U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Funeral Protests

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against a lower court judgement against protests at military funerals by the Westboro Baptist Church. Public opinion on the controversy has been varied, but anarchists should perhaps describe the essential issue not as free speech, anti-imperialism or tolerance for gay people — despite those all being important concerns — but the state’s monopoly of law.

Reasonable people tend to agree that decorum should generally be observed (and even actively defended) at funerals. This could be accomplished in a non-oppressive manner under a non-state legal system based on consent, contract and labor-based ownership. The essential question is who rightfully determines what conduct will be considered acceptable or unacceptable at the place in question. That’s never the state.

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