Politics & Policy

Being a Good ‘Ally’ Will Destroy the ACLU

An ACLU legal observer watches international passengers arriving at Dulles International Airport. (Mike Theiler/Reuters)
The group must either stick to its principled defense of free speech or stay silent to appease social-justice warriors. It can’t do both.

At 1:49 p.m. on Wednesday, the ACLU put out one of those feel-good messages that doesn’t really mean anything:

Now, after Charlottesville, tensions have risen. The ACLU has faced a “backlash on social media.” Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia has criticized it. One of its most prominent lawyers has decried its decision to defend Yiannopoulos. A member of its Virginia chapter’s board resigned, writing “I won’t be a fig leaf for Nazis.” Perhaps most dangerously of all, many of the rank and file seem to be unhappy with the ACLU’s decision to stick to its principled support of free speech, according to the Times.

Will the ACLU continue to support free speech? That may be the wrong question. The real question is: What does the ACLU want to be — an ally or an organization with principles? It cannot be both.

READ MORE:

Yes, Let’s Rethink Free Speech

The Double Standard in the Progressive War against the Dead

’Get Tough or Shut Up’: The Malicious Spirit Loose in the Land

— Elliot Kaufman is an editorial intern at National Review.

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