Godwin’s law in the public square, or, unowned property leads to Hitler

Source: EconLog
by Art Carden

“You have a clear right to express views that others find offensive, but airing offensive views raises the prospect of violent objection from those who are offended. Who is responsible for paying for security when the threat of violence is very real? It certainly isn’t the taxpayer or the offended party. For Nazis to expect the objects of their hatred to absorb the cost of the risk associated with spewing hate is puzzling if not outright repugnant. Further, the police-perpetrated outrages that occurred during the Civil Rights Era suggested that it is probably a mistake to trust the government to keep the peace. Spewing hate would have been much more difficult in a world with secure private property rights. Right now, expressive racism is cheap. You need to be able to fill out the forms to get a permit, carry a few signs, shout loudly, and if you are really sharp, you might need someone who can write a good press release. My guess is that hate speech would be much more expensive if now-public spaces were privately owned.” (09/12/17)