The ACLU’s Slow, Sad Turn Away from First Amendment Advocacy

The New York Times recently published a profile of the American Civil Liberties Union’s gradual turn away from being the pre-eminent defender of freedom of speech in the United States.

The change in the organization is punctuated by Ben Wizner, the head of ACLU’s free speech, privacy and technology project. Referencing the rise of the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education’s nonpartisan, uncompromising defense of free speech on campus, Wizner tells the Times,

FIRE does not have the same tensions. At the A.C.L.U., free speech is one of 12 or 15 different values.

Too often, free speech at the ACLU seems like McDonald’s Shamrock Shake–something brought out for a few days a year to appease hardcore fans, even though the franchise itself has long moved on.

Full Transcript of Edward Snowden’s Appearance at SXSW

Courtesy of

Ben Wizner:    Okay. I think we’ll get started. There wasn’t a lot of applause when we came on stage. I guess you are here to see somebody else. My name is Ben Wizner I’m joined by my colleague Chris Soghoian from the ACLU. And maybe we can bring up on screen the main attraction.

Edward Snowden:    Hello.

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