Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has some worthwhile things to say about the anti-free-speech mob in Boston last weekend. Many people praised the Boston police for preventing street battles, but it wasn’t the police work that did that, but rather the fact that the nature of the planned free-speech rally had been promoted falsely as white supremacist by local politicians and news media across the country:
Result: The free-speech rally took place in a virtual cone of silence. Its participants “spoke essentially to themselves for about 50 minutes,” the Globe reported. “If any of them said anything provocative, the massive crowd did not hear it.” [Journalists were also kept away.]
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Even some of the rally’s own would-be attendees were kept from the bandstand. But when Police Commissioner Bill Evans was asked at a press conference Saturday afternoon whether it was right to treat them that way, he was unapologetic.
“You know what,” he said, “if they didn’t get in, that’s a good thing, because their message isn’t what we want to hear.”
Think about this, folks. Here’s a government agent deciding that a particular message isn’t worth hearing, and rather than ensure that the angry mob could not interfere with the message of the group, the police created a “cone of silence” that even journalists weren’t permitted to enter. This is censorship, cut and dried.
All it takes is for some reckless talk from political elites’ affixing an implied swastika on a group, and that group apparently loses its constitutional rights. The reaction of the local authorities is “unapologetic,” not intent on reevaluating the actions to determine whether more could have been done to preserve those rights.
Perhaps that’s not surprising in a city whose people tolerated door-to-door raids while “sheltering in place” after the marathon bombing.