Phi Beta Cons

Nat Hentoff Excoriates ACLU’s Failure to Defend Free Speech

During all of the recent campus uprisings and the demands for suppression of free speech for those who disagree the protesters, we have heard barely a peep from the American Civil Liberties Union. So observes veteran First Amendment advocate Nat Hentoff in this piece.

Remember the ugly incident at the University of Missouri where a student cameraman was muscled out to keep him from covering the protest? Hentoff writes that the Missouri ACLU “didn’t even acknowledge that the incident occurred. Instead, they issued a statement that ‘the ACLU of Missouri honors the students and faculty who displayed courageous and creative leadership.’”

Similarly, the Connecticut ACLU had nothing to say about the abusive treatment dished out to Erika Christakis at Yale, and the chapter at Wesleyan University actually supported the demand for an anonymous “bias reporting system.”

Hentoff also looks at recent statements by national ACLU leaders which “cloak their affirmation of the First Amendment in an unequivocal defense of the student protesters, without offering a single criticism of their anti-free speech actions or demand for censorship.”

I don’t think the ACLU was ever a principled defender of civil rights, but it’s apparent that today it is interested in only a small sliver of freedom and complicit in the “progressive” attack on most of it.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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