Commentary: Free Speech Aids Racial Justice. Activists Must Defend It.

February 15, 2024 1 min read

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Randall L. Kennedy, Princeton ‘77
Harvard Crimson

Excerpt: Many legal protections are grouped under two related but distinct categories: civil liberties and civil rights. The former, which includes the right to freedom of speech, protects individuals from oppression. The latter prevents wrongful discrimination against groups based on race, religion, national origin, or other attributes.

I have watched with dismay as leading civil liberties organizations — such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, and the National Coalition Against Censorship — have struggled to attract the support of young African Americans, at least in part because those organizations are seen as defending the rights of racists. This alienation between supporters of civil rights and civil liberties is harmful and avoidable. Reconciliation is essential and urgently needed.

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1 Response

Laurel Lee
Laurel Lee

February 17, 2024

In the matter of rights, Civil Rights are the rights of a citizen, distinct from Human Rights that adhere to an individual at birth whether or not a government exists to be a citizen of. Civil Rights aren’t true rights. They’re protections from the absolute piwer of monarchs. The US Constitution lists civil rights cribbed from the constitution & precedents established by England’s Constitutional monarchy. The monarchy has absolute rights or powers delegated to it by an omnipitent God. Under pressure from the English aristocracy, English monarchs delegated their God-given powers to the lords in Parliament assembled, as well as by royal charters. The lords then created the House of Commons to give royally-chartered city councils a voice in discussions of taxation & other national acts. America’s allegedly democratic government officials exert God’s absolute powers despite the Revolution’s rejection of monarchy. The 1776 Declaration of Independence says God bypassed monarchs in His distribution of rights & powers. Instead, God granted human rights to all. Unfortunately, US Founders didn’t follow through by listing human rights at all, let alone describing them in unequivocal terms. All we’ve got is disputable protections from an absolute monarchy that doesn’t exist & the endless, lucrative & self-serving quibbling of lawyers.

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