In the Name of Civil Liberties
June 28, 2001
Civil Liberties Union has been in business so long that its a miracle
that we have any civil liberties left. Though revered by the media as the
watchdog of the Bill of Rights, the ACLU has always been devoted to
the destruction of the Constitution. And still is.
Just the other day, the ACLUs Hawaii
branch scrapped plans to invite Justice Clarence Thomas to speak. One ACLU board
member compared Thomas to Hitler and called him an anti-Christ.
Such vilification recalls the ACLUs
origins as a fellow-traveling pro-Soviet organization, when ideological enemies
were slandered in the roundest terms, fascist being a favorite epithet.
Its telling that Thomas is likened to Hitler rather than Stalin: during the
1930s, the ACLU was full of Stalinists, even on its national board. It reluctantly
removed some of them when Stalin made his shocking pact with Hitler in 1939.
It later apologized for purging itself of such
flagrant apostles of totalitarianism, but it has never explained how men like
William Z. Foster, Americas leading Communist, could be working for Joe
Stalin and the Bill of Rights at the same time. Cynics like Foster were prating
about constitutional rights in America, knowing that in Russia, meanwhile, Stalin
was torturing and murdering millions who enjoyed no civil liberties or legal
As Eugene Lyons wrote in his 1941 book
The Red Decade: The presence of Stalins henchmen on
an American organization of this type was an irony that no amount of sophistry
could erase. Its only ironic if youre naive enough to assume
that the ACLU has anything to do with liberty.
But the Reds and their
fellow-travelers specialized in appropriating venerable words for their causes and
front groups, which were always liberal, progressive,
democratic, and the like. One outfit of American volunteers who
fought for Stalin in the Spanish Civil War was called the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
The old words and symbols were used to fool the public, while the leftists were
fighting for the very opposite of their professed aims.
Today the ACLU is laboring to force the Boy
Scouts of America to accept homosexual scoutmasters. What happened to the
freedom of association, which the ACLU has always claimed for Communists?
Isnt Scouting a valid alternative lifestyle? Arent
private organizations allowed to set their own standards and live by their own
rules? And shouldnt a group devoted to civil liberties be fighting against
state coercion, rather than for it?
Communism as we once knew it is gone, but
not the sort of people who supported it while it lasted. And they still use the same
old semantic tricks, such as using phrases like civil liberties and civil
rights while fighting for abridgments of liberty and individual rights.
Though its name appeals to our desire for
limited government, the ACLU really stands for enlarged government power.
Always has, and always will. It hates Clarence Thomas because he sincerely favors
what the ACLU itself only pretends to favor: strictly constitutional government.
The hypocrite recognizes the honest man as his deadly enemy.
And leftists have always used the coarsest
smear tactics against their enemies. Even though Stalin is no longer around to
supervise the vilification campaigns, that hasnt changed either. Political
libel is an abiding legacy of the Red Decade.
Of course the ACLU has no obligation to
welcome Thomas, but then the Boy Scouts have no obligation to welcome
homosexuals. This is so basic you wonder why theres any argument about it.
But the Stalinist impulse to subjugate every free institution remains; it neither
began nor died with Stalin.
We can be grateful that the crudity of the Red
Decade is long past, with its brutal one-man tyranny backed by adulating hordes of
willing servitors. But today we face a more bland, refined, and subtle version of
the desire for an all-powerful state, in which every institution is politicized.
Using lawyers rather than firing squads,
leftist groups like the ACLU have perfected their techniques. The size and scope of
government power are still increasing, under both Republican and Democratic rule.
If the Scouts can be forced to take on
homosexual scoutmasters, why shouldnt churches and synagogues be told
what kind of clergy they may have? Will the ACLU draw the line at imposing
civil liberties on religious institutions? Why should it?