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In the late 1960s the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) controversially supported the freedom of speech of Clarence Brandenburg, who had called for “revengeance” against blacks and Jewish people. Again in 1978 the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, which housed a high number of Holocaust survivors.

Why would a civil rights organisation back Nazis’ rights? It took the view that the silencing of one side would chill free speech and compromise the free market of ideas. If you compromised on the principle for deplorables, you would have less success defending the rights of progressives, the ACLU argued...

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