The Right Coast

December 18, 2004
Your ACLU dollar at work
By Tom Smith

Is nothing left that one can believe in? Now even the ACLU wants to be big brother. I have been cynical about the ACLU for a long time. I call upon Right Coaster Maimon to tell us about their sordid history, since he is much better at that sort of thing. My little experience comes from agreeing, stupidly, to help out on a pro bono basis on a project that involved reviewing the 1990 census questions for privacy concerns, and then talking about it to the board of the D.C. ACLU. The 1990 census had a question on it such that if you were gay and living with a partner, you were supposed to tell your friendly neighborhood federal government about that. But consider, maybe you do not want to identify yourself as gay on the census. Perhaps your considered view is, it's none of the government's f'ing business how you like it. If you are gay and living with your boyfriend in what amounts to a domestic partnership, you could always decline to say that on the census, but then, you would actually be committing a crime. Seemed like a bad idea to me. Not withstanding my cogent and humorous presentation of this concern to the ACLU, which I think any libertarian would have understood and agreed with, the ACLU mavens, who included some pretty hot shot lawyers in DC, looked at me like I was speaking Martian. I think if you had posed to them the hard question "Can you give me an example of liberty?" you would have gotten answers like "um, Social Security?" and "higher taxes!" They were that clueless. There may be some libertarians in the ACLU but to call it a libertarian organization is like saying the fire department is in charge of starting fires. Maybe there were a couple of decades when it was not so, but it has long since turned into the criminal defense bar's lobby with a bunch of other leftish causes thrown in for good measure.