The ACLU unconvincingly denies accusations of “mission creep”

June 10, 2021 • 10:45 am

Three days ago I highlighted a New York Times piece, “Once a bastion of free speech, the A.C.L.U. faces an identity crisis“. (This was a news report, not an op-ed.) It obviously hit home at the ACLU, because on the organization’s website their legal director, David Cole, has written a long piece defending the ACLU against the accusation that it’s undergoing mission creep by moving from defending civil liberties to engaging in social-justice work.

Click on the screenshot to read.

Cole argues strenuously, and gives examples, that the ACLU is still actively engaged in defending civil liberties—often of people or groups despised by the Left, including the NRA, Milo Yiannopoulos, Donald Trump, and so on. He gives a list of five years of civil-rights lawsuits that the ACLU has brought—from 2017 to 2021.

And, as I’ve said before, he’s got a point here: the ACLU is indeed continuing its mission. My point, and the New York Times’s was that it’s diluting its classic mission by engaging in social justice work, which isn’t in itself bad, but because some of that social justice work is not even-handed but one sided in terms of rights. Further, there are many other organizations doing social-justice work, but only the ACLU (and now the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE), has the resources and chops to defend the civil liberties of the despiséd.

In other words, the ACLU is doing what the Southern Poverty Law Center has done: taken its classic mission and, by branching off into questionable social justice activities (damning Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali for the SPLC), diluted not just its mission, but also its credibility.

I’ve written at length about the dubious stuff the ACLU is engaged in; and here’s a partial list of posts:

The ACLU backs off defending free speech in favor of promoting social justice

New improved standards proposed for adjudicating sexual misconduct in college; ACLU opposes them for “inappropriately favoring the accused”

The ACLU defends the right of biological men to compete in women’s sports

ACLU continues defending the right of medically untreated men who claim they’re women to compete in women’s sports

ACLU joins lawsuit allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports

My beefs fall into four areas.

First, the ACLU is on the side of diluting the changes in Title IX made by Betsy DeVos to guarantee a fair hearing to college students accused of sexual misconduct. Nearly all these changes brought college hearings closer to court hearings, at least in terms of guaranteeing fairness. As I’ve said, these changes are one of the few positive things accomplished by the Trump administration, and the ACLU should have favored them. Instead, as you see in one piece below, they were characterized as “inappropriately favoring the accused.”  If you read the changes, I suspect you’ll agree that the ACLU should have been in favor of them, not opposed to them.

Second, the ACLU is on a big-time movement to ensure that transgender women can compete on a level playing field (i.e., competing under their gender identity) with men in sports. This is a complex issue (see here for one possible solution), but becomes less complex with the ACLU’s claim that medically untreated transgender women (that is, biological males who have undergone neither surgery nor hormone treatment but claim a female identity) should be able to compete in sports against biological women. This is a very bad call as it’s the equivalent of biological men competing against biological women, and this violates the very reason why we separate men’s and women’s sport. Further, even with medically treated transgender women, there is an issue of fairness to biological women, since transgender women may retain strength, bone density, and muscle mass that gives them an average advantage over biological women. The ACLU’s kneejerk reaction here does not take into account the “rights” of biological women. It is an ideological stand that deviates far from the ACLU’s mission to assure civil rights for all.

Third, in tweets by ACLU branches and attorneys, they have favored censorship of books like Abigail Schrier’s, and accused cops of murder who were, by all reasonable accounts, doing their jobs. How is this fulfilling their mission of extending civil rights to all? (Chase Strangio is the ACLU staff attorney in charges of transgender issues.)

Fourth, as I discussed in a post a while back, the ACLU circulated a document in samizdat that explicitly said that they now have to consider diluting their mission when defending speech involves defending “hate speech”. As I wrote at the time (my words are indented in regular type; the ACLU’s words are indented further and italicized):

The ACLU is committed to the fundamental rights to equality and justice embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment and civil rights laws. See Policies #301-332. We are determined to fight racism in all its forms, whether explicit or implicit, and the deep-rooted institutional biases that continue to reify inequality. We are also firmly committed to fighting bigotry and oppression against other marginalized groups, including women, immigrants, religious groups, LGBT individuals, Native Americans, and people with disabilities. Accordingly, we work to extend the protections embodied in the Bill of Rights to people who have traditionally been denied those rights. And the ACLU understands that speech that denigrates such groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality.

Note that they now claim that speech that denigrates groups—including religion!—can “inflict serious harms” and “impede progress toward equality”. Here is the beginning of the slippery slope of “hate speech”. Is criticism of the Vatican, or the excesses of Islam, sufficiently harmful that the ACLU will not defend it? What about religionists who demonstrate for the right of bakers and others not to serve gays?

And remember when the ACLU defended the Klan when it wanted to march through the Jewish suburb of Skokie, Illinois? Well, no more.

We recognize that taking a position on one issue can affect our advocacy in other areas and create particular challenges for staff members engaged in that advocacy. For example, a decision by the ACLU to represent a white supremacist group may well undermine relationships with allies or coalition partners, create distrust with particular communities, necessitate the expenditure of resources to mitigate the impact of those harms, make it more difficult to recruit and retain a diverse staff and board across multiple dimensions, and in some circumstances, directly further an agenda that is antithetical to our mission and values and that may inflict harm on listeners.

Yes this document, which was leaked and is now publicly available, is characterized by Cole this way in his post of yesterday:

I led a committee representing a wide range of divergent views within the ACLU in developing guidelines for selecting cases where they present conflicts between values that the ACLU defends. We reaffirmed in that document that “As human rights, these rights extend to all, even to the most repugnant speakers — including white supremacists — and pursuant to ACLU policy, we will continue our longstanding practice of representing such groups in appropriate circumstances to prevent unlawful government censorship of speech.”

At the same time, we acknowledged the costs that can come with that representation, including to other interests and work of the organization, and outlined ways to address and mitigate the costs when we do decide to embark on that representation. That can mean making clear in public statements that we abhor the speakers’ views even as we defend their right to express them, supporting counter-protesters, and investing any attorneys’ fees we obtain in connection with the work to advance the views that the speaker opposed and that we support. Some saw even this document’s acknowledgment of the complexity of such work as an abandonment of principle, but we saw it as an honest effort to confront the challenge of being a multi-issue organization.

Read the document yourself, and see if you think that’s a fair summary. Their “mitigation of costs” completely ignores the implication in the document that they might reject cases that they’d normally take because it involves hate speech that can cause “harm”.

At any rate, there’s also been negative reaction from other quarters to what I saw as a fair report in the NYT (see this piece in The New Republic).  The TNR piece is misguided in the same way the ACLU’s mission creep is misguided: they do not prioritize free speech over hate speech.  You cannot pretend that free speech will never be construed as “hate speech”—it’s nearly always seen that way by the speech opponents.

But thank Ceiling Cat for organizations like FIRE whose principle of promulgating free speech in higher education has not been diluted.

h/t: Ginger K., Enrico

How the ACLU got woke, became political, and changed its mission

April 1, 2021 • 1:00 pm

I’ve written before about the newish movie “Mighty Ira“, a documentary about former American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) head Ira Glasser and his involvement in civil-liberties litigation in the 1970s (see my posts here and here). I highly recommend the movie, as it’s not just about Glasser or the ACLU, but also involves baseball, Jackie Robinson, and William F. Buckley. If you’re into free speech or civil liberties, and want to see them defended as they should be defended, see the movie.

In the movie, Glasser makes an offhand comment or two about how the ACLU has changed direction since he was its head, and implies he doesn’t much approve of that change. This becomes clearer in the new Tablet article below, which expands on and details something I’ve said for a while: the ACLU, like the Southern Poverty Law Center, is going down the tubes. And they’re both disintegrating for the same reason: Wokeness, i.e., they’re abandoning their original mission to engage in political activities promoting aspects of “social justice” not connected with their avowed missions.

The ACLU long had a special place in my heart because they represented me for free when I discovered I’d been drafted illegally as a conscientious objector in 1972. With their help, we initiated a successful class action suit, and it got many COs who were in my predicament released from required service. (I’ve told this story before.)

Now, however, the ACLU is making noises about how free speech might not be all it’s cracked up to be. And they’re adopting a big-time transgender agenda headed by lawyer Chase Strangio, described below. With the latter, the ACLU is taking the distinctly odd position that medically unmodified biological men who identify as women should be treated for all purposes as biological women, including sports. (The “civil liberties” of the women who have to compete against these trans women are, of course, neglected.) The original mission of the ACLU was to defend the First Amendment, no matter how offensive someone’s free speech might be (ergo they defended the Nazis in the famous Skokie case). Now they’re engaged in dismantling Title IX and backing off on free speech.

Click on the screenshot to read:

A lot of the article recounts Glasser’s history in his days with the ACLU, and sketches what the movie is about, but there’s also some telling criticism of the organization itself as its changed its mission. This is what they’re up to now:

“My successor, and the board of directors that have supported him, have basically tried to transform the organization from a politically neutral, nonpartisan civil liberties organization into a progressive liberal organization,” Glasser says about Anthony Romero, an ex-Ford Foundation executive who continues to serve as the ACLU’s executive director. According to former ACLU national board member Wendy Kaminer in her 2009 book Worst Instincts: Cowardice, Conformity, and the ACLU, Romero and his enablers routinely engaged in the sort of undemocratic and unaccountable behavior practiced by the individuals and institutions the ACLU usually took to court, like withholding information (concerning a breach of ACLU members’ privacy, no less), shredding documents in violation of its own record-preservation and transparency procedures, and attempting to muzzle board members from criticizing the organization publicly. (“You sure that didn’t come out of Dick Cheney’s office?” remarked the late, great former Village Voice columnist and ACLU board member Nat Hentoff of this last gambit). Eerily prescient, Worst Instincts foreshadowed the hypocrisy and fecklessness that has since come to characterize the leadership of so many other, previously liberal institutions confronted by the forces of illiberalism within their own ranks.

In 2018, the ACLU spent over $1 million on advertisements likening Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh to Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, essentially accusing him of crimes for which he was never tried or convicted. More egregious than their brazen political partisanship was the way in which the ads traduced the presumption of innocence, a bedrock of American jurisprudence and a principle the ACLU was founded to uphold. Asked why his organization was willing to further violate its tradition of political neutrality, Faiz Shakir, a Democratic Party operative then serving as the ACLU’s national political director, was brutally honest. “People have funded us and I think they expect a return,” he said. Glasser also points to the group’s decision to run a television advertisement supporting then-Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as a telling sign of its transformation. “I mean, I love Stacey Abrams,” Glasser told me. “She has become my favorite political character in the country. But the ACLU has always stayed away from that. Nobody attacked Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan on their civil liberties violations more vigorously and strenuously than I did. But we always stayed away from political partisanship, and it was critical for the ACLU, virtually for all its history, to have standards that were as applicable to those most of us politically supported as to those who most of us politically opposed.”

I wrote about this incident in 2018, which was the first sign to me that the ACLU was backing off on a full-fledged defense of the First Amendment. The stand of the old ACLU resembled that of the University of Chicago’s Founding Principles: there was one overriding principle that trumped almost everything else: the fostering of a climate of free speech, thought, and discussion. Our Kalven Report made it another principle for the University to avoid taking stands on political, moral, and ideological issues, which were seen as compromising this primary mission by chilling the speech of dissenters. And that is precisely what the ACLU is doing now: allowing speech to be chilled, or even promoting, as does Chase Strangio with his censoriousness, the chilling of speech (see below).

More from Tablet:

Accompanying this influx of new members and money, however, were pressures for the group to become another run-of-the-mill #Resistance outfit. In 2017, the ACLU of Virginia had supported the right of white nationalists to rally in Charlottesville. But once the rally turned violent, the national ACLU circulated an internal document with new “case selection guidelines,” stipulating, “Speech that denigrates such [marginalized] groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality.” Before agreeing to take a free speech case, the document continued, the ACLU would now consider “the potential effect on marginalized communities,” whether the speech advances the goals of speakers whose “views are contrary to our values,” and the “structural and power inequalities in the community in which the speech will occur.” A manifestation of the ACLU’s new approach can be seen in the decision by one chapter to intervene in a high-profile case at Smith College, where the group amplified bogus claims of racism leveled by a student against some of the school’s custodial and cafeteria staff.

That’s the Wokeness that’s bringing down the organization: “Free speech for all, so long as they’re not the Oppressor.” The ACLU didn’t used to consider whether speech was “contrary to our values,” for its principle was that regardless of the values of the members, the First Amendment must be defended for all speakers.

Finally, the machinations of ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio:

If the public face of the ACLU was Ira Glasser during the latter part of the previous century, today that honor can be claimed by a staff attorney named Chase Strangio. Named one of the 100 most influential people on the planet by Time magazine last year, Strangio is the ACLU’s deputy director for transgender justice. Like many activists consumed by this issue, he is uncompromising in demanding strict adherence to a set of highly contestable orthodoxies, and merciless toward anyone who dares question them. Two women who have—J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, and Abigail Shrier, author of a book about the role of “peer contagion” in the rising rate of teenage girls declaring themselves transgender—are “closely aligned with white supremacists in power,” Strangio declared on Twitter, offering not a shred of evidence for this claim. “Stopping the circulation of [Shrier’s] book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on,” he wrote, a rather bizarre position for an ACLU employee to endorse. Strangio later deleted the tweet, explaining that his intention was not to call for the government to ban Shrier’s book, but rather “to create the information climate for the market to be more supportive of trans self-determination than the alternative.”

There’s a lot more, and I’ve already excerpted a much more than I should have; but these passages especially resonate with me.  We need someone like Ira Glasser back, but good luck in finding any leader in these troubled days to support an uncompromising defense of the First Amendment.

But congrats to Tablet, which is doing some damned good reporting these days.

 

h/t: Robert

ACLU staff attorney calls for censorship of Abigail Shrier’s book on gender dysphoria

November 14, 2020 • 12:15 pm

What’s happened to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a crying shame. And I say this even though I volunteered for them, have been a member on and off, and was the recipient of their largesse when, for no fee, they represented me and four other defendants in a class-action suit about illegal drafting in New York. I went to the ACLU, and their lawyers took the case, arguing successfully in Federal court that we were drafted illegally as conscientious objectors. This freed a couple of thousand men from forced civilian service. I’ve always been deeply grateful for the ACLU’s help.

Although the ACLU is still doing a lot of good legal work defending genuine civil liberties, they’re also getting woke in a way that, to me, deeply compromises their integrity. I’ve done a fair number of posts calling out their dubious stands over the last few years; these include posts bearing these titles (click to see them):

The ACLU backs off defending free speech in favor of promoting social justice

New improved standards proposed for adjudicating sexual misconduct in college; ACLU opposes them for “inappropriately favoring the accused”

The ACLU defends the right of biological men to compete in women’s sports

ACLU continues defending the right of medically untreated men who claim they’re women to compete in women’s sports

ACLU joins lawsuit allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports

What’s especially worrying is the ACLU’s backing off on free speech (the subject of today’s short post); its pushback against one good thing that the Trump administration did: making the Title IX proceedings adjudicating sexual misconduct fairer; and the organization’s big push to defend the “right” of medically untreated biological males to participate in women’s sports. Now of course the ACLU should be defending transgender rights, for every person, regardless of gender status, should enjoy equal rights under the law, and discrimination on the basis of gender is largely illegal. And they’ve done a good job of that (see below).

But the ACLU has also gone a bit off the rails on the transgender issue, arguing that even biological men who haven’t undergone hormone therapy should be allowed to compete in sports against biological women.  As I reported a while back, the ACLU defended two Connecticut people who were born male, identify as female, and, without any hormone therapy or surgery, decided to compete against biological women in track and field. In fact they did compete, and did very well, for Connecticut law mandates that self-identification as a woman is all you need to compete in women’s sports. The ACLU buys into the argument that you’re a woman simply if you claim to be a woman.

But the organization shouldn’t be defending something so manifestly unfair. They’re also making a big push to defend transgender athletes without reservation, despite the notoriously slippery issues involved in defining “men” and “women” for transgender athletes. The standards for competing, as in the Olympics, are subject to much dispute. The ACLU’s view is apparently that a claim itself is all that’s needed to deem you a man or a woman.

And now, to my great sorrow, an ACLU staff lawyer and champion of transgender rights, Chase Strangio, has come out full bore in favor of censorship.  I’m referring to his demanding, as shown in the tweets below, censorship of a book we discussed yesterday: Abigail Shrier’s treatise on gender dysphoria in adolescent and teenage girls, Irreversible Damage.

Although Strangio’s tweets are “protected”, I assume that the two below, reproduced by “Wokal Distance”, are accurate. In the second, he blatantly advocates censorship of Irreversible Damage, “stopping the circulation of the book and these ideas.” How else can that be interpreted as censorship? And “stopping ideas” should not be the business of the ACLU, which has always defended the First Amendment. They should be defending the right of Shrier to publish her book and circulate her ideas, not fight against them. This shows how low the ACLU, at least in the person of Strangio, has fallen. An organization dedicated to defending civil liberties is calling for their suspension when they offend people.

Now Strangio has done great stuff in areas that do comport with the ACLU’s mission. Wikipedia describes two cases:

In October 2019, Strangio was one of the lawyers representing Aimee Stephens, a trans woman who was fired from her job at a funeral home, in the U.S. Supreme Court case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Strangio and his team won that case, with the conservative Supreme Court ruling 6-3 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected transgender people from employment discrimination. (The plaintiff was a transgender woman fired from a funeral home.)

Strangio was also on the team that won a similar landmark case.

In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court decided 6–3 in favor of Gerald Bostock, a gay man terminated from his job due to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, in Bostock v. Clayton County. Strangio was one of the lawyers on the case. The case ruled that it is illegal to discriminate in employment on the basis of transgender identity or sexual orientation.

But Stangio’s tweet above isn’t even a case of his deciding between two conflicting rights. There is a right to promulgate your ideas; there is no “right” for the transgender community to be protected from criticism about gender dysphoria and medical intervention in adolescent girls.

Strangio is favoring censorship, pure and simple, and a watering down of First Amendment rights: “stopping circulation of this book.” Is Shrier’s argument so injurious to transgender people, and to society in general, that it cannot be read or heard? I don’t think so.

Remember that the ACLU defended the rights of the American Nazi Party to march through Skokie, Illinois: a Jewish community. Surely that’s more hurtful than Shrier’s book, for the Nazis call for the deportation and death of Jews, while Shrier is merely telling society to examine the cause of an epidemic of gender dyphoria in young girls.  The “unwavering commitment to principle” that the ACLU itself touts in the Skokie case is apparently not shared by Strangio.

Like the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU is damaging its mission by buying into wokeness, and nobody is reining in either of these once-great organizations.  It’s a huge shame.

HuffPost’s repeated smears of Joe Biden

June 19, 2019 • 2:45 pm

HuffPost, of course, is not a source of news, but an Authoritarian Leftist rag where opinion masquerades as news. Their agenda is so transparent that you can see it simply by scanning the “headlines.”

Right now the site is busy smearing every Democratic candidate save Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and it especially hates Joe Biden. Well, I’ll tell you this: I think Biden would make a decent President, a gazillion times better than the moron who currently holds the office, and I’d vote for him over Trump any day. But I don’t yet have a favorite Democratic candidate, as it’s way too early.

But HuffPost (is it in secret thrall to Trump?) is trying to divide Democrats by backing only a few candidates and denigrating the rest. To that end, it tries to turn readers against Biden with articles like the one below, whose headline implies that Biden was either a racist or was friendly to segregationists. But read the damn article (click on screenshot):

Here’s what Biden was “guilty” of:

Speaking at a New York City hotel, Biden recalled his working relationships with the late Sens. James Eastland (D-Miss.) and Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.), who served under a much more uneven Democratic party platform. Both men fiercely opposed desegregation.

“I know the new New Left tells me that I’m ― this is old-fashioned,” Biden said, according to a pool report. “Well guess what? If we can’t reach a consensus in our system, what happens? It encourages and demands the abuse of power by a president. That’s what it does.”

Biden, who was elected to the Senate in 1973, told the crowd how Eastland used to call him “son,” rather than “boy,” and labelled Talmadge “one of the meanest guys I ever knew.”

“Well guess what? At least there was some civility,” Biden continued. “We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

. . . He has previously pointed to his successful working relationship with Eastland as proof that people with opposing views can work together in Washington. Yet Eastland and Talmadge held views that would likely shock many present-day Democrats.

This is slander, though it’s not illegal slander. Biden is not a racist, and yes, both Republicans and Democrats have demonized each other to the point where cooperation is not possible. We all know that, regardless of whom you consider most to blame. (I think it’s mostly Republicans, because while we have many centrist Democrats, centrist Republicans are very scarce.)

Recall that Lyndon Johnson courted a number of segregationist Senators to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed. He rubbed elbows with many racists to enact the greatest anti-segregationist law of our generation.

The point of the Senate and House is to make laws, and to do that you have to work with people who often hold reprehensible views. If you refused to do that, nothing would get done.

And HuffPost can shove their opinions, generated by millennials who get paid virtually nothing to parade their vacuity.

 

Two pieces on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the new allegations against him

June 4, 2019 • 10:45 am

It is curious that the accusations of sexual misconduct committed by Martin Luther King, Jr., recently published in Standpoint by his biographer, the distinguished civil rights historian David Garrow, have largely been ignored by the mainstream press. I think it’s because the press doesn’t know how to respond to accusations of rape-enabling and abuse of women by someone as distinguished as Dr. King—someone who did more than anyone else to bring civil rights to African Americans in the last century. Given the cognitive dissonance among the Authoritarian Left when two of their values collide (another example is feminism vs. Islamic misogyny), I wondered if King would be given more of a pass than others because of his accomplishments. Although the accusations against King are still under legal seal until 2027, many have been deemed guilty by allegations as unsubstantiated as those against Dr. King.

My own take so far is to adopt a wait-and-see attitude, hoping I’m around when the evidence is unsealed, and to recognize that earlier evidence already showed King to be a serial philanderer. He was imperfect—maybe criminally so—but his legacy, his actions, and his writings still mark him as one of the most accomplished figures in American history. But so was Thomas Jefferson, who held slaves. Even now, at my alma mater The College of William and Mary, Jefferson’s statue is regularly being defaced. Lately we’ve seen the demonization of people like Dr. Seuss as well as Gandhi, whose statues have been taken down in South Africa. Somehow people haven’t yet come to terms with how we regard historical figures who have done bad things by modern lights. But clearly such judgments must balance good versus bad, recognize the complex nature of humans, and should have nothing to do with someone’s race.

The New York Times has finally come to grips with the accusations about King, but only in an op-ed by one person, Barbara Ransby. [Note added in proof: they just published another piece on King that I haven’t yet read.] Ransby is a professor of history, gender and women’s studies and African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of “Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement,” “Eslanda” and “Making All Black Lives Matter.” You can read her piece below:

The piece is not really a defense of King so much as an attack on those who accept, even tentatively, that King might have been a far worse sexual predator than we know. We can rule out many on the Right who seem to glorify in these revelations, as they really don’t like what King did. But Ransby, while properly pointing out that the evidence isn’t dispositive, attacks the FBI for its attempt to depose and terrorize King (true, but it’s still possible that the transcripts are right), and even Garrow for publishing unverified information. She gives more credibility to the testimony of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford, as they were recounting their own stories rather than digging out someone else’s, as did Garrow.  And Garrow, who has impeccable credentials and no a priori animus against King, is criticized for wanting public attention,  for seeming to “want his own Me first spotlight by getting out in front of an unsubstantiated story” by telling the stories of women who can’t tell the stories themselves. That’s a bit unfair: many of the women are dead and even Garrow thinks that we need to wait before revising our judgment of King as a man (see below). Her subheading implies that Garrow is a “historical peeping Tom”.

Finally, Ransby brings in “resurgent white nationalism” to buttress King’s historical legacy, which stands untarnished to all rational people, and the racist way in which King’s “black sexuality” was described by the FBI. Probably true, but again irrelevant to the questions about his character. After all, it was King who talked about judging a man by “the content of his character.”

To be fair, Ransby does say, and I agree, that we need to wait until 2027 before we begin the painful process of evaluation:

If in 2027 when the full F.B.I. tapes are released there is credible and corroborated evidence that a sexual assault occurred and Dr. King was somehow involved, we will have to confront that relevant and reprehensible information head-on. But we are not there.

Indeed, but Ransby’s piece still looks a bit tendentious. King’s historical accomplishments are secure, though the man was imperfect and may have even been a malefactor, but neither she nor Garrow know the truth, and there’s no need to discredit Garrow and the FBI (which of course did do pretty awful things) in advance of the tapes’ release.

Politico has what I see as the most reasoned take about this whole issue, more so than Ransby’s piece (click on screenshot):

An excerpt of their piece (my emphasis):

The reports are full of erotic details and include revealing handwritten marginalia. But to the uninitiated, the written reports that Garrow cites are hard to interpret. They can’t be checked against the original surveillance tapes, which remain sealed, according to a judge’s order, until 2027. It’s hard to tell from a glance who precisely authored them, for what purpose they were drafted or what information they’re based on. It is Garrow’s decades of expertise in reviewing and analyzing FBI materials about King that gives these startling revelations their weight. Garrow has explained that while not all FBI claims are to be believed, these sorts of summaries of surveillance intercepts are unlikely to have been fabricated or manipulated.

And Garrow’s overall assessment is measured. Nowhere does he renounce the esteem for King that can be seen in his three important books on the minister’s life. Rather, he proposes that the possibility King tolerated or abetted a rape “poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible.” Garrow concludes with a call to preserve the recordings on which the FBI reports are based, so that we can learn more when they’re scheduled to be opened eight years from now.

. . .the Washington Post’s “Retropolis” blog, which declares Garrow’s article to be “irresponsible.” The thrust of the article is to insinuate that the FBI reports aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, and so Garrow shouldn’t have published them. But while the Post piece quotes some respected historians (including friends of mine) rightly noting that the FBI documents may not be entirely reliable—not least because of Hoover’s vendetta against King—it avoids the obvious, if painful, corollary that they may well be accurate to a significant degree. We should at least allow the possibility that the accusations are true.

That’s why it’s a mistake to discount Garrow’s article wholesale. Any historian who came across a new cache of documents related to a longstanding area of research would feel compelled to explore it—and, if those materials shed new light on the subject, to publish them.

. . .King’s greatness is such that he has weathered these disclosures. The rape charges are of course graver, but they don’t negate the historic achievements for which he has long been properly celebrated.

Even if the ugliest charges against King are bolstered by additional evidence, that doesn’t mean we should talk about renaming Martin Luther King Day, tearing down statues of him, or stripping him of his Nobel Prize. In recent years, we’ve had altogether too much wrecking-ball history—history that takes public or private flaws or failings as reason to cast extraordinary men and women out of our political or artistic pantheons. Historians know that even the most admirable figures from our past were flawed, mortal beings—bad parents or bad spouses, capable of violence or cruelty, beholden to sexist or racist ideas, venal or megalomaniac, dishonest or predatory. Awareness of these qualities doesn’t mean despising figures once held up as heroes. Rather, it gives us a more complete and nuanced picture of the people who shaped our world.

Garrow acted responsibly, I think. He put the tentative evidence out there, alerting historians to what he found and what needs to be examined in eight years. He is a reporter, neither an accuser nor a jury.

Until we know the real evidence, we should neither discount nor accept wholesale Garrow’s claims. And we should balance King’s private behavior against his accomplishments as a leader. But that standard should go for everyone, including Thomas Jefferson and Mahatma Gandhi.

h/t: cesar

A new portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. by one of his biographers paints him as a rape accomplice and abuser of women

May 30, 2019 • 10:35 am

Along with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my heroes. Both men, using their labor, their writing, their dedication, and especially their devotion to nonviolent civil disobedience, effected enormous social change. Gandhi helped get the British to “quit India”; King helped lead the civil rights struggles of the sixties that ended legal segregation. (King was of course influenced by Gandhi.)

And yes, both men were imperfect. Gandhi had some bizarre ideas about sex, neglected his wife, and thought India could support itself from the handloom industry. We all know of King’s marital infidelities, which were taped by the nefarious J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, with the recordings sent to King’s wife Coretta Scott King.

But not until now has the full extent of King’s serial infidelities become clear, and—far worse—his usage of woman as sexual objects and, worst of all, at least one case of rape which he egged on. Four days ago the Times of London published excerpts of an upcoming article by King’s biographer, but I haven’t read the article below because it’s behind a paywall.

The Times piece presages an article by  David Garrow, who is far from being a detractor of King. Garrow is a distinguished historian of both King and the civil rights movement, and here are his bona fides from Wikipedia:

He wrote the book Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1986), which won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. He also wrote Liberty and Sexuality (1994), a history of the legal struggles over abortion and reproductive rights in the U.S. prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama (2017), and other works.

Garrow writes frequently on the history of the United States Supreme Court and the history of the Civil Rights Movement, and regularly contributes articles on these subjects to non-academic publications including The New York TimesThe NationThe Financial Times, and The New Republic.

Garrow was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1975 before receiving his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1981.

Garrow served as a senior adviser for Eyes on the Prize, the award-winning PBS television history of the Civil Rights Movement covering the years 1954–1965. He has taught at Duke University (Instructor of History; 1978–1979), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Assistant Professor of History; 1980–1984), the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center (Associate and full Professor of History; 1984–1991), The Cooper Union (Visiting Distinguished Professor of History; 1992–1993), the College of William and Mary (James Pinckney Harrison Visiting Professor of History; 1994–1995), American University (Distinguished Historian in Residence; 1995–1996) and the Emory University School of Law (Presidential Distinguished Professor; 1997–2005). From 2005 to 2011, Garrow was a senior research fellow at Homerton College, Cambridge. From 2011 until 2018 he served as Professor of Law and History and John E. Murray Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

I read Bearing the Cross many years ago, and loved it; it well deserved the Pulitzer, and it, too, was no hit job on King.  It did, as I recall, mention King’s infidelities, but we knew of them already, and they seemed limited, appearing to be a form of consensual adulterous sex that, while casting him as a bit of a hypocrite, didn’t seem to greatly tarnish his image as a civil rights leader.

But Garrow has now spent many hours listening to newly released FBI tapes and documents bearing on King’s life, and has a very dark tale to tell. Rod Dreher published some excerpts in The American Conservative last week (click on screenshot below), but I wanted to hold off until Garrow’s own article came out. You can read Dreher’s excerpts by clicking on the screenshot below, but there’s no substitute for the Standpoint piece below that, which was apparently rejected by several venues. As the American Spectator notes:

The UK’s Guardian commissioned David Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Martin Luther King, to write an article detailing his shocking discoveries about the civil rights leader’s behind-closed-doors behavior, before pulling out with a kill fee. “Garrow had similar experiences with the Atlantic magazine and with the Washington Post — both of which he had written for before,” Michael Mosbacher writes at Standpoint, which publishes the controversial article on Thursday. “Conservative magazines in the US also felt the story was too risky to run. The same response came from a web magazine whose raison d’être is to fight for free speech. When Standpoint decided to publish it, the longest essay we have ever run, I approached a prominent British historian to write an article putting the revelations into context. The response: ‘No way! I’ll try to think of someone else who has the guts to drink from that particular poisoned chalice.’”

How can such a story be too risky to run in venues that wrote piece after piece about Harvey Weinstein? Well, we know: King is an American hero. But he misused his power just as Harvey Weinstein did. At a time when the personal lives of historical figures are being reassessed, King seemed untouchable, and shame on The Guardian, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post for not running this story: a story put together by King’s distinguished biographer.

Well, Garrow’s article was published only three hours ago in the UK magazine Standpoint, which is free online (click on screenshot):

It’s horrible—King’s behavior, that is. I will give only a few excerpts:

Newly-released documents reveal the full extent of the FBI’s surveillance of the civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King in the mid-1960s. They expose in graphic detail the FBI’s intense focus on King’s extensive extramarital sexual relationships with dozens of women, and also his presence in a Washington hotel room when a friend, a Baptist minister, allegedly raped one of his “parishioners”, while King “looked on, laughed and offered advice”. The FBI’s tape recording of that criminal assault still exists today, resting under court seal in a National Archives vault.

The FBI, of course, loved this stuff, and they come off as nefarious and disgusting. But we knew that:

The FBI documents also reveal how its Director, J. Edgar Hoover, authorised top Bureau officials to send Dr King a tape-recording of his sexual activities along with an anonymous message encouraging him to take his own life.

The complete transcripts and surviving recordings are not due to be released until 2027 but when they are made fully available a painful historical reckoning concerning King’s personal conduct seems inevitable.

This information comes from transmitters planted in King’s hotel rooms by the FBI:

Staying in one of the two targeted rooms was King’s friend Logan Kearse, the pastor of Baltimore’s Cornerstone Baptist Church and, like King, the holder of a PhD from the Boston University School of Theology. Kearse “had brought to Washington several women ‘parishioners’ of his church”, a newly-released summary document from Sullivan’s personal file on King relates, and Kearse invited King and his friends to come and meet the women. “The group met in his room and discussed which women among the parishioners would be suitable for natural or unnatural sex acts. When one of the women protested that she did not approve of this, the Baptist minister immediately and forcibly raped her,” the typed summary states, parenthetically citing a specific FBI document (100-3-116-762) as its source. “King looked on, laughed and offered advice,” Sullivan or one of his deputies then added in handwriting.

And shades of Donald Trump:

At the Willard Hotel, King and his friends’ activities resumed the following evening as approximately 12 individuals “participated in a sex orgy” which the prudish Sullivan felt included “acts of degeneracy and depravity . . . When one of the women shied away from engaging in an unnatural act, King and several of the men discussed how she was to be taught and initiated in this respect. King told her that to perform such an act would help your soul.” Sometime later, in language that would reflect just how narrow Sullivan’s mindset was, “King announced that he preferred to perform unnatural acts on women and that he had started the ‘International Association for the Advancement of Pussy Eaters’.” Anyone familiar with King’s often-bawdy sense of humour would not doubt that quotation.

There is intimation of tax fraud, and evidence of prostitution. This is the last excerpt I can put up because reading them almost makes me weep. And believe me, there are a lot more such stories.

[FBI] Agent William H. Been had heard rumours that King had patronised a local prostitute and decided that given King’s “position as a God-fearing man of the cloth . . . perhaps a casual inquiry made to the prostitute in question might shed an interesting side light to King’s extra-curricular activities”. At 3 a.m. on May 16 Been met Gail LaRue, a married 28-year-old who had left four children from a prior marriage in Sheridan, Wyoming. Gail explained that at 2 a.m. on April 27, a hotel bellman had asked her to go to the New Frontier Hotel and see the well-known black gospel musician Clara Ward, whose Clara Ward Singers were performing there. In the lobby, Ward handed Gail $100 and told her: “I have a couple of friends in town that would like to meet you and have you take care of them.” Ward said “she was paying Gail . . . because these two men did not believe in paying a girl for her service and for Gail to keep quiet about receiving any money.”

Clara took Gail to the bar at the Sands Hotel and made a call on the house phone. Martin Luther King then appeared in the bar and took both women to his room, where all three began drinking. King phoned one of his colleagues and told him to “get your damned ass down here because I have a beautiful white broad here”. Then “both the Rev King and Clara Ward stripped naked and told Gail to do the same.” With Gail seated in a chair, “King went down on his knees and started nibbling on her right breast, while Clara Ward did the same with her left breast. Gail then stated, ‘I guess the Reverend got tired of that and put his head down between my legs and started nibbling on “that”.’ After a while he got up and told Clara Ward to try some of it, so Clara went down on Gail for a while. Gail stated, ‘I think Clara Ward is queer’.”

Then King had intercourse with Gail while Clara watched. “After what Gail stated seemed like hours, King rolled off and had another drink, then climbed back on for a second go around.” After King paused again, his friend showed up, had a drink, and had intercourse with Gail “while both Clara Ward and the Rev King watched the action from a close-by position”, with Clara sometimes stroking Gail as well. “Gail then stated that she was getting scared as they were pretty drunk and all using filthy language and at last she told Clara Ward she would have to go.” Clara informed King, who “then whispered in Gail’s ear, ‘I would like to try you sometime again if I could get you away from Clara’.”

Here is Garrow’s conclusion:

King’s far-from monogamous lifestyle, like his binge-drinking, may fit albeit uncomfortably within his existing life story, but the suggestion—actually more than one—that he either actively tolerated or personally employed violence against any woman, even while drunk, poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible.

There’s no doubt that the FBI comes off badly, with its obsession about King and his sex life and his attempts to get him to kill himself, but we’ve long known that J. Edgar Hoover was a reprehensible human being: an arrogant dictator who wielded absolute power for decades, using it to destroy whom he considered the enemies of America.

The big question, of course, is not whether King was a bad person: he clearly was a horrible person in many ways, even a criminal, but also did enormous good in advancing civil rights. He was a mixed person, but far more mixed than any of us suspected or that any of us would like.

What happens now? Perhaps the Left will treat him differently from, say Harvey Weinstein, because King was such a force for good, but he did exactly what Weinstein did: used his power to seduce, degrade, and even rape women. Garrow is clearly disturbed as well. But will statues of King be taken down now? If not, why not?

What we face is a need to revise our assessment of a man now dead, not of his leadership of the civil rights movement. I weep for his victims, and I weep for his family, now subject to a revelation that he was an odious sexual predator. I cannot see overlooking the latter because of the good he did. If what Garrow wrote is true—and I have every expectation that it is—it will be interesting to see what happens now. Nobody can accuse Garrow of confecting rumors to destroy King’s reputation.

Should Garrow have ignored this story? No, of course not: in fact, he is the best person to tell it. And he has an obligation, as King’s biographer, to paint a full picture of the man.  How sad that this picture is now marred in a way most of us never suspected. As someone said, “We live in interesting times,” but in this case I wish the times weren’t so interesting—that King was as upright a man in private as he was in public. But he was human, with all of our flaws, and some of his flaws are both reprehensible and criminal. He’ll never look the same to anyone, including admirers like me.

I am eager to hear readers’ take on this: how do you think we should look at King now?

h/t: cesar

Morris Dees fired from the Southern Poverty Law Center

March 15, 2019 • 1:30 pm

I’ve posted a fair amount about the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which at one time was a great organization fighting segregation and pushing for civil liberties (see my posts here).  But, as civil rights became national law, the organization started changing its mission, which largely became fighting “hate speech.” That is not necessarily bad, but the SPLC became so social justice-y that they started making “hate lists” that included people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz who featured on a list of “anti-Muslim extremists” (Nawaz is a Muslim, for crying out loud). Further, they also went after “cultural appropriation” of Cinco de Mayo, pretty close to a victimless crime for these people. Finally, it was revealed by several outlets, including Politico, that the founders and top lawyers of the SPLC made huge and unconscionable salaries, and that they even stashed a lot of the organization’s money in offshore accounts for reasons that aren’t clear.

I was thus pleased when Nawaz sued the SPLC and won a $3.4 million settlement as well as an apology, and when the SPLC removed that “hate list” from their site.  Now, according to the NYT and other venues, the founder and big macher in the whole shebang, Morris Dees, once an effective and admirable civil-right litigator, has been ousted from the organization after nebulous charges of “inappropriate conduct”. That conduct isn’t clear yet, but may include, ironically, poor treatment of women and blacks. The NYT story is below:

From the article:

The group’s president, Richard Cohen, did not give a specific reason for the dismissal of Mr. Dees, 82, on Wednesday. But Mr. Cohen said in a statement that as a civil-rights group, the S.P.L.C. was “committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world.”

“When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action,” Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen’s statement suggested that Mr. Dees’s firing was linked to workplace conduct. He said the center, which is based in Montgomery, Ala., had requested “a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices” in a bid to ensure that the organization was a place where “all voices are heard and all staff members are respected.”

Note that Dees denies the charges vehemently; the tweets below were posted by Josh Moon, who writes for The Alabama Political Reporter:

Some of the reporting, including the first tweet above, intimates that another factor in Dees’s firing could have been the change in mission of the SPLC from a genuine civil rights group to a social-justice enforcement group:

Mr. Dees and the S.P.L.C. have been credited with undermining the influence of the Ku Klux Klan and extremist groups. But in recent years, the center has come under scrutiny for its classifications of “hate groups,” and whether the organization has abused that label in pursuit of a political agenda or increased donations.

The center has tracked extremist activity and hate groups throughout the country since the 1980s. Its 2018 Intelligence Project reportidentified 1,020 hate groups, its largest number ever. Conservatives have accused the group of unfairly including right-leaning organizations on the list.

. . .“I am glad to see Dees leave S.P.L.C., whatever the reason,” William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School and an outspoken critic of the group, said on Thursday.

“S.P.L.C. long ago focused on combating the Ku Klux Klan, but then abused the reputation it earned for those efforts by demonizing political opponents through the use of hate and extremist lists to stifle speech by people who presented no risk of violence,” Mr. Jacobson said.

I’m glad to see hm go, too. It’s time for fresh blood and a rededication to the original mission of the SPLC, fighting genuine oppression and bigotry. As the Montgomery Advertiser reports, an outside group will be examining the group’s direction:

“Today we announced a number of immediate, concrete next steps we’re taking, including bringing in an outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve — one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected,” [SPLC President Richard] Cohen said.

This group has about half a BILLION dollars in assets, and that dosh can be used to do real good rather than making up “little lists.”

NYT conflates civility with indifference to injustice

June 30, 2018 • 1:30 pm

Yes, folks, the New York Times is suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, at least if they publish op-eds like the one below (click on the screenshot to read it). Sugrue was motivated to write his piece by acts like the expulsion of Sarah Huckabee Sanders from a restaurant and the verbal attack on White House advisor Stephen Miller in a Mexican restaurant. I have decried this incivility and still do, as it accomplishes nothing except make the Left look bad and allow Leftists to parade their virtue. Others disagree with me, and I invite them to pick a number, get in line, and so on. . .

Thomas Sugrue is a professor of history and social and cultural analysis at New York University. And his piece is just a big mess, because his apparent point is to say that we of the Left shouldn’t try to be civil to individual members of the Trump administration in public because nothing socially progressive was ever accomplished by civility. But he mistakes social civility with public “civility” as the ignoring of calls for justice.

Sugrue’s example is the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

He says, correctly, that much of the success of that movement was due to the use of civil disobedience (note the word “civil”): peaceful violation of the law, putting protestors at personal risk for the great good of integration. An important part of that tactic was nonviolent resistance, which King derived, in part, from Gandhi. But to Sugrue, the protests were “violent” in the sense that whites reacted violently; and it was the sight of dogs and fire hoses being turned on peacefully protesting blacks that turned America’s stomach but also turned their hearts towards civil rights.

According to Sugrue, these protests were “disruptive”, and of course they were, though not terribly disruptive. They were disruptive to the social order of the South, where blacks couldn’t eat at lunch counters or ride in the front of buses. And so Sugrue argues that it’s okay for us to now be disruptive because that’s the only way to achieve our aim: getting rid of the Trump administration and making our country more progressive. His form of “disruption” is apparently harassing and embarrassing the Right in restaurants and gas stations.

As he argues, unconvincingly:

But, in fact, civil rights leaders, while they did believe in the power of nonviolence, knew that their success depended on disruption and coercion as much — sometimes more — than on dialogue and persuasion. They knew that the vast majority of whites who were indifferent or openly hostile to the demands of civil rights would not be moved by appeals to the American creed or to bromides about liberty and justice for all. Polite words would not change their behavior.

. . . [Martin Luther] King aimed some of his harshest words toward advocates of civility, whose concerns aligned with the hand-wringing of many of today’s politicians and pundits. From his Birmingham jail cell, King wrote: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.” King knew that whites’ insistence on civility usually stymied civil rights. [JAC: note that he conflates public “order” with the “order” of not harassing Republicans in restaurants.]

Those methods of direct action — disruptive and threatening — spurred the Kennedy administration to move decisively.

. . . He tasked his staff with drafting what could eventually become the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dialogue was necessary but far from sufficient for passage of civil rights laws. Disruption catalyzed change.

That history is a reminder that civility is in the eye of the beholder. And when the beholder wants to maintain an unequal status quo, it’s easy to accuse picketers, protesters and preachers alike of incivility, as much because of their message as their methods. For those upset by disruptive protests, the history of civil rights offers an unsettling reminder that the path to change is seldom polite.

This is about as stupid an argument as I can imagine, but who ever said professors had common sense? There is a difference between disruptive civil disobedience in the cause of justice and insulting Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a restaurant. The former galvanizes America and focuses its attention on great injustice; the latter accomplishes nothing except make centrists dislike the Left and embarrass the rest of us. (Well, many of us.) Dr. King would never have called for, or approved of, insulting members of the administration in public, demonizing them, or making their personal lives miserable. Civil disobedience is a public act: a peaceful defiance of the law to call attention to injustice. (I’ve practiced it myself.)

Insulting Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Stephen Miller in public places is not the same thing as sitting in at lunch counters or marching to Selma. Sugrue should know this, but apparently doesn’t recognize the difference between treating an individual human with civility and ignoring calls for integration because it’s “uncivil” and leads to “disruption.”

In fact, I’ll go so far as to call Sugrue a moron, and to call out the New York Times for publishing lame tripe like his, pretending that it’s a serious and thoughtful piece.  The downgrading of journalistic standards, and of gravitas in thought, is one of the symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Ireland’s Same Sex Marriage Referendum: The Losing Side responds.

July 31, 2015 • 2:03 pm

by Grania Spingies

In May this year Ireland voted to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. The results demonstrated that there is a bizarre disconnect in the Catholic Church. While Bishops and other dignitaries urged a No vote and then denounced the subsequent result; the slam-dunk victory for equality came from the very people the Bishops had been counting on: the average Irish Catholic.

Some of the subsequent responses of those hoping for a No vote have been saner than others.

Prior to the election certain hard-liners amongst the clergy had warned that the Church would no longer conduct the civil part of the marriage ceremony if Ireland voted Yes. It’s not clear to me whether this was intended to be some sort of threat to motivate the general public to vote for the “right” thing; or whether the powers that be were simply overthinking things and thought this would protect them from having to conduct same sex marriages. Either way, they have done an about-face on this position. Considering the demand for civil ceremonies is on the rise in Ireland and church attendance is dwindling, this may have been a very sensible decision on the part of the Bishops. They had little to gain, but there was the prospect of plenty of money and good will to lose.

Then there were the law suits. These were private applications challenging the legality of the Referendum. Both seemed to be weak and spurious claiming that the Referendum was “unfair”. The argument seemed to be based on the fact that more people appeared to be voicing support for a Yes vote and that therefore the No vote was not getting equal coverage.

My favorite allegation: An Post (the Irish post office) issuing a St Valentine’s Day Love stamp with an equality symbol was a “subliminal message” influencing the Irish voter.

 

Both cases lost and their appeals were rejected yesterday.

Last, and almost certainly least, we get to the lonely campaign waged by the so-called Dublin-based “Children’s Protection Society”, whose decades-long battle against modernity and secularism makes liberal use of conspiracy theories and made-up facts; from their 1996 battle against condoms being made available in vending machines, to their rabid pro-life screed (it’s certainly colorful and creative) and in recent days this was handed out at a public shopping center.

https://twitter.com/LeanIago/status/626400576373411841

 

It’s possible that this is simply meant as a punitive rebuke to all those who voted Yes in the Referendum. One can only assume that its authors firmly believe that no-one knows how to use the Internet to verify its spittle-flecked claims.

Either way, they’ve lost. There isn’t going to be a do-over. Only time will tell whether the naysayers will choose to accept that gracefully or whether they will continue to rail against it.