Conservatives have long learned to be skeptical about the American Civil Liberties Union, the non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting civil rights in this country. While the ACLU has fought for a number of important causes throughout the years, its decisions about which groups and issues to stick up for trend disappointingly liberal. This has been exceptionally obvious over the last seven months, as the ACLU has seemingly become part of the “Resistance” to President Trump’s agenda. Furthermore, it has been a reliable friend to atheists over the years while doing precious little to stand up for the First Amendment rights of Christians.
But generally speaking, the ACLU is an important fixture in our democracy. We may not always agree with the stances it takes, but some of that is simply due to our opposition to its most common clients. And that, in the end, is why it’s so important to have groups like the ACLU who are willing to defend the unpopular. Because even if you are talking complete nonsense – hateful, abject idiocy – you still deserve protection from government censorship.
Alas, apparently you lose that protection if you carry a gun.
That’s the latest, confused stance from the ACLU, stemming from the left-wing backlash over Charlottesville. While many extreme leftists are declaring that white supremacists do NOT deserve the protection of the First Amendment, we’ll give the ACLU credit: They aren’t (yet) falling for that line of dangerous lunacy. But they aren’t exactly standing strong, either. Instead of disavowing these neo-Nazi groups entirely – a decision that would, at least, give them the foundation of a moral stance – they are choosing to take the weasel’s approach.
“If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people,” said an ACLU group in California, “they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution.”
Uh-huh. Well, no, that would make them terrorists. But if they are marching into your towns “armed to the teeth” WITHOUT the intent to harm people, they are covered by not just the First Amendment but the Second as well. Of course, the ACLU has never considered itself much of a supporter of that pesky Second Amendment, so it’s little surprise to see them part ways with it now.
What constitutes “heavily armed,” anyway? Does this extend to the clubs and bats carried by Antifa groups in Charlottesville? Does it extend to the Mace and makeshift flame-throwers we saw leftists using at the rally? Does it in fact extend to the Dodge Charger that was responsible for the day’s only serious incident of violence? Because let’s face it, no one was shot that day. The only death came as a result of an automobile. Does the ACLU intend to let the government prosecute and censor speech if the white supremacists show up in their…CARS?
We either have First Amendment protections or we don’t. The ACLU is trying to draw a distinction that should not and does not exist.
And this is exactly how it starts.