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    Fearful freedom

    Wendy Kaminer has a column in Opinion Journal about the ACLU’s increasing political slant, visible more through omission than through commission. The shift is bad enough simply because it’s a corruption of the organization’s supposed mission, but it has the nasty side-effect of playing into the sort of condescending gays-are-emotionally-frail-and-need-to-be-shielded-from-hostility malarkey that’s a real impediment to progress:

    [I]n 2004, when Tyler Chase Harper was disciplined for wearing a T-shirt declaring his religious objections to homosexuality, civil libertarians might have expected the ACLU to protest loudly. Mr. Harper was barred from attending classes when he wore the antigay T-shirt to school on an official “Day of Silence,” when gay students taped their mouths to symbolize the silencing effect of intolerance. Represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, he sued the school district. That same year, the ACLU initiated the first of two actions against a Missouri school that punished students for wearing “gay supportive T-shirts,” eventually securing a promise from the school to “stop censoring,” the ACLU Web site boasts. Mr. Harper, however, was unsuccessful in his quest to stop school censorship. In a patronizing, antilibertarian decision in which Judge Stephen Reinhardt stressed the imagined feelings of gay students, the Ninth Circuit rejected Mr. Harper’s First Amendment claims. (There was a sharp dissent from Judge Alex Kozinski.)

    Perhaps the ACLU was observing its own prolonged Day of Silence, because, while it pays close attention to federal appellate court decisions on civil liberties, it effectively ignored this terrible precedent, even when Mr. Harper appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court dismissed the case as moot because Mr. Harper had graduated but took the unusual step of vacating the decision so that it no longer exists as precedent (no thanks to the ACLU).

    Yeah, I’m focusing on the gay thing because it’s a pet peeve of mine, but Kaminer has more on the Muhammed cartoons and counseling related to abortion. None of it’s really news, but it’s disturbing to see it all laid out together and coherently.

    In better news, Kaminer is one of the bloggers at thefreeforall.net. Good reading if you were won over by the likes of I’m Dysfunctional, You’re Dysfunctional.

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