Today Sam Ritchie of the ACLU posted a truly wonderful blog on the ACLU’s Blog of Rights. Apparently some nitwits fine upstanding state legislators in Iowa object vehemently to a display in the State Historical Building in honor of the ACLU’s 90th anniversary. These legislators are proposing a law that requires that all opinions be represented in any display hosted by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which runs the museums and historical sites in the state.
Instead of whining about persecution, as so many do when opponents criticize them these days, Ritchie challenged the ACLU’s opponents to put up their own display showing just why they object to the ACLU. To quote him, “As we’ve long said, the answer to speech with which you disagree is MORE speech, not less.”
He then goes on to make some cogent and IMHO correct criticisms of the specific legislation that these opponents were proposing, and of all legislation whose effect is to stop people from speaking freely about their opinions on the issues. The ACLU’s opposition to such things as “hate speech laws” and other restrictions on the rights of all people (even obnoxious, disgusting people) to freely express their opinions is well established, so none of this is a surprise. But it was good to read.
I don’t agree with the ACLU about everything. I’m vehemently pro-life; they support the right to abortion-on-demand. I strongly support the right of any citizen who has not been convicted of a violent crime or otherwise demonstrated that they can’t be trusted with a gun to own guns, carry a gun (openly or concealed) for self protection, and use a gun for any other lawful and peaceful purpose. The national ACLU organization is on record as viewing the second amendment to the U.S. constitution as a “collective right” that does not grant an individual the right to keep and bear firearms, although my state ACLU takes the opposite position. (I’m not sure I believe that there is such a thing as a collective right.) When I think that the ACLU is wrong, I’ll say so.
However, on this issue and many others, they’re right. And I’m glad they’re out there.