Sorry to hijack this just a little...... I like the letter, but I wanted to share my opinion on the ACLU. I do not believe the ACLU should even exist! Even if they claim to fight for a cause I am for. I do not think a group that fights SO HARD for a small group, and at the expense of the majority, should get any support from me. Am I alone in this? Should i start a new thread?
I don't think it's a hijack, I think it's a worthwhile discussion.
Many conservatives have a bad taste in their mouth about the ACLU because some of the ACLU's most high-profile cases have been somewhat offensive to conservative mores. But I think it's worth taking some time to see whether or not they were actually WRONG.
The biggest thing that the ACLU has done that bugs people (other than ignoring the second amendment), is their overzealous defense of the separation of church and state. I understand the concern, and used to feel the same way, but I've come around to a different point of view.
In my current view, there are two key considerations:
First, I've decided that it's really important to have a bunch of rabid rights-protecting dogs going after every remotely-conceivable rights infringement. Yes, they're going to push hard on things that don't matter. They're going to go too far, on a regular basis. But that's not only okay, it's a good thing, because the other side is that government power naturally grows and grows. Without someone ready to snap at every encroachment on our rights, no matter how minor, our rights will inevitably erode.
The second amendment is a good example. Look at what happened to gun laws in this nation between, say, 1917 and 1987. Now look at what happened to issues related to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the rights of criminal defendants. I think the single biggest reason why gun regulation grew like crazy while freedoms in those other areas were well-protected is the ACLU
. Not that they did anything to damage gun right, but they didn't protect them. The NRA did a little to protect them, but until very recently the NRA's approach has been appeasement, rather than rabid-dog-fight-tooth-and-nail, like the ACLU. It's abundantly clear which method works
Second, I've decided that, really, the outcomes of the court cases are mostly correct. The ACLU pushes the extreme liberty angle, while the government and others push the rights restriction angle, and what comes out in the middle is generally pretty correct. Consider the school prayer issue. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with organized prayers in schools; I think they did some good. But it really, truly is inappropriate for government
to push prayer on kids. That's a parental choice, and government should not interfere, no matter how beneficial I think it might be. Personally, I think the solution is to get the government out of the business of running schools. Problem solved.
One case that I think was wrong was the plaque of the ten commandments in the courthouse. I don't think there should be religious symbols in courthouses, but I don't think that the ten commandments is a purely religious symbol. It's also a symbol of law. However, I think the ACLU was right to push the issue; I just think the court was wrong in ruling in their favor.
Probably the very biggest conservative criticism of the ACLU, though, is their unwillingness to defend the right to keep and bear arms. This refusal has, in many peoples' minds, branded them as hypocrites forever. I might be convinced that they have been hypocrites, but when a hypocrite changes his ways he ceases being a hypocrite!
If we can convince the ACLU to support the RKBA, and hopefully get that same rabid-dog aggressiveness brought to bear on those freedoms, it will be the single most beneficial effect of the Heller ruling. And, frankly, it will make clear that the ACLU was not actually being hypocritical all those years; they just truly believed that the second amendment did not protect an individual right.
That's my perspective, and I'd appreciate contrary views. In particular, if there are any other major offensive things that the ACLU has done that I'm forgetting (BTW, I agreed with the ACLU on the flag burning issue -- offensive, yes, but clearly political speech that should be protected).
Four boxes protect our liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Use in that order.
Utah CFP Instructor; NRA Certified Instructor for Pistol, Rifle and Self-Defense in the Home; NRA RSO.
I am not a lawyer!