Should free speech be a little less free? The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is beginning to think so:
The American Civil Liberties Union will weigh its interest in protecting the First Amendment against its other commitments to social justice, racial equality, and women’s rights, given the possibility that offensive speech might undermine ACLU goals.
“Our defense of speech may have a greater or lesser harmful impact on the equality and justice work to which we are also committed,” wrote ACLU staffers in a confidential memo obtained by former board member Wendy Kaminer.
The memo also makes clear that the ACLU has zero interest in defending First Amendment rights in conjunction with Second Amendment rights. If controversial speakers intend to carry weapons, the ACLU “will generally not represent them.”
One good thing to come out of the Trump presidency is that many political activists and organizations are revealing their true colors. I’m of the opinion that rights are make believe. Part of why I believe this is because of how supposed rights are treated here in the United States. I’m of the opinion that if rights exist, then they’re absolute. The prevailing attitude here in the United States is that rights exist but instead of being absolute they’re more like a wishy-washy guideline that can be infringed whenever convenience requires it.
The ACLU has advertised itself as a bulwark of rights since its inception. Moreover, the ACLU generally cites the Bill of Rights when it discusses the matter. However, anybody who has seen the ACLU’s lack of zeal in defending the Second Amendment knows that the organization, like most Americans, has been selective in regards to what is considers rights for ages now. It should come as no surprise that the organization is now less zealous about defending the First Amendment as well. If the Bill of Rights is the source of rights, as the ACLU generally acts, then it admitted that rights can be infringed whenever convenience requires it as soon as it decided that the Second Amendment wasn’t worth defending.
In a way I get the ACLU’s position. Nobody wants to be seen as the person who defends Nazis or members of the Ku Klux Klan. But if you’re going to be in the business of defending supposed rights, then you’re necessarily putting yourself in a position where you’re going to be defending unsavory sorts because those are the sorts whose rights tend to get infringed frequently. While I do understand the ACLU’s position, I also think that if the organization can’t take the heat, it should get out of the kitchen. Perhaps it could change its name to the American Convenient Liberties Union or something to reflect its true nature.