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ACLU and free speech
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Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of wtg
posted
Sorry, NYT...

quote:
Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis
An organization that has defended the First Amendment rights of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan is split by an internal debate over whether supporting progressive causes is more important.

It was supposed to be the celebration of a grand career, as the American Civil Liberties Union presented a prestigious award to the longtime lawyer David Goldberger. He had argued one of its most famous cases, defending the free speech rights of Nazis in the 1970s to march in Skokie, Ill., home to many Holocaust survivors.

Mr. Goldberger, now 79, adored the A.C.L.U. But at his celebratory luncheon in 2017, he listened to one speaker after another and felt a growing unease.

A law professor argued that the free speech rights of the far right were not worthy of defense by the A.C.L.U. and that Black people experienced offensive speech far more viscerally than white allies. In the hallway outside, an A.C.L.U. official argued it was perfectly legitimate for his lawyers to decline to defend hate speech.

Mr. Goldberger, a Jew who defended the free speech of those whose views he found repugnant, felt profoundly discouraged.

“I got the sense it was more important for A.C.L.U. staff to identify with clients and progressive causes than to stand on principle,” he said in a recent interview. “Liberals are leaving the First Amendment behind.”

The A.C.L.U., America’s high temple of free speech and civil liberties, has emerged as a muscular and richly funded progressive powerhouse in recent years, taking on the Trump administration in more than 400 lawsuits. But the organization finds itself riven with internal tensions over whether it has stepped away from a founding principle — unwavering devotion to the First Amendment.


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/0...clu-free-speech.html


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

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Posts: 31882 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pinta & the Santa Maria
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Free speech is free speech. If someone's rights are being infringed, regardless of the lunacy they're spouting, the ACLU should defend them. My opinion, obviously.

The only exception I can see is the "crying fire in a theater" exception.
 
Posts: 34299 | Location: West: North and South! | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
Minor Deity
Picture of ShiroKuro
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quote:
If someone's rights are being infringed, regardless of the lunacy they're spouting, the ACLU should defend them.


Except, given limited resources... ACLU can't defend every one, take on every case etc.... So, if they are going to pick and choose, how should they prioritize?

I do think free speech is important, but I wonder if it's time to think about expanding the definition of crying fire in a movie theater...

If, that is, the point is that crying fire in a theater is actually harmful. Because there are some things that some people say (hate speech, but also flat out lies by high ranking politicians) that are harmful.

It's one thing to defend free speech in theory, it's another thing to spend money and other resources on it. I think the activities that get money and resources should be chosen very carefully....


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Posts: 15895 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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quote:
Originally posted by ShiroKuro:
quote:
If someone's rights are being infringed, regardless of the lunacy they're spouting, the ACLU should defend them.


Except, given limited resources... ACLU can't defend every one, take on every case etc.... So, if they are going to pick and choose, how should they prioritize?

I do think free speech is important, but I wonder if it's time to think about expanding the definition of crying fire in a movie theater...

If, that is, the point is that crying fire in a theater is actually harmful. Because there are some things that some people say (hate speech, but also flat out lies by high ranking politicians) that are harmful.

It's one thing to defend free speech in theory, it's another thing to spend money and other resources on it. I think the activities that get money and resources should be chosen very carefully....


At what point do you stop defending utter nonsense?


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 31696 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
Minor Deity
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quote:
At what point do you stop defending utter nonsense?


Hopefully sooner rather than later?


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Posts: 15895 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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quote:
Originally posted by ShiroKuro:
quote:
If someone's rights are being infringed, regardless of the lunacy they're spouting, the ACLU should defend them.


Except, given limited resources... ACLU can't defend every one, take on every case etc.... So, if they are going to pick and choose, how should they prioritize?



While that is undoubtedly true, it's not consistent with the ACLU's past behavior. Moreover, defending the First Amendment shouldn't be partisan. One way to make it partisan is to defend only those forms of speech that receive the progressive stamp of approval.
 
Posts: 44865 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pinta & the Santa Maria
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I take your point, but I am concerned that "utter nonsense" is in the eye of the beholder. At one point in our history, the notion that slaves should be emancipated and given the right to a full vote was seen as "utter nonsense."

There's no clear solution to this problem.
 
Posts: 34299 | Location: West: North and South! | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
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Quirt and Nina,

quote:
defending the First Amendment shouldn't be partisan


and

quote:
I am concerned that "utter nonsense" is in the eye of the beholder.


Yes, I agree. That's why Nina's comment:

quote:
There's no clear solution to this problem


is where I end up landing.


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Posts: 15895 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
REPEAL THE 16th AMENDMENT!
Minor Deity
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quote:
Originally posted by wtg:
Sorry, NYT...

quote:
Mr. Goldberger, a Jew who defended the free speech of those whose views he found repugnant, felt profoundly discouraged.





I am also discouraged by this. Let the idiots spew their ignorance and hate. At least we know who and where they are vs. them living in the shadows, plotting.

Sunshine, as they say, is a great disinfectant.


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Shrink the damn military industrial complex already!

 
Posts: 13133 | Location: Wisconsin | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
REPEAL THE 16th AMENDMENT!
Minor Deity
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I also shudder at even a hint of the "thought police" or "ministry of truth" type BS.


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Shrink the damn military industrial complex already!

 
Posts: 13133 | Location: Wisconsin | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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quote:
Originally posted by Nina:
I take your point, but I am concerned that "utter nonsense" is in the eye of the beholder. At one point in our history, the notion that slaves should be emancipated and given the right to a full vote was seen as "utter nonsense."


I get that, but "Jewish Space Lasers? The "Big steal?" Microsoft chips in the Covid vaccine? A Democratic pedophile ring being run out of the basement of a DC pizza joint that doesn't even have a basement? Lizard people?

These people are crazy, and on TV every night.


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 31696 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
Minor Deity
Picture of ShiroKuro
posted Hide Post
quote:
I get that, but "Jewish Space Lasers? The "Big steal?" Microsoft chips in the Covid vaccine? A Democratic pedophile ring being out of the basement of a DC pizza joint that doesn't even have a basement? Lizard people?

These people are crazy, and on TV every night.


Yes, and that's what I was thinking about in terms of "fire in a movie theater" because there's been a lot of harm down by those lunatics...


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Posts: 15895 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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FWIW, I share similar unease whenever I read about the UCLA being “selective” about what speech the right to which they defend.


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Posts: 12011 | Registered: 01 December 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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