaimed this wasn’t about race at all, shared the speaker list along with Literal Nazis Richard Spencer, and Mike Peinovich, who you might know as the asshole with the neo-nazi podcast your shitty friend from high school told you to listen to.
But all of this culminated with a white supremacist committing a terrorist attack on anti-racist protesters by driving a car into them, killing one, and wounding 19. He was one of theirs, a true alt-right white supremacist sociopath, and particularly because of him I say, so much for the tolerant left. We do not need to tolerate hate and racism. We do not need to let bigotry and sexism go unchallenged, I will not tolerate these assholes anymore. I am going to call a Nazi a Nazi, because at this point we have to know these people can’t be won over.
And while I’ve spent this time talking about them, there is one person far more important. The woman whose life was needlessly lost on Saturday. She went out to stand up against hatred that day, and the truly intolerant took her life from her. Her name was Heather Heyer and she get’s the last word, her last Facebook post “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”