In Reluctant, Partial Defense of ACORN

The community organizing group ACORN has been on the ropes after the release of a series of seemingly damning videos in which employees appear to lend cause to a prostitute and her pimp. ACORN employees are shown instructing the undercover couple how to skirt paying taxes and secure a loan to house child prostitutes from Honduras.

In response, ACORN has done what the guilty do, attack the messenger. A press release on the ACORN homepage calls coverage by the “international entertainment conglomerate (FOX)” part of an orchestrated effort “to achieve their agenda, their missions, their ideal, retrograde America.” I think they are correct that FOX News has pushed this story far more than any other news agency and given the organization too much attention. I suppose FOX News personalities like Glenn Beck, who has been the point man in the investigation, would say these videos are emblematic of its troubled relationship with the Obama administration.

The ACORN release further states that “We are their Willy Horton for 2009. We are the boogeyman for the right-wing and its echo chambers. … But it is clear that the videos are doctored, edited, and in no way the result of the fabricated story being portrayed by conservative activist ‘filmmaker’ O’Keefe and his partner in crime. And, in fact, a crime it was – our lawyers believe a felony – and we will be taking legal action against Fox and their co-conspirators.”

Utilizing the coercion of the state to suppress the filmmakers is surely despicable, and being willing to assist in the kidnap and bondage of child prostitutes is unconscionable. However, I do support that ACORN employees have been willing to assist in the voluntary trade of prostitution and avoid the revenue collection arm of the state. I know that its favorables are far outweighed by its unfavorable actions. Keep in mind, the vast majority of its customers (granted I’m speculating) do not intend to run Honduran child prostitution rings, which exist in part because of the federal and local government’s immigration and prostitution restrictions.