Blogs > Liberty and Power > How Bill O'Reilly Persuaded Me to Join the ACLU

Aug 5, 2005 10:26 am

How Bill O'Reilly Persuaded Me to Join the ACLU

For quite awhile now, I've flirted with the idea of joining the ACLU, mostly for the organization's work on drug laws, upholding criminal protections, and its opposition to the PATRIOT Act.

Problem is, each time I come close to joining, the ACLU takes some public, statist position on the ADA, affirmative action, speech codes, or tries to defend a positive right -- a right to education, for example, or a right to access to the welfare state.

Last night I was flipping through the channels, and happened on the beginning of Bill O'Reilly's show just as we was ticking off his "Talking Points" segment. O'Reilly jumped off on the ACLU's oppposition to New York City subway searches, then ran off a list of anti-terror measures the ACLU has opposed since 9/11. This was supposed to make me hate the ACLU. As it turns out, I oppose just about every anti-terror proposal on O'Reilly's list of outrages.

Then, O'Reilly went off the deep end. Excerpt:
"Talking Points" could go on and on, but you get the picture. If the ACLU ever wants money, it should contact the Al Qaeda fundraisers. No organization in America enables terrorism as much as the ACLU, period. It is putting your life in danger. And that is no exaggeration.

Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about it. No way to stop it. The ACLU operates within the law and uses the legal system to oppose the war on terror. And there are enough loony judges around to give that organization power, especially here in New York City and in San Francisco.

The only thing we can do is hold people who raise and give money to the ACLU accountable. In the weeks to come,"The Factor" will tell you who these people and organizations are, so you can decide whether or not you want to do business with them.
That was more than enough for me. This morning, I became one of those people Bill O'Reilly wants you to stop doing business with.

I am now a card-carrying member of the ACLU. And it's thanks to Bill O'Reilly.

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More Comments:

John T. Kennedy - 8/8/2005

"I can make as good of a case that the right to vote is as positive a right as the right to clean water or an adequate standard of living."

Becuase a right to vote *is* a positive right.

John T. Kennedy - 8/8/2005

...need not be your friend.

The fact that Bill O'Reilly makes stupid arguments against the ACLU is a really poor reason for joining. I'm sure he has stupid arguments against Al Qeada too.

chris l pettit - 8/6/2005

I can't believe that there are those still promotong the fallacy of positive and negative rights...

Every right has positive and negative aspects. I can make as good of a case that the right to vote is as positive a right as the right to clean water or an adequate standard of living.

I suppose there were people who thought the Earth was flat for a well as those who still believe in doesnt surprise me that there are those ignorant (Buddhist definition meaning blinded by ideology or misinformed) enough to claim that there are such things as negative and positive rights. Whats next? I suppose there are first second and thrid generation rights as well? You are not speaking of rights or law in any are speaking in purely ideological terms...phrase it that way...or else let those who are actually authorities on the matter explain to you how things actually work outside of the ideological bubble.


Keith Halderman - 8/5/2005

On his radio program O'Reilly began his segment on the subway searches by responding to a caller and more or less admitting that the exercise was symbloic and unlikey to prevent any attacks. Very soon afterwards he argued that the ACLU lawsuit was endangering lives. How?

David Timothy Beito - 8/5/2005

I understand why you did this. I was once a member. I suspect, however, that, like me, you will eventually drop out in disgust.