The Weimar Republic was destroyed in part by the freedom of speech it extended to the Nazis who abused the privilege in an unheard of campaign of mendacious propaganda that helped bring Hitler to power. Chief of propaganda, Dr. Goebbels, whined that democratic forces deprived the national socialist organizations of their right to free speech and assembly. Soon his theme of the Nazis as victims was mindlessly repeated and spread by much of the "free" press and "fine" people in all sectors of society. They wanted "a remilitarized Germany under the leadership of a powerful Fuehrer" to sweep away the "corrupt" democratic state.
When Hitler accepted the chancellorship from President Hindenburg, he did so as a "fine" person in morning coat and top hat, while his brownshirted Storm Troopers (S.A.: Sturm Abteilung) mercilessly battered the opposition in the street. Almost immediately concentration camps went up and filled with "traitorous enemies of the new state." The Goebbels formula had worked and would continue to work to perfection.
This is also the formula of our American far right. After the recent street setbacks in Charlottesville and other cities, they now embrace the "free speech" argument to be replaced, as in Nazi Germany, "with the silence of the grave" as soon as they come to power. So it hurts when a "fine" person like George Will repeats one of their favorite articles of faith, namely that President Obama, was "lawless."
Albany (Sept. 2)