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The Conservative Face of the ACLU


Walk past Phyllis Schlafly, the Family Research Council and the Ex-Gays, go beyond Blogger Alley to the farthest corner of the converted parking garage turned exhibition-hall for the 2006 Conservative Political Action Conference you’ll stumble across the queerest booth of them all…the ACLU. Even stranger was that the ACLU was calling itself “a Conservative Organization.”
I wasn’t the only one surprised to see the American Civil Liberties Union at CPAC; traditionally, the organization as seen as the farthest of left lefties—archenemies of those who would call themselves, “Conservatives”. But I was one of the few who stopped to talk to the ACLU representatives instead of sneer at them.
Did they hope to recruit members? No. In fact the four people they claimed to have recruited Friday was just a shadow of the 23 people looking to become Ex-Gays.
So what did the ACLU hope to accomplish at CPAC 2006? Looking at their literature it became clear—they wanted to highlight the organization’s record advocating conservative positions.
Although the ACLU is stereotyped as part of the Liberal Left, they have come to the defense of Conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, and conservative causes, like the right to protest abortion.
On a sheet that will probably not be handed out at the next meeting of your local Democratic Club, the ACLU has quotes from former Congressman Bob Barr, House Judiciary Chairs Henry Hyde and James Sensenbrenner, University of California Regent Ward Connerly and the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre praising the organization for its defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Most of the ACLU’s “Conservative” positions defend Free Speech or Gun rights—essentially supporting a limited role of government in society.
That the ACLU has to struggle to get itself considered as an advocate of limited government after being pigeonholed on the opposite side of the political fence is evidence of a broader contradiction within both the Republican and Democrat parties.
Within each party are tendencies to advocate both a broader and a more limited role for government. Democrats bring together Social liberals and economic totalitarians, whilst Republicans’ tent brings together Laissez Faire economic advocates with Theocrats.
Groups like the ACLU and individuals like myself, whose core belief is that the role of government should be limited really have nowhere to go and are forced to choose which evil—which are essentially Neo-Communists or Theocrats—with whom to cast our lots.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 3:05 PM | Permalink

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