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 didnt 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.
Weve 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 medias 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?
We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.
Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on firstthings.com.
Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.
Will you give today?