Well, that was a bit embarrassing. Antifascist liberals mounted thousand-strong counter-rallies all weekend against a Nazi threat that proved nonexistent or thin on the ground. Leftists imagined themselves to be modern-day versions of the Czech resistance or the Warsaw uprising, but it turns out they were the majoritarian mob shouting down a handful of losers who’ve been an execrable but small part of the American pageant for as long as most of us can remember.

We don’t know what speakers at Saturday’s “free speech” rally in Boston might have said. It was organized, according to the local papers, by libertarians protesting campus speech codes, though they opened their platform to anybody, left and right. The meeting ended early; the speakers were all drowned out. Nazis and white supremacists, if any were present, were shown to be vastly outnumbered by Americans who reject such doctrines.

To state another obvious point, our civil liberties are meaningless if they don’t protect unpopular views. It’s not the mob but the mob’s targets that need protection.

For the record, of the 20th century’s malign ideologies, Nazi ideas of who should be murdered and why strike me as slightly more odious and frightful than Maoist or Stalinist ideas of who should be murdered and why. The applicability to current U.S. events is slender, though.

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