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Megan McArdle @asymmetricinfo
, 13 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Good morning, Twitter! I am behind on so many Tweetstorms! I apologize for the inconvenience, but I was unavoidably delayed by the Supreme Court's rather busy week.
We begin with my column on the ACLU, in which I ask whether its twin civil rights and civil liberties missions have not become untenable.…
I'll be honest: I expected more pushback on a call to break up the ACLU into two organizations, one doing civil rights and the other doing civil liberties.
The main questions I've gotten have come in two categories. The first is why it's a bad thing if pursuing speech rights takes a backseat to civil liberties. The people asking this question clearly believe that in any conflict between speech and equity, speech should lose.
But of course, sometimes equity loses. The ACLU is at the moment simultaneously criticizing Jesse Singal's speech about trans kids, and defending Milo Yiannanopoulos, who likes to say "feminism is cancer".
So if you don't want your issues to sometimes end up in the back seat, you should want an organization pursuing them that doesn't have to make tradeoffs.
The other question is why the ACLU should stop doing the work it was founded for, and is best known for, on speech. Well, organizations don't necessarily stick to what they were founded for; Henry Ford would probably be horrified to see what the Ford Foundation has become.
Now my preference would be for the ACLU to step back on the social issues and prioritize first amendment and fourth amendment rights (which don't conflict in the same way). But that doesn't seem very realistic.
And if they don't step back on speech issues, they will continue to vacuum up the bulk of the donor dollars and legal talent in this area. Which makes it hard to start another organization to do what they are unwilling to on the speech front.
I had a long talk with Harvey Silverglate about whether a group like FIRE should expand its mission to first amendment rights more broadly. But he made the point that the reason FIRE is so successful is precisely that it sticks to its single mission.
(I pause to note that Greg Lukianoff, the head of FIRE, is a personal friend.)
Single-mission organizations, vigorously pursuing various goals, put the decisions on these questions back where they should be: in the court of public opinion, and the courts. Rather than letting internal debate substitute for public judgment.
And that's it for the tweetstorm. Please read the column here:…
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