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The ACLU

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ShinyTop, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    As you can see I started this response in the Nambla thread. By the time I hauled my butt out of bed this AM everybody had pretty much said what needed to be said about the repugnance of their beliefs. And Yazdzik had pretty much covered any legal points that I could not begin to express. But I was not comfortable with the attack on the ACLU. Haywire's post left one to think the ACLU was going to defend people who committed these acts and I wanted to state that was not how I read it. This post is more to open a thread about the ACLU separate from this one issue.

    I am not for Nambla or do I agree with anything they stand for from my understanding of that. And I will not visit their web site. But it needs to be pointed out that the ACLU is not defending their beliefs and I did not see that they are defending anybody who sexually assaulted a child. They are defending Nambla's right to state their beliefs.

    Maybe we should start a thread about the ACLU and that will make me study a lot. But one of my favorite movies is "The American President" even though I disagree with the politics of the fictional president a lot. But in the speech at the end of the movie Andrew Shepherd makes some very good points that to me is what American freedom is about and I think they apply here:

    So the dilemma of the ACLU in my mind is I should support it. But they support so many causes that I do not that I am not a member. But they are a lot like a former member of this board, his politics were not often practical, but he served a purpose in reminding us where we should want to end up. The ACLU does that a lot.

    Haywire, the Bill of Rights exists to protect all of our rights as it should. You stand shielded by it when you look at and post the pictures you post here. Many are against even that level of what they call pornography. Before you speak too harshly against the ACLU you should thank them for the freedoms you have. They have been in the forefront of many a fight to protect things we agree with.
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Here is the standard I use that tells me the ACLU is doing a perfectly fine job:

    Half the time, their actions piss me off severely; the other half, I'm in complete agreement with them.

    All of the time, they are enforcing the Bill of Rights. Nothing more, nothing less.
     
  3. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Excellent post, Shiny. However, I disagree with the ACLU being involved in this case for this reason - as Yaz pointed out in the other thread, the ACLU is defending Nambla, saying that what they talk is protected speech. However, it's NOT. Advocating criminal acts, which in this case is pedophilia, is ILLEGAL. The ACLU is stating the Nambla has the right to advocate and call for changes on something that is completey and 100% illegal. Nambla advocates adult sexual relations between adults and children - this is something that is illegal and therefore not protected speech.

    The ACLU is wrong in this case. Defending the bill of rights is one thing - but the Bill of rights clearly states that your rights end where my begin, and adults having sex with children is a violation of a child's rights. Children are legally not allowed to consent to anything in our country because they are incapable of making informed decisions on their own for themselves. Nambla advocates the removal of laws that protect children, making them legal to prey on. That is not protected speech.
     
  4. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Misu, that is why I posted separately, so the ACLU could be discussed rather than one specific case. But note that one can ask for a change in the laws as in the example of raising speed limits or one of my favorite causes, proposing legalizing marijuana. Making that proposal is free speech. Other than the sheer repugnance of what NAMBLA is advocating they are asking for a change in the law. Note that i have not visited the site. Do not want anything from any cookies or whatever on that site.
     
  5. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    I think the ACLU has made a tactical error in coming to the assistance on NAMBLA. Not only does this group espouse an illegal lifestyle which is apparently unprotected by any constitutional right--and here I must defer to Martin's keen intellect in separating the wheat from the chaff--but it also could, conceivably, open the ACLU itself to extended litigation and, worse, a moral drubbing in the public court.

    SM
     
  6. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Agreed. And I think their loss will be our loss in the long run.
     
  7. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    I despise many of the groups that the ACLU protects, but I think that overall, we need them. They may be clearly wrong in some instances(NAMBLA being one of them), but that is for a judge to decide.
     
  8. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    I think the ACLU serves a purpose in an ideological sense. In reality though, politics has permeated the organization.

    Unlike the speech for The American President, IMHO the ACLU's "sole purpose is to protect the Bill of Rights" when it fits their agenda or political flavor.
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Many times, I think the ACLU picks certain "causes" precisely to illustrate the flaws that can be found in the Bill of Rights. I do believe the Founding Fathers would be mortified to think that the 1st Amendment could actually, in any fashion, be used to protect self-avowed pedophiles.

    Perhaps by picking the "causes" we find most disgusting, the ACLU is trying to spark debates and, perhaps, rulings that will fix some of those flaws.
     
  10. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Misu, where exactly is the line between freedom, and a police state? I may disagree with what they are advocating, what they are advocating is illegal, but why should speech be illegal? First it is illegal to advocate stealing, pedophilia and other illegal acts. But how far will we take it? Will we ban books that contain these acts? I know that if they made talking about stealing illegal there would be a huge amount of books that would be illegal. Is it not better to learn from our mistakes and acknowledge them or is it better to outlaw talking or transmitting information about them in hopes the ideas will eventually be forgotten and lost? I am reminded of a quote by Voltaire that basically sums up my feelings on the whole subject...
     
  11. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Voltaire didn't have to deal with pedophiles, Techie. Voltaire didn't have to deal with people calling for the rescinding of laws that protect children from being preyed upon by sick and twisted adults. The world we live in today is a much different and much scarier place than Voltaire's world.

    In today's world, speech has almost the same power - if not MORE - than physical actions. Hitler and Castro come to mind as some of the best - and most twisted - orators our world has ever seen. These men had the power to move almost an entire planet into war. Hitler started WW2, Castro nearly got WW3 started with his mouth. These men alone caused the deaths of millions of innocent people.

    And there is a difference between banning books that contain subjects such as pedophilia and stealing, and groups that give tips on how to avoid getting caught and prosecuted for things that are CLEARLY illegal. The law isn't up to interpretation to citizens - if it were, we'd be in a state of Anarchy, because then law would all be relative. This is why we have courts to decide what actions are protected and not protected. And as it's been pointed out, what Nambla spews isn't protected speech. Sure they've got the right to say whatever they want - which means they've also got the right to break the law - but with rights come responsibility, and Nambla now needs the ACLU to protect it's "1st Ammendment Rights" because someone who listened to Nambla's garbage went out and raped and killed an innocent child.

    And that's really the bottom line. A little kid was robbed his right to live because some piece of garbage took what Nambla was saying literally and put his 'rights to happiness and love between an adult and child' ahead of that child's right to live.

    I'm sorry. Usually, I think the ACLU has a point when they tackle issues that are touchy - but this case is beyond comprehension for me. It's just plain WRONG.
     
  12. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    The issue is wrong, the act of an adult preying sexually on a child is wrong. Advocating it is slimy, perverted and sick. But asking for a change in a law is not wrong. Your passion in defense of children is admirable but does not exceed the passion with which I would oppose the law. But asking for a change should not be illegal. Would you lock up all those advocating we rescind the Patriot Act? Read the line from the movie again. The next time we decide something is bad enough to exempt it might be something you believe in.
     
  13. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Very true Shiny, but evidently it all ready is illegal to advocate a change in the law, if we follow what Misu says here. Yaz is a competant lawyer and I believe he was speaking not to the right to advocate change in the law, but to what if what they are advocating is against the law. He will correct me, I know if I am wrong.

    So any protest of an action which is illegal to do, will subject you to the penalties of the law, without the right to protected political speech. The problem is that this case is a civil case now, not a criminal case, I think everyone is confusing the two. The defendants are not accused of any criminal statute, but they are charged with encouraging a criminal act in a civil proceeding.

    This means if you are a person on the Internet that writes in support of the anti-war groups on the internet, that one person reads that and it encourages that person to break the law. You could be held to be responsible for encouraging them. It is very unlikely that this judgement will get to a trial conclusion or stand on appeal.

    As much as these groups are abherrant, it depends upon whether they exceed constitutionally protected speech for political purpose. As long as they limit themselves to advocating change in the law they are OK legally. When they go beyond the politically protected speech then they open themselves up to civil liability, as has happened to many hate groups.
     
  14. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    That was my point, Jamming. I have said twice I will not read their page. It may be beyond the law. My only reason for starting this thread as opposed to the orginal was to point out the ACLU was not supporting the act, they were supporting the right to free speech. And was hoping we would have some discourse regarding the ACLU.
     
  15. jamming

    jamming Banned

    The ACLU has a noble goal, but the "devil" is in the details, they don't really execute their goals well.
     
  16. wapu

    wapu Veteran Member

    I was gonna post that quote in the other thread. I just saw that one scene again this past weekend and it gave me chills. I had forgotten the quote. Thanks for posting it.

    Now, the ACLU is by no means perfect. But I challenge those of you opposed to it to show me an organization made up of people that is. But their goal is an admirable one and I think they are a needed and valuable part of our country.


    wapu
     
  17. EMIG

    EMIG Yup

    I used to be a card-carrying member of the ACLU, largely because I wanted to be able to say that. I wanted to carry that label not because I'm particularly "liberal" whatever the Hell that may mean, but because I despise the creation of pariahs and sacred cows. My intransigent nature makes me side with the former and disparage the latter regardless of how I may actually feel. In any case, I largely agreed with what they stood for as well.

    I parted ways with the ACLU because of their insistent support of racial quotas. You can call it "affirmative action" if you like, but it's still racism plain and simple. The selective blindness exhibited on this issue made me lose all respect for the organization.

    Anyways, I love having the above conversation with the hapless telemarketers they employ to try to pry money out of me from time to time.

    Nowadays I contribute to the EFF, who is a little more consistent, IMHO. Unfortunately, they only concern themselves with electronic freedoms. Nonetheless, as more and more people excercise their freedoms through electronic media, there may be little else to defend.
     
  18. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    EMIG, that describes me to a teeee... :)

    I didn't carry the card but I did donate a lot to them--I still get pledge letters.

    The one issue that turned me off WAS affirmitive action.
     
  19. Techie2000

    Techie2000 The crowd would sing:

    Is it really? I mean people are constantly saying that this world is worse than the one in the past, however it seems that people only wish to remember the good times of the past along with only a select few tragic events such as the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor. If you take an objective looks at the past, I think, if I may, that you will find all sorts of bad things that happened. I do not believe that pedophilia was something that was created during this century. Different it may be, but scarier is debatable.
    Yes, speech is powerful. But if man is smart, which I'd like to think we are by now, then people aren't going to all kill Jews because Hitler 2.0 told them too. Although Hitler may have been a leader, he was only a personification and focal point of an anti-semetic feeling shared by many (but not all) of the German people. Otherwise he would not have gotten into power.
    And you think this person would not have done it if they didn't listen to Nambla's garbage? May I pose a question to you Misu? Do you think that computer games are causing our kids to go and shoot up schools? Did Mr. Harris go and shoot-up Columbine because he liked playing Doom? Do you play any of these computer games?
     

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