What the article doesn’t say, however, is that there are two very different bases for opposing public appearances by white supremacist and similar groups. One is dangerously wrong, the other, which Bray presents, makes much more sense.
First the wrong approach, that groups should not be permitted to express themselves in public if they cause emotional distress to me or other people I care about. You hear this one a lot: speech that I find demeaning is a form of violence, and there can’t be freedom for it. There’s no difference between saying something horrible to me and punching me in the face. No freedom for one, no freedom for the other.
This argument has its roots in a mindset that has become popular in much of the left, that the ultimate political goal is equal well-being for all, that well-being is essentially having a positive emotional state (or not being in a state of stress/despair/fear/etc.), and that actions should therefore be judged by the emotional response they engender, especially among marginalized groups. It’s a deeply subjectivist conception of life and politics, one that puts feelings above “objective” conditions like economic status, access to social or institutional networks, risk of physical harm, or other measurable outcomes. In fact, the primacy of subjective feelings is often asserted by denying the very possibility of “objective” anything. (Objectivity is said to be a tool of knowledge/power to silence the oppressed.)