April 30, 2010

Reversal: The ACLU Supports Limits on Free Speach

Floyd Abrams, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Nonetheless, we've come to this: The premier First Amendment organization in America now favors limitations on the First Amendment in the area in which all agree it must have its most powerful application—political speech during election campaigns.

Experience has shown that the kinds of campaign finance limits the ACLU now endorses have entrenched the powers-that-be even further. Thus the ACLU is prescribing a lot of First Amendment pain for no real democratic gain. And in the process of changing its policy, the principal defender of free-speech rights will abandon that field to others.

In essence, the rhetoric of egalitarianism has won a victory over freedom of speech: The new restrictions the ACLU supports will never bring about the equality it claims is its goal. This is a self-inflicted wound from which the ACLU will not soon recover.