Hacker News Re-Imagined

The ACLU Has Lost Its Way

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  • 13 days ago

  • @tysone
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The ACLU Has Lost Its Way


@commandlinefan 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

There's a really disturbing movement against freedom of speech in the US that I never thought I would see.

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@rdl 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

ACLU membership and staff have always been fairly left, but they were impressively focused on (IMO) the most important civil rights as rights through their work at ACLU, and largely kept their personal politics out of that. A "mission driven organization", as it were. Pretty sad to see what's happened over the past few decades (accelerating; not sure when it started, but it got really bad around 2012-2016, and then far worse). They always believed in "all civil rights except 2A", but I could overlook that since there are other 2A-specific organizations.

I still support them on specific issues, but they're often on the anti-liberty side on other issues, or just actually crazy. Sad.

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@pentae 12 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Pretty sure they'll designate The Atlantic as a "Hate Group" after this ..

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@finiteseries 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Core:

…since Trump’s election, according to The New York Times, the organization’s annual budget has grown threefold and its lawyer staff has doubled—but only four of its attorneys specialize in free-speech issues, a number that has not changed in a decade.

Instead, the ACLU has expanded its services—and filled its coffers—as it takes partisan stances or embraces dubious causes. Meanwhile, when it comes to the red-hot culture-war issues squarely within its wheelhouse, such as the right to free, albeit hateful, speech on campus, the ACLU has stayed largely on the sidelines.

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@giantg2 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I suppose that's why the ACLU didn't want to get involved with the rights violations I reported a couple years ago. I suppose if i had $3.5M it could have been different.

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@slibhb 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Compare to https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/magazine/free-speech.html (by Emily Bazelon, the sister of this article's author).

Bazelon family Thanksgivings must be interesting!

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@nobodyandproud 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

It’s a singular leadership issue. Ira Glasser stood for something; current leadership does not.

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@pessimizer 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Considering the outlet, if the Atlantic thinks that the ACLU is too aligned with Democratic Party politics, it probably is. I don't even know how this got published unless there's some behind-the-scenes jostling going on to replace the leadership, staged internally or by whale donors.

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@DanAtC 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

ACLU has also been campaigning against San Francisco Prop H (ballot measure to recall DA). Seems way out of their wheelhouse.

https://www.aclunc.org/norecall

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@s1artibartfast 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Consider what the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had to say about pandemic management in 2008:

“The notion that we need to ‘trade liberty for security’ is misguided and dangerous. Public health concerns cannot be addressed with law enforcement or national security tools.”

13 years later, in a guest essay in The New York Times, the ACLU proclaimed that:

“the real threat to civil liberties comes from states banning vaccine and mask mandates”.

Think what you want about these policies, but the shift in ACLU values is real.

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@manesioz 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙



@themitigating 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Why is this on Hackernews?

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@jimt1234 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Debate is dead, replaced by the echo chamber. Sadly, the ACLU has adapted to this.

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@ternaryoperator 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I'm a lifelong member of the ACLU. During all the years, I've disagreed with numerous things they have done and that they do presently, including this involvement in politics. However, there are few organizations doing the legal representation that they do on behalf of the poor and the marginalized, and for that I continue to support them. Insisting that an organization perfectly fit my personal preferences is a fool's errand. As with everything in life, I don't want to fall into the trap that perfect becomes the enemy of good. The ACLU ain't perfect, but it's certainly doing good work that IMHO merits my continued support.

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@daenz 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

>In 1978, the ACLU successfully defended the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, a community populated by Holocaust survivors.

Is it any surprise that the ACLU has succumbed to the tide of public opinion? Their support of free speech in 1978 meant supporting the rights of literal neo-Nazis. Do people understand how unpopular that is? Their adherence to higher principles (free speech), when it results in those actions, cannot be tolerated in the modern era. The ACLU simply wouldn't survive.

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@hitovst 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

AS long as we tolerate the world reserve fiat global enslavement system, everything that can be corrupted will be corrupted.

With some perspective, you'll see most things are the opposite of what they were intended, or claim, to be.

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@irrational 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The ACLU has often made voting easier for me. I live in a state with mail voting. We get a big booklet with all the issues to be voted on spelled out with pros and cons submitted by people and organizations. Typically I just flip through each one to see if the ACLU is for or against it, then I vote the opposite. There has only been a single time that I agreed with them and voted the way they want me to vote. They are a great litmus test of most issues.

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@toothrot 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

It's interesting that the author refers to unspecified "partisan stances". Many of the political positions of the last year that have been described as partisan are actually globally regarded as human rights.

Human rights are nonpartisan. The ACLU has stuck to it's guns on that, despite the the overwhelmingly biased political climate.

I think it's silly that this thinly sourced hit-piece is on the front page of hacker news.

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@incomingpain 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Wow comments are heated in here. Going to put my oven gloves on to type this one.

Check out these other articles:

ACLU is split by internal debate over First Amendment support for hate speech https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/aclu-is-split-by-int...

Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/06/us/aclu-free-speech.html?...

The Left Needs the A.C.L.U. to Keep Defending Awful Speech https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/opinion/aclu-free-speech....

The ACLU made the decision to change. You can agree with that or not; if you dont like it... dont give them your money. That isn't the biggest concern.

The bigger concern is 'who the nazis are'.

Google has an employee who wrote:

“Today it is often 1 or 2 steps to nazis. If we understand that PragerU, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro et al are nazis using the dog whistles you mention in step 1. I can receive these recommendations regardless of the content of what I’m looking at, and I have recorded thousands of internet users sharing the same experience..”

Which spawned a hilarious article: https://babylonbee.com/news/notorious-nazi-leader-ben-shapir...

The problem with the political polarization is that you attribute your political opponents as being 'the worst'. There's plenty of examples of right-wing folks calling people nazis. Elon Musk called Trudeau Hitler. So did lefties, Bill Maher, russel brand, and several others: https://globalnews.ca/news/8627659/elon-musk-justin-trudeau-...

It's not that the ACLU lost their way or for that matter all those people calling everyone nazis. It's that virtually all of north america has lost their way. We need to get back to talking to each other again.

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@resfirestar 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

A fairly short piece that makes the same points that have been made a million times about the ACLU’s apparent changes, using the typical examples of the group defending the freedom of assembly rights of neo-nazis during the 1970s (other articles often mention they were well known for simultaneously defending the same rights for communists). The 2021 NYT article linked within is a more interesting read.

What I’d be curious to see on this topic is a review of what the ACLU was up to during the 90s and 00s, when anti war and environmental activism were the biggest targets for suppression, and privacy and LGBT rights became major issues. Would people today see the ACLU’s activity in those periods as still too focused on “partisan” causes, or is this really a post-Trump phenomenon?

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@throwaway09223 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I've been a relatively big ACLU donor, big enough to have been appointed an "Individual Giving Officer." I've met with some of their leadership.

They've begun taking positions against individual civil rights. They've always been anti-2nd amendment, which I can understand, but this has escalated to the point that I think they're often on the wrong side of 1a issues as well.

I won't donate to them anymore. I regret that I did in the past.

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@bob_roberts 12 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The author's main complaint is that the ACLU has prioritized "immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, reproductive freedom, and racial justice." But the opposition to these issues (aka the Republican party) is rolling in dark money. The forces against social progress are doing just fine without the ACLU.

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@wonderwonder 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I consider myself socially liberal, am a non religious jew, and vote democrat. I used to donate to the aclu monthly for ~2 years. The ACLU has absolutely lost its way. It should defend freedom of speech and the Bill of Rights regardless of the message its clients are attempting to spread. I donated to it specifically for that reason as I believe the Bill of Rights to be amongst the most perfect set of laws in existence. I stopped donating once the ACLU started openly choosing sides. Did not know about the Heard / Depp thing but if true that is absolutely outrageous and representative of an organization that is a shell of its former self.

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@pcvarmint 12 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The Rutherford Institute [0] is much better than the ACLU on civil liberties issues these days, even though its founder, John W. Whitehead, was formerly associated with the Religious Right, and has since disavowed it [1].

[0] https://www.rutherford.org/

[1] https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Religious+right+about-face%3a...

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@galaxyLogic 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Why shouldn't ACLU be involved in politics? Isn't Civil Rights all about politics? If you are fighting for civil rights you must also support politicians who support civil rights. No?

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@jrochkind1 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I've been a member of the ACLU since probably 1996, and have always admired the ACLU, so I'm not some johnny-come-lately GenZ wanting the ACLU to be something different than a past ACLU I don't like.

And I still love the ACLU. I don't think they have lost their way or changed their values. I don't agree with every thing the national or state ACLU's do (never have), but I think what they are doing now is upholding and further the core values they have always had, I don't see it as a departure, and in fact I think the things they are doing that look like changes are steps to better uphold their fundamental core values, I think they are steps in the right direction, I'm very happy with the direction they are going.

I'm not even sure I entirely follow what this article is complaining about.

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@dahdum 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Trump's election handed them an extra ~$100m a year, but advocating for free speech in Charlottesville put that all at risk.

Their Director, Anthony Romero, implemented a new ideological and political backlash test for those they represent. It was his decision. His interviews show he'd much rather be in charge of sprawling, well funded partisan organization than a smaller crotchety one.

I see the appeal. He's becoming a Democratic power player, funding campaigns and helping define the Democratic agenda. Why would he ever go back? He has more personal impact than he ever could under the old ACLU, can become much wealthier, fraternize with celebrities and politicians, and all while being consistent with his personal politic views.

I used to support the ACLU and I support progressive causes. Now that they are one and the same, I'd rather donate to candidates and causes directly instead of letting Romero pick for me.

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@daenz 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

>Evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt and ruin what good forces have invented or made.

-attributed to JRR Tolkien

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@chernevik 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

They have to choose between "progressive" causes and civil liberties.

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@megaman821 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I was a long-time ACLU supporter until a couple of years when they pivoted away from their free-speech mission. Is there any organization that carries that mantle now?

The Trump era really broke something in people's brains. Politics started invading everywhere at a level much greater than had ever existed before. I don't go to work, watch sports, or share pictures with the intent to engage in politics.

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@stjohnswarts 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

It has but I keep donating because they do some good work as well. I'm also a member of EFF, NRA, Planned Parenthood, and TFTP and contribute semi-annualy to the causes. You'll never agree with everyone's full point of view, but there are groups fighting for liberty still.

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@phendrenad2 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Glad someone else noticed this. The ACLU has worked against several causes (such as freedom of the press and free speech) that it would have supported once upon a time. The question is why. Possibilities I can think of are: (A) it's become controlled opposition, the leaders are secretly libertarians (unlikely) (B) it's become bloated with bureaucrats who just want to collect a paycheck and are guided by trails of money (meh) (C) It's become bloated with trend-chasers who are passionate about the latest cause de jure, and don't think about or care about other causes (D) the organization is holding on for dear life, donations are down, and they can't afford to be picky with what causes they support, whatever keeps the justice ship afloat

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@mdavis6890 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I think I might finally subscribe to The Atlantic now.

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@braingenious 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I’m personally blown away by the weird shit that went on and the Amber Heard case. I’m reticent to call that inherently politically “left” and more of “an incredibly scummy cash grab that apparently didn’t even work very well but happened to appeal to a slice of left-leaning people”

Whoever came up with, pitched and signed off on that whole silly scheme should be excised from the organization immediately.

As for them deciding not to help out the Unite The Right folks after their blatant violent rhetoric and blatant violent (if vague) plans led to an actual death… uh, so what?

I’m kind of amused by the “both sides are equal!” rhetoric — as if the nazis somehow are lacking funding, political goodwill and sympathetic judges.

Anyway, serious question: Is everyone entitled to ACLU resources? For example, if I organize a rally about how it’s cool to kill people that I think are subhuman and one of the attendants goes ahead and follows through with that line of reasoning, is it a violation of my rights if the ACLU doesn’t trip over themselves making sure that I can do it again?

If I’m entitled to ACLU money then I’ve got free legal representation for life, right? Disregard the fact that in this scenario I’m maybe in the hook for criminal incitation of violence — it doesn’t matter. Incitation is speech and speech is a civil liberty and that’s in the name of the organization. checkmate, losers.

I do think funding silly leftist causes is about as dumb as funding certain righty causes, but at the end of the day the ACLU is an organization that has, and has always had, the civil liberty of free speech themselves, including the right to pick who and what they work with and on.

Anyway, I’m glad the author is an experienced federal defense attorney. Maybe she can spend her personal time helping out the members of Christopher Cantwell’s various Telegram channels since she cares more about their wellbeing than her own feminist and Democrat ideals.

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@actusual 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

> Progressive causes are near and dear to my heart. I am a feminist and staunch Democrat. As a federal public defender turned law professor, I have spent my career trying to make change in a criminal legal system that is riven with racism and fundamentally unfair to those without status and financial resources. Yet, as someone who understands firsthand that the fundamental rights to free speech and due process exist only as long as competent lawyers are willing to vigorously defend extreme positions and people, I view the ACLU’s hard-left turn with alarm. It smacks of intolerance and choosing sides, precisely what a civil-liberties organization designed to defend the Bill of Rights is meant to oppose.

What an incredibly level headed take. It's so level headed that it seems fake when projected onto the landscape of modern political discourse.

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@user982 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

When the ACLU rewrote a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote ("The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person's] life, to [their] well-being and dignity..."[1]), all I could think of was The Onion ("I've always believed that one [homosexual] really can make a difference."[2]).

[1] https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/1439259891064004610 [2] https://www.theonion.com/area-homosexual-saves-four-from-fir...

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@colpabar 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

>The heart of Depp’s claim is that Heard ruined his acting career when she published a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”—a thinly veiled reference to much-publicized accusations of assault she made against Depp in court filings toward the end of their short-lived marriage. But Heard hadn’t pitched the idea to the Post—the ACLU had. Terence Dougherty, the organization’s general counsel, testified via video deposition that the ACLU had spearheaded the effort and served as Heard’s ghostwriter in exchange for her promise to donate $3.5 million to the organization. The promised donation also bought Heard the title of ACLU “ambassador on women’s rights with a focus on gender-based violence.” When Heard failed to pay up, Doughtery said, the ACLU collected $100,000 from Depp himself, and another $500,000 from a fund connected to Elon Musk, whom Heard dated after the divorce.

I have not been paying much attention to this case (I actually thought it was just a messy divorce case), but man, fuck the ACLU. How is anyone supposed to take any of this seriously anymore? She didn't even write the piece herself? How was the ACLU able to "collect" money from both Johnny Depp and Elon Musk??

What a disgrace the ACLU has become, and unfortunately I think most people still see them as the freedom-fighters they used to be.

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@all2well 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Time to pull out the dril tweet: "theres actually zero difference between good & bad things"

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@smsm42 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

In other news, we're in 21st century, there's this new thing called "internet" that is getting popular, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

I mean, it's good they finally noticed, but it didn't happen recently. ACLU has turned from "CL" to just "L" (meaning "Left") years ago, by now probably a decade ago.

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@aeturnum 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I totally agree that the ACLU is getting into things that seem silly, but it seems equally silly to claim they are 'losing their way' based on that.

This article complains the ACLU is not taking right-wing speech cases but admits they still do take cases and lists no examples where they refused. It cites the ACLU reacting to the protest where a protester was killed by nazis as anti-speech, but the ACLU was not saying they are against legal speech! They reflected, correctly, that backing groups that seek to silence (and kill) others is not straightforward. Considering the number of people in here who are decrying a "movement against freedom of speech" I would think people would support that policy!

If the article is to be believed and the ACLU has gotten a lot more money in recent years - wouldn't it make sense that they get into new areas?

Should the ACLU have more speech lawyers? Maybe! Are there cases they couldn't take? I would love to see some examples.

Should the ACLU stay out of politics? It's worth debating and I'm glad the article brings it up - but given the anti-democratic (and anti-individual rights) policy goals of the republican party I understand the approach. The article doesn't even ask what we do when one party is against proportional representation!

In general I just don't feel like this is actually responding to the ACLU's positions. She accuses the organization of hypocrisy around Title IX because they criticized changes but then later said they supported some updates - but of course it is perfectly coherent to criticize overall changes AND support parts of them. Here is their statement:

> We filed comments on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ Title IX rule that supported fair process requirements for live hearings, cross-examination, access to all the evidence, and delays in proceedings if the student accused of wrongdoing also faced a student criminal investigation, even as we criticized the rule for reducing the obligations of schools to respond to reports of sexual harassment.

Like seriously, I encourage everyone to check the case selection guidelines linked in the article[1]. Here are the things that might lead them to not take an otherwise suitable case: the group seeks to engage in violence, the group seeks to carry weapons, if the speech would lead to direct harm, if the ACLU support would appear to damage the orgs' overall mission. These aren't even vetos. They're areas of concern, and they seem pretty reasonable - especially considering this article criticized the ACLU for getting involved with Amber Heard because she sees their support for Heard as damaging to the ACLUs' mission! Which is exactly their concern.

[1] https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/aclu...

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@cronix 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Here is the testimony of the ACLU for this trial, if you're curious about it. I watched it live and was beside myself. There are a lot more shenanigans than listed in the article. It's important to listen to the actual words spoken and changes in voice, see the facial expressions, watch the dancing around the questions, hear the contradictions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRkLmKJCKbw

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@WalterBright 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The right to free speech is the lynchpin that holds together all the other rights. Throwing that under the bus - the rest will soon follow.

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@mhb 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

ACLU: “Elon Musk's Decision to Re-Platform President Trump Is the Right Call”

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31334300

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@pfortuny 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

“Terence Dougherty, the organization’s general counsel, testified via video deposition that the ACLU had spearheaded the effort and served as Heard’s ghostwriter in exchange for her promise to donate $3.5 million to the organization.”

Sorry but a donation is either free (donare: give as a gift) or it is no such thing. What a travesty.

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@rmason 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The ACLU is a sad case. When I was growing up they were a bipartisan organization that were fierce advocates for free speech. Now it seems they only defend the speech of those on the Left side of the aisle.

Here's a critique of those currently running the ACLU by their legendary former leader Ira Glasser (edited):

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10458777/Former-ACL...

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@unityByFreedom 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Are there any reputable firms or organizations who do stand for speech rights?

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@a_shovel 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The debacle with the Depp/Heard case is really concerning, I'll say that right up front. That whole event is a good argument for the article's point. But many of the other criticisms are the same ones that didn't convince me the first few times I saw them.

The author says that the ACLU can't be beholden to a political ideology, but that's an obvious contradiction. Support for civil liberties is an inherently political position. If a political party adopts policies that limit civil liberty, then defending CL becomes a partisan issue as well. If one candidate in a race for office is in favor of CL and the other is opposed, which one could easily argue for in the case of the Abrams Vs. Kemp race, [0] then it is entirely appropriate for a CL organization to support one candidate over the other. To claim that the ACLU ought to be, that it could be, apolitical, is to categorically refuse to prepare for or fight against the most powerful attacks on civil liberties.

In general, I've come to value neutrality and apoliticality less and less. What's "political" and what's not is loosely defined and socially constructed, and I suspect it's occasionally deliberately constructed and redefined by the media to shut down certain discussions or criticisms as "inappropriate". Neutrality is likewise poorly defined, and it's often just a form of cowardice from media groups unwilling to take an obviously correct stance because they're afraid to lose subscriptions from people who disagree with the evidence.

Plus, one should note that it's the American Civil Liberties Union, not the American Free Speech Union. The author implies that it is somehow inappropriate for the ACLU to fight for civil liberties other free speech. "Immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, reproductive freedom, and racial justice" as named by the article are all as much civil liberties as the right to free speech, and thus it is within the organization's mission to champion them. Yet the author describes the ACLU as unable "uphold its core values" by supporting these causes.

Plus, there's this:

> But in 2018, following the ACLU’s successful litigation to obtain a permit for white supremacists to march in Charlottesville, Virginia, which ended in death and disaster, the ACLU issued new guidelines.

There's good logic to the idea that an attack on the free speech of Nazis could weaken the rights of the rest of us, but an organization that regularly defends Nazis (a group of people noted for their desire to commit genocide) will eventually have something like this happen. It's an area where the cost-benefit analysis may well not turn out in its favor.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Kemp#Accusations_of_vote...

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@Splendor 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

> In 1978, the ACLU succcessfully [sic] defended the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, a community populated by Holocaust survivors. But in 2018, following the ACLU’s successful litigation to obtain a permit for white supremacists to march in Charlottesville, Virginia, which ended in death and disaster, the ACLU issued new guidelines. Citing concerns about “limited resources” and “the potential effect on marginalized groups,” the organization cautioned its lawyers to take special care when considering whether to represent groups whose “values are contrary to our values.”

First off. A professor writes a mere 1,000 word article for a major publication and it has typos. Yikes.

Second, the author points to action the ACLU took to defend the right of white supremacists to march in Charlottesville in 2018 and then tries to say they've changed position but doesn't demonstrate that with any proof of similar action or inaction -- just words. IMO actions are more important than words and if the ACLU's actions are still in line with the mission you say you agree with, this is much ado about nada.

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@twofornone 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

>I view the ACLU’s hard-left turn with alarm. It smacks of intolerance and choosing sides, precisely what a civil-liberties organization designed to defend the Bill of Rights is meant to oppose.

The ACLU has clearly been infiltrated and coopted by the same authoritarian ideologues running amok in almost all of our other institutions. Manufactured by degree mills where children take on tens of thousands in debt for the privilege of progressive indoctrination.

>Progressive causes are near and dear to my heart. I am a feminist and staunch Democrat. As a federal public defender turned law professor, I have spent my career trying to make change in a criminal legal system that is riven with racism and fundamentally unfair to those without status and financial resources

The author is complicit but in typical progressive fashion totally oblivious to her role in the rise of this activist class. She made her bed and now we all get to lay in it, surrounded by irrational diversity propaganda while forced to keep quiet in the face of genuine systemic racism under implicit threat of retaliation.

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@tempnow987 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

"First Amendment protections are disproportionately enjoyed by people of power and privilege" - Dennis Parker, ACLU

Police are white supremacist and defunding police big focus

"We need to defund the budgets - It’s the only way we’re going to take power back." - Mr Romero (head of the org).

400+ lawsuits against trump.

Started trying to stop circulation of books they don't agree with:

"Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on.” - https://twitter.com/donovancleckley/status/13274901590765854...

They are a nonpolitical (edited: should be nonpartisan) (required by charitable status) group running ads like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0aqKS3ihVM

"Stacey Abrams will end dependence on private prisons which will save millions" Stacey Abrams did some deal with someone that will do X. etc.

On title IX issues, where you had some crazy stories around due process, the ACLU pushed back on more due process rights:

"It promotes an unfair process, inappropriately favoring the accused and letting schools ignore their responsibility ..."

https://twitter.com/aclu/status/1063456843706585089?lang=en

Also doing a lot more twitter lecturing I think then in the past.

"There’s no one way to be a man.

Men who get their periods are men.

Men who get pregnant and give birth are men.

... "

It's been lucrative to the ACLU. $750K in salaries and benefits to ED, he used to be at $340K range.

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@walkhour 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Every new generation of left leaning people thinks the subsequent generation of left leaning people is going too far.

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@jdkee 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

"I used to be a proud card-carrying member of the ACLU. Today, when its fundraising mailers and pleas to re-enroll arrive in my mailbox, I toss them in the recycling."

Well said.

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@car_analogy 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Has it? That is the charitable view. The uncharitable view is that their stated ideals were conditional on advancing their unstated goals. Once they started jeopardizing those goals instead, they were selectively abandoned.

When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.

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@sillypuddy 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has taken the place of ACLU in higher ed. https://www.thefire.org/

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@bell-cot 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

Vague memory is that the ACLU ran off into the organization disfunction weeds quite a few years ago, with the CEO and Board suing each other, and other fun.

But at least from a quick skim of their Wikipedia page, there's no sign of that being true.

Anyone else have a similar memory? Or "true story, but it actually was {name of some other organization here}"?

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@ivraatiems 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I continue to support the ACLU and I agree with the argument that even if it's lost its way on some things, its overall mission remains important, and it continues to do a lot of really great work.

However, if you feel you can't support the ACLU, there are a couple of related organizations you can and should support instead:

The EFF - https://www.eff.org/ - the ACLU but for computers

The FIRE - https://thefire.org/ - the ACLU but for college campuses

Would love to hear from people here who might know of others. My personal criteria would just be that they're genuinely non-partisan (no "the ACLU but for people I agree with), and that they fill a niche the ACLU doesn't already fill (though a more general "competitor" might be a good thing too).

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@jscipione 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

How did this article get published? I always thought that the Atlanta was a yellow journalism outlet, but this article defies that belief. Bravo Atlantic for pointing out this important issue and its detrimental effects on the freedom of speech.

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@PedroBatista 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The ACLU lost its way a long time ago and that's not really news because it's in the "good" company of most non-profits.

We all "know" they are rotten but we are still "shocked" when we learn exactly what they do - aka "How the sausage is made".

It reminds me that time ( possibly now ) when Politico's "journalists" went around the World asking money from Governments and other public institutions in order for them to write good things about them ( visibility!! ) but also "asking" money to not write bad things about them..

Sometimes the drunk bums around the corner are 100% right: this shit stinks!!!

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@jollybean 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

'Free Speech' a bit of an American term, I wish people would start using the broader term 'Freedom of Expression', and, thinking outside the bounds of 2cnd Amendment, which is fairly specific.

Also, the term 'Free Speech' in 2022 feels a bit as though it's been usurped by specific libertarian-ish hardliners, even just using the term 'Freedom of Expression' just feels more inclusive to groups that aren't 'libertarian' etc..

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@jmyeet 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

> Terence Dougherty, the organization’s general counsel, testified via video deposition that the ACLU had spearheaded the effort and served as Heard’s ghostwriter in exchange for her promise to donate $3.5 million to the organization.

This is interesting, especially given the interest in the trial, but largely irrelevant.

First, no matter who actually ghostwrote the op-ed piece in WaPo, Amber Heard put her name on it.

Second, charities engage in fundraising activities. It doesn't surprise me at all that the ACLU was actively involved in the op-ed piece. You have to remember that prior to the current trial, Depp's reputation was really in tatters. Heard was seen as the victim so getting broader circulation for her story probably seemed both a good idea and consistent with the ACLU's perceived values.

> When Heard failed to pay up, Doughtery said, the ACLU collected $100,000 from Depp himself

So here I believe the article has made a factual error. I can't find an exact date for this but from watching the trial, the check Depp sent to the ACLU for $100,000 was part of the divorce settlement, which would put it more than 2 years prior to the op-ed piece.

> Progressive causes are near and dear to my heart. I am a feminist and staunch Democrat.

This is a contradiction. Democrats not only aren't progressives, they do their utmost to eliminate and ostracize any actual progressives from their ranks. Consider right at the time the Supreme Court draft was leaked, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of the 3 most powerful Democrats in the country, was in Texas campaigning for the only anti-choice Democrat in the House in a primary over progressive candidates [1].

The author doesn't really explain what issues they have with the ACLU other than some off-the-cuff statements about supporting Stacy Abrams. Given Georgia's voter suppression bill [2] that her opponent ultimately signed into law, this actually does seem consistent with protecting "civil liberties".

The author meanders about the point that the ACLU should be protecting "free speech" without saying how it isn't. It's really a complaint about other causes but remember it's the American Civil Liberties Union not the American Free Speech Union. Voter rights, as an example, fall directly under the umbrella of civil liberties.

More often than not, when someone has a take like this, it usually means they're a TERF but I can't find anything she's publicly written that's obviously transphobic so I'm scratching my head as to what the actual issue is here. I've found some complaints about Kamala Harrais being more progressive as a prosecutor than VP (which is legitimate) but nothing obvious.

As for her complaints about ACLU opposition to Title IX, I honestly don't know a lot about this but the ACLU's original suit seemed to be to opposed a higher standard for sexual harassment investigations and claims [3]. That seems a legitimate complaint, no?

Whatever the cause, it doesn't seem like the author is explicit about what her actual issue is.

[1]: https://www.texastribune.org/2022/03/23/nancy-pelosi-henry-c...

[2]: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/02/us/politics/georgia-votin...

[3]: https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/aclu-sues-betsy-devos-al...

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@celeritascelery 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I heard this quote (I think from PG) that said something like this: “the ACLU should split into groups; the old-ACLU that defends civil liberties, and the new-ACLU that fights against them.”

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@lesstenseflow 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

I stopped giving to ACLU years ago when it became clear their mission to champion a grab-bag of lefty causes had superseded their free-speech defending goal. This pivot has lead them, at times, to actually defend the government against citizen requests for public records! I never thought I'd see the ACLU fighting on the government's behalf against FOIA/open records type requests but here it is: https://www.womensliberationfront.org/aclu-lawsuit-public-re...

In the above case, some female prisoners in Washington state wanted to know how many male prisoners had been transferred to women's prisons. The state didn't want to share that information (even in aggregate) and the ACLU defended the state's assertion that this information should be kept secret from the public, including from the imprisoned women whom this policy impacted directly.

Why the government would want to keep this secret is a good question, but the main point here is: did people donating to the ACLU realize their money is being used to fight private citizen information requests & defend government secrecy? How the mighty have fallen.

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@mudil 13 days

Replying to @tysone 🎙

The ACLU lost its legitimacy when it stopped defending the civil liberties of people they don't agree with.

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