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Leaked Internal Memo Reveals the ACLU Is Wavering on Free Speech

"Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed."

SpeechJonathan Ernst/REUTERS/NewscomThe American Civil Liberties Union will weigh its interest in protecting the First Amendment against its other commitments to social justice, racial equality, and women's rights, given the possibility that offensive speech might undermine ACLU goals.

"Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed," wrote ACLU staffers in a confidential memo obtained by former board member Wendy Kaminer.

It's hard to see this as anything other than a cowardly retreat from a full-throated defense of the First Amendment. Moving forward, when deciding whether to take a free speech case, the organization will consider "factors such as the (present and historical) context of the proposed speech; the potential effect on marginalized communities; the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values; and the structural and power inequalities in the community in which the speech will occur."

The memo also makes clear that the ACLU has zero interest in defending First Amendment rights in conjunction with Second Amendment rights. If controversial speakers intend to carry weapons, the ACLU "will generally not represent them."

The memo's authors assert that this does not amount to a formal change in policy, and is merely intended as guidelines that will assist ACLU affiliates in deciding which cases to take.

Kaminer, though, sees the memo as yet more evidence that the ACLU "has already lost its zeal for vigorously defending the speech it hates." As she writes in The Wall Street Journal:

The speech-case guidelines reflect a demotion of free speech in the ACLU's hierarchy of values. Their vague references to the "serious harm" to "marginalized" people occasioned by speech can easily include the presumed psychological effects of racist or otherwise hateful speech, which is constitutionally protected but contrary to ACLU values. Faced with perceived conflicts between freedom of speech and "progress toward equality," the ACLU is likely to choose equality. If the Supreme Court adopted the ACLU's balancing test, it would greatly expand government power to restrict speech.

In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), for example, the ACLU defended the First Amendment rights of a Ku Klux Klan leader prosecuted for addressing a small rally and calling for "revengence" against blacks and Jews. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed Clarence Brandenburg's conviction, narrowly defining incitement to violence as speech both intended and likely to cause imminent illegal action. Brandenburg made an essential distinction between advocacy and action, which progressives who equate hate speech with actual discrimination or violence seek to erase.

The ACLU would be hard pressed to take Brandenburg's case today, given its new guidelines. The organization hasn't yet endorsed a ban on hate speech, or a broader definition of incitement. The guidelines affirm that "speakers have a right to advocate violence." But even if Brandenburg managed to pass the new balancing test for speech cases, some participants at his rally were armed, and, according to the guidelines, "the ACLU generally will not represent protesters who seek to march while armed."

Kaminer notes that the ACLU is of course free to change its position on free speech—but it should own up to this evolution:

All this is the ACLU's prerogative. Organizations are entitled to revise their values and missions. But they ought to do so openly. The ACLU leadership had apparently hoped to keep its new guidelines secret, even from ACLU members. They're contained in an internal document deceptively marked, in all caps, "confidential attorney client work product." I'm told it was distributed to select ACLU officials and board members, who were instructed not to share it. According to my source, the leadership is now investigating the "leak" of its new case-selection guidelines. President Trump might sympathize.

It seems fairly clear to me what's happening here. Leadership would probably like the ACLU to remain a pro-First Amendment organization, but they would also like to remain in good standing with their progressive allies. Unfortunately, young progressives are increasingly hostile to free speech, which they view as synonymous with racist hate speech. Speech that impugns marginalized persons is not speech at all, in their view, but violence. This is why a student Black Lives Matter group shut down an ACLU event at the College of William & Mary last year, chanting "liberalism is white supremacy" and "the revolution will not uphold the Constitution." Campus activism is illiberal, and liberal free speech norms conflict with the broad protection of emotional comfort that the young, modern left demands.

The ACLU's capitulation to the anti-speech left should serve as a wake up call for true liberals. What has taken place on campus over the last decade does matter, and though the scope of the problem is frequently overstated, we should all be concerned when the nation's premiere civil liberties organization is increasingly afraid of defending the First Amendment—not because the Trump administration scares them, but because college students do.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Rockabilly||

    ACLU = American Communist Losers United.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    They're like the Reason Magazine of civil liberties organizations; "newly woke".

  • Citizen X||

    Your contention is that the ACLU is newly woke, Simple Mikey? What's it like to have retrograde amnesia?

  • Quixote||

    Fortunately, it's not a "cowardly retreat," but a position firmly staked out for at least the past decade. If the ACLU had gone along with this "First Amendment" nonsense we keep hearing, we might never have been able to criminalize inappropriately deadpan "parody" in New York—a form of "speech" that is not only unwanted, but that nobody likes, and that everyone knows should be a crime, regardless of the outrageous "opinions" expressed in this regard by certain liberal authors. That a judge in New York recently refused to send our nation's leading criminal "satirist" to jail is also an outrage, but that can't exactly be blamed on the ACLU, given their discreet silence on the matter. See the documentation at:

    https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  • Quixote||

    P.s. and for an example of the outrageous liberal "opinions" I'm referring to, see:

    https://forward.com/opinion/385050/

  • SRoach||

    Oh, I agree. I mean, it's not as if someone took the time to create an email address that could credibly be that of the target of their "ridicule" or anything.
    Who would be so dense as to believe a college professor would get a free email account with their name on it? Not everyone knows Google and Yahoo require a Proof of ID when opening a new email account that doesn't use a nonsense name.

    Why, I should be able to stand up in a crowded, darkened theater, just after they turn out the lights, and shout "Oh my God! He's got a gun!" at the top of my lungs, and then say "April Fools" when the paramedics arrive to cart away the trampled, and get off scott free. Everyone knows that.

    By the way. Do you go by Rafe? Or do you expect people to spell out the whole Rafael?

    By the way, I'm watching this with interest. https://emmaidentity.com/ On the one hand, I dread the day you can no longer speak Truth to Power from behind a veil of (pseudo)anonymity, (or when you have to at least dumb your speech down to the level that is no longer compelling, and take every one of MSWords sometimes inane grammatical suggestions. On the other hand,...well, there are those jerks who shout fire in a theater.

  • Quixote||

    Roach, thanks for joining my anti-Troll campaign.

    Clearly, just as you say, there is, and should be, no difference between shouting "he's got a gun" in a darkened theatre, and putting these words in the mouth of distinguished NYU department chairman who, even more importantly, is also the representative to the Vatican of the Union of Orthodox Congregations of America:

    "This [alleged plagiarism] is just the politics of Dead Sea Scrolls studies. If I had given credit to this man, I would have been banned from conferences around the world."

    Who would be so dense as not to believe that a distinguished university department chairman, and Vatican envoy, would contact his colleagues with emails calling their attention to allegations of plagiarism, and justifying the alleged plagiarism on such normal grounds?

    Clearly, such unwanted "parody" poses a serious public danger, just like shouting "he has a gun" in a crowded theatre, and should be punished with jail, despite any of the "First Amendment" baloney we keep hearing.

  • Just Say'n||

    The ACLU spends most of their time and money suing Catholic hospitals to perform transgender surgery and abortions. They are OG woke

    The only surprising thing is that Robby is just realizing that the ACLU has very little to do with civil liberties.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Can you give me an example of an organization that does a more effective job at defending civil liberties?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    The internet?

  • p3orion||

    Bravo!

  • Just Say'n||

    Considering that the last civil liberty that the ACLU actually still defended was "speech", pretty much any organization that covers any civil liberty is better than the ACLU. The Institute for Justice and FIRE are both infinitely better than the ACLU

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Not to disparage the IJ or FIRE, but in comparison to the ACLU they're a drop in the bucket. The ACLU directly spends about $40M annually just on legal defense (and this doesn't include legal donations it receives, which can be between $2M-$5M). It's been estimated that about 10% of their legal activity is geared towards defending free speech issues. This doesn't include the power they exert or money they spend on legislative activities and outreach.

    In comparison, IJ's entire budget is only about $20M, of which only a piece of it goes to litigation, and of that only a small part goes to free speech cases. There's an order of magnitude difference here.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I think you missed Just Say'n's point. (Which is pretty impressive given how clearly he stated it!) Sure, they spend a ton of money in court fights. But not much of that is spent defending actual "civil liberties".

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Most of it is defending civil liberties. Roughly 10% on free speech alone, which as I pointed out, is an order of magnitude greater than IJ or any other organization.

    Here's a quick test for you. Go to google and see how many articles are posted on the Reason site that mention the ACLU (and quickly sample these to make sure that the ACLU is on the right side of the issue). Then do the same thing and see how many articles are posted on the Reason site that mention IJ.

  • Just Say'n||

    Using Reason as the basis of what is a good civil liberties group, eh? The same publication that employs two people who called for violence against wrong think? Yeah, go with that

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    That's like saying Ford is better than Ferarri because they make an order of magnitude more cars.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I never said "better". I said more effective. The ACLU is waaaay more influential and impactful than IJ. Even if you account for the cases where the ACLU is on the wrong side of the issue, the net gain for liberty is greater than IJ.

  • ||

    Not to split hairs here but isn't being 'effective' kinda says one is 'better' since they presumably succeed?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I didn't mean "effective" in the sense of a better fit, more aligned with our principles, worth donating to more, etc. I meant they just defended liberty more than IJ. This is because of resources and volume. For every 100 high impact cases ACLU can handle, IJ can handle 1. They're just such a large and influential organization. That's what I meant by "effective". They create greater effect.

  • RLABruce||

    You have no concern for ACLU's inherent bias in whose free speech they are protecting? For example, can you show me their efforts to defend Conservative speakers' free speech rights on college campuses? Here's a link to several examples of ACLU's ignoring efforts to shut down Conservative free speech:
    http://www.gopusa.com/the-aclu.....al-rights/

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Of course I have concern about that. That's why I'm so disappointed to hear the news that they will be de-prioritizing some speech cases. I think it's a bad move. But they're still defending people in speech cases. And that's ultimately what's important.

    Just like how some charities help poor children in Africa. I never say "what a shitty charity, they don't ALSO help poor children in Asia!" If the ACLU wants to only defend certain speech cases, it's unfortunate, but at the end of the day it's not harmful to do so. Hopefully another organization picks up the slack and defends the speech cases that the ACLU won't. (that already happens, btw)

  • p3orion||

    "The memo's authors assert that this does not amount to a formal change in policy..."

    Anyone paying attention already knew this. The ACLU has for years been pretty obviously biased as to which clients it would serve, and selective in its outrage about abuses of rights. They'll defend a Nazi every now and then just to maintain credibility, but even their mistaken assumption that Nazis are right-wing is telling.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    but even their mistaken assumption that Nazis are right-wing is telling.

    It's not mistaken. Nazis are almost universally on the American right.

    Note: I'm not saying that right wingers are Nazis. I'm saying that Nazis are right wingers. Yes, I know you will point out that in Nazi Germany (which is irrelevant to this discussion) they were considered in that culture to be left wing because they had "socialist" in the name. But they also weren't socialists, so...

  • TLBD||

    They were socialists. Look up their platform.

    This whole bullshit that oh they called themselves socialists but really weren't is fucking moronic and the product of leftist propaganda.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Exterminating entire groups of people based on ethnicity, religion, or behavioral traits is not a component of socialism. And when we talk about (and criticize) Nazis, we're not really talking about their economic prosperity, are we?

  • DarrenM||

    Nazis called themselves "socialists" so as to attract right-wingers and no real socialists were fooled. It was a brilliant tactic. I admit I'm still trying to figure that one out.

  • The gouch||

    Yes, but they're not so politically motivated like the aclu.. aclu was founded by jews just after WWI.

  • SRoach||

    I thought it was WWII.
    Google says I thought wrong. Good to know.

  • gmonsen||

    I would just note that saying what IF or Fire do is a "drop in the bucket" is clearly wrong. Groups that spend c0llectively more than half of what the ACLU spends is not a drop in the bucket and a few wealthy people could even it up fairly quickly.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Altogether? Sure. But I asked for a single organization. Yes, all of them put together are not a drop in the bucket.

    Anyway -- point is, ACLU does a lot of good work. They regularly bring cases to the supreme court that Reason subscribers care about.

  • Modus Pwnens||

    To be fair, ACLU has been fairly helpful on 4th and 5th amendment cases too, other than eminent domain issues.

    They are worse than useless on 1st amendment cases at this point and have been for a while.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Someone doesn't know what "order of magnitude" means.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I know exactly what it means, and the numbers directly support what I said.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    JunkScience, you are wasting your time throwing facts at this crowd. The right-wing dealers of ideas have been pumping into their heads that the ACLU is an evil leftist organization since they were in diapers, and you are not gonna change their mind.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Of course, the ACLU has problems, as this article demonstrates. But they are still doing good work and fighting for liberty more often than not. Amnesty has similar issues. Yet it is not yet bad enough where I will stop sending them money.

  • Just Say'n||

    You're delusional. Even their former board members no longer support them. I guess you think suing bakers to bake cakes is civil liberties or something made up. You do realize that it was the ACLU who have brought those suits, right?

  • Just Say'n||

    As much as Chipper pretends everyone else is "right wing" there is far more evidence showing him to be "left wing". Defending the ACLU is a new low. What is this the 90's?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Lefties gonna lefty. The ACLU was true to it's name when I was young (60's-70's). It is now just a bunch of partisan hacks that stumble into defending liberty once in a while. Principals, not principles sadly.

  • olnyfan24||

    The ACLU has morphed from a non-partisan civil rights support group to a left wing advocacy group. Free speech is a core constitutional right and civil right. By throwing political correctness and the race, gender, nationality, etc. of the parties into the "balance mix", it has lost its legitimacy as a defender of civil rights. Civil rights do not depend on those factors, but political issues do, unfortunately. Very sad.
    BTW, this not unusual in the world of advocacy groups. The NAACP was once one of the greatest civil rights groups in US history. It succeeded magnificently in achieving long overdue rights for blacks. But it's success made it less relevant so, what to do, it too morphed into a left wing group.

  • Stephdumas||

    Completely agree and the same could be said of the SPLC. It's like over the years, they've been gangrened by greed and corruption becoming what they hated or as some folks said in Star Wars metaphors: they succombed to the Dark side of the Force".

  • a tandem||

    Agreed. The ACLU was once a civil liberties organizing. Because the largest funding source is now criminal defense attorney industry they have become an industry front for some of the most obviously nasty, violent and aggressive criminals via the attorneys defending them. ACLU is now an industry lobby.

    As far as free speech this is now just a PR gimmick, now less than 7% of their spending, and in an Orwellian move, more and more of it actually actively against free speech.

    Even ACLU's financing is becoming increasingly opaque with more and more driven by politically active foundations and ACLU's twinned c3 funding that does not have to be disclosed. They've gone from that c3 and other large funding being under 5% to it being over 75%. (and please don't look only at the national, but aggerate all the ACLU chapters, state foundations and national foundation)

  • NashTiger||

    The ACLJ?

    (cue the God Squad haters)

  • MoreFreedom||

    "Can you give me an example of an organization that does a more effective job at defending civil liberties?"

    That's very easy, considering the ACLU doesn't really defend liberties anymore. The Democrats have captured them, and use them to advance their agenda. Here are some more effective organizations for liberty:

    Judicial Watch
    The Institute for Justice
    CATO
    The Reason Foundation

    BTW, defending economic liberties is just as important as civil liberties. Your civil liberties won't help you if you don't have your economic liberties as well. Without economic freedom, the government will just make you so poor you won't have time to exercise your civil liberties while you're looking for food in the dumpster.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Agreed about economic liberties. But what, specifically, is the Reason Foundation doing that puts it on even (or greater) footing than the ACLU in terms of speech issues? That's what we're talking about here. Put advocacy on the back burner here, and let's talk nuts and bolts. How many people targeted by the federal government is the ACLU defending? How many people targeted by the federal government is the Reason Foundation defending? Let's have some numbers.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    ACLJ is another good one.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If you like superstitious, greedy bigots, ACLJ is dreamy.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    They actaully protect free speech. Freedom of religion is a part of that, despite your venomous bigotry.

  • spork||

    Country Time Lemonade?
    https://www.countrytimelegalade.com/

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    "Can you give me an example of an organization that does a more effective job at defending civil liberties?"

    Your Mom?

  • tartansailor||

    Yeah, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, Soviet Russia to name a few.

  • Chris_Halkides||

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Yeah. They're huge. Much bigger than the ACLU. They defend way more speech cases.

  • FlameCCT||

    The ACLU has become like the NAACP, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Progressive Plantation (Marxist Utopia). No longer interested in defending Civil Liberties unless one is a Progressive.

    N ational
    A ssociation for the
    A dvancement of
    C olored
    P rogressives

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Sad but true, I like what a poster said a while back: Arbitrarily Chosen Liberties Union (as long as the case is "progressive".)

  • John C. Randolph||

    I gave up on the ACLU when they went to court to force a kid to return to the Soviet Union just because his idiot parents couldn't hack it in the USA.

    -jcr

  • aajax||

    Did you come up with that all by yourself?

  • Citizen X||

    "Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed," wrote ACLU staffers, wrongly.

  • Mickey Rat||

    They are committing fully to the Jacobin cause

  • sarcasmic||

    Speech that impugns marginalized persons is not speech at all, in their view, but violence.

    Sticks and stone can break my bones, and words can actually kill me.

  • sarcasmic||

    *stones*

  • Just Say'n||

    *literally kill me*

    The Left seems to prefer "literally" over "actually".

    Eg: "literally Hitler"; "literally killing us", etc

  • colorblindkid||

    The majority of poor people in this country are white. They are the last acceptable group of people to be openly bigoted towards. They are stereotyped, ridiculed, mocked, and written off as racist, hillbilly deplorables before they can even learn to talk, throughout Hollywood and the media. Can you blame them for being uneasy? Can you blame them for being pissed off?

    When we're teaching our kids that it is impossible to be racist towards white people, while also teaching them "the future is brown!", what the fuck do you think is going to happen? Are white people not allowed to have the same feelings others have? The collectivism is insane, and incredibly dangerous.

  • colorblindkid||

    How are these people not "marginalized", yet people like Ta-Nehisi Coates are?

  • Mark22||

    Give poor Ta-Nehisi Coates a break. He was saddled all his life with an absurd Egyptian name, based on his father's bizarre ideas about race and history. And his family was some kind of polygamous arrangement. Obviously, he was marginalized from an early age, just not by race. And obviously, that kind of foolishness made him angry, he's just lashing out at the wrong people.

  • John C. Randolph||

    his family was some kind of polygamous arrangement.

    Oh, shit. I've met a lot of kids whose parents were Heinlein character wannabes. It almost makes me feel sorry for the racist asshole.

    -jcr

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Simple: Ta-Nehisi Coates isn't marginalized because of his skin color. He's marginalized because he's a retard.

  • MarkLastname||

    Not really: his retardedness got him a cozy job b at the Atlantic and am adoring audience. If anything he enjoys retard privilege.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    That's an interesting debate point, given the history of the words like "retard". At one point, psychiatrists had scientific definitions for "moron", "idiot", and "imbecile" based on IQ points. Fans and critics of "The Bell Curve" can argue over how relevant those labels are.

  • damikesc||

    It seems odd that people who have spent so much effort splitting Americans into interest groups are so stunned that the largest group of Americans might be turning into their own interest group.

    I find white nationalists as deplorable as the Nation of Islam, la Raza, etc. It just seems a lot of people aren't quite as consistent.

  • Think It Through||

    I have stated your first sentence to others so often....I can't believe they just don't get it. My wording usually is, tribalism sucks, but if you are going to place everyone into tribes and have them fight it out (rather than using reason and dialogue), what tribe do you think I'm gonna join??????

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    The one with the guns.

  • vek||

    I'm all in with Team Redneck in the upcoming civil war myself! They have all the guns, AND a successful track record of subjugating people with other skin colors!

    But yeah. It's hilarious how the left thought they were just going to stir up tons of racial animosity, against THE LARGEST ETHNIC GROUP in the country, and they just expected whites to take it up the ass forever. I long ago grew tired of the white bashing. If these idiots want to have a race war I have ZERO doubt whites will be the ones that win it. So let them bring it if they're dumb enough to do it. Either that or they could stop with their stupidity, but I don't see that happening.

  • The Iconoclast||

    The phrase "low information white voters" spread like wildfire among the pundits in late 2016. Surely there are also "low information black voters" by measures of education, drop-out rates, etc, yet no one used that phrase and if they had they'd have been fired, banned from twitter, etc.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Yeah, but if black voters lack information, it is because they have been OPPRESSED.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    That argument was actually used by Philly's mayor during the lead-up to the soda tax.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Wait! I could be a campaign consultant?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    That depends. How do you feel about morals and personal honor?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    It's like "white trash" verse "black trash". People who use the former term think the latter term is redundant.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Perhaps a better solution, instead of whining about who's been more oppressed or ridiculed than whom, is to judge each individual on his/her own merits, while looking at the context of that person's life story.

    I know, such a radical idea, isn't it?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    If there is one thing all the group-thinkers agree on, treating people as individuals instead of groups is BAD.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Surely you're not suggesting that people be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin? That's just straight up racist.

  • BYODB||

    You know things have become terrible when MLK is considered racist by todays standards.

  • MarkLastname||

    Not very 'color brave' of you.

  • Ariki||

    Burn the heretic!
    Shame! Shame!

  • KevinP||

    Yep. If we keep dividing Americans along racial/ethnic lines, eventually Americans in the largest racial/ethnic group will start to think of themselves as a racial/ethnic group and act and vote accordingly. But in the meantime, it's a good living for the leftist dividers.

  • vek||

    I think Van Jones was right on election night when he said that Trump was "whitelash" back against stuff. He thought it was JUST because Obama had been black. Which is BS. But it was backlash against all the years of anti white stuff.

    The funny thing is the left seems to be intentionally pushing out white people from their ranks, which will de facto push them into the arms of the right as their racial voting block preference. The 10% of whites that vote left in 15 years may be seen much the same as the 5-10% of blacks that vote right now...

  • DarrenM||

    Now if the right can avoid becoming such ideological purists that they drive those voters back into the arms of the left. I'm not optimistic.

  • thatsjustyouropinionman||

    Agree there's a lot of anger and disparagement of the white working class (WWC), but if you think it's possible to be racist towards white people in America you clearly do not understand what racism is or how it operates in the United States. You can be classist and elitist toward poor white people but you can't be racist to a group that both belongs in a majority and STILL receives all the privileges of being white, despite not receiving some privileges that are afforded to middle/upper middle class educated white people. Happy to recommend further reading if you're interested. It's a complex topic. Also saying you're color blind or that you don't see race ignores the real historical consequences of slavery and Jim Crow that impact the lives of black people in today's world...it's insulting

  • Microaggressor||

    Boys, we got a live one.

  • thatsjustyouropinionman||

    rally the trolls

  • VinniUSMC||

    Orwell would be proud of today's lefties. So much newspeak and groupthink.

  • Rossami||

    In case that comment was meant seriously, I suggest that you do some reading yourself. Start with the dictionary. 'Racism' - it comes right after 'racino' and right before 'rack'.

  • mhuitt||

    Those who hold this opinion are the same that look at a college newspaper demanding genocide of a cerain race because their DNA is an abomination (or hear one of their activist leaders say it), and see a blank page.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    If you think it's not possible to be racist towards white people in America, you clearly need to read something thatsjustyouropinionman just posted on 6.21.18 @ 11:58AM.

    Because, as Will Smith would say, damn.

  • MarkLastname||

    OBL's new handle?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Please explain further how it is impossible to be sea anemone towards White people. I don't follow your logic.

  • Ariki||

    This is why they invented the term "Colorist" recently. There definition of racist (colour + power) doesn't work when one black/brown group is racist towards another black/brown group.
    Post modern "science" where nothing is true and everything is fluid.

    Fuck them all.

  • Ariki||

    "their."
    God dammed brown skin retard.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    I agree. I too think we should kill all whitey Emm Effers. Mostly just because that isn't racist. Question though, where are we at on the Asians? You can pick the slur, but if they are classists and elitists with too much power, we can attack them violently too, right? I mean, it doesn't always have to be about raw numbers. Who's with me!?

  • vek||

    They're way ahead of you on this bro. Asians were made officially white several years ago due to the fact that they have high incomes, get educated, have stable family lives, low crime rates, etc. So Asians ARE just white for all intents and purposes, you don't have to make a distinction.

    FYI this is an actual thing I have read that was stated seriously. No joke.

    I'm pretty sure if shit gets REAL real in the USA, the Asians will be on the side of the whites for all the reasons above. They don't have a victim complex, and are in fact being fucked by many of the same laws that are screwing whites. They're natural allies.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Yeah, I don't question you on that one. Except Asians seem to be in an area where they are minorities when that is convenient, and not a minority when the narrative changes. They have the pleasure of being both right now.

  • DarrenM||

    How does your theory work in Nigeria, for example? How about between blacks and hispanics? This sounds more like a justification for the racism of someone who does not happen to be "white". You also seem to have the idea the all members of the same group have the same advantages and disadvantages as every other member of that group. This is patently absurd, but it's a necessary presupposition of this kind of worldview.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    words can actually kill me.

    Which makes me perfectly justified in responding in responding to speech I don't like with physical violence.

  • Mark22||

    Civil liberties have become an advertising gimmick for the ACLU, which is otherwise simply a leftist anarchical organization. It may seem at first glance as if anarchism and libertarianism have something in common, but the anarchism of the left is the anarchism of utopian communism.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    The withering of the state is like fusion power. It's always 20 years down the road.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    The Cloward-Piven Strategy to bring about the "fundamental transformation" of America.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    And the 'anarchism' of utopian communism isn't anarchist at all, because practically nobody voluntarily subjects themselves to communism. So massive amounts of state coercion are required by it.

  • Microaggressor||

    Which is why "REAL communism has never been tried". It's literally impossible. Anarchism is de facto capitalist because people will not voluntarily relinquish their property rights just because there isn't a state to do it for them.

  • Ariki||

    An anarchist flying the hammer and sickle has always made me laugh.
    These people live in a logic free zone.

  • Mark22||

    The anarchism of communism actually is pretty simple: the state disappears when the socialist state has killed everybody unsuitable to anarchical communism (in practice, that means when the socialist state has killed everybody, period).

  • BYODB||

    Whereas the anarchism of the 'right' is the anarchism of utopian individualism.

    No one gets bonus points for being a utopian.

  • Deep Lurker||

    No, the anarchism of the 'right' (anarcho-capitalism) has "Utopia is not an option" as one of it's slogans. Its argument is that it doesn't have to beat out a theoretical, idealized, perfect government, but only has to clear the much lower bar of being better than the governments that actually exist.

  • Mark22||

    Whereas the anarchism of the 'right' is the anarchism of utopian individualism.

    Well, fortunately that you are on a libertarian site. Libertarians favor minarchism, in which the state takes care of defense, border protection, and basic legal services, and otherwise leaves people alone.

  • Nardz||

    "fortunately that you are on a [libertarian site]." "Libertarians favor minarchism, in which the state takes care of defense, [border protection], and basic legal services, and otherwise leaves people alone."

    Citation needed for one of [those] statements

  • Mark22||

    It's elementary logic that if you are a democratic, political, American libertarian who wants to make the US minarchical, you take the existence of America as a nation state as a starting point, and nation states happen to be defined by their borders.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    This is fantastic news. As a left-libertarian, I believe hate speech does not deserve First Amendment protection, and it's encouraging to learn the ACLU is evolving toward this position. With Drumpf's regime waging war on black and brown bodies, the last thing the ACLU should be wasting time and money on is defending people like Richard Spencer.

    For an excellent piece detailing the flaws of First Amendment absolutism, see Reason contributor Noah Berlatsky's Is the First Amendment too broad? The case for regulating hate speech in America.

  • Longtobefree||

    This post is hateful speech directed towards all of humanity that cherishes individual freedoms. Your right to speak in public ever again is hereby suspended. - Chief of the Peoples Court

    Is that how you see hate speech bans working out?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You forget that he has applied for the job of Chief of the Peoples Court and has high hopes.

  • Just Say'n||

    Worse than Judge Wapner.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    OBL is a very good driver.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    No, that's not how it would work. "All of humanity that cherishes individual freedoms" is not a protected class in a legal sense. For example, if somebody tells me they hate me because I'm a libertarian, that's not hate speech. However, if somebody tells me they hate me because I'm nonbinary, that is hate speech. It's my gender identity, not my politics, that makes me a member of a marginalized community.

    By the way, this illustrates why libertarians should always vote Democrat. Democrat-appointed Supreme Court justices are more likely to understand these concepts of intersectionality and apply them in their rulings.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    If your "non-binary gender" is just as arbitrary, invented, and politically motivated as any other label, then any legal status and protection is equally bogus.

    Besides, fuck indentity politics.

  • Rossami||

    Gender identity is also not a protected class in a legal sense outside a few narrow jurisdictions. It may someday become a more broadly protected class. And when it does, that political decision will be every bit as arbitrary as the decision to not make "all of humanity that cherishes individual freedoms" or any other way of slicing up the larger population into a protected class.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Fuck protected classes, too.

  • Trollificus||

    I think we'll be better off when "intersectionality delusion" is listed in the DSM as a treatable disorder. I envision lots of straight jackets, ice bath shock therapy and powerful, unpleasant, medication. I don't know if those things would improve the condition, I just like the idea.

  • Eric T||

    I have no idea what your gender is but I hate it.

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    What the fuck is a left libertarian? You sound like a dyed in the wool prog to me

  • mhuitt||

    It is an authoritarian that believes freedom comes from coercing the population to their intrusive beliefs.

    Stalinist has a certain connotation to it after all, so they don't like that word.

  • Bob Nix||

    Sounds like you nailed this one on the head. I think we can safely shorten his position to "Stalinist" from here forward.

  • John C. Randolph||

    What the fuck is a left libertarian?

    An oxymoron.

    -jcr

  • Chasman1965||

    The problem is that this puts the "nose under the tent" for the government to start regulating speech that it views as hate speech. Yes, FIrst Amendment absolutism is flawed, but I would rather allow hate speech than not allow a single bit of political speech.

  • Trollificus||

    Ah, you must mean the kind of hate speech that incites violence...like rifle attacks on Republican Congressmen or violent attacks on Republicans in their homes. Or maybe the kind of speech that leads to attacks on peaceful protesters and vandalism against businesses?? Coz then we'll have to be shutting down a lot of the more strident "woke" voices.

    Of course, you might be thinking we'll need a "woker" definition of what constitutes hate speech. Kind of like the new, improved "woke" definiton of racism with the special carve-out so black people are allowed to be racist? I'm guessing you'd like a carve-out for speech that makes exception for speech that incites righteous violence like punching "Nazis" (as defined by you), and an allowance for speech that is HATEFUL, but only against "non-marginalized", "non-minority", "non-woman" groups, whoever that might be.

    And that's why such things are better decided by PRINCIPLES than by politics. IOW, fuck off.

  • Eric T||

    And you get to be the one, or the one of a select group, who decide, right?

  • miketol||

    The problem with giving the government a piece of rope to hang Richard Spencer is that the government might hang you with it next.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Yeah this is disappointing but not unexpected.

    True story: in my college years I was getting more interested in issues of liberty, for a variety of reasons, and so of course I joined the ACLU thinking they were the ones who were most committed to liberty. It wasn't long until my name on their membership lists were sold to a variety of left-wing advocacy organizations that were only tangentially related to liberty (at least according to how they defined it). That was when I realized that the ACLU was really just one of a suite of advocacy organizations on the left standing in solidarity with each other, and not committed to liberty for its own sake. Their one redeeming virtue, at least from my point of view, *used to be* that they would actually defend liberty on its own merits in court, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

    Oh well. That just means there is a void to be filled by an institution that IS committed to liberty on its own terms. Perhaps there is an institution around that can fill that void...

  • H. Farnham||

    The bigger issue might be whether there is enough of a demand among individuals who actually want liberty for a void to exist.

  • damikesc||

    It will never happen.

    Any institution that is not explicitly conservative will end up becoming progressive. Progressives have a hard-on for infiltrating a group and demanding changes while most of the people there don't feel the need to fight.

    It's why colleges turned into utter shitholes after the 1960's.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    That reminds me of the growth of Reform Judaism in America from 1840 to 1890.

  • vek||

    It does indeed seem to work out that way.

    I mean look at Reason! If you make a check list of "typical" progressive vs conservative talking points, and then tally them up with how they line up with libertarianism, you definitely come out with more in common with the right. Yet this, and almost every other major libertarian organization, have somehow all turned into what I like to call "leftists who kinda understand economics."

    The divide between the posters here and their opinions and Reason is obvious and stark. There's a lot more diversity of opinion, and room for talking things through by readers here than writers. And if I had to pick I would say there's pretty clearly a right-libertarian majority, which is the overwhelming majority of what I have met in real life too.

    Yet all the L organizations are filled with left libertarians pushing only their agenda... How'd that happen? As you say, any groups that isn't explicitly conservative becomes progressive.

  • JFree||

    IMO actual liberty requires competition and choice. Defense of liberty requires the same.

    It doesn't surprise me that ACLU is morphing into something a bit different than it was or than it claims to be. It constantly surprises me that there aren't really a ton of other 'civil liberties' alternatives. Maybe some focused more on this and others on that and others with this twist or that tweak.

    But the very existence of 'a void' is a real problem. Food doesn't have this. If a market or a producer goes under, no one ever has to wonder about whether they will be able to eat.

  • Texasmotiv||

    Politics is a zero-sum game, a disgusting blood sport that crushes the losers and corrupts the winners. In the end, we all lose.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Their one redeeming virtue, at least from my point of view, *used to be* that they would actually defend liberty on its own merits in court, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

    There are actually two "corporations" within the ACLU. One that defends liberty in court, and one that is an advocacy group. The reason they're distinct is because the latter is 501c3. It's possible you were working for the 501c3.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The ACLU depends on private donations for its income, and it's no wonder if they're following the desires of their donors. If their donors are no longer as committed to free speech, why wouldn't they follow suit?

    In fact, Reason's turnaround on free speech seems to be market driven, too. I doubt Reason would pull a "Everyone Draw Mohamed Day" contest anymore--too unwoke.

    Assuming that kind of turnaround is finance driven at Reason, as well, however, it makes you wonder if someone wrote them a big fat check, more than what they'd get from nickle and dime donations from the likes of us.

    I guess that's the difference between Reason and the ACLU on this. Where the ACLU may be more committed to free speech than their rank and file, the average Reasonoid is more committed to free speech than Reason staff--certainly more committed to free speech than the staff they've committed to covering free speech.

  • John||

    In reason's case, it is driven more by the culture of the staff. I honestly don't think their donors would care if they had another everyone draw Muhamad day. The staff, however, would be horrified by what being associated with such a thing would do to their social and career prospects.

  • Just Say'n||

    "I honestly don't think their donors would care if they had another everyone draw Muhamad day."

    I think the Kochs would take issue with that, considering how they are positioning their politics now.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    ...not to mention cocktail party invites ...

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Ken, could you give me an example or two where Reason staff have been anti-free speech? Doesn't that require that they advocate for the government suppression of that speech?

  • VinniUSMC||

    Being committed to free speech requires more than just lip service to government adherence to the 1st Amendment.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Are you sure you want to go down this road? How many examples of free speech legal defense by the ACLU do I have to provide so that you will admit to being wrong on this issue?

    Do they provide legal cover for every free speech issue? No. Are they on the right side of every legal issue? No. Do they do more for the fight for free speech than VinniUSMC? Damn right they do.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't have time to dig them all up.

    The first red flag was Robby finding a provocateur on campus and claiming that what this activist was doing wasn't free speech because it was purposely provocative hate speech.

    Since then, I've seen a dozen articles about how various groups shouting each other down are somehow not examples of free speech. If that falls short of advocating government suppression of speech, it divorces the violation of free speech from government entities entirely.

    You will often read Robby's pieces and not be able to tell whether protesting other's speech is really free speech at all.

    Watch for it going forward. Read his pieces with a critical eye. Ask yourself whether the article in question is pro-free speech and if so why. I once asked that question myself in comments. Robby responded that you could tell it was pro-speech because of the Reason masthead--which is ridiculous.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I look at Robby's pieces pretty closely, and can't recall ever seeing him advocate for government interference in these matters. I think he takes sides in one shouting group over the other, but I can't actually recall him suggesting that a group should be suppressed by the state.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    To be fair, a professional writer has more to loose than a anonymous commentator does if he decides to hand out Mohammed Cartoons in Times Square underneath the Book of Mormon billboard to advertise his LGBT erotic novel about polygamy, breeding, and land use regulations.

  • damikesc||

    I thought, you know, the actions of the ACLU already showed that their defending of civil liberties was more mythical than reality.

  • Just Say'n||

    "The ACLU's capitulation to the anti-speech left should serve as a wake up call for true liberals."

    The ACLU has switched positions, since the turn of the 21st Century on freedom of assembly (they went from supporting the right of pro-life protesters to demonstrate and now oppose it) and religious liberty (they were the main impetus behind RFRA legislation in the 90's and now oppose that legislation and reject the concept of religious liberty).

    Anyone who didn't see this coming hasn't been paying attention. We desperately need a legitimate civil liberties organization, because the ACLU hasn't been one for over twenty years.

  • damikesc||

    Mind you, Reason isn't significantly better on many civil liberties issues than Reason.

  • perlchpr||

    Hadn't read about that William and Mary incident. Do none of these universities have campus security?

    I'm not generally the biggest fan of the police, but since it's pretty much guaranteed that I'd end up getting arrested for removing the disruptors myself, I can see calling them in this scenario.

    Have them show up, explain to the disruptors the difference between protest and disruption, tell the disruptors to exit the area, and physically remove them if they refuse. I have really very little tolerance for people whose only goal is to simply prohibit someone from speaking to an audience who wants to listen.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Heckler's veto is NOT free speech because the speakers don't get to speak. Its unpeaceful assembly.

    The 1st Amendment includes the freedom of speech which literally requires someone to do something or say something that other people can see or hear.

    The other part is that one freedom does not trump another freedom, so the freedom to peacefully assemble would not allow those assembled people to prevent someone from speaking with a heckler's veto.

    1st Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The right to peacefully assemble includes the right to kick someone out of the assembly. Hecklers can be physically removed from an event.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    explain to the disruptors the difference between protest and disruption

    I wonder what they'd say? For example, how would you explain it?

  • Eidde||

    With a truncheon.

    Ha ha, just a little light humor to brighten everyone's day.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Do none of these universities have campus security?

    It's about one stage better than mall cop security.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Mall cops are protecting real goods of value though.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    You need to make sure there are a few friends near you to be friendly witnesses. Then you discretely step on the guy's toe so he throws the first punch. Then you take him down. At least I learned some social skills from the recovering junkie who runs the local wellness center. Your medicare tax dollars at work, guys.

  • Eidde||

    "though the scope of the problem is frequently overstated"

    This is accompanied to a link from one of Soave's earlier articles which criticizes the people who say there's no free-speech problem.

    The there's-no-problem people cited surveys that young people would allow free expression for gays, communists and atheists, but as Soave points out, this probably reflects that young people are OK with gays, communists and atheists. With regard to unwoke persons, Soave cites survey data that young people and college students are less tolerant than their elders.

    Then Soave says that survey data or not, the censorship effort is led by a militant minority.

    Now he's citing his own article to suggest the crisis is exaggerated?

    I mean, certainly I suppose you could find someone saying this is like Hitler, or worse than the national debt, which would be an exaggeration.

    But Soave's own evidence shows this is a real problem.

  • Eidde||

    The ACLU used to antagonize its natural allies by defending nazis in Skokie, or calling for jury trials for segregationist public officials.

    And there was a time when they exercised their own freedom of association by refusing to put Communists on their Board of Directors. But they've long since repented in sackcloth and ashes for that "sin."

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The ACLU has been infiltrated by lefties for years and these lefties don't care about rights or freedoms.

  • D-Pizzle||

    "...and these lefties don't care about rights or freedoms."

    Sure they do. They care very much that rights and freedoms are antithetical to achieving their goals.

  • Mark22||

    The ACLU was founded by leftists.

  • Just Say'n||

    "The ACLU used to antagonize its natural allies by defending nazis in Skokie, or calling for jury trials for segregationist public officials."

    Skokie is a great movie

  • Eidde||

  • Eidde||

    It depends - sometimes its a security company, sometimes it's a semi-retirement gig for former big-city cops.

  • Eidde||

    Responded to wrong comment, I was trying to reply to the one about campus cops. But heck with it, I'll just leave it here instead of posting it again.

  • D-Pizzle||

    I hate Illinois NAZIs

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "And there was a time when they exercised their own freedom of association by refusing to put Communists on their Board of Directors."

    Admitted Communists, you mean. They've had Communists on their BoD from the start. It's just that, for a while, they tried to hide it.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    It seems fairly clear to me what's happening here. Leadership would probably like the ACLU to remain a pro-First Amendment organization, but they would also like to remain in good standing with their progressive allies.

    This story is an example of one of the many reasons we shouldn't let progressives "have" the ACLU, or "have" civil liberties in general. Statist-libertarians don't even like the word "civil liberties", since they have to maintain staunch opposition to anyone who is even remotely progressive. Statist-libertarians are more likely to join their republican brethren in complete opposition to the ACLU, even though true libertarianism is more aligned with the ACLU than with ANY OTHER AMERICAN ORGANIZATION of its size.

    Libertarians need to take a different approach. We need to acknowledge that legalizing pot was ours before it was the progressives'. We need to acknowledge that highlighting racial disparity in the justice system, police brutality, etc. was ours before BLM got their grubby hands on it and distorted it into whatever the fuck they're doing now. When we don't do these things, and we remain fringe assholes focusing all our efforts on wedding cakes, shit like this happens.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    You keep saying "we need to" which is always a big turn off for me, as an individual.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    So you don't consider yourself part of any groups? Or is "need to" the offensive part? I thought "we need to" when discussing strategy was a pretty benign term...

  • Hidebehindyourcause||

    You make some good points, but the problem is that the ACLU is not what it once was. It has become an enemy of liberty, because (as you mentioned) the progressive infestation.

    I can simply think of many other groups that actually stand for individual freedom and liberty now, than the ACLU.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    You make some good points, but the problem is that the ACLU is not what it once was.

    True.

    It has become an enemy of liberty, because (as you mentioned) the progressive infestation.

    False. Although not on the right side of every case, their net effect promotes liberty.

    This is the problem with libertarians. You demand all or nothing. There's an organization which is doing more for libertarianism than literally any other group in modern history, including the libertarian party itself, but you guys throw it under the bus. Sure, they're not a model libertarian group, and they're not even libertarian in name, but to ignore the fact that they are our allies on many, many issues -- and that they're strong and influential -- is a great example of libertarians being exclusionary and destined to be ignored.

  • Mark22||

    Libertarians need to take a different approach. We need to acknowledge that legalizing pot was ours before it was the progressives'.

    You're confusing policies with principles.

    Progressives want to legalize pot because it's the rational thing to do.

    Libertarians want to legalize pot because criminalizing drugs violates individual liberties.

    Libertarian policies agree with parts of both progressive and conservative policies. But that doesn't make progressivism or conservatism "part libertarian".

  • SRoach||

    I run a wordpress site, which has the comments turned completely off. I've had comments like the above pop up a couple times, despite there being no legitimate way to post. (I then found a plugin which made posting without a session cookie "impossible", keeping the count to only a couple, but this isn't about that.)

    I note that there is no username, and a curious link in the middle of the malformed timestamp. This leads me to believe this Very Generic post was thrown up by a bot that doesn't even use the commenting system front end.

    I'd advise everyone to refrain from clicking that link in anything but a pure RAM, no HDD, livedisk linux box.

  • Sevo||

    "I'd advise everyone to refrain from clicking that link in anything but a pure RAM, no HDD, livedisk linux box."
    'ten-foot-pole' comes to mind.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    It's all very simple really and all this posturing and political shit just distracts from the "you mind your own bidness and I'll gladly mind mine", laissez-faire commitment to individual liberty and voluntary transactions/cooperation I like so much and what is possibly quite central to the core philosophy of many others who frequent Reason (though you wouldn't know it from their posts!). Forget the ACLU. They can go have their identity crisis. They'll fully progress toward being "useful idiots" but manage to still do some good work along the way.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    laissez-faire commitment

    Yeah that definitely came out wrong.

    *shruggie*

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Sonuvabitch can't close his tags can he?

  • SRoach||

    Well, I have to disagree. While it is certainly the ACLU's right to change their stance, it is still bad news that someone who had been an ally in preserving true, unfettered, free speech is wavering on that commitment.

    It could be good news, too. If someone steps up to preserve all the freedoms guaranteed us in the bill of rights, without dickering over whether or not this amendment or that amendment really needs protecting, and if that group absorbs a sizeable number of the ACLU's old base, it could be a welcome change, There are those who would give to a group but can't, because too little of their money would to toward the parts of the group they agree with, (or they fear it is that way). Who can question the good that is giving expectant mothers prenatal medical care, but plenty balk at funding an organization that is best known for ending the lives of the yet to be born.

    However, it is probably bad news. Even if someone does step into the breach, the erosion that occurs while that group forms and becomes the generally accepted go-to for such abridgements could be lasting.

    Maybe the EFF can broaden their commitment.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Thanks, that's a thoughtful response. I do feel that something new and more focused may take it's place in defense of core covil liberties. There are so many foundations and thinktanks, too. I wonder if such a broad church is necessary.

  • Mark22||

    Well, I have to disagree. While it is certainly the ACLU's right to change their stance, it is still bad news that someone who had been an ally in preserving true, unfettered, free speech is wavering on that commitment.

    I don't think they ever were an ally. They defended the free speech of radicals against bourgeois moderates and conservatives. Now that bourgeois moderates and conservatives are more pro-free-speech than the radicals, the ACLU naturally changes positions. This shouldn't come as a surprise; it's in their playbook and they have this before.

    The left usually also woos homosexuals early on, and once a socialist state has been established, becomes repressive and intolerant.

  • NoVaNick||

    This is all because of what happened in C-ville last August where the local ACLU initially supported the white nationalists' right to hold their rally. That really pissed off the ACLU's donors, who mostly are wealthy coastal progs. So now, they have to tow the official party line and only support the woke kind of free speech.

  • DajjaI||

    Heather Heyer was an American hero, G_d rest her soul. She died in defense of free speech. She helped discredit the white nationalists and fascists and expose them for the haters they are. Whereas in Europe they crack down on 'hate speech' and 'incitement' to prevent every case like this and the result is that people give the government all the power and weapons and then suddenly one day it turns on them and slaughters by the millions. And they all act surprised and say, "I don't know how it came to this."

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Can we all agree that liberty and equality are conflicting values? At the very least, promotion of equal outcomes always requires curtailment of liberty. The neo-ACLU needs to come out as the ACEU.

    An aside: my understanding of this type of Progressive behavior has been enlightened by Jonathan Haidt and colleagues, and their Moral Foundation Theory. They identify 5 or 6 moral foundations, and have characterized people and groups around the world on these different dimensions. Haidt et al. posit that Liberals primarily vest in 2 foundations: protection from harm and fairness expressed as equality. Seems to explain the new role of the ACEU.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Can we all agree that liberty and equality are conflicting values? At the very least, promotion of equal outcomes always requires curtailment of liberty.

    1) Equality and equal outcomes aren't the same thing. ACLU mostly concerns itself with equality under the law.
    2) There are lots of ways to promote equality (and even equal outcomes) without curtailing liberty.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Such as?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Reason has covered most of them. Abolishing occupational licensure is one that's been written about in depth here. The government funded (and sometimes mandated) college pipeline is another. Property restrictions (e.g. zoning laws) are yet another. Regressive taxes, like cigarette and soda taxes, increase socioeconomic disparities and are also violations of liberty. Intellectual property restrictions serve as an artificial barrier to entry that increase consumer pricing and can sometimes ultimately lead to economic disparities (libertarians are generally split on this issue).

    On a broader scale, one could argue that the current approach to health care and fascist economic policies (e.g. those that require government-private partnerships, like American sports, telecommunication, etc.) result in net economic disparities. Also, the establishment of co-op, consumer protection, and other elements of free association that are sometimes illegal (or difficult) under current law are advocated by some libertarians and can have a positive outcome on equal outcomes.

    But like I said, even if you ignore equal outcomes, equality under the law is pretty widely accepted and is one of the ACLU's main mission statements.

  • BYODB||

    Equal outcomes are, by definition, anti-individualist.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Outcomes can't be pro- or anti- anything. They're just outcomes. Policy based solely on trying to engineer a certain outcome can be anti-individualist, but none of what I said above has anything to do with social or economic engineering. It's all based on the NAP. Outcomes were brought up because that's usually what people are interested in. ("how will free market economics benefit ME?")

  • SRoach||

    Do you have a link to the work you cited? I'd love to read it.
    Never mind. Please correct me if http://moralfoundations.org/ wasn't the source you were citing.

    It looks like I have some reading to do.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    That's one resource. Most of Haidt's ideas are in The Righteous Mind. One side issue: he described his own personal "conversion" from Liberal to Moderate/Conservative as a result of his work.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    So the ACLU's gone full retard. Didn't anyone ever tell them you never go full retard?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I sent them a copy of Tropic Thunder yesterday.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I doubt they've seen that movie before, and watching it for the first time should send the fragile snowflakes into fits of apoplectic rage upon the sight of Robert Downey Jr. in black face.

    Actually it would be kind of funny to force SJWs to watch things like that and secretly film their reactions. Comedy gold.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Clockwork Orange-style?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Something like that. Actually, it might even help de-sensitize them to "racist" things like that and make them less snow-flaky. Who knows?

  • Texasmotiv||

    What is Blazing Saddles, chopped liver?

  • Mark22||

    The ACLU was founded by socialists and communists who wanted more freedom to spread their message and wanted to use the freedom granted by the US Constitution to do it. That's why they did what they did.

    That doesn't make their past efforts on behalf of free speech any less useful, but it shouldn't come as a great surprise that the ACLU moves on to the next step in the socialist playbook once the left has largely taken over the media and educational institutions.

  • NoVaNick||

    Its too bad because they were the last bastion on the left who still seemed to support classic liberalism.

  • Mark22||

    The left uses classical liberalism as a tool to accomplish its ends, and then discards it when it doesn't serve their purposes anymore.

    By its nature, classical liberalism is useful to marginalized groups, but that necessarily includes political groups whose agenda is illiberal and totalitarian.

  • Brandybuck||

    First the ACLU stopped defending my guns, but I did not protest because I had no guns.

    Then the ACLU stopped defending my religion, but I did not protest because I had no religion.

    Now the ACLU stopped defending my speech, and I have no speech left to protest with.

  • DajjaI||

    Sad. Past president of ACLU Nadine Strossen gives a masterful defense of free speech in her new book and this interview.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    She's the one who laid the groundwork for today's decay, by cutting the ACLU free from the Bill of rights.

    Cut the anchor chain, then complain that the boat is drifting... How bright is that?

  • Just Say'n||

    How did no one see this coming? Alan Dershowitz has condemned the ACLU for being lousy civil liberty advocates for the past eight years or so

  • Just Say'n||

    He use to sit on their board

  • Richard Franklin Carter||

    Yes, Dajjal, and Nick Gillespie of Reason TV interviewed Nadine Strossen only last month. I suppose we could mail copies of Dr. Strossen's new book to the "select ACLU officials and board members" who received the secret memo, but would they bother to read the book?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    What did you expect when they hired as their director of litigation a guy who publicly advocated overturning Citizens United? They'll continue to loudly announce their determination to defend free speech, but it's been obvious for a couple years that they have higher priorities now than actual civil liberties.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    "It seems fairly clear to me what's happening here. Leadership would probably like the ACLU to remain a pro-First Amendment organization, but they would also like to remain in good standing with their progressive allies."

    No Robby, what is clear is leadership would like to retain the appearance of being pro-1A and nothing more. At this point they no longer bear any resemblance in deed to the ideals represented in their name.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    social justice, racial equality, and women's rights

    I think the 'American' in ACLU can't be honestly used if you are only interested in one gender's rights.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    It can if you only consider Righteous (i.e. Woke) Americans.

  • PaulTheBeav||

    We need a new organization that will be what the ACLU used to be.

  • Mark22||

    The ACLU did some useful stuff, but I don't think it ever was what you think it was.

  • ||

    So, basically, they're finally saying it out loud, "All we really care about are leftist causes."

  • ||

    Fuck the ACLU. They're just another example of an organization whose name means exactly the opposite.

  • Modus Pwnens||

    Anti-American Criminal Privileges Intersection?

    Has a ring to it.

  • Catsmeat Potter Pirbright||

    Seems to me that there's no real risk that the government will shut down my "Kittens are Adorable" rally. The First Amendment is only about unpopular or offensive speech that the government might want to censor. For the ACLU to refuse to protect unpopular or offensive speech is a bit like saying it loves pizza so long as there's no dough, tomato sauce or cheese. So much for Skokie.

  • Modus Pwnens||

    ACLU was never any use on free speech. The main effects of their helping outrageous extreme right groups to have their day in the public square were:

    - to allow their partners in crime at the SPLC to associate ordinary conservatives with extremists
    - to terrify wealthy liberals into donating to Democrat campaigns

    They did not typically defend freedom of speech or freedom of association for mainstream conservative groups, who actually posed a threat to leftist power, in any timely fashion. So, no big loss.

  • ravenshrike||

    Yes they were. At least until the mid 2000's.

  • ravenshrike||

    So when do they change their name? Perhaps to American Civil Justice Union since clearly they give zero fucks about actual liberty.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Don't forget Equality. ACEJU?

  • ravenshrike||

    We can nickname them The Sneezes.

  • Sevo||

    "The American Civil Liberties Union will weigh its interest in protecting the First Amendment against its other commitments to social justice, racial equality, and women's rights, given the possibility that offensive speech might undermine ACLU goals."

    IOWs, the ACLU does not understand the concept of 'liberties'.

  • SimonP||

    Hey, you know - if you want the ACLU to follow your agenda, maybe you shouldn't abandon it. You can whinge all you like about its catering to "progressives," but if "progressives" are the ones donating money, time, and resources, their agenda is going to be the one that wins the day. It's the same reason "the media" skews left. It wouldn't be that way if you morons read a newspaper now and then.

    NB the only ones who view hate speech as synonymous with free speech are people intentionally obfuscating the issue, like here. I can assure you that plenty of progressives believe in "free speech" but might draw the line, at least, at not vociferously protecting certain kinds of harmful, offensive speech.

    Honestly, if I were a free speech hawk, I'd be much more up in arms about legislative efforts to crackdown on campus protests and disavowals of (usually) conservative speakers, which involves, y'know, actually successful government action violating the First Amendment and not, say, a confidential, internal memo of a private organization that just expresses a priority of interest between different kinds of free-speech cases. But don't let me get in the way of your ends-oriented reasoning, fellas.

  • Texasmotiv||

    I'm not sure your thinking through your logic here. If an organization states one thing then SECRETLY does something different. Without the leak, your donations are going towards advocacy you don't approve of.

    The only options you have is to write the ACLU and threaten to pull donations OR to just go ahead pull your donations. The ACLU then has to make a decision whether your donations are worth changing their mission and if it doesn't kill their Org funds they probably won't change their mission.

    Blindly sending donations to an organization that you do not approve of only acts as implicit approval of their activities.

    I'll grant your second point that legislation to tamp down on protests is very bad and should just be handled privately with colleges deciding if they reinforce the hecklers veto or not (they shouldn't). But it's silly to say it's ok for a Non-profit charity to mislead their donors and that people should just pretend that it never happened and just keep sending those checks.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Hey, you know - if you want the ACLU to follow your agenda, maybe you shouldn't abandon it.

    Exactly.

    You can whinge all you like about its catering to "progressives," but if "progressives" are the ones donating money, time, and resources, their agenda is going to be the one that wins the day.

    No. The ACLU shouldn't be up for sale. They should adhere to their stated goals. The memo seems to be a contradiction to their very clear stance on speech which is accessible on the internet.

  • wreckinball||

    Yea because its always conservatives who are running around in masks with shit bombs trying shut down a Ben Shapiro speech, Oh the horror.

    The proposed laws relate to GOVERNMENT funded schools. In theory we shouldn't need a law but lefties don;t like to hear nary an opposing word.

    Honestly you are detached from reality.

  • SimonP||

    First Amendment applies to government-funded schools (including their students and employees) too, idiot.

  • MarkLastname||

    isn't it interesting how, when leftists do something retarded, it's actually non-leftists' fault for not steering them in the right direction by giving them money.

    Hey Simon, how much do you donate to the Republican Party? Nothing?! Well that's why they don't support your policies! Come on, get out your check book!

  • SimonP||

    I take absolutely the same position on political parties. If you won't come out and vote for a party, there's no reason for them to cater to your whims. I try to remind "progressives" of this all the time. And no, they don't seem to be bright enough to get it.

    What's funny is that I *would* vote for Republicans if they focused on intelligent, small-government, libertarian-leaning policy. That's what I want. But as it stands, we've got one party catering to the interests of idiotic, maximalist nativists, and then one party of a lot of people who think government can work but aren't quite sure how. I find myself on the side of the spectrum that doesn't seem to want to destroy our democracy.

  • thatsjustyouropinionman||

    Robby, the ACLU's consideration of "factors such as the (present and historical) context of the proposed speech; the potential effect on marginalized communities; the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values; and the structural and power inequalities in the community in which the speech will occur" is not cowardly but courageous. Advocacy and speech by a majority group for violence against a marginalized minority group that has been and continues to be systematically oppressed through overly violent and insidious means is absolutely not worth defending by any organization the supports the justice, equality, and the 'individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States', for it places the rights of free speech above the rights of individuals to live without the very real and immediate threat of violence and persecution.
    As you mention, the ACLU is not the government; they will not arrest people for hate speech. The ACLU's memo is NOT equivalent to a Supreme Court ruling, making Kaminer's comparison disingenuous at best. The memo highlights a far more nuanced approach to a full throated defense of the First Amendment that takes into consideration the broader context of justice, equality, and the complexity of the current circumstances of the time.

  • ThomasD||

    Collectivism in defense of 'marginalized communities' is collectivism.

    Liberty it is not. Civil or otherwise.

  • thatsjustyouropinionman||

    The ACLU's retreat from a full throated defense of the First Amendment is not because college students scare them, or even because the Trump administration scares them, but because the underlying ignorance, hatred and bigotry that brought about a Trump president scares them, as it should scare you. Would you defend the first amendment rights of the Nazi party as they rise to power?

    And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying 'Jewish swine,' collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in-your nation, your people-is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way."

  • wreckinball||

    Nut job alert

  • vek||

    LOL

    Yes, I would support the right of Nazis to have free speech. Because if you don't who is to say that your speech won't be the next type to become unacceptable???

  • DarrenM||

    If you don't allow Nazis to have the right of free speech, how will you know who the Nazis are?

  • vek||

    LOL A very obvious point to make right??? 99% of the people being called Nazis are very much not. Even almost all the actual white nationalists are NOT Nazis at all. They're essentially people who believe what the founding fathers, and most white Americans, believed until a couple decades ago. Being in favor of the 2nd amendment, small government, and not allowing any more non whites to immigrate here does not a Nazi make. Nazis are a very specific breed of totalitarian.

  • thatsjustyouropinionman||

    -Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945

  • Trollificus||

    Your own disingenuous equivalence would work better if the people claiming to be for "equality and justice" could be trusted to stick to reality when they point out what THEY CALL hate speech. So far, their record looks pretty bad from here. Or maybe you haven't noticed arguments that consist mainly, or entirely, of strawmanning and name-calling. Oh, and lies.

  • thatsjustyouropinionman||

    perhaps the ACLU's judgment will be better than whomever you are talking about, since we're discussing the ACLU's memo

  • Trollificus||

    But thanks for the lecture, appreciate the effort.

  • Trollificus||

    Such a weak "to be sure" from Mr. Soave is equivalent to a ringing condemnation. Good work, man.

  • majil||

    They need to change their Name to the ASJU ( American Social Justice Union ) . They care not for Civil Liberties .
    Christopher Hitchens would have something to say about this.

  • DragonflyDaddy||

    Either there is free speech, or there is not; and yes, even "hate speech", as disgusting as it is..
    There is no middle ground.
    The ACLU have painted themselves into a "No Win Situation" corner.

  • JuanQPublic||

    The ACLU have painted themselves into a "No Win Situation" corner.

    That depends on what they now consider "winning". If that means defense of civil liberties, agreed that it's a no-win situation. If it means getting an uptick in donors from certain political groups, it's likely a big "win".

  • StoneWallz||

    If you donate to the ACLU, you might as well slap a terd on your money, roll it up and smoke it.
    At least that way, your donation will make more of an impact on your day.

  • 2ndprotectsall||

    Where's the ACLU when it comes to my 2nd Amendment civil rights?

  • Deplorable Victor||

    When the war starts they are enemy combatants.

  • BenjaminTheDonkey||

    Were I to hand out confidential documents to select persons, I would definitely change just a few words or punctuation marks while retaining the meaning in order to fingerprint the documents to the leaker. But I don't suppose organizational security is all that important to the American Civil Equality Union.

  • RickCaird||

    The ACLU is not longer interested in civil liberties. They have become a commuted leftist group. Everything is now subservient to the latest leftie outrage. They need to change their name and quit lying.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    They were always a committed leftist group, with a few token conservatives for show. Founded by a communist, after all. The difference is that they used to think the left was weak enough to need the protection of civil liberties.

    Now they think the left has grown strong enough to go on the offensive, and civil liberties are just another obstacle. So it's obstacle clearing time.

  • Oremus||

    I'm sure they will always defend flag burning. (as well they should) This other pull back is troubling.

  • wreckinball||

    I had some respect for the ACLU that although they seemed leftist in nature they were pretty much absolutists on free speech.

    Oh well put them in the dumpster

  • yawbus||

    "The ACLU's capitulation to the anti-speech left should serve as a wake up call for true liberals." That's funny.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    " ...the potential effect on marginalized communities; the extent to which the speech may assist in advancing the goals of white supremacists or others whose views are contrary to our values; and the structural and power inequalities in the community in which the speech will occur."

    Cause it was one thing when the Nazis only wanted to kill Jews, but now that they criticize Blacks, we have to stop the debate before a race war leads to broken windows.

  • ThomasD||

    As soon as you understand protecting Illinois Nazis was simply a proxy fight for protecting Soviet funded Commies it will make complete sense.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), for example, the ACLU defended the First Amendment rights of a Ku Klux Klan leader prosecuted for addressing a small rally and calling for "revengence" against blacks and Jews.

    Yeah, most Blacks and Jews today don't know that the KKK went after both Blacks and Jews. A fellow congregant told me that I, as a Jew with white skin, have it easier than Blacks because I can pass for mainstream American. I should have reminded her that Jewish men have trouble passing for Christian if the date goes far enough.

  • SRoach||

    Most American, Christian, men are circumcised. Or were.

    Also, what about Catholics? I thought they had something against Catholics, too.

  • ||

    Well that sucks.

  • Think It Through||

    "Speech that impugns marginalized persons is not speech at all, in their view, but violence." In my view, bananas aren't bananas at all, but are motorcycles. In my view, water isn't water at all, but paper.

    What the fuck does "their view" (or "my view") have to do with it?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    So ... who's up for organizing rallies on July 14th in the USA to coincide with the Free Tommy Robinson rallies in the UK?

  • Viator||

    The American left, including the Democrat Party, is formally becoming Stalinist

  • JuanQPublic||

    The ACLU has unfortunately been signaling this direction for a while now, but it's unsettling now that we can see it on paper. It appears to no longer operate as a principled organization for all, but rather as a political advocacy group who considers your ideology before representing you. I'll be reviewing them and what's going on, but my support is likely going to end.

  • Kerr Mudgeon||

    All speech is free but some speech is more free than others.

  • IndependentTexan||

    Wow, when the First Amendment becomes less important than the agenda of the SJW's, this really isn't America anymore. If organizations like the ACLU don't defend free speech, then the only thing left, sooner or later, will be armed resistance.

    It is just as Reagan warned, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction". We are watching it being given away during this generation.

  • SRoach||

    We've been watching it for awhile.
    Every generation, something is whittled away. It wasn't always so, that the federal government could dictate certain laws on the flimsy theory that all activities impact interstate commerce. It wasn't always so, that the federal government could demand certain laws from the state on pain of witholding tax dollars, such as highway dollars.
    It is a constant tug-of-war over our rights, but it is a tug-of-war involving thousands of strands of string.

    Reading one of Dr. Feynman's autobiographies, I was surprised to discover that the government had to ASK THEIR PERMISSION to open their mail. At Las Alamos. WHILE they were working on the atomic bomb.

    Heck, even some of our founding fathers attacked the first amendment. Look up the Alien and Sedition Acts.

  • aajax||

    I wrote to the UC Berkeley chapter of ACLU last year when free speech advocates were coming under attack there to ask them what their position was. I was told they had none.

  • vek||

    Wow. But not surprising.

  • Mr Happy Man||

    At one time I was in partial agreement with the ACLU agenda because they were free speech absolutists, the example provided in the article of them defending hate speech. While I certainly don't support hate speech, or what white supremacists say, I support their right to say it. Now it seems it is surrendering to their ideological allies. There is nothing about civil liberties where it requires supporting marginalized communities over core values. What is going to happen is that the ACLU is going to become indistinguishable from other left-leaning groups, which will lead to its demise. Agreeing with your ideological allies 80% of the time ensures survival, due to a degree of uniqueness, but this goes away when you swallow the progressive agenda whole. Ask the NAACP, who has made climate change a "racial justice" issue with no evidence that suggests otherwise. That, combined with accepting all other progressive ideas, shows why it is heading into irrelevance.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    If marginalized communities are a threat to our freedons, then they are thr enemy.

    Are these people ckaiming the only way to save our freedoms is to destroy these marginalized communities?

  • vek||

    Probably?

    Technically speaking it would work... The vast majority of white people are conservative/libertarian, so if we kicked out all the non whites our country would become vastly more freedom oriented over night.

    I mean it'd be MEAN and all that, but it would in fact have that outcome.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    The vast majority of white people are authoritarian, so I don't know what you're talking about.

  • DarrenM||

    The vast majority of white people are authoritarian

  • vek||

    Perhaps, but far less so than anybody else.

    Go look at polling data dude. White people in the USA are the only ones who give majority support to all "the correct" things. Gun rights, preferring smaller government to larger, free speech, etc. ALL OF IT. No minority group supports freedom. Only whites. Keep in mind it's a sub set of whites of course. But on most issues it's something like 2/3rds to 3/4 have the proper position, whereas it's the exact inverse (or worse) for all minority groups. It's not even all whites (see Europe), but rather native born American white culture that has these opinions. Like it or not facts are facts.

    I'm not saying we should start gassing anybody, or throwing them all out oft he country or anything... It's just a statement of fact. If the country were all white we'd be a VASTLY more libertarian/conservative country overnight... It wouldn't be libertopia, but it'd be a lot better from a libertarian perspective.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    We must uphold our Constititution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

  • Ed Grinberg||

    "There is nothing about civil liberties [that] requires supporting marginalized communities over core values."
    No, there isn't. And you are not doing "marginalized communities" any favors by undermining the Bill of Rights.
    Ayn Rand, 1963 (in reference to the "public accommodations" provisions of what would eventually become the Civil Rights Act of 1964): "It is an ironic demonstration of the philosophical insanity and the consequently suicidal trend of our age, that the men who need the protection of individual rights most urgently—the Negroes—are now in the vanguard of the destruction of these rights."

  • gmonsen||

    The ACLU has become simply a progressive legal fund. It is not a shadow of the valuable institution it was. For the purposes of ensuring justice and fairness it is useless.

  • ThomasD||

    Newsflash Rico: It's not a 'cowardly retreat.' It is an explicit admission that civil liberties are not the primary focus of the ACLU anymore.

    If they ever were.

  • ThomasD||

    They are bravely going exactly where they want to go - which is an exceedingly unlibertarian place.

  • Jerryskids||

    No, no, civil liberties is still at the heart of the ACLU's mission, they've just redefined the term "civil liberties". Just like the KKK changed its stance from "segregation" to "safe spaces". Nat Hentoff knew 20 years ago what the ACLU had become.

  • RLABruce||

    The ACLU needs to understand that our right to free speech includes the right to be offended.

  • Bloving||

    .... I think you meant "a right to be offensive". Speech that makes people happy and no one wishes to silence or censor needs no protection.

  • Bloving||

    - Oh, yes. We can't have THOSE KIND of people congregating around here... this is a RESPECTABLE establishment... why they would lower our property values if we allowed them to move in next to us! And whatever would our daughters do if they were to walk down the streets with some of those savage (shudder) GUN OWNERS loitering about... reeking of gun oil and corrupting the neighborhood with their weird ideas... why can't their kind just move and go live somewhere else?

    Bigotry and prejudice is still wrong... no matter whom it is directed against. Let it never be overlooked: the Oldest Civil Rights organization in the U.S. isn't the ACLU, it is the NRA. And it is their mission to defend another fundamental human right, the right to be armed for whatever legal reason a law-abiding citizen feels a need for - without a requirement to justify that "need" to anyone or to any government.

  • Bloving||

    - Oh, yes. We can't have THOSE KIND of people congregating around here... this is a RESPECTABLE establishment... why they would lower our property values if we allowed them to move in next to us! And whatever would our daughters do if they were to walk down the streets with some of those savage (shudder) GUN OWNERS loitering about... reeking of gun oil and corrupting the neighborhood with their weird ideas... why can't their kind just move and go live somewhere else?

    Bigotry and prejudice is still wrong... no matter whom it is directed against. Let it never be overlooked: the Oldest Civil Rights organization in the U.S. isn't the ACLU, it is the NRA. And it is their mission to defend another fundamental human right, the right to be armed for whatever legal reason a law-abiding citizen feels a need for - without a requirement to justify that "need" to anyone or to any government.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    the Oldest Civil Rights organization in the U.S. isn't the ACLU, it is the NRA.

    Yeah, except the NRA got its start pushing gun control. They were ardently against the right to own and carry firearms.

    "I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one. ... I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses." -- NRA president Karl Frederick, 1934. That was right before they backed the Federal Firearms Act of 1938.

  • Acoscirq||

    The ACLU is in the business of defending the rights of the rich, powerful and politically connected. The yardstick for the 1st amendment is not influence, but the willingness to defend the unpopular and marginalized. In that area the EFF, IJ and a host of other groups now carry the moral banner.

    That's not to say the ACLU not still involved. If you're a rich, well connected gay couple the ACLU will defend your right to buy a cake from a bigot all the way to the Supreme Court, but if you're marginalized and hold an unpopular view you will find the ACLU to be on a permanent poddy break.

    As just one example, the ACLU's pays lip service to sex worker rights, but the privileged married women that make up the ACLU donor base have little interest in lifting a finger actually get involved beyond occasional grudging lip service for their cause.

  • JuanQPublic||

    There is some merit to the idea that the cases the ACLU takes and/or advocates for reflect a limited point of view on those issues, such as the topic of the article regarding the First Amendment. The ACLU has historically defended many politically and socially unpopular clients. But, the recent developments are not encouraging, to say the least.

  • TruthDetector||

    The ACLU never favored free speech.

    What's surprising is their admission of same decades post facto.

  • D-Pizzle||

    They didn't admit anything. It was a leaked memo. They don't have the guts to admit what we all know.

  • Karan||

    There are nothing surprising, it was going to be. By the way thanks for the news.

  • Karan||

    You are right.

  • Soanm||

    Well said "The memo also makes clear that the ACLU has zero interest in defending First Amendment rights in conjunction with Second Amendment rights".

  • vek||

    "Leadership would probably like the ACLU to remain a pro-First Amendment organization, but they would also like to remain in good standing with their progressive allies."


    I HIGHLY doubt this. From everything I know about them the last couple decades, their leadership seems to be progressive to the core. They kept defending speech they didn't agree with probably just out of momentum, or out of fear of losing donors if they stopped... But as soon as they saw it was trendy they breathed a sigh of relief and just went with what they've probably wanted to do all along.

    They may still defend a decent case once in awhile going forward, but they've been garbage for a long ass time, and left leaning since day one from what I know.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    What about all the mission statements they've written to the contrary? They were knowingly lying?

  • D-Pizzle||

    Yes.

  • vek||

    Yeah maybe. I'm sure there have always been a mix of people who really believed in the cause, like the former board member who leaked this, and the person that leaked it to them. But you really can look at the subtleties of how people/organizations behave and take a guess at their true opinions.

    The ACLU has always leaned very left. I don't know if it was the moderate voices in the room winning the arguments to defend Nazis and the KKK over the years, or if back then even the lefties felt it was the right thing to do... But they've clearly changed with the times. I would guarantee there were always voices who didn't want to defend the KKK in there too. Those voices have now won the argument.

  • geezer117||

    ACLU long ago became a left-wing activist group. They never defend freedom of religion for Christians, or the second amendment.

  • JuanQPublic||

    They never defend freedom of religion for Christians...

    Actually they do. You can read about it on their website. Just a few:

    - The ACLU and ACLU of Minnesota (2017) joined a friend-of-the-court brief supporting a Seventh-day Adventist whose employer revoked her job offer after she asked for a religious accommodation.

    - The ACLU and ACLU of Georgia (2017) advocated for the rights of a Christian woman who was forced to remove her religiously motivated head covering

    - The ACLU of Hawai'i (2015) secured the rights of a pastor and his wife to hand out religious literature on a public sidewalk.

    - The ACLU of Pennsylvania (2015) interceded on behalf of a Christian inmate seeking to have a communal prayer during the Christmas holiday.

    https://www.aclu.org / aclu-defense-religious-practice-and-expression

  • JuanQPublic||

    As for the Second Amendment, the ACLU seems to interpret a "well regulated militia" as a collective right, not individual, which sheds light on their reasoning.

  • jagjr||

    they can arbitrarily make that 'interpretation' claim, but it is meaningless since public law, the Constitution, & SCOTUS precedent all say otherwise.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Progressive Marxists destroy everything they touch. It's just a matter of time.

  • DirkBelig||

    This is why I have long taken to referring to them as the American CERTAIN Liberties Union.

    Just like the SPLC, they have become a Leftist hate group fighting against freedom in service of liberal fascism.

  • JuanQPublic||

    I certainly wouldn't characterize them as a "Leftist hate group", but their recent trend of ideologically-motivated reasoning regarding the 1st Amendment is highly troubling.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Just wow.

  • Robert Arvanitis||

    Nothing cowardly about it.
    ACLU is just declaring their priority of values.
    ACLU has inalienable free speech.
    For others, it's "nice," but not if it interferes with their "social justice" work, which is FAR too important to allow OTHERS to have unfettered speech.

  • jagjr||

    wish I was surprised. ACLU is notorious for selectively choosing which rights (1A but not 2A)or aspects of rights to defend (only select portions of 1A defended) , and which to play the Pontius Pilate game on.

  • Presskh||

    They probably got a promise of a "substantial" donation from Soros' Open Society Foundation, which is flush with cash after Soros' $18B donation last year. You can bet that money is at the root of this change in philosophy.

  • swampwiz||

    As someone who would be (have been?) proud to call himself a card-carrying member of the ACLU but for being a cheapskate, watching the ACLU bend on its values is painful.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    In 1977 the American Nazi Party announced a march in Skokie, Illinois, a predominately Jewish suburb of Chicago. This set off a hailstorm of negative reactions. The ACLU to its credit stood up to defend the Nazis' right to march, stating "our client is the Constitution of the United States". This cost the ACLU support and donations, but the ACLU did not back down.

    Great days

  • Mindscape||

    The ACLU recently produced a series of videos aimed at helping illegal immigrants avoid detection and punishment. That was the last straw for me.

  • jm15xy||

    Conquest's Second Law.

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