Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

ACLU Encourages Police State

Jerry Stratton, May 25, 2003

Dear Mr. Romero:

I have just received your request that I join the ACLU. I will not join, for the same reason that I quit years ago: the ACLU is part of the problem. Of the five “assaults” you list that Ashcroft is implementing, three of them are the direct result of ACLU policies regarding self-defense.

As long as people are encouraged to rely on the state for their protection, they will require that the state have massive police powers.

Our legal system--the one that you claim to want to keep free--is built on the foundation that every individual is responsible for their own defense. Because of this, we can “let nine criminals free rather than jail one honest citizen”. When the rights of self-defense are removed--as ACLU policy and the ACLU web page supports--then the public will demand that our standard of proof be lowered. They will prefer jailing the occasional honest person in order to ensure that no criminal goes free.

When people are responsible for their own defense, we can go without a pro-active legal system. We can afford to wait until criminals commit a crime before jailing them. But when the state is responsible for the people’s defense, people will demand that the state round up and incarcerate potential criminals--“criminals” who have committed no crime except to fit into a profile of a potential criminal.

When people are responsible for their own defense, we can limit police intrusion on our private lives. But when the police are responsible for our defense, people will require that they be able to detect crimes before those crimes happen, by any means possible.

As long as the ACLU supports removing the rights and responsibilities of self-defense, there will be nothing the ACLU can do to stop the build-up of extremist police powers. You may win small battles here and there, but the public outcry for police powers will always push you two steps back for every step you gain. If you get the courts to rule against a police power that the public want the police to have, the people will ensure that the police have that power by whatever means possible.

If the right to self-defense is a “collective” one, as you state on the ACLU web site, then the people will grant the state, whatever state necessary, whatever powers are necessary to defend them from crime.

When the Southern California chapter says on the Southern California ACLU web site, that the second amendment is a state power that has nothing to do with individuals, they are contributing to the same police powers they claim to fight; California’s three-strikes laws, Los Angeles’s attempts to crack down on the homeless, these are all the result--the direct result--of people thinking that if the state is the only organization with the right to protect them, then they will give the state all the power it needs.

Fortunately, the right to self-defense is not a power of the state, but a right of individuals, as are all the rights of the people in the bill of rights. Your stand on the second amendment uses quotes out of context to mislead, its conclusion is seriously out of step with current scholarship on the subject, and it actively encourages rising police power. Until you publicly change that, I cannot support the ACLU, because the ACLU is directly contributing to the rise of police power in the United States. I cannot support that.

Jerry Stratton

January 13, 2005: Reading your ACLU Letter

If we cannot truly turn to the ACLU for help, then where do we turn to at this time? What legal organizations are there if any that will truly assist people in need?

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