ACLU Derangement Syndrome

In a post found at Clayton Cramer’s Blog, Cramer has posted a critique of Richard Dawkins’s statement that religion is a virus and teaching it to children is a form of child abuse. Mr. Dawkins has many wonderful things to say. That’s not one of them. However, Mr. Cramer seems to be furious that Dawkins has an opinion on the subject. In the course of his diatribe he says this:

“Ah, that’s it! The ACLU will argue that children have a right to not be mentally abused by exposure to religion. This was, after all, the policy of the Soviet Union, which prohibited teaching religion to those under 18, and the ACLU’s founder was a defender of Soviet practices on civil liberties.”

The Volokh Conspiracy calls what Mr. Cramer did the “ACLU Derangement Syndrome.” A *very* nice way to describe it! It’s a syndrome where the victim cannot think rationally about a subject but becomes deranged at the mention of the irritant.

Mr. Cramer fails to mention that while Baldwin, ACLU’s founder, did write an essay defending Soviet practices in 1924, in 1939 he changed his mind and withdrew all support, becoming a severe critic of the Soviet Union. In fact he purged all communists from ACLU ranks.

In checking the facts for the above, I ran across several rabidly anti-ACLU websites that fail to reveal Baldwin’s change of heart. It seems the ACLU Derangement Syndrome is rather widespread.

Civil liberties are widely hated by the religious right and the right wing in general. Considering Bush’s open admission of breaking the law when he ordered wire taps on US citizens, that’s not a big surprise.

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