In defense of the ACLU

by Jay Stevens 

The ACLU announced its intention to be more active in Montana, planning on giving Montana branch an extra financial boost:

The ACLU in New York said that of the $10 million, Montana stands to receive about $1.2 million over a four-year span, with fifth-year funding still to be determined. The Montana budget was about $300,000 last year.

Naturally, reaction from righties was absolutely predictable. One of the first comments on the story compared the ACLU to the Taliban. Or take this weird letter that claims the ACLU’s main mission is to expunge Christianity from the public sphere.

Now usually I’d launch into these arguments and defend the organization’s mission. But I’m not going to. That’s because several people already have, and better than I ever could.

Like Ed Kemmick, who picked up on the hatred; he opined that the ACLU was the lightning rod for blind hatred, and found the hate unfounded:

How uninformed are people? Well, in the comments attached to the story in question, at least two people called the ACLU the American Taliban. Huh? If a Taliban-like group were to take over the United States, the first group it would abolish would be the ACLU. Then the rest of us would be easier pickings.

Another commenter on the Gazette story – mike – rightfully noted that the ACLU is hardly partisan or favors any one group over another:

Most of the ACLU haters rely on garbage they hear on hate radio and other far right sources. If one looks carefully at the case history, ACLU provides legal support to cases where Constitutional principles are compromised, and have represented people and organizations on both ends of the political spectrum. Often they protect a legal principle while reviling the the group or individual in question, as with the Nazis in Skokie and NAMBLA. Evidently the concept of Constitutional rights belonging to all citizens, not just those you agree with, is beyond the ability of many to grasp. This is exactly why we we need ACLU.

And finally Hullabaloo’s Tristero explains why he supports the ACLU even when they support someone he disagrees with, or finds repulsive:

First and foremost, the banning of speech and the curtailment of civil rights is a political act exercised by the powerful upon the weak. It is an immensely slippery and dangerous slope. Speech suddenly gets criminalized at the whim of the government or corporations in cahoots with the government. That is why those of us who don’t have any interest in speaking up in defense of major league jerks nevertheless refuse to give up our ACLU cards when they offer their services to defend someone we utterly detest. We know that, if they get away with shutting up Ollie [North] or a Nazi, we’re next. Just as we don’t like Iran/Contra criminals, we don’t like NAMBLA either. But they all got rights. Or none of us really do.



  1. What? You don’t think that anti-government speech should be classified as a hate crime? @@ The ability of the right to confuse people who are fighting by their side like the ACLU with our enemies is sad at best, pathetic and evil at worst. Freedom means that your countrymen are going to hold opinions you disagree with, this is America’s strength, not a weakness. God bless the ACLU.


  2. Big Swede

    Amen to your Amen!

  3. Big Swede

    Because of the efforts of the ACLU state and federal entities we have a lot of leftover Christmas displays. In order to reduce excess trash in our land fills I offer these modifications. Recycle everything but the manger itself and the plywood donkey an install some large cardboard boxes and call it “Holidays for the Homeless”. Or one better, replace baby Jesus with a sign that says “Celebrate the Holidays by donating a fetus to the Federal Embryonic Stem Cell Bank”. Nothing says “Xmas” like being politically correct!.

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