Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Daily Digest

Are you a libertarian? Here's a quick and dirty test: read this short essay on the state of American politics by Cato president Ed Crane. If you find yourself nodding vigorously, then welcome to the party that never ends.

Peter Suderman nails the paradox of Ron Paul: "One might think that Paul, as a pro-life, anti-amnesty, government-cutting economic conservative would find a welcome home in conservative circles, but. . . . [t]he pragmatic concerns of everyday politics hold little interest for Paul, who puts determined ideological purism ahead of all else."

Accompany Rudy on the stump via this stellar and insightful profile from the NYT's Michael Powell.

Conservatives often cite the ACLU's advocacy of abortion rights and neutrality on gun rights as proof that the organization is hostile to the right. These are eminently fair points, but here's a more thoughtful argument, from a board member of the Massachusetts ACLU affiliate: "Once the nation's leading civil liberties group and a reliable defender of everyone's speech rights, the ACLU is being transformed into just another liberal human-rights group that reliably defends the rights of liberal speakers. This transformation is gradual, unacknowledged and not readily apparent, since evidence of it lies mainly in cases the ACLU does not take. . . . But a review of recent free-speech press releases turns up only a handful of cases in which ACLU state affiliates defended the rights of conservative, antigay or otherwise politically incorrect speakers. And lately the national organization has been remarkably quiet in several important free-speech cases and controversies."

Update (6/2): Steven Shapiro, the ACLU's legal director, responds, claiming (1) that the ACLU is currently challenging in several states laws that ban picketing by anti-gay groups at military funerals, and (2) that the ACLU has drafted a brief, due in federal appeals court next month, supporting a high-school student who was barred from wearing an anti-gay T shirt.


Rakeela said:

I actually left the ACLU over their increasing failure to defend the basic cause of their existence, civil rights. They're losing their way, their principles, their purpose, and my support.