Monday, January 16, 2006


The ACLU's detractors suffer from three basic logical fallacies:

1. They can't separate the legal questions from their personal opinions about the defendants.

Miguel Andres says examples of the ACLU defending Christians are the exceptions that prove the rule. He is absolutely right. Its just that he doesn't know which rule he is proving.

In a majoritarian republic, obviously the civil liberties of mainstream, popular groups aren't going to be frequently threatened by authority figures. Christians are rarely censored by the state for private speech, and so they are rarely candidates for ACLU defense. Obviously, the people whose cases do raise interesting questions about freedom of speech and due process are frequently going to be unpopular people who might even be engaged in questionable activity. Those are the kinds of people whose rights are infringed by the state. Its not about whether you like the KKK or NABLA or Padilla, I doubt very seriously that the ACLU lawyers who have defended them are big fans, its about whether you like the first amendment and due process, and whether you have the intelligence to recognize that those things don't go away just because you hate the defendant.

2. They don't understand the difference between private speech and tax payer funded speech.

The ACLU has drawn a very clear line in the sand about where they think the establishment clause begins and ends, and they have litigated that line. Is this the right place to draw the line? Maybe not. However, the other side doesn't want a line at all. They'd like nothing more then a return to the pre-civil war days of state level bans on Catholics holding public office, etc... Because they aren't willing to make a counter arguement, they have to twist a rule which prevents them from spending my tax money on the practice of their religion into a limit on their personal freedom of speech, and they have to repeatedly accuse the ACLU of not having a line either, despite the fact that their case history shows that they do have one.

Can I spend your tax money on public satanic rituals? What if most of the people in my local community are satanists? If not, then where should the line be with respect to the establishment clause? These kinds of questions aren't raised because the ACLU's detractors aren't interested in a fair legal playing field. They are interested in dominance for their creed.

3. So far to the right they don't know where the center is.

If you think abortion is clearly murder and reasonable people cannot disagree about that then you must accept that the vast majority of the people in the United States are unreasonable. Most people in this country do not subscribe to the view that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. In that light, SURE the ALCU looks like a mouth breathing radical organization, but so does everything to the left of Bill Frist including a significant percentage of the Republican party. You know what they say when you're the only one whose not crazy?


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