Newsweek (yes, that’s still a thing) opens a piece this morning with this gem: “Since its founding during a period of anti-communist paranoia in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has served as a reliable line of defense for those who find their constitutional freedoms under threat.” What they somehow fail to mention is that while the civil rights org has, in fact, been strong on certain civil liberties like free speech, due process and unreasonable searches, the ACLU has also been strangely absent when the right being violated is the one that mentions keeping and bearing arms.
(S)ometimes, the group has decided to defend people who its liberal supporters find less palatable. In a 1934 pamphlet, entitled “Shall We Defend Free Speech for Nazis in America?” the group defended its choice to stand up for German-American Nazis who wanted to hold meetings in the U.S. “Is it not clear that free speech as a practical tactic, not only as an abstract principle, demands the defense of all who are attacked in order to obtain the rights of any?” its justification read.
So yes, they’ve been appropriately protective of the civil rights of
d-bags and scum unpopular groups like Communists, Nazis and the KKK (remember Skokie?) whose basic tenets are antithetical to a (small L) liberal democracy. The Bill of Rights doesn’t have any exception clauses. Well, other than the un-written one that results in ACLU attorneys overlooking individuals’ Second Amendment rights, that is.
On Thursday, the ACLU made a statement specifying that it would not defend groups that wanted to incite violence or march “armed to the teeth,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the 1st Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence,” the statement, from three California ACLU affiliates, said.
“If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution,” the statement continued. “The 1st Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence.”
The message is clear: protected or not, asserting your Second Amendment right negates the ACLU’s support of your First Amendment right. Never mind that the Founders considered neither superior to the other. Both are enumerated civil rights considered indispensable to a free society.
We hold no brief for jackbooted Nazis, racist KKK wanna-be’s (or black-clad masked antifa thugs who riot and pummel those with opposing views, for that matter). If they want to protest, shout their slogans and show the world how truly reprehensible they are, so much the better. Sunshine is a wonderful disinfectant.
If they turn violent, prosecute the hell out of them — all of them — to the fullest extent of the law.
But with its recent announcement, the ACLU has, once again, revealed exactly who and what they really are. A left-wing group that selectively defends only the civil rights of which they approve. Same as it ever was.