Monday, December 20, 2004

Laissez Faire

Notice a pattern here?
  • The ACLU has been engaging in "extensive data collection" on its own members for its own financial benefit. This has led some ACLU board members to say that the organization's practices make "a mockery of the organization's frequent criticism of banks, corporations and government agencies for their practice of accumulating data on people for marketing and other purposes." (As you can see here or here, the ACLU regularly supports legislative restrictions on how private groups can collect or share information, even for the purpose of preventing terrorism.)

  • The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is constantly seeking to raise minimum wages or establish a "living wage" in various places. Yet that organization itself filed a lawsuit in California in 1995 to exempt itself from the minimum wage and overtime laws. To quote from a news story about that case: "'The more that ACORN must pay each individual outreach worker - either because of minimum wage or overtime requirements - the fewer outreach workers it will be able to hire,' ACORN said in its court brief.

    "ACORN's arguments also failed to persuade the First Appellate Court in California.

    "'Leaving aside the latter argument's absurdity (minimum-wage workers are ipso facto low-income workers) as well as irony (an advocate for the poor seeking to justify starvation wages), we find ACORN to be laboring under a fundamental misconception of the constitutional law,' wrote Judge P.J. Peterson for the majority."

    The citation, by the way, is Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now v. Department of Industrial Relations, 41 Cal. App. 4th 298, 301 (Cal. Ct. App. 1995).

    (More on ACORN, and also on Ralph Nader's groups, here.)

  • David Horowitz has been pushing a legislative item he calls the "Academic Freedom Bill of Rights," which has provisions about the values of diversity, pluralism, and the free exchange of ideas, as well as protecting people from being hired or fired on the basis of "political or religious beliefs." Academics are largely opposed to this idea, and some are outraged that legislatures would even consider poking their noses into the business of academia.
The lesson? People tend to be laissez faire when it comes to their own conduct, even those who usually support extensive regulation as to businesses run by other people.

Stuart Buck


Blogger P. G. said...

Two points:

1. These nonprofits are frequently rather broke. They have less resources, dramatically so, than those who they would regulate.
2. Yea, it's a bit hypocritical. I stopped giving money to the ACLU years ago because of this (in fact, I'm shocked that it's just hitting the news now. I thought this was well-known). And ACORN is a garbage organization anyway. ACORN's achieved very little except talk, regularly ousts staffers, is into constant infighting, etc. etc. Not the bext example.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, many non profits have plenty of money -- they just like potraying themselves as "grass roots." Goliath doesn't attract much "charity" -- David does.

1:58 PM  
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9:15 AM  

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