Recently I have been having an ongoing discussion wherein I have maintained that one of the most significant differences between liberals and conservatives is that liberals are concerned with protecting the rights of everyone, whereas conservatives are primarily concerned only with protecting their own rights.
Let me be very clear about that, by rephrasing it, since we are talking about a spectrum. In general, as one moves further along the spectrum from conservative to liberal then one can be expected to become less and less selfish and more concerned with the larger community, as well. In other words, one grows up, and becomes mature enough to think beyond one’s own bedroom and toys, and capable of being responsible for the larger household and belongings of the family.
Yes, I did, in fact, just compare conservatives to children, because over the years that is precisely what they have shown themselves to be. There may have been a time when that wasn’t the case. I am trying to be generous by saying that, but it is not, as a general rule, true any more.
So, let’s look at some examples, shall we? One of the “most-well known liberal” groups in America is the American Civil Liberties Organization. What is it that makes this group liberal? Well, primarily it is that they have consistently fought for the rights of everyone in America. They have done so without regard to ideology, so long as those rights are within the bounds of the Constitution. This does mean that they have not always stood as staunch supporters of the status quo.
The ACLU has provided legal counsel in support of students’ rights, minority rights, and marriage rights. The ACLU has supported the bulwark between church and state. The ACLU has represented the Ku Klux Klan, the Westboro Baptist Church, National Man Boy Love Association, as well as students and other private individuals. The thing about the ACLU is that as an organization they consistently stand by their principles and will defend the rights of even those individuals and groups that are most repugnant to the members, if those rights are being violated by representatives of the state. I personally find all of those groups offensive, and yet, I would also personally stand up for their right to speak. Of course, I would also counter them, and speak back, because that is what free speech is.
Compare that standard to the American Civil Rights Union. A group that most of us have probably never heard of. It was founded in 1998 by a former Reagan lackey official, in response to the ACLU being too liberal. Its board is stocked with former Reagan officials, and will be until they start to die off. The ACRU is a conservative activist group that masquerades as a civil rights legal foundation. A screenshot of their home page taken on 4/14/2013 shows that they are not discussing the court cases which they are working on. They are not talking about the key civil rights issues that they are fighting for. No. They are instead hyping their political activism. They are entitled to do so, of course. However, in doing so, they make it clear that they are not a civil rights organization, and further illustrate my point.
What cases have they worked on? It doesn’t appear they have actually done anything. They have filed many briefs though. They’ve filed briefs against the ACA, against marriage equality, and in support of the 2nd amendment in various cases. They defended the Boy Scouts of America’s right to discriminate against gay troop leaders. And, so on.
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