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Archive for June 13th, 2022

As I wrote almost two years ago,

The ACLU of old is, alas, no more.  Gone is the organization so passionately devoted to civil liberties that it paid for a team of Jewish lawyers to defend literal Nazis’ right to free speech; in its place is an organ of the Democratic party whose main concern is keeping its cash flow as high as possible by parroting its primary donors’ beliefs (often in childish tweets repeating some a priori statement in all caps, over and over, without a word of justification), and never ever ever challenging those beliefs, no matter how anti-civil-rights and factually wrong they may be

Unsurprisingly, free speech is the area in which ACLU’s position has degenerated most shamefully, because it’s no longer popular with their “progressive” authoritarian base.  But fortunately, there’s a younger civil rights organization which is now expanding its remit to take up the ball ACLU has not merely dropped, but actively cast aside…and it’s doing so to the plaudits of former ACLU heavweights:

…The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is renaming itself the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and keeping the “FIRE” acronym as it launches a drive to promote greater acceptance of a diversity of views in the workplace, pop culture and elsewhere…the group’s president, Greg Lukianoff, said…FIRE has raised $28.5 million for a planned three-year, $75 million litigation, opinion research and public education campaign aimed at boosting and solidifying support for free-speech values…FIRE’s new expansion is…a challenge of sorts to the ACLU, which has faced criticism in recent years for drifting from its unapologetically pro-free-speech roots and taking a more direct…partisan [role]…Many of FIRE’s founders and backers are former leaders of the ACLU who have grown disillusioned with the group under its current executive director, Anthony Romero, who left the Ford Foundation to take over the storied civil liberties organization in 2001.  In 2020, FIRE released Mighty Ira, a laudatory documentary film about Romero’s predecessor, Ira Glasser, focusing on the ACLU’s work from the 1970s through the 1990s.  Glasser, who serves on a FIRE advisory board, said in an interview that he “strongly encouraged” FIRE to broaden its free-speech work in part because the ACLU seems to be abdicating that role…
I’ve long admired FIRE’s steadfast viewpoint-neutral defense of free speech on campuses, and I suspect they’ll be just as dynamite in their new, larger mission.  Let’s hope their new drive brings in enough new money and talent to mount a successful war against the censor-morons dedicated to lobotomizing our society.

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