Last month, Alan Potash, the Midwestern regional director of the ADL, wrote the Omaha World-Herald to declare that “freedom of speech does not extend to racist groups.”

As Eugene Volokh points out , this is particularly dangerous for a Jewish organization to hold, given the decades-long willingness of leftists to name Israel a racist state. Beyond that, however, it is yet another marker of what appears a growing willingness to place some people beyond the pale of Free Speech protections. Note that Potash didn’t just say that racist speech ought to be banned, bad as that would be; he said that certain people ought to have their speech-rights removed.

We’ve seen this kind of thing building in the kangaroo courts of the Canadian human-rights commissions, and I am growing more and more worried about its application to those who dissenters on same-sex marriage. The media’s dominant metaphor of racism surely puts this in play. Does Alan Potash really want to see what will happen to Orthodox Jews when freedom of speech is removed from disfavored groups?

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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