Saturday, April 23, 2011

I'm Both Surprised and Pleased

It's no secret that I don't view the ACLU favorably, but when they do something right I am always here to cheer them on. This post at The Volokh Conspiracy sums up my views precisely:
By the way, I should stress — especially given the criticism that I’ve seen of the ACLU from some commenters — that ACLU chapters deserve praise for defending the anti-Islam speech in the two incidents I blogged about today: The blocking of Terry Jones’ planned demonstration outside a Dearborn, Michigan mosque, and the firing of a New Jersey Transit worker for burning a Koran.

There’s much that I disagree with the ACLU about, and I’m sure we all can find things on which most organizations — including the ACLU — have been inconsistent under our definition of consistency. But I’ve seen quite a lot of excessive criticism of the ACLU as supposedly being unwilling to protect speech by Christians, anti-Islam speech, speech that’s generally labeled as “politically incorrect,” and the like. Yet cases such as this (and these aren’t the only two) show that a good chunk of the legal defense of free speech, including of the freedom to engage in anti-Islam speech, is being fought by ACLU chapters. They deserve credit for that.
What will frost my hide, though, is when someone at the ACLU will say, "See? We do support the free speech of conservatives! We supported the Nazis in Skokie, and we support Crazy Pastor Jones!" The assumption being, of course, that those in any way represent modern American conservatism. I'm sure they do, to certain liberals, and that says much more about those liberals than it does about any conservative.


PeggyU said...

Yes, credit where it is due.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Now if the ACLU would just lose it's novel interpretation of the Establishment Clause.

maxutils said...

Wasn't it the KKK in Skokie? And weren't they born from southern Democrats? All in all, all four cases reflect hatred of a group or groups: the KKK, anyone non-Caucasian; Pastor Jones, homosexuals; the two most recent, Muslims. I don't really see a difference, and I'm glad the ACLU doesn't either. That said . . . I have less sympathy for people who blow things up. In general.