The American Civil Liberties Union set off a kefuffle on Sept. 2 by publishing an op-ed in big-box newspaper goliath The New York Times that stated mandatory coronavirus vaccines “actually further civil liberties.” The article says much more about the ACLU and the direction in which it now tacks rather than serve as a substantial contribution to the vaccine controversies engulfing this nation.
The ACLU once thrived by presenting itself as a scrappy defender of the rights of the little guy, no matter what personal beliefs that individual held. A stark commitment to a progressive agenda was always part and parcel of the organization, yet the stated emphasis was on individual rights.
This was the “lean against entrenched power” phase for the group, and it worked exceptionally well back when that was all the rage in American leftism. Those days are decidedly over. The ACLU has discarded its oppositional pose to become a full-throated enthusiast for government overreach.
How They Got Here
Many factors are involved in this evolution, but the most important is the populist Donald Trump surge of 2015-16. Once-fashionable progressive skepticism of ruling power instantly – and effortlessly – mutated into a defense of government “norms” against “the enemies of democracy.”
For the ACLU, this would prove a financial gold mine. Standing against Trump and his supporters was the road to fundraising nirvana. But it came with a hitch. Liberty Nation warned against this development as far back as Sept. 2018:
“Abandoning any shred of above-the-fray neutrality and effectively joining the “Resistance” to the hated Trump administration, the ACLU has seen its fundraising coffers swell. In a little more than a year after Trump’s election, the ACLU saw its membership rise from 400,000 to 1.84 million, The New York Times reports. Online donations had been in the $3 million to $5 million annual range before the coming of Trump. With him in office, that number has risen to $120 million.
“This new injection of members and money may seem like a new lease of life to the 98-year-old organization, but it comes at a steep price. The group must become just another activist branch of the hysterical opposition to Trump and his Make America Great Again movement.”
The money pile has only grown since then. The ACLU decided in 2016, with both grasping hands, to take the gobs of green floating down the anti-Trump revenue stream. But you can’t accumulate such largesse and not join The System. It either destroys or co-opts any significant centers of capital and influence that cross its path. Far from being destroyed, the ACLU today is flourishing like never before. Take a closer look at how this works, and how it affects ACLU legal policy.
It’s Warm and Cozy Inside the Cocoon
The ‘forced vaccination is liberty’ op-ed was co-written by ACLU National Legal Director David Cole, who was hired in July 2016 as anti-Trump sentiment reached fever pitch. Cole was co-counsel of another anti-personal rights campaign conducted by the ACLU, the legal assault on Christian Colorado baker Jack Phillips.
Writing in Dec. 2017 in the New York Review of Books, where he is a frequent contributor, Cole described the crux of the Phillips case:
“The case will be argued on December 5. (The ACLU represents [homosexual couple] Craig and Mullins, and I am co-counsel in the case.) It asks whose rights should prevail when the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of religion, speech, and association come into conflict with equality – over a cake, no less.”
Note the crucial use of the word “equality.” Cole is talking about equal opportunity but intentionally chooses a far more elastic term with clear partisan overtones. It is an attempt to twist the meaning of law.
This is the new mission statement of the ACLU. To redefine what “civil rights” are. In doing so, the organization is working on behalf of a connected power apparatus, of which it is now an active part. The following is from Cole’s ACLU bio. Does this sound like a feisty, sleeves-rolled-up street lawyer deeply committed to the rights of that once-famous little guy?
“Cole is on leave from Georgetown University, where he has taught constitutional law and criminal justice since 1990, and is the Hon. George J. Mitchell Professor in Law and Public Policy. Cole writes regularly for The Nation, New York Review of Books, Washington Post, and many other periodicals. He is the author or editor of 10 books, several of which have won awards, including the Palmer Civil Liberties Prize, the American Book Award, and prizes from the American Political Science Association, the Boston Book Review, and the Jesuit Honor Society.”
Sounds comfortable. There is a network, and Cole is in it.
Cole is also an editorial board member for Just Security, a center-left “online forum for the rigorous analysis of national and international security” that receives funding from progressive globalist billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. His name is on Just Security’s masthead at this moment.
Before being named ACLU National Legal Director in July 2016, Cole had authored numerous articles for Just Security. Two previous members of that organization’s advisory board are major players in the Biden administration; national security advisor Jake Sullivan and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. Connect the dots.
How this network seeks to use “equality” to transform progressive social policy into constitutional law can be seen in a 2020 article posted at Just Security by Cole’s Georgetown Law professor colleague Jane Stromseth.
Stromseth pillories former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Commission on Universal Rights, which emphasized religious rights among other things and was immediately abolished by the Biden administration when it took over the White House, for not embracing the leftist social agenda on “equal pay” for women:
“Equal pay for equal work likewise is labelled ‘a social policy’ by the commission. In short, the commission’s selective narrative of the struggle for liberty and equality overlooks crucial milestones in our constitutional history and the rights of the very human beings who were ‘created equal.’”
The word “equality” so intentionally used by Cole in his litigation against a Christian baker is also to be employed to codify other partisan beliefs into stated law. Unsurprisingly, the ACLU fully supports the equal pay cause.
That pro-vaccine mandates op-ed is beginning to make a lot more sense now, isn’t it?
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.