Second Amendment

ACLU Now Against First Amendment, Conservatives Against Second Amendment?

Today in the news: up is down, left is right, cats are dogs

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Over at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), about 200 staffers have signed an open letter arguing in favor of restrictions on speech, a proposed departure from the group's long, laudable history of defending First Amendment rights, reports The New York Times:

"Our broader mission—which includes advancing the racial justice guarantees in the Constitution and elsewhere, not just the First Amendment—continues to be undermined by our rigid stance," says the letter, which a former member of the A.C.L.U.'s board, Michael Meyers, provided to The Times. About 200 staff members—the A.C.L.U. has about 1,300 full-time employees—signed onto the letter, according to a spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Vegas shooting, one of the Times' ostensibly right-learning columnists is ready to repeal the Second Amendment:

Screenshot nytimes.com

And lest you think Stephens is just an isolated squish, remember that there are a bunch of Republican congressmen jumping on a restrictionist bandwagon post-Vegas as well. Their number includes House Speaker Paul Ryan (R–Wisc.), who is now saying of a potential ban on bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more quickly, "clearly that's something we need to look into." (UPDATE: The National Rifle Association is open to bump stock bans too.)

To be clear, the ACLU is still a long way off from formally repudiating the First Amendment, and the GOP fussing over bump stocks isn't a wholesale rejection of the Second Amendment either. But both developments are directionally alarming and worth examining more closely. Hard cases make bad law, and the fallout from the repugnant Stephen Paddock and the Charlottesville tiki torchers is offering proof that cliché today.

The position of the ACLU staffers who signed the letter is quite common: the notion that there are occasions when First Amendment rights must be overcome by concerns for safety or security. But if you believe that, you should probably not be working for an organization whose decadeslong record of absolutist defense of free speech is the thing for which it is justifiably famous. (The post-Charlottesville announcement that ACLU would no longer advocate for the speech of armed protesters was also driven by staff uprising, making this a trend of at least two.)

Likewise, conservatives who give in to the rhetoric of "common-sense gun control" for the sake of appearing compassionate are understandably responding to electoral incentives. And being answerable to constituents is something Americans should want our legislators to do on occasion! But as Brian Doherty explained in Reason last year, "You Know Less Than You Think About Guns." Even these narrowly tailored laws seem, upon further examination, to have mixed effectiveness at preventing violence at best, and occasionally generate their own harms. More vitally, even partial prohibitions on firearms and their components undercut basic understandings about where our rights begin and end.

There will be a temptation to praise both of these pushes as bipartisan, centrist compromises. But bipartisanship, centrism, and compromise are not goods unto themselves. The ACLU's ideological extremism in defense of even heinous speech is a virtue, and likewise the (admittedly more sporadic) historical GOP willingness to hold the line on Second Amendment rights.

The word ideologue is increasingly used as an insult, and with Donald Trump we are experiencing a decidedly post-ideological presidency. But compromises are functions of the starting points in the debate. And the people and institutions who offer strong, consistent, principled defenses of the most robust definitions our most basic rights—ideologues—are not the enemy. They are vital to the functioning of our political system.

NEXT: American Adults See Occasional LSD Use As Riskier Than Regular Binge Drinking. It's Not.

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  1. “the letter, which a former member of the A.C.L.U.’s board, Michael Meyers, provided to The Times”

    Just in time for Halloween.

      1. We are grateful to Mr. Meyers for providing the letter, which reconfirms, to a degree, our trust in the ACLU. They should turn their back on this “free speech” nonsense we keep hearing from the so-called First Amendment community. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

        https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

        1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

          This is what I do… http://www.onlinecareer10.com

    1. Your right to free speech only extends to your right to scream in horror.

      1. At Reason no one can hear you scream.

        /Shika

  2. Calling Bret Stephens a conservative is like calling Tony a Libertarian. The guy is upper-class moron, whose only purpose in life seems to be to make sure Friedman isn’t always the dumbest person on the NYT opinion page.

    It is, however, pretty interesting that reason seems to think that one of the sham conservatives at the NYT represents the opinion of conservatives. So does the opinion of the President of CATO represent all Libertarians? Because the President of CATO came out for gun control in a much stronger and more pointed way last fall that Stephens is here.

    So, I guess Libertarians hate the 2nd Amendment too. The President of CATO makes a hell of a lot stronger claim to speak for Libertarians than Stephens does for conservatives.

    1. CATO is specifically one reason why I’m loathe to call myself a Libertarian in the first place, if I’m being honest.

      1. And another reason is Nicholas Sarwark.

        1. What do a think tank and the chair of a political party have to do with your beliefs?

          1. Muddying the label.

            1. Your principles are dependent on the opinions of others?

              1. I mean some people don’t call themselves ‘liberal’, because they don’t want to be associated with the ideas of people that call themselves that. This isn’t really a crazy contention

              2. I don’t see anywhere where he mentioned anything other than labels, certainly not principles.

                1. I don’t see anywhere where he mentioned anything other than labels, certainly not principles.

                  I got the sense from this and other comments of his that he was not referring to the label, but I could be wrong. Maybe he will answer, or maybe we can argue amongst ourselves!

                  1. No thanks, I just wanted to clarify that he didn’t say anything about beliefs.

                2. Not only that, he capitalized Libertarian.

                  OPEN YOUR GODDAMN EYES, CRUSTY

              3. The LABEL that is put on my principles is dependent on the opinions of others, as language is a social contract, mutually agreed upon.

                The left seeks to control and change the meanings of words in order to exercise power.

          2. What do his beliefs have to do with a label?

            1. What do his beliefs have to do with a label?

              That’s what I am curious about. I am not suggesting he must wear the libertarian ribbon.

              1. Interesting. Is there anything else you’re curious about that he didn’t bring up, since you’re doing non-sequiturs?

      2. And I’m fine with that.
        There are a large number of people today running around calling themselves “libertarian” without understanding what the word means.

        If you find CATO’s arguments so objectionable that you don’t want to call yourself a libertarian, then you probably shouldn’t.

        1. So I guess being for gun control is now Libertarian. Jesus Christ Hazel, just stop it. Even I am starting to feel sorry for you.

          1. CATO’s arguing for gun control?
            Where did you hear that?

            1. Rather than linking Cato’s Chairman Robert A Levy Just pretend I did and I’ll provide the cuckotarian response:

              “Oh, that’s just one Cato scholar.He/She doesn’t speak for the Cato Institutie. They have many scholars with many different voices….blah, blah,blah, cuck…cuck…cuck…”

              1. “Cuck”
                Is that the sound your chicken made in bed last night?

    2. Tony is more libertarian than you.

      1. He is more libertarian than you are Hazel. Tony does have a few Libertarian positions and he at least understands those position. That is more than I can say for you. I think Tony having one or two libertarian positions he understands makes him more libertarian than you having a bunch of libertarian positions none of which you understand or do anything but emote.

        1. Yeah, being in favor of free trade and immigration makes me unlibertarian.

          1. No Hazel, not understanding why you support those makes you an idiot and not particularly anything Libertarian or otherwise.

            1. There’s a difference between not understanding my beliefs (which I have thought about far more deeply than you can possibly understand), and not having time to deliver a philosophical treatise via comment-section on Reason.

              1. Sure there is. But there is not a difference between not understanding and not being able to explain it. And that is you.

                1. You mean “not being able to convince me”.

                  I could say the same about you. If you can’t explain your beliefs well enough to convince me you are right, I’m just going to assume you’re a moron who hasn’t thought through your ideas, from now on.

      2. Hazel, I doubt you’ve ever read any libertarian philosophy. And so you probably shouldn’t play the game of ‘you’re not libertarian’. You might have skimmed some Milton Friedman and so you think you’re all set. But, you are what’s wrong.

        1. The thing that unites us all is, of course, that we’ve all read Declaration of Independents by Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie.

          1. That’s what keeps my lopsided endtable from keeling over.

          2. A foundational text, for certain.

        2. You’re a moron who doesn’t understand libertarian philosophy well enough to recognize when someone has read libertarian philosophy or not.

          I’ve read libertarian philosophers so far down the chain you’re probably never even heard of them.

          1. Look at Hazel going full libertarian hipster over here.

            1. You’re fuckin’ right, libertarianism is hip. We’re way cooler – in every sense of the word – than those assholes on the alt-right, or the progressive left.

              Fucking posers invading my scene. I was into libertarianism before it was cool.

              1. John is so cool though, he’s libertarian ironically.

    3. Hey, cut KMW some slack.

      This not being a “blame the right” situation the Reason template calls for “pox on both houses.”

      Even if it involves stuffing a square peg into a round hole.

      1. “Even if it involves stuffing a square peg into a round hole.”

        But enough about Crusty’s weekend….

        1. Friday afternoon happy hour.

          The weekend involves a tad more.

    4. Bret Stephens is like David Brooks or Andrew Sullivan. He’s a center-left writer who’s positioned by the media as a conservative because he’s non-Progressive and may or not have been an Eisenhower-style Republican on paper. But that doesn’t mark him as a conservative in either the Buckley-Goldwater-Reagan mold of latter decades of the Buchanan-Trump mold that we see the term being defined by often now (since there’s the odd notion that Republic Party and American Conservatism must by somehow by definition be exactly synonymous terms).

      1. Didn’t Bret Stephens write op-eds for the Wall Street Journal less than a couple of years ago? I always thought of him as a neocon.

        1. Stepehens’ departure raised the average IQ of both the WSJ and the NYT editorial pages.

    5. KM-W reminds us Reason is all fake news all the time too. Bret Stephens and Paul Ryan are conservatives? lol

      Ask Roy Moore what he thinks, he’s a conservative.

      1. Wow, you didn’t say cuck once in that comment.

  3. Idiocracy here now.

    1. Dude, I just got back from Starbuck’s. We still have a loooong way to go.

      1. Have you shipped any thing on FedEXXX lately?

        Its graphic.

      2. I just got back from Starbuck’s.

        Quit virtue signaling to your cosmo pals!

        1. I would have spelled Starbucks right if that was my intent. Well, I’m off to Park Slope to babysit for my favorite lesbian couple.

          1. All the cool lesbians are in Queens now. Also, because nobody can afford to live in Park Slope.

            1. Doesn’t Matt Welch live in Park Slope? He may may not be a lesbian, but he wears the glasses.

              1. I could see Welch fitting in here, although the site hasn’t been updated since 2010.

                1. OMG. they predicted Jenner!

      3. But I do think Carl’s Jr. is trying to open automated stores. And have you been to a Costco lately?

  4. And the people and institutions who offer strong, consistent, principled defenses of the most robust definitions our most basic rights?ideologues?are not the enemy. They are vital to the functioning of our political system.

    They aren’t vital to the functioning of anything. Ideologues are, by choice, not FUNCTIONAL. There’s always a value to keeping one’s eye on the prize and not getting waylaid by the mere possibility of agreements/compromise/incrementalism – but even there ideologues are not necessarily wedded to some worthwhile goal. That said – I usually do prefer the discomfort/stubbornness that ideologues bring with them – and both 1st and 2nd are worth ideological stubbornness

    1. It’s a little discomforting that we can agree literally on the first two amendments they wrote down over 200 years ago. Let alone Article 1 written even before that.

      1. Can’t*

  5. We will be looked upon 200 years from now as a once great nation where capitalism and freedom was practiced and spread riches all over the world.

    1. When 2217 comes around no one alive today will be around to check your prediction.

      1. Grandiose predictions far over the horizon are the order of the day. it’s settled.

      2. I’m sure it’s in a quatrain somewhere.

      3. Ron Bailey actually thinks he’ll still be around.

        1. Yeah he does. It is pretty funny isn’t it?

  6. Free speech died when the state allowed violence to bar discourse. This is now a time of guarded tongues, where political discussion must be had in low whispers, behind closed doors, away from the ears of communist loyalists for fear of certain and damning reprisal.

    Tell me it isn’t.

      1. “officially now”

        1. You even mention “communist loyalists,” but you think now is when US governments have killed free speech?

          1. There is laying on the death bed and there is flat lining. If it was truly dead already there’d be nothing left to kill.

            1. This is stupid.

              “political discussion must be had in low whispers” That’s what you call facebook and twitter? And all these political protests are being done with inside voices? There’s more opportunity than ever for people to shout their dumb political opinions, and they gleefully take advantage of it.

              1. How can you hold that view in one hand and acknowledge the violent barring, implicit banning, of speech in the other?

                1. How can you hold that view in one hand and acknowledge the violent barring, implicit banning, of speech in the other?

                  The violent barring/implicit banning is not new and has always been directed at someone. It’s just the targets have changed and people are talking about it a lot more. You seem to believe there was a status quo ante of boundlessly respected free speech that has only recently come under attack. This is simply not true.

                  1. Actually this is not true at all. There were never violent insurrection when a mainstream commentator spoke at a college. This is the Chinese Cultural Revolution and they have a lot of useful idiots among people who supposedly care about free speech

                    1. Is free speech in greater peril now than it was in the 60s-70s when civil rights activists routinely faced violent attack or assassination for speaking out?

                    2. Is free speech in greater peril now than it was in the 60s-70s

                      Idk maybe? In the 60’s freedom of speech was championed by a vast and powerful movement; now it has tepid defense at best. We are literally having this discussion on an article thread about portions of the ACLU advocating for the restriction of speech.

                    3. William Lloyd Garrison was nearly hanged for trying to give a lecture to a private organization. I don’t know if Charles Murray is comparably more mainstream than Garrison was in 1835.

                      “violent insurrection”

                      Cool your Japanese jets.

                    4. I think you are wrong to dumb down and conflate the entire civil rights movement — fucking abolition — to a simple freedom of speech issue. You’re point is that freedom of speech, the first amendment, and individual speakers have faced much more severe repercussions in the past. The increased violence and danger for blacks and their white allies from 1860 to 1970 is undeniable; but I lay that at the feet of the inevitable post-slavery fallout which encompassed so much more than speech. You’re just ignoring education rights and voting rights to hamfist a point of freedom of speech.

                      I argue the current attacks on speech are much more direct, singular, and aimed at the first amendment. The foundation of the first amendment is eroding. The difference between now and the abolitionist movement is that blacks didn’t even have that foundation, they had to fight for it, just as they had to fight for other constitutional protections. I agree both instances share attacks on freedom of speech, but I don’t see them as equivalent. It doesn’t make me feel better that just because people used to be lynched that I should feel OK about the current direction of first amendment protections.

                    5. I didn’t reduce them to a freedom of speech issue. I’m saying that such political discussion was also often done in hushed voices and behind closed doors, for fear of much greater reprisal than what we’re seeing now.

                      Charles Murray wasn’t giving a talk about the first amendment either, nor was your original post above. Your post was only about the state standing by to allow violence to shut down discourse. Which it has done frequently, in addition to shutting it down directly. And I prefer these critics attack the first amendment openly, rather than simply shutting down dissent. It’s troublesome either way.

                      I don’t want you to feel OK, just don’t be another hysterical, ahistorical doomsayer. The period of sissy colleges will pass, and Americans with unpopular ideas will muddle through.

                2. There have frequently – always? – been views that needed to be expressed carefully for fear of violent repercussions, from either the state or the mob. And, less extreme, there has always been ‘PC’ of varying levels, violation of which can result in social consequences. Man is everywhere in chains. To act like this is some new phenomenon is ignorant, and to act like a Milo speech being cancelled is crossing the Rubicon is offensive.

                  Eugene Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison. Abolitionists were routinely met with violence. Root just talked about the violence used against anti-segregationists. Organizing for labor was certainly no picnic. Radio and TV were tightly regulated for decades. The response of some city governments to recent mob violence has been awful, but come the fuck on. And these victims certainly haven’t shut up, right?

                  1. MJ, you’re comparing people whose opinions were most assuredly viewed as scandalous (rightly or wrongly) and they were not being met with force by a state institution (like a college) and when they were (in the case of people opposed to segregation) the federal government reinforced their liberty (since Eisenhower).

                    I don’t think your argument is way off. I think you have a point. But, freaking ENB and Soave were chased off a college campus. SOAVE! You can’t get any more milquetoast than that. This is now just an attempt to silence any dissent.

              2. It would be more correct to say that certain viewpoints in politics must be had in low whispers. Specifically, nuanced and fact based discussions must be had in hushed voices because the facts are racist and hateful most of the time, according to certain people’s world view, and those people just so happen to also be pretty violent.

                Coincidence?

              3. There’s more opportunity than ever for people to shout their dumb political opinions, and they gleefully take advantage of it.

                Yes. If you’re a progressive.

                On my Facebutt feed, all my liberal friends spew whatever the hell they want and garner a bazillion likes and comments for doing so. My conservative friends are shouted down, or they keep their mouths shut and stick to posting recipes and pictures of puppies. As for Twitter and online commentary? Most people with conservative views in those instances post anonymously.

                Maybe conservativism will eventually be the new counter-culture, but for now it’s abhorrent to the majority.

  7. The purpose of free speech and gun rights is to protect us from an overreaching government. Yes individual citizens will try to take advantage of those freedoms and use them against us. As has happened recently. But let’s put this in perspective. We spend a BILLION DOLLARS A DAY to bring ‘freedom’ to the middle east. MILLIONS of brave Americans have fought and died for our rights. America is actually very strong and resilient because of these principles. Let’s not scrap them because some misguided people take advantage of them. If we do – then our government will use their new powers against us, and if you think you will be the one in power when this happens then all I can say is HAHHHAHHHAAAHAHHAAHA.

  8. One issue is how the A.C.L.U. should evaluate the potential for violence when representing groups seeking to hold demonstrations. “How do we balance a concern for public safety with freedom of speech?” Mr. Romero asked. Another question under consideration, he said, relates to how the A.C.L.U. should evaluate the credibility of organizers pledging a peaceful demonstration.

    So if the people who disagree with you are willing to violently oppose you, the ACLU says you have no right to free speech. Pathetic.

    1. That is basically what the government is already saying. The ACLU saying it too isn’t that surprising. It’s becoming more clear that if you want to get your way here in these United States you’ve got to be willing to bash someone’s head in and maybe kill a few people. Then the government will bend over backwards for you.

      At least, that’s the lesson I would be learning if I were the type of person inclined to do those things. If you look at the recent retardation over Confederate Statues you’ll see that violence actually does work politically. In fact, it might be more effective than any other means you can bring to bear, because American’s have already accepted the baseline notion that safety is worth more than freedom. I don’t mean just a fringe either, it is mainstream that safety trumps freedom. Therefore if you threaten that safety, you get your way.

      So, I mean we’re totally fucked but at least we know it in advance.

      1. Terrorism won in all facets, in every way.

        1. Yep, pretty much.

        2. The jihadists are looking at our hipster beards at chuckling at how we seek to follow their fashion trends…

  9. So is this now the official position of the ACLU or are these 200 just rogue elements? And if the latter, when are they going to get handed pink slips?

    1. And if the latter, when are they going to get handed pink slips?

      [checks the temperature in hell]

      Water’s still boiling…

  10. IOW, the first and second ammendments just lost pretty much their only defenders (other than us libertarians, but of course we don’t count since there’s only about 100 or so of us). Fan-fucking-tastic.

    1. And fifty of us are Tulpa.

      1. And the other 50 are dajjai.

      2. And the other 50 are Mary.

    2. Brett Stephens is a phony prick. He is representative of no one but himself and was never a friend of the Second Amendment.

  11. I think the bump stock ban is rooted in 1) a sense that they’re “beyond the pale” in the same way that many people think of fully automatic weapons (which are, of course not really “banned”), and 2) the desire to throw some sort of bone to temporarily pacify the gun control crowd.

    I personally think that categorizing them as similar to automatic weapons is more-or-less logical, though their relative simplicity to produce and distribute makes heavy regulation, much less a ban, rather futile. Of course, neither effectiveness nor enforceability has much to do with calls for gun control — it’s all about virtue signalling and the culture of “banning bad things”. For the same reason, it’s pointless to throw regulatory bones to political opponents who will never, ever be satisfied.

    As for the ACLU — “Racial justice guarantees” in the Constitution? To the extent they exist, I don’t see the First Amendment as any more incompatible with them than it is any other part of the Constitution. All that letter really demonstrates is that the ACLU has been infiltrated with the same collectivist Lefty authoritarianism as has dragged down academia and the media. R.I.P., principled defense of civil liberties.

  12. At the risk of being banned by Reason – would be nice if they unbanned me.

    1. Just go somewhere where they don’t want to ban you.

      1. At the risk of being banned again by Reason, a site which criticizes others for insufficient support for free speech – would be nice to know why they wanted to ban me. And why you won’t defend me.

        1. Because I don’t know your situation.

          I’ve seen commenters insult the Reason staff in ways that would have got commenters on other sites banned in an instant. What did you do that got even the Reason staff to ban you?

          1. Almost certainly because they’re the one’s responsible for various sock puppets that don’t add anything to the conversation and just make constant personal attacks. I.E. Spam and/or ad hominem, usually both.

          2. I’ve always defended people’s right to free speech, and spoke out against calls to violence. I did nothing to justify my banning. It’s frightening to be facing this situation again.

            1. If you were banned, how is it you’re still posting under the same user name one might wonder.

              1. This is dajjai not dajjal.

        2. People who equate private banning with violations of free speech should be banned.

          1. Wrong but you could say the same about the ACLU. They’re a private org, can decide what positions to take.

            1. They advocate to remove protection from public law, not to ban free speech within their own org…

        3. At the risk of being banned again by Reason, a site which criticizes others for insufficient support for free speech – would be nice to know why they wanted to ban me. And why you won’t defend me.

          The commentariat just went over this: 1A protects us from discrimination by the government. Not our fellow citizens, who have every right to be assholes and tell us to fuck off for whatever reason they see fit.

  13. Wikipedia says the “conservative” guy used to be managing editor at the Jerusalem Post (2004-06), which is a pro-gun-control organ.

    From a Jerusalem Post editorial in 2013:

    “[Israel and the United States] are worlds apart when it comes to the right of civilians to bear arms….

    “In Israel…bearing arms is prohibited to all but those with special permission: security guards, residents or employees in settlements, citizens who regularly work with large sums of cash or jewels, IDF officers of certain ranks, and select few others. Ammunition ownership is greatly restricted.

    “…David Ben-Gurion took extreme measures as the Jewish state’s first prime minister to consolidate the central government’s powers. The June, 1948 Altalena Affair ? in which Ben-Gurion ordered the nascent IDF to open fire on a Jewish cargo ship transporting arms to the Irgun’s military arm ? is one example. The disbanding of the Palmach is another.

    “But there might be a deeper, cultural reason for the strict control Israel maintains over firearms. Jews have historically had an ambivalent attitude toward the idea of bearing arms….”

    1. Editor in chief, not managing editor

      1. …and it was 2002 to 2004

        1. I would have thought that *everyone* in Israel would have security concerns justifying them carrying guns – what with terrorists targeting civilians all the damn time – but apparently you have to live in a settlement or handle large sums of cash or jewels in order to be considered at risk.

          Because the terrorists draw such a fine distinction between Israelis in settlements and Israelis in Tel Aviv nightclubs and streets. /sarc

          1. And how did a country of citizen-soldiers get to the point where you can be trusted with guns if you’re in uniform, but once the uniform is off, you’re presumed to be unsuitable to carry firearms?

  14. Yeah, the ACLU is already backing away from backing free speech. They’ll cave on this like they did religious liberty. I highly doubt you’re going to see a surge of gun restrictionists in the GOP, though.

  15. DOes anyone care to publish a link to the actual letter?

    1. Did you just volunteer?

      1. I tried to look for it, but could not find a link.
        Maybe someone else has more time to Google.

    2. Christ, just go over to the The Nation if you can’t stand criticism of the American (selective) Civil Liberties (for some) Union

      1. What makes you think I can’t stand criticism of them? I’m just curious about what the letter actually says.

  16. which includes advancing the racial justice guarantees in the Constitution and elsewhere, not just the First Amendment?continues to be undermined by our rigid stance

    This is your brain on higher education. It has, in fact, become stupider.

  17. I also observe from Wikipedia that Stephens spent a *lot* of time in hoplophobic jurisdictions.

    -he grew up in Mexico City

    -he went to boarding school in Massachusetts

    -he studied in Chicago and London

    -he’s also lived in Brussels

    Maybe he could write a column about the wonderful success all those places have had in curtailing violence, without the pesky obstacle of the Second Amendment (he was in Mass and Chicago before the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment applied to the states)

    1. He is the picture of the upper-class Twit. Stephens has lived his entire life in an elite sheltered bubble. He has no understanding of reality outside that bubble and is forever perplexed when the stupid yokuls in America do not live up to the expectations of that bubble. Stephens is probably the most appalling fake right-wing columnist today. David Brooks is just stupid. Stephens is not quite as stupid as Brooks, though he isn’t very bright, but much more nasty and mendacious than even Brooks.

      1. I’m going to guess that he wasn’t on his own, defenseless, in bad neighborhoods while growing up in all these fine locations. It’s great for him, so long as he has the empathy to understand that not everyone is in his situation.

  18. “Our broader mission?which includes advancing the racial justice guarantees in the Constitution and elsewhere, not just the First Amendment?continues to be undermined by our rigid stance,”

    Wait, when did they adopt this “broader mission”? Was there an announcement or something?

    What racial justice guarantees in the Constitution?

    Elsewhere?

    How does free speech undermine justice?

    1. You asked all the questions I was going to. The only “racial justice” guarantees that I can think of are the prohibition of voting laws based on race and equal protection of the law. Things like that.

      How freedom of speech undermines justice is beyond me.

      1. It is them saying the ACLU is no longer a civil rights organization. It exists to promote leftist politics now. That isn’t a surprise to many people. But it is a surprise to see them be so honest about it.

        1. More specifically, the ACLU is signalling that identity group based protections are their priority over general civil liberties.

          1. There was a sweet spot between 1940 and the 1970s when they were a civil-liberties organization, but then they apologized for excluding Communists from their board of directors in 1940, and they’ve been SJWing ever since.

            1. Here we go

              ‘”Today [1976] we operate in a different climate, where an individual can be a Communist and a civil libertarian,” the minutes state, adding that the repeal will “signal that the A.C.L.U. judges the individual and is not a red?baiting group.”‘

              1. About Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the Communist the ACLU kicked off its board in 1940, there’s this:

                “She visited the U.S.S.R. several times, representing the Communist Party of the United States. She died there, and was honored with a state funeral in Red Square.”

        2. It’s worth noting that this letter is from some employees petitioning the ACLU to change it’s stance, it’s not an official statement of policy of the ACLU itself.

        3. And the AARP is no longer a senior citizens organization. It exists to promote leftist politics now.

  19. ACLU, you protect Hitler too! Children.

  20. “common-sense gun control”

    1. Use two hands.
    2. The overwhelming majority of gun regulation in this country is, on its face, unconstitutional.

  21. (UPDATE: The National Rifle Association is open to bump stock bans too.)

    Surprising absolutely nobody who knows anything about the NRA, so “everyone on the Left”, I guess?

    The NRA has never cared about automatic weapons as a category, or anything like them, and is very unlikely to ever start.

    They’ve only recently started to care about suppressor liberalization as common-sense safety equipment.

    1. You can tell that Progs don’t know anything about guns if for no other reason than they think the NRA is really that committed to gun rights, rather than raising money and paying their staff.

  22. And, well, unless the ACLU rejects the demands of those staffers and comes out firmly in favor of free speech absolutism, I’ll never consider giving them a cent.

    At least before this they were good on “civil rights that aren’t gun rights” (because for some reason those just don’t count … where “some reason” means “our coastal elite donation base hates them”), so I could consider a donation to them in parallel to my NRA membership as covering all the Constitutional Right bases.

    But if they don’t, or worse, embrace it? They can go rot.

    1. They make an exception for the First Amendment, and the free-exercise clause of the First Amendment (while claiming to champion the Establishment Clause) – now they’re under pressure to ditch free speech and press.

      1. make an exception for the *Second* Amendment, and the free-exercise etc.

  23. “Our broader mission?which includes advancing the racial justice guarantees in the Constitution and elsewhere, not just the First Amendment?continues to be undermined by our rigid stance,”

    There are no ‘racial justice’ guarantees in the Constitution.

    No wonder the ACLU seems to have gone completely to shit. They’re not for America, or for liberties, civil or otherwise anymore.

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  25. Disagree that uncompromising defense of free speech is “ideological extremism”. Or even “ideological” for that matter.

    It’s adhering to a larger set of principles. That is, freedom of speech, right to bear arms, no unreasonable government searches, etc are all consistent with one another and represent the sovereignty of the individual.

    1. I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue

  26. So the ACLU will stop speaking?

  27. Forget the GOP, otherwise known as the Vichy party. Dude, where’s my country?

  28. Some speech is more equal than other speech.

  29. Freedom of speech deserves to be defended by people who believe in it. The ACLU should fire any employees who are unfit to do their job.

  30. The ACLU backed down during the Red Scare as well. They’re just money grubbing blowhards.

  31. Stephens needs an intimate encounter with a woodchipper.

  32. TREASON

    they ended the conversation

  33. At least the GOP’s stupid spineless behavior is the result from the worst shooting in US history by a guy taking the extreme advantage of gun availability and potency.

    The ACLU backed down over a single 2nd degree murder that was only tangentially related to the speech freedoms they were defending.

  34. ACPU
    American Civil Privileges Union
    FIFY

  35. Bret Stephens has turned on virtually all of his former views. Like when Wiegel claimed to be Libertarian once.

  36. RE: ACLU Now Against First Amendment, Conservatives Against Second Amendment?
    Today in the news: up is down, left is right, cats are dogs

    I never could stand the ACLU because, to my knowledge, they don’t take 2nd Amendment cases, because the ACLU believes gun ownership is a collective right (read gun ownership is reserved for The State exclusively.)
    I’m not surprised the brainless, gutless whores in the GOP are now against the Second Amendment. Anything for a vote, isn’t that right, GOP filth?

    1. I’m not surprised the brainless, gutless whores in the GOP are now against the Second Amendment

      I’m not surprised that snarling, mindless authoritarians believe only THEIR favorite rights are absolute, when the Founders intended that all fundamental rights were EACH absolute — thus none could be absolute over it equal.

      Their puppetmasters never let them know that the TYPE of weapon had been ruled subject to limits, in 1939.

      The puppets were taught to celebrate DC vs Heller as a major victory, and it was, by ruling that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual, not group, right. The puppets were allowed to know the ruling was authored by the late Justice, Antonin Scalia, revered as the greatest living defender of original intent (on the bench)

      But the balance of Scalia’s ruling was withheld from the puppets. Scalia affirmed the 1939 ruling. Original intent could ONLY include those “weapons in common use at the time” .. that militia members had kept in their homes .. in the 1700s … essentially what has evolved to what we now call hunting rifles.

      The puppets were never told, because they are being manipulated and controlled by “the elites.”
      Just as the opposing elites control and manipulate what they call “progtards.” Balancing contards in the fight for unitary control of government.

      There is class warfare in America, but it’s the ruling elites versus the rest us. And we’re losing. One of the worst now serves as President.

  37. Once upon a time … in a land far away … there arose a new philosophy, libertarianism.

    They knew the 10th Amendment did not give states undelegated powers. The 9th Amendment was called “The libertarian amendment” because it banned all levels of government to deny or disparage ALL fundamental rights, even .beyond those listed in the Constitution.

    And each of those rights is unalienable — absolute — never to be denied or disparaged. Thus, they were all precisely co-equal, meaning none could be denied or disparaged by any other one.

    Then there arose Tribalism. Tribes called Lefty and Right decided that “unalienable” should be denied. They both practiced New Authoritarianism. To help control followers, they each chose different rights as favorites. Absolute, . superior to other absolutes (go figure). The other tribe was “satanic” — opposed to even fundamental human rights being absolute (except their own pet rights).

    One example was the 2nd Amendment, no more powerful than any other, until the Righty Tribe WANTED IT to be absolute. Some, who disagreed were denounced as “gun grabbers” (chanted in unison) Others were a variety of “snowflake” Or “Fuck off, slaver” by the more thuggish ones.

    And when we looked around, there were still libertarians … but libertarianISM could not be found.
    Not anywhere.
    .

    1. I’ll kick the hornet’s nest here and take one for the team, why not!

      Hi Hihn. How’s it going?

      You are wrong as to how “rights” work. There is only one right, the right to do everything other than initiate force. (In other words, you have the right to not have force initiated upon you.) The negative “rights” we speak of (and the Founders tried to define) only serve to explain what that one right looks like.

      So there is no way rights can come into conflict, if there is conflict, one party is initiating force against another (or attempting to do so). That also means that all “rights” (the one right) is absolute.

      Try to think of a case when “rights” come into conflict, and I’ll show you a case where someone is initiating force or attempting to do so through “law” or courts.

      That being said, your explanation here of the 9th amendment is pretty well spot on. Government has no authority to stamp on any “rights” (any type of exercising the one right).

      Now, I know that for some reason my responding to you in a civil and logically consistent manner will cause all kinds of conflict, though I have no idea why!

      But God Bless you, Hihn! He loves you just as much as he loves me!

      1. You are wrong as to how “rights” work.

        I described how they work under the Constitution, all across America, at all levels of government, every day, for over 200 years now ,… not a recent subset of political philosophy. Perhaps we disagree on what “work” means.

        Now, I know that for some reason my responding to you in a civil and logically consistent manner will cause all kinds of conflict, though I have no idea why!

        Self-serving and unfounded accusations — in the form of personal insults –are never productive.

        So I am again done with you.
        Have a good evening,

        1. I described how they work under the Constitution

          How the majority understand them, not to mention the court, is wrong.

          Perhaps we disagree on what “work” means

          Yes, by “Constitutionalists” concept of rights, the Bill of Rights explains what some of the individual (apparently unrelated) rights are. But even they know rights predate government and that government doesn’t give them, and I have never heard one say that they can come into conflict (and I used to be one, so it’s not like I haven’t talked to them).

          Self-serving and unfounded accusations — in the form of personal insults –are never productive.

          Thankfully, Hihn, I didn’t insult your person. But, for some reason, disagreeing with you more than once is often seen by you as a personal attack.

          “Rights” don’t come into conflict, because there is only one right, the right to do anything other than initiate force.

          Good on you for remaining civil, Hihn. Keep it up, and God Bless!

          1. I ask AGAIN, how many have you recruited so far? You’ve been trolling for a new society, which is ANTI-liberty by every known measure ? on a libertarian web site!

            WE say a government can derive JUST powers by the consent of the governed.
            YOU say we have NO right to grant this consent. What WE do must have YOUR permission? You SNEER at centuries of Natural Law … RIDICULE consent of the governed, will of the people, voluntarism, delegated powers, EVERY aspect of liberty.

            In a free society, people agree to live together under a set of principles, mutually agreed to.
            You say that’s wrong. YOUR way, we’d have NO right to establish our own rules. YOUR rules have already been established, by a Ruling Class … which is SO much wiser than us.

            OUR way, hundreds of millions have come here, eager to join us. Many risked their lives to do so and, of them, many died. I KEEP asking ?. how many people have you recruited for your Brave New World, in more than a year trolling here? And when will you be leaving?

            We ALLOW you to mock our values, even sneer at our principles, because OURS is a free society

            Until you leave our soil .. you enjoy the liberty others have created, even died for, the liberty YOU ridicule and sneer as “wrong” … Your 2% of the population claims VETO power over us. Yet, WE secure YOUR freedom, ? while your Entitlement Mentality continues eagerly sucking our teats, for the nurture WE provide.

            1. Me: “But, for some reason, disagreeing with you more than once is often seen by you as a personal attack.”

              Hihn: See above!

              WE say a government can derive JUST powers by the consent of the governed.

              I don’t consent.

              YOU say we have NO right to grant this consent.

              Majority doesn’t make right.

              What WE do must have YOUR permission?

              You must have my permission to use my stuff or myself. To do otherwise is an initiation of force. Libertarianism 101.

              YOUR way, we’d have NO right to establish our own rules.

              It’s not about making “rules”, it’s about not initiating force. If your “rules” initiate force (and they will), they are unjust.

              And when will you be leaving?

              Not the first time you’ve said this, Hihn.

              https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..e-will-die

              Government only exists to protect the “right” to choose your ruler, no other rights:

              “Me: Government isn’t compatible with individual rights (unless there is 100% consent).
              Hihn: INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS MEANS 0.0001% CAN OVERRULE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
              THAT’S DICTATOR RIGHTS, SLAVER. YOUR ‘RIGHT’ IS TO LEAVE.”

              ‘INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY’ALLOWS THEM TO RESIGN … FUCKING LEAVE”
              “Me: By ‘liberty’ you mean the liberty to leave when they take all you have, enslave you, and kill you?

              Hihn: BEFORE ? UNLESS YOU’RE EVEN CRAZIER.”

              Carry on, Hihn!

              1. WE say a government can derive JUST powers by the consent of the governed.
                YOU say we have NO right to grant this consent. What WE do must have YOUR permission?

                “Government isn’t compatible with individual rights (unless there is 100% consent).”

                I KEEP asking ?. how many people have you recruited for your Brave New World, in more than a year trolling here?
                (sneer)

                1. I KEEP asking

                  You hadn’t asked until the above comment (that I can recall).

                  how many people have you recruited for your Brave New World

                  I don’t have a brave new world. I just don’t initiate force. I wish others would do the same, and will tell you that initiating force is wrong, and injust, and justice would be 1 for 1 repayment (plus, perhaps, costs).

                  Majority doesn’t make right. Popularity doesn’t make right.

                  more than a year trolling here?

                  I don’t troll, I tell the truth and point out error.

                  But if that means I am trolling, then what precisely do you do? How many have you recruited?

                  Hihn, God loves you more than you know, more than you love yourself!

              2. PROOF i AM CORRECT! And he BRAGS about it!.

                1) He ALONE can veto over 350 million Americans!

                2) He REJECTS our rights of voluntary association.

                3) NOBODY ON EARTH can act without HIS approval.

                4) He REJECTS 300+ years of Natural Law.

                5) He REFUSES to acknowledge ANY Constitution … while sucking off the liberty our provides him.

                ************6) HE EVEN CLAIMS HIS “ENSLAVEMENT” FORBIDS HIM TO LEAVE!

                ALL BASED ON HIS DEMANDS ALONE … NOBODY ELSE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE IS SO FUCKING CRAZY!

                Precisely as I said … AND HE TOOK THE BAIT!! (smirk)

                Fall to your knees and worship the anti-Christ.

                1. He ALONE can veto over 350 million Americans!

                  Everyone can veto 7 billion others when it comes to their own property, their own selves. This is the concept of “property”.

                  He REJECTS our rights of voluntary association.

                  You may voluntarily associate. You may not initiate force to make others associate with you.

                  NOBODY ON EARTH can act without HIS approval.

                  EVERYBODY can act without my approval, except if they want to initiate force upon myself and those I decide to protect. Whereas, your “voluntary association” (government) prevents actions without its approval in everything it does.

                  He REJECTS 300+ years of Natural Law.

                  If “natural law” determines that people may initiate force, then yes, I reject it.

                  He REFUSES to acknowledge ANY Constitution

                  Oh, it exists. I just deny it’s legitimacy.

                  while sucking off the liberty our provides him

                  Society=/=Government. Liberty is the antithesis of government, it isn’t created by it.

                  HE EVEN CLAIMS HIS “ENSLAVEMENT” FORBIDS HIM TO LEAVE!

                  You misunderstand (a conversation you took part in). I said that your POV would allow the majority to steal and enslave a person, and the only “rights” you claimed they had was to run away. You shouted that they ought to run away BEFORE they were enslaved. Libertarianism defined!

                  God Bless you, Hihn! He forgives all!

                  1. If you’re following this from my blog, he is indeed that crazy. See MORE proof.

                    the only “rights” you claimed they had was to run away.

                    Anyone can see he’s lying. And he doesn’t care who sees it!! A True Believer.

                    You shouted that they ought to run away BEFORE they were enslaved

                    Proof positive of a psycho liar!

                    1) he DENIES the inconvenient truth, and simple math – his claim that HE ALONE can veto the free choices of over 350 million Americans,

                    2) This has NEVER been a definition of libertarianism. — comes entirely from his own delusions.

                    If this is your first visit, he began the aggression and personal attacks when he barged into my thread. (See the blog topics, cyber-bullies and. zealots) THIS is how the alt right defends.(past and present)
                    1) ALL denial of equal rights (denial of rights does not initiate force, and that “justification” is the craziest of all)
                    2) Denial of gay marriage.
                    3) Denial of women’s suffrage.
                    4) Denilaaof inter-racial marriage.
                    5) Denilal of pregnant woman’s right to Liberty.

                    The list never ends, all in his own “mind”

                    1. I am shocked, absolutely shocked, that Michael Hihn responded!

                      Anyone can see he’s lying.

                      https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..e-will-die

                      “Me: Government isn’t compatible with individual rights (unless there is 100% consent).

                      Hihn: INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS MEANS 0.0001% CAN OVERRULE THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
                      THAT’S DICTATOR RIGHTS, SLAVER. YOUR ‘RIGHT’ IS TO LEAVE.”

                      “INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY ALLOWS THEM TO RESIGN … FUCKING LEAVE”

                      “Me: By ‘liberty’ you mean the liberty to leave when they take all you have, enslave you, and kill you?

                      Hihn: BEFORE ? UNLESS YOU’RE EVEN CRAZIER.”

                      he DENIES the inconvenient truth, and simple math – his claim that HE ALONE can veto the free choices of over 350 million Americans,

                      Everyone can veto 7 billion others when it comes to their own property, their own selves. This is the concept of “property”.

                      This has NEVER been a definition of libertarianism.

                      Don’t initiate force. Nope, nothing to do with libertarianism. Do pray tell how majority makes right is “libertarian”, though!

                      ALL denial of equal rights

                      There is only one right, the right to do everything except initiate force.

                      2) 3) 4 )5)

                      See above.

                      Hihn, despite all your lying, deceiving, and hatred, God loves you! He will forgive you, he sent his Son to die for you and all your sins! All you need do is accept it and to follow him as Lord! Bless you!

                    2. For those following the link from my blog: Stalker fails AGAIN!
                      He’s been stalking me for over a year .. because he keeps HUMILIATING himself.!

                      there is only one right, the right to do anything other than initiate force.

                      NOW CLAIMS LIBERTARIANISM ENDORSES FRAUD.
                      BRAGS THAT LIBERTARIANISM ENDORSES THE DENIAL OF RIGHTS … EXPLICITLY … VOTING RIGHTS FOR WOMEN AND INTER-RACIAL MARRIAGE.

                      REFUSES — FIVE TIMES — TO SHOW A SOURCE FOR HIS FAUX LIBERTARIANISM

                      THAT’S DICTATOR RIGHTS, SLAVER. YOUR ‘RIGHT’ IS TO LEAVE.”

                      ‘By ‘liberty’ you mean the liberty to leave when they take all you have, enslave you, and kill you?

                      OMFG! How crazy is THAT?
                      HAVING BACKED HIMSELF INTO A CORNER … HE NOW CLAIMS GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN ALL HE HAS … EVEN KILLED HIM.!

                      This has NEVER been a definition of libertarianism.

                      Don’t initiate force. Nope, nothing to do with libertarianism.

                      Not the ONLY rule LIAR, CALLED OUT AS A LIAR ? STILL REFUSES TO PROVIDE A SOURCE.

                      He says that’s the ONLY rule ? but it IT DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH ? and was expanded way back in 1969 ? to prohibit the denial of rights that he DEFENDS.

                      Shameless idolator of the Anti-Christ.

                      Boldface in defense of stalking, aggression and personal insults, for this ENTIRE thread,
                      https://reason.com/blog/2017/10…..nt_6990411
                      EVEN IN DEATH! (smirk)

                    3. He’s been stalking me for over a year

                      But you haven’t been commenting for over a year, unless you are Hihn! Used the wrong Sock-puppet again!

                      NOW CLAIMS LIBERTARIANISM ENDORSES FRAUD.

                      False.

                      BRAGS THAT LIBERTARIANISM ENDORSES THE DENIAL OF RIGHTS

                      Reading comprehension fail.

                      SHOW A SOURCE FOR HIS FAUX LIBERTARIANISM

                      Rothbard

                      How crazy is THAT?

                      A “crazy” question that got you to respond that they have the “right” to leave before they are enslaved (as the link shows)!

                      HE NOW CLAIMS GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN ALL HE HAS … EVEN KILLED HIM.

                      Bald faced lie.

                      STILL REFUSES TO PROVIDE A SOURCE.

                      Rothbard

                      IT DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH

                      Says the person who thinks majority makes right = libertarianism.

                      was expanded way back in 1969

                      Truth is truth regardless of people’s understanding of it.

                      Hihn’s comments on what “consent of the governed” means:

                      https://reason.com/blog/2017/06…..the-rand-p

                      Hihn: “Hypothetically, assume an entire Congress is elected on the same platform — single-payer healthcare. Would it then be proper for Congress to do so? Why not? (I assume you answered wrong.)”

                      So Hihn doesn’t believe in any unalienable rights!

                      The LORD Bless you and keep you
                      The LORD make his face shine upon you, Hihn!

    2. I’d describe it more as taking the bait, rather than kicking the hornet’s nest.

      Absolutist views on principles are generally based on slippery slope fears. People’s fears regarding the danger to different rights will obviously differ. No one likes the idea of the extent of their rights being decided by people with a completely different moral perspective than themselves.

    3. You live in a dream world, buddy.

      1. It’s common online. .

  38. Absolutist views on principles are generally based on slippery slope fears.

    As we see so clearly here,

    No one likes the idea of the extent of their rights being decided by people with a completely different moral perspective than themselves

    Even worse if an authoritarian control freak. But rights are innate, not “decided” per se. A notion rejected only by those who reject Natural Law and all it’s applications, which stifles their authoritarian compulsions.

  39. It’s a sad day when the ACLU starts thinking “hate” speech isn’t protected by the first amendment. I abhor the spittle spewing ideologues on both ends of the spectrum but that’s their right. The only thing they can’t do is induce specific violence or suggest open rebellion. They are pathetic individuals but they have their right to free speech.

  40. It’s a sad day when the ACLU starts thinking “hate” speech isn’t protected by the first amendment

    IF they do. But you’ve been manipulated by shameful reporting, a bullshit headline and tribal hysteria.

    Hate crimes are not protected, and the ACLU has been NOT defending armed rallies since 1934.

    Violence was clearly intended by the alt-right in Charlottesville. They carried clubs and shields, and attacked peaceful protesters with swinging clubs … Despite false claims by our lying sack of shit President.

    Despite the hysteria-mongering here ?
    1) The ACLU did defend the alt-right, when their permit was denied.

    2) So … Reason’s own link says the ACLU is REVIEWING how they assess potential violence.

    (my emphasis)

    “… after Charlottesville, the organization has been evaluating its criteria for accepting new free speech cases ?

    “One issue is how the A.C.L.U. should evaluate the potential for violence when representing groups seeking to hold demonstrations. “How do we balance a concern for public safety with freedom of speech?” Mr. Romero asked. Another question under consideration, he said, relates to how the A.C.L.U. should evaluate the credibility of organizers pledging a peaceful demonstration.

    Manipulating readers to foment tribal hysteria IS protected speech!

  41. ACLU Now Against First Amendment, Conservatives Against Second Amendment? – Hit & Run : Reason.comis the best post by imo for pc Please visit imo app imo app snaptube for pc snaptube app

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