Free Speech

Nadine Strossen, "The Interdependence of Racial Justice and Free Speech for Racists"


Also from the first issue of our Journal of Free Speech Law; you can read the whole article here, but here's the Introduction:

Michael Powell's June 7, 2021 New York Times article—"Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis"—raised a perennial issue that has roiled not only the ACLU, but also society in general, throughout my adult lifetime: do we have to choose between freedom of speech and other aspects of the civil liberties/human rights agenda? Since the ACLU's founding, more than a century ago, it has defended all fundamental freedoms for all people, including free speech and equality, especially for people and groups that have traditionally been subject to discrimination. Some ACLU critics charge that its vigorous advocacy of equality rights is somehow antithetical to its free speech advocacy. Conversely, other ACLU critics charge that its ongoing defense of free speech rights even for those who convey anti-civil-liberties messages is somehow antithetical to its equal justice advocacy.

The ACLU's mission closely parallels government's responsibility: to uphold all rights for everyone, neither privileging particular rights over others, nor privileging the rights of particular people or groups over others. Therefore, debates about the ACLU's efforts to promote our interlocking national aspirations of "liberty and justice for all" has resonance for government policy as well. The ACLU-focused debates mirror more general debates about the appropriate prioritization of racial justice and free speech in our public sphere—for example, in public schools and universities.

Nadine Strossen is Professor of Law, Emerita at the New York Law School, and was the President of the ACLU from 1991 to 2008.

NEXT: Jordan Wallace-Wolf, "Think Again: The Thought Crime Doctrine and the Limits of Criminal Law"

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  1. "Since the ACLU's founding, more than a century ago, it has defended all fundamental freedoms for all people,"

    Tautologically defined as all freedoms the ACLU itself declares to be fundamental, as Strossen herself announced in these pages.

    "The ACLU's mission closely parallels government's responsibility: to uphold all rights for everyone, neither privileging particular rights over others, nor privileging the rights of particular people or groups over others."

    A position Strossen herself rejected, (im)famously declaring that, "Putting all that aside, I don't want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty."

    I don't mean to say that she has never done worthy work defending civil liberties, or even constitutional rights. But she is not remotely as principled as she'd like people to believe.

    1. ACLU = Democrat Attack Dog = Commie Front Organization.

      Ban it. Arrest its officials for promoting the interests of the Chinese Commie Party without registering as foreign agents.

    2. " But she is not remotely as principled as she’d like people to believe. "

      If you were interested in principles, Mr. Bellmore, you wouldn't be at a White, male, bigot-friendly, faux libertarian blog whose devotion to freedom of expression drifts with the Republican currents.

      1. If you were opposed to racism and sexism, you wouldn't consider "White, male" to be a meaningful statement other than on a dating site or in a physical description of someone, one that carries no philosophical, moral, or intellectual weight.

    3. Old ACLU was pretty good at defending civil rights for all even the most despicable individuals and groups.

      New ACLU might as well be a wing of Media Matters

      1. The old ACLU expected the censors to be right-wing, and so treasured freedom of speech as a defense against the right. They strengthened that defense by adopting a principled facade of being concerned about the free speech rights of even Nazis; Who could doubt they were principled if they were willing to even defend Nazis?

        But once they realized the censorship was going to be coming from the left, and would only threaten their ideological enemies, the calculation changed.

        1. Or, once they had established that even Nazis have rights, they got on with things knowing that Nazis are inherently utterly inimical to everyone else's rights.

          1. Well, as we well know by now, once you establish that Nazis don't have rights, everybody becomes a "Nazi".

            The number of actual Nazis out there is dwarfed by the number of figurative 'Nazis' who are only called that to have an excuse for violating their rights.

            1. I'd be curious who this 'everybody' is who has been denied rights because they are Nazis. Officially, I mean, not just online name-calling, because if we're going with that standard, then Biden is a Satanist who drinks the adrenochrone of children, and therefore should be in Guantanamo, which seems like it would be a violation of his rights, if it came to pass.

              1. Due to past court victories (in many cases by the ACLU) the government has not yet be able to officially establish denial of rights for Nazis. However the culture has clearly gotten there, and if policy follows culture we will likely see it within a generation

                1. You mean that because culturally, Nazis are generally held as figures of fear, contempt, and horror? Not sure how to fix that unless it's to make Nazis more cuddly, which seems undesireable.

                  1. Because Nazis are generally held as figures of fear, contempt and horror, (Much as communists ought to be.) anybody somebody wants to be treated as a figure of fear, contempt, and horror gets called a Nazi.

                    Once you decide it's OK to punch Nazis, the definition of "Nazi" becomes, "anybody I'd like to punch", is what I'm saying.

                    1. The accuracy of the Nazi label you attach to the person you punch is not going to get you off an assault charge, though, and in the court of public opinion (not an actual court) going around punching people you claim to be Nazis who are demonstrably not Nazis is probably not going to get you very far.

                    2. Actually, depending on who's occupying the DA office where you punch somebody, it might get you off.

                    3. When has a DA let people off for punchng Nazis?

                    4. Are you referring to actual Nazis, or even just neo-Nazis?
                      Or are you referring to anyone that some group of Leftist talking heads has called a "Nazi"?

              2. I’d be curious who this ‘everybody’ is who has been denied rights because they are Nazis.

                See the "fascist" murdered in cold blood in Portland by a self-described Antifa activist, as well as the groups of his comrades who stood around and cheered it. What do you suppose is behind the mentality that the young man in question didn't deserve to live?

          2. ...they got on with things knowing that Nazis are inherently utterly inimical to everyone else’s rights.

            Let's say, for argument's sake, that you're a leftist. There's a solid case to be made for the proposition that leftists are inherently utterly inimical to everyone else’s rights. So, when your rights are violated, everyone should just "get on with things," right?

            1. What point are you making? That right wing intellectual thought is now limited to the find/repace function? That Nazis are not inimical to other people's rights? That opposing Nazis is the same as opposing rights? That your comment seemed like a clever thing to do, but doesn't actually have a point at all?

              1. Have you asked yourself these questions? Perhaps without the find/replace, which, whether or not you liked it, did demonstrate his point, given your reaction.

                  1. ….what?


  2. "The ACLU's mission closely parallels government's responsibility: to uphold all rights for everyone, neither privileging particular rights over others, nor privileging the rights of particular people or groups over others."

    With that kind of attitude, it's no wonder she's an *ex* President of the ACLU.

    1. She was president for 18 years. She is still a member of the national advisory council more than a decade after leaving the presidency.

      What is your point? Do you genuinely attempt to assert her views are unwelcome at the ACLU?

      Try to lose the culture war with some dignity intact.

      1. Ooh, the National Advisory Council! Is that like the ACLU Supreme Court?

        No, because the title says *advisory.*

        Try not to light a match too close to the gaslight.

  3. If they feel that free expression only means expression that they like do we even need an American 'Civil Liberties' Union in the first place? They're basically calling the role they claim to fill obsolete. They should just disband or rebrand themselves as a typical advocacy group for a particular ideology.

    1. Do you contend they should be free speech purists . . . along the line exhibited by Prof. Volokh, perhaps?

  4. A basic problem with equality rights is that in order to make everyone equal, you have to take something away from the people who are currently more equal than others. If you want ro give a minority access to other people’s stuff, you have to restrict the ability of people with the stuff to make choices about. Claiming this isn’t so is at best rhetorical slightt of hand; at worst, it’s asserting that the people affecting simply don’t matter.

    When southerners assert equality rights — the right to own a slave as intrinsic and essential to equality with northerners — asserting that this right affects no-one else explicitly asserts that slaves are nobodies. When the ACLU asserts women have the right to an abortion, it is making the same explicit assertion about fetuses.

    Similarly, when people who employ or do business only with people of the same sex exercise their right to be treated equally in the marketplace, legal protection for their choice has an effect on people of the other sex, as it reduces their employment or business opportunities. And the same is true when people who marry only people of their own sex assert the right to be treated equally. It reduces the opportunities, and creates inequalities of opportunity, for the opposite sex in exactly the same way. Both those who mind their own business and those who mind their own home indeed have an affect on others by what they do in it.

    Every expansion of someone’s choice or opportunity is a contraction of someone else’s. Every social policy has a price. Every benefit to one group is paid for by someone else.

    The price may be worth it. This is not to suggest that such laws never have value. But one has to be aware of and think about what the price is and who has to pay it.

    Pretending no price exists just because it’s someone else who’s paying is at best nonsense, based on ignorance. At worst, it is based on full knowledge, actively disrespecting, if not using the law as a weapon to get at, those who have to pay.

    1. Govt has no right to make these decisions in any way. It simply exists to protect my natural rights..the outcomes are not germane.

    2. There's famous short story about a dystopia where tall people have to stoop, strong people have to wear weights, etc. I ought to remember the name and author, but my head's been wrapped up in other things all day long and not yet unwrapped.

      1. It's Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron.

        1. That's it! Thank you.

        2. Thank goodness we aren't there, knock on wood. In my culture (mild sarcasm intentional), there's a sometimes serious, sometimes derisive mantra about training and preparation to the standard of the weakest link. We should not all, perhaps, choose to be that link. Individual success or failure is a perfectly fine thing, not that I'm saying anything deep.

      2. US history is a dystopia where certain classes of people have had to stoop, wear weights, etcetera, which always makes it weird when people invoke this story as a slippery slope, as opposed to an historical metaphor.

        1. As an historical metaphor (that also happens to take place in the future) it is extremely hyperbolic. How does one distinguish a hyperbolic metaphor in the future from a slippery slope?

          1. Well, it's a truism that science fiction is always about the present moment when it was written, so perhaps that would be a good place to start. Brett has quite a good comment below on what Vonnnegut was actually parodying, but how people respond to it is also revealing.

            1. My personal interpretation is that it was simply statement on how seeking egalitarianism (or equity, in the modern parlance) invariably leads to reducing people to the lowest common denominator (as opposed to building anyone up)

              The hyperbole is simply to drive the point home, not to imply it could actually happen to that level

              1. Or the hyperbole was parody and it was satirising the fears of people who are threatened by traditionally marginalised and disempowered people becoming less marginalised and more empowered.

                1. Bullshit.

                  The relevant issue is the powers that be using the tools they deride as "evil", to do the exact same thing, just to a different target.

                  Is it morally wrong to discriminate people on the grounds of their skin color?
                  "Yes": Then any "affirmative action" or "diversity" program that treats people different based on the color of their skin is evil, wrong, and may not be done
                  "No": Then there was nothing wrong with Jim Crow, or any of the other "evils" that the civil rights complained about.

                  "It's wrong when done to people I care about, but not when done to people I don't care about!"

                  That's not a statement of principle, that's just a statement that you want power to do as you wish.
                  Which makes you the diametric opposite of a moral and worthwhile human being

                  1. Actually, your simplistic binaries are pretty much exactly what he was parodying. The idea that affirmative action is in any way equivalent to the historical mass exclusion of black people is exactly the narcissistic, cynical hyperbole reflected in the story.

                    1. I'd have to read a bit more of his thinking, but this smug dismissal and apparent assumption of superiority is far more what is being parodied than a simplistic Manichean worldview. A worldview that you manage to embrace yourself, unknowingly it seems, all the while mocking it.

                    2. Are you talking to me or to the guy who called me 'the diametric opposite of a moral and worthwhile human being?'

                    3. "Actually, your simplistic binaries"

                      You mean like "traditionally marginalised and disempowered people" good, "white people" bad?

                      Those kind of "simplistic binaries"?

                    4. Nige

                      When you stop being a racist and sexist pig (a racist is one who treats / judges people differently based on the color of their skin, a sexist is one who treats / judges people differently based on their sex), and stop being a bullying fascist thug who wants to use the power of the State to stamp out the free speech rights of all those who disagree with you, then I'll stop pointing out that you're ‘the diametric opposite of a moral and worthwhile human being?’

                    5. You call me what you like, Greg, I wouldn't want to impinge on your freedom of speech no matter how awful and wrong you are.

                    6. 'Those kind of “simplistic binaries”?'

                      There's nothing particularly simplistic about that binary, though.

                    7. Nige
                      There’s nothing particularly simplistic about that binary, though.

                      Are you a right wing troll, pretending to be an idiot left-winger?

                      Because, if so, you're doing a very good job.

                      "Your binaries are simplistic and bad, mine are not simplistic and good!" That's a great parody of "idiot leftist". It's not in any way, shape, or form a rational argument

        2. certain classes of people have had to stoop, wear weights, etcetera

          Note the tense.
          Seeking to advantage some / disadvantage others today because of historical injustices is utterly misguided.

    3. ReaderY, you're right and sometimes people forgot we live in a society.

      And there's no such thing as individualism in a society.

      We VOLUNTARILY AGREE to give up some liberties in order to have a better functioning society by (generally) obeying laws.

      And the people who break the voluntary agreement then usually have to pay some penalty, e.g. fine, prison, etc.

      1. re: "there’s no such thing as individualism in a society"

        That may take the win for Stupidest Thing Said on the Internet Today".

        1. Yep. Given the vast majority of the topics and policies that it supports, this is pretty ironic, and funny, in a sad way. But, it's now easier to state 'not into individual liberties or rights,' which has seemed the case.

    4. Equality of rights is not a bad statement literally. Everyone has the same rights.

      It's just that some folks have bastardized the definition of "rights". They mainly require you to leave those you disagree with alone, free will free speech etc.

      1. Yes.
        "I have a right to be hired by you!"
        "I have a right to have you bake me a cake!"
        "I have a right not to be offended by you!"
        Etc., etc., etc.

        1. Yes, followed by
          "You [white male] don't have a right to be hired by me!"
          "You [white male] don't have a right to post on my social media site!"
          "You [white male] don't have a right not to be offended by me!"

          Because a leftist with principles is an oxymoron

  5. When you have libertarians talking about free speech versus civil liberties you know the bolsheviks have infected the cause...there are no such thing as "civil rights" only natural rights and govt's only job is to protect them. Unequal social outcomes are irrelevant. The issue is you have a certain "type" of libertarian who honestly has more in common with the cultural marxists who have infected America since the 30's in the media, academia, ngos, and think tanks...screw the ACLU..they are about as far from defending my rights as the Antifa..

    1. "Cultural marxist" is Nazi gibberish. Literally; it's a phrase they made up that has no semantic content.

      1. So that's the latest defense line for CRT ext? "We're not pushing Marxist ideas, and you're a Nazi for pointing out that we are"?

      2. Really? Seems pretty straight forward to me.

      3. Did the 3rd reich actually make the term up, or is this another false assertion based on wishful thinking? Genuinely curious.

    2. Free speech is a right. It's an absolute right. Hate speech, racist speech etc are all examples of free speech.

      And we now are veering way from that with "hate speech is not free speech" crap[. Of course it is.

      1. But people have a right to oppose hate speech, right? I mean, if there is hate speech, you can ignore it and let it grow and prosper, you can stand up and oppose it... or you can defend the hate speech as free speech which, it seems to me, turns free speech into a trojan horse for hate speech. If saying hate speech is bad and dangerous is the equivalent to an attack on free speech, then free speech is hate speech, and if your defence of free speech is always through defending hate speech, then you are defending hate speech. What I'm getting at is this: will there ever come a point when you shift from defending hate speech as free speech to opposing hate speech (by which I mean speaking up in disagreement to it) as bad and dangerous? Or will you have succesfully conditioned yourself to think that opposing hate speech is equivalent to opposing free speech, a faux neutral position that is, effectively, supporting hate speech?

        1. The question here is how you define "hate speech". Louis Farrakann spewing spittle about Jews? Somebody refusing to call a dude "her"? Christians proselytizing Jews?

          I don't personally find "hate speech" a particularly useful category. The definition usually devolves to, "Speech I hate", it's less about the speech itself, than the person using the term's attitude towards the speech. It's terribly subjective.

          1. Well, yes, speech often is subjective, and in order to decide whether something qualifies to you, personally, as hate speech, you have to dig into the substance and examine it and therefore defend it or oppose it or ignore it. Defining 'hate speech' as that which, when it is classed as or called hate speech, must be defended as free speech, is as useless and potentially damaging a categorisation as 'speech I hate.'

            Incidentally, I think all your examples could be potentially classed as hate speech, but the problem with that, of course, is it elides the differing reasons why each would be objectionable.

            1. Right, that's my point: Calling something "hate speech" doesn't tell you anything about the speech, it's not a category of speech, it's a category of opinions about speech. When somebody uses the term, they're telling you about themselves, not the speech.

              1. Or the speech is, in fact, hateful. Substance matters.

                1. Everything said by a Marxist is hateful to capitalist western society.

                  Everything said by the 1619 Project was hateful of America.

                  Let us know when you're ready to have the US government silence all critical theory supporters (not "refuse to pay to distribute" but "silence", as in "we hunt down and throw into solitary confinement") and 1619 Project supporters.

                  Until then, you're just another intolerant bigot attempting to suppress everyone and everything you hate

                  1. Hmm. The 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory discuss racism in US history. Everybody hates racism. Therefore they're hate speech. Not 100% with you on the logic there, sport.

                    1. That's because you don't have any logic, just a will to power.

                      "Hate is bad, and must be censored. Unless it's hate I like, in which case it must be celebrated."


                    2. But I didn't call for anything to be censored.

                    3. You called for banning hate speech, dumbsh!t.

                      What I’m getting at is this: will there ever come a point when you shift from defending hate speech as free speech to opposing hate speech (by which I mean speaking up in disagreement to it) as bad and dangerous?

                      "defending hate speech as free speech" means "working to prevent the government from censoring "hate speech"

                      "Preson X said something bad that I disagree with" is an ordinary part of debate.

                      "Person X said hate speech, and I totally disagree with it, but don't want anyone to stop him from saying that, but it's really hate speech" is something you say when you're a pathetic moron who has never in your life encountered the concept of "reasoned debate".

                      Is that your defense?

                2. Hateful in your eyes.
                  Come on; let's not think that verbal circumlocutions change meanings

                  1. Well they're the only eyes I've got.

        2. Saying hate speech is bad or dangerous and speaking in disagreement is fine, that is just more exercise of free speech

          But that is not what the "hate speech is not free speech" crowd wants. By defining hate speech as being outside the constitutional protections of free speech they hope to see it banned. Once the government can pick and choose what speech is allowed to be free and what isn't there is no more free speech anymore

          1. Acknowledging the non-trivial problem of governments deciding what is and isn't acceptable speech, when you have at least one glaring historical example of hateful speech leading to genocide, this is not, perhaps, something that should be quite the settled absolute you make it out to be.

            1. Yes, it is an easily settled absolute: The Government may not do it

              Because, as we've seen repeatedly in just the last year, when people are given the power to ban "bad" speech, what they ban is truths they don't want spread.

              Hunter Biden's Laptop
              Wuhan Flu coronavirus was a Chinese lab leak or deliberate leak

              1. Neither of those were banned? Certainly not by the government? Trump was in charge of the government for a lot of the relevant time period? He was more interested in wiping out all mention of climate change in official government scientific communications. Wouldn't that be a better example? But wholcalls climate change science hate speech? Who called the Hunter Biden laptop hate speech? People called Trump labelling covid 'The China Virus' hate speech, but HE was the head of government at the time and transparently rousing up his base. People objected to the lab leak story because it usually came wrapped in conspiracy theories, they didn't call them hate speech, they called them bullshit.

                1. The "China virus" was not hate speech except in the eyes of anti-Trumpers, just as the Spanish flu or Hong Kong flu or MERS are not hate speech.
                  In fat in the current medical literature I often see the phrase, "original Wuhan strain."

                  1. Well I wouldn't have called it hate speech, except in the same way that almost everything he said was hateful, but it was definitely an attempt at branding.

                2. Social media sites spent all last year banning discussion of the Wuhan lab leak hypothesis

                  Social media sites worked hard to block, ban, and suppress any and every mention about all the data about Joe Biden corruption found on Hunter Biden's laptop.

                  It was "misinformation". it was "Russian disinformation", according to candidate Joe Biden.

                  It was information those in power wanted to suppress. Which is why, outside of limited national security exceptions, those in power should never be allowed to suppress any information

        3. Nige

          There is no such thing as "hate speech"

          There's just speech you don't like.

          When you "oppose hate speech", you're simply "opposing" speech you don't like.

          Which means you're an enemy of free speech

          1. If there's such a thing as hate, and such a thing as speech, then there's such a thing as hate speech. I oppose it by saying why I think it's wrong or stupid or immoral or hateful or whatever. For some people that does seem to be the same as opposing free speech, because some ideas are only defensible on the level that it's not actually illegal to speak them.

            1. Your is a false syllogism, NIge.

            2. If there is such a thing as fire, and there's such a thing as skin, then there's such a thing as "fire skin".

              Want to try again?

              You are free to speak out against anyone else's beliefs. If you have an intelligent argument, you are welcome to make it.

              if you don't, you'll call you the people you don't like says "hate speech", and pretend that's a meaningful statement

        4. "But people have a right to oppose hate speech, right?"

          You have the right to disagree with other people. you ahve the right to point out where you think they're wrong

          You don't have the right to shout them down, or to use the State / business to shut them up

          1. Yeah, so how come the red states are passing all these laws aganst CRT?

            1. Because the State governments have the right to decide how they will spend their money. Which means they can tell the teachers being paid by the State government what they are and are not allowed to teach.

              Show me an anti-CRT law that bans private citizens from buying books on CRT, and you'll have a point.

              Until then, you just have your head up your a$$

  6. The problem with talking about a right to "equality", is that you could be talking about equality of rights, but most people who talk about this mean equality of outcomes.

    And as Harrison Bergeron parodied, equality of outcome actually requires unequal treatment, because people aren't actually equal in a substantive sense, only in terms of rights and moral dignity. They're not equally smart, strong, wise, educated, diligent... They're not equal in any of the things that tend to cause differences in outcomes. So if you're aiming for equal outcomes, you can't tolerate equal rights.

    Now, I genuinely think Strossen understands this. But she's trying to argue modern civil rights activists, (Who think Harrison Bergeron is an instruction manual.) into giving traditional civil liberties some respect, and she knows she'll lose them if she tries to explain this conflict.

    So she's trying to paper it over. But you can't paper over the gulf between equality of rights, and equality of outcomes. It's a Grand Canyon sized gap, not a little crack you can slap some spackle over.

    And she's leaning over backwards so far in her efforts to appeal to the foes of equality of rights, that she's leaving that equality behind. She's started defending group instead of individual rights, toxic doctrines like critical race theory and systematic racism.

    Kind of standing Nietzsche's aphorism on its head: "He who befriends monsters must beware lest she become a monster herself."

    At some point she's going to have to make a break with what the ACLU is becoming, or make a break with traditional civil liberties, and that point is swiftly approaching.

    1. It's weird that defending Nazis wasn't 'defending a group.' Or that you're gung ho to defend the rights of Nazis, as a group, but not civil rights activists, as a group. I mean, not weird at all of course, that was just for rhetorical effect.

      It's also weird that Harrison Bergeron is treated as a story where some time in the future brilliant gifted white people will be forced to stoop and wear weights in the name of equality. The idea that other people have always been obliged to stoop and wear weights, historically and in the present, is just science fiction to them.

      1. They weren't defending Nazis as Nazis, you understand. They were defending a principle which local government was attempting to violate in regards to Nazis. But they were defending it because, if it could be violated in regards to Nazis, it could be violated in regards to anybody, including people they liked.

        They were fighting to avoid a precedent being established that could be used against people they actually agreed with.

        "It’s also weird that Harrison Bergeron is treated as a story where some time in the future brilliant gifted white people will be forced to stoop and wear weights in the name of equality."

        You mean, despite the fact that it is, literally, a story where some time in the future (2081!) brilliant gifted people (You added the "white" to it, Bergeron's race is never mentioned in the story.) literally are required to stoop and wear weights in the name of equality? It gets treated as what it literally is, and that's weird?

        I mean, of course, I understand that the story had other levels, it's actually intended to ridicule people who think they're superior and being kept down. A satirical response to Ayn Rand's Anthem. That the sort of leveling egalitarianism it portrays was, at the time, a silly joke.

        It ended up working better on the literal level than the satirical, because leveling egalitarianism didn't have the decency to remain a joke...

        1. That's a good takeaway from that case, though it's a pity it tends to get transmted into defending Nazis = defending free speech.

          'It ended up working better on the literal level than the satirical, because leveling egalitarianism didn’t have the decency to remain a joke…'

          The literal level, because people are literally walking stooped over and attached to weights because black people's votes were protected and gay people can't be fired for being gay or people are protesting police violence or teaching about historical racism in colleges. It's like knowing what the joke is on an intellectual level isn't the same as really getting it.

          1. Nige, blacks were not subject, during Jim Crow, to leveling egalitarianism. Leveling was the last thing in mind, and equality was being actively prevented. So your take on Harrison Bergeron simply doesn't work. Vonegut himself would have dismissed it.

            1. Oh, I'm not saying it was the same thing, just that when actual real people were and are being metaphorically weighed down and forced to stoop, the reality has no resemblence or allegorical correlation to the rationale of the story which, as you say, was a parody, and probably the whole point (haven't read it in yonks.)

              1. If it was a parody of Rand, the Handicapper General's gun would have misfired, and Bergeron would have voluntarily fixed it for her, to demonstrate to everybody present that the oppressor was actually dependent on the oppressed.

                Then she'd have shot him, but he'd have been morally vindicated when the gun misfired on her the next time, and he wasn't around to fix it.

                It was actually parodying the self-image of Rand's readers.

  7. "The ACLU's mission . . . to uphold all rights for everyone"
    "the ACLU . . . has defended all fundamental freedoms for all people"

    I mean, come on. No. I overall like the ACLU, but there are some rights they care very much about some rights they have zero interest in defending. Which is completely fine, because no organization could be that broad, but don't make such laughable claims.

    1. Right. I've said myself that I'd have no problem with the ACLU picking and choosing which rights they wanted to defend, if they'd just admit that was what they were doing.

      The problem is, they couldn't admit that was what they were doing, they had to pretend to be the impartial defender of ALL civil liberties.

      And this led to them actively attacking the legitimacy of the liberties they didn't want to defend. They couldn't say, "We don't particularly want to defend the 2nd amendment, the NRA's got that covered."

      No, they had to deny that it was a real right, to square their lie about defending all liberties with the reality of their not defending that one.

  8. "Since the ACLU's founding, more than a century ago, it has defended all fundamental freedoms for all people."

    Their misinterpretation of the Second Amendment denies that claim.

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