The neo-Nazi propagandist Andrew Anglin has gone into hiding, but his disappearance is hardly a mystery. If he resurfaces at a fixed address long enough, he will be served with a U.S. federal lawsuit that would compel him to appear in a court to face a myriad of charges that could cost him dearly.
Anglin, the founder of the Daily Stormer website, is being sought by attorneys representing the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-racist organization which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent from Whitefish, Montana, who was harassed by Anglin and his white supremacist followers.
A year ago this month, Anglin launched a vicious internet campaign — a so-called troll storm — against Gersh after Sherry Spencer, the mother of alt-right publicist Richard Spencer, denigrated Gersh over a real estate dispute. Claiming that Gersh had engaged in disreputable business practices, he urged his acolytes to “take action” against her.
And so they did, bombarding Gersh, her husband and son with an avalanche of blatant antisemitic messages, some of which referred to the Holocaust and implicitly advocated genocide.
Among the messages the Gersh family received were: “Merry Christmas, you Christ killer.” “You have no idea what you are doing, six million are only the beginning.” “Rat-faced criminals who play with fire tend to get thrown into the oven.” “It’s time for you to take a one-way ticket to tel aviv.”
In response, Gersh filed a lawsuit last April, accusing Anglin of invading her privacy, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and violating Montana’s anti-intimidation law.
Earlier this month, Anglin’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss Gersh’s lawsuit, maintaining his followers’ messages are protected by free speech under the U.S. constitution.
Anglin’s argument is very specious.
To state the obvious, there is a substantive difference between free speech and hate speech. The first, an integral component of democracy, should be celebrated. The second, an incitement to violence, should be condemned.
The First Amendment, which guarantees free speech under the Bill of Rights, was never intended by the founding fathers to sanction the kind of hateful and divisive rhetoric that Anglin promotes, glorifies and disseminates. As we all know, Anglin is a professional hate-monger who’s clinically obsessed with Jews. The Daily Stormer’s style guide makes this abundantly clear: “Always blame the Jews for everything.” Jews “must always be considered purely biologically evil.”
Like the Nazi propaganists of the 1930s and 1940s, Anglin understands that the key to winning hearts and minds is repetition. As his style guide instructs, “The goal is to continually repeat the same points over and over again. The reader is at first drawn in by curiosity … and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points.”
This technique is Anglin’s modus operandi, his gateway to poisoning the minds of the impressionable out there in America and elsewhere.
No one should be fooled by the slick verbal games he plays. Anglin, an arch demagogue, is cynically trying to take advantage of the political system by gaming and subverting it. He calculatingly uses the tenets of democracy to advance one of his prime objectives — the ethnic cleansing of the United States into a Nordic “Aryan” nation. In part, he counts on achieving this goal by means of threats and violence against minorities and groups that he and his fellow fascists deem inferior and dispensable.
Free speech promotes diversity, tolerance and inclusivity, the hallmarks of democracy. Hate speech is something altogether different and malevolent, an exercise in intolerance, prejudice and exclusiveness. These are the twisted and grotesque values that Anglin and his ilk are flogging.
One can only hope that his legal maneuvers will be thrown out and consigned to the nearest garbage bin.