Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

August 5, 2010

A Critique of the ACLU

by TomStrong

It takes considerable skill to be able to write from both ends of a political issue, and I’m happy to say that that is the task I am going about with the ACLU. For my defense of the ACLU, click here.

The ACLU frequently backs itself up as being in favor of the Constitution. If one frequents an urban center, fundraisers for the ACLU can be located with pins that say “I’m A Constitution Voter.”

Despite their fervent claimed support for the Constitution, however, the ACLU stands in direct support against the Second Amendment:

“The ACLU agrees with the Supreme Court’s long-standing interpretation of the Second Amendment [as set forth in the 1939 case, U.S. v. Miller] that the individual’s right to bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia. Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected. Therefore, there is no constitutional impediment to the regulation of firearms.”

There is a paradox deep in the constitutional anti-gun position. A people’s militia, of the Switzerland variety, is not one in which large stocks of munitions are held in government custody to be used by hired contractors. This is quite obviously not the intention of the writers of the constitution. There is a layer of intellectual dishonesty to shield yourself with the constitution while advocating an argument that runs counter to it.

A more troubling case comes with the case of New York v. Ferber. In this case, the ACLU defended Paul Ferber, who was arrested after he was found to be selling footage of boys masturbating at his adult bookstore. His bookstore was located in Manhattan, and therefore subject to New York State laws governing the sale of pornography, which banned any pornography with anyone below 16 years  old.

As a progressive organization, the ACLU was started by socialists reacting not only in outrage to the policies of intervention in Europe but also to anti-communist sentiment in the United States following the Russian Revolution. For an organization slated towards artificial economic reorganization to utilize selective defense of businessmen is one disappointing, but to use that selective defense to defend the indefensible is beyond the pale. Sexual abuse of minors in any form is an inexcusable crime.

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  • Lee McGee

    Has the ACLU not altered its position subsequent to Heller and McDonald?

  • Michael Powell

    Lee –

    Thanks for asking that. Looked it up and found this: http://www.examiner.com/x-26553-LA-History-Examiner~y2010m7d25-ACLU-progun-lawsuit–NRA-antigun-bill

    I think I’ll post it as a separate story.

  • Lee McGee

    Sorry, Michael, but one case does not a policy make, particularly when one considers the numerous free speech and privacy issues which accompany the case cited in the examiner article.
    I speak from personal experience, having had the ACLU defend my right to protest a change of gun and ammo sales policy by K-Mart, after the 9/11 attacks. Since my protest was conducted on city property (i.e. New I beria, Louisiana) local police refused to allow it, citing vague local ordinances and premitting requrements.
    Thus, permit me to rephrase my question: Subsequent to SCOTUS rulings in Heller and McDonald, has the aclu OPENLY changed the strict collectivist view (i.e. a vehement denial of the right of the individual sovereign citizen to keep and bear his/her personal firearms) that it presents to its membership and the world-at-large?

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