Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ACLU Stifling Dissent from the ACLU Board Members

Heh. I'm just not getting this, but it's striking me as ironic in a funny way.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which prides itself on its defense of free speech, is considering new standards that would discourage its board members from publicly criticizing the organization.

"Where an individual director disagrees with a board position on matters of civil liberties policy, the director should refrain from publicly highlighting the fact of such disagreement," the committee that compiled the standards wrote in its proposals. The reason?

"Directors should remember that there is always a material prospect that public airing of the disagreement will affect the ACLU adversely in terms of public support and fund-raising," the proposals state.

Censorship? Nah, couldn't be.
Nat Hentoff, a writer and former ACLU board member, declared:

"For the national board to consider promulgating a gag order on its members - I can't think of anything more contrary to the reason the ACLU exists."

Muriel Morisey, a law professor at Temple University and another former board member, said the proposals were an effort to stifle dissent.

"It sets up a framework for punitive action," she told the Times. The proposals state that "a director may publicly disagree with an ACLU policy position, but may not criticize the ACLU board or staff."

That's just so interesting. We'll defend your right to dissent, unless you are on our board.

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