I find it hard to believe that you're a "republican" and also value the work the ACLU does. I guess you're also a "republican" who favors gay marriage, health care for nothing, and is pro-choice too? Oh wait..that's a democrat.
And as for that's how this country has worked for 200 years, I suggest you re-take american history. Civil liberties are only selectively enforced in this country. (just like the ACLU only selectively takes its clients)
I think that gay people should be allowed to marry, I'm against free health care because it seems to lead to all-around terrible services and taxes that are too high, and I'm against abortion in general. This is all completely irrelevant to my point, however.
I was simply stating a concept that has long been mainstream among the smarter people of America: protecting the freedoms of people we dislike is important to protecting the freedoms of everyone.
You may or may not be correct about the 200 years figure; I carelessly threw that out there on whim. However, the idea of civil liberties for people we despise has long been a part of American history. I have a book by Alan Dershowitz (who is an amazing and brilliant person), in which he claims that the beauty of the American legal system lies in the fact that many lawyers defend the rights of everyone regardless of conflicting ideology and personal belief. As far as historical examples go, he cites John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and Clarence Darrow as personifying those values. John Adams actually defended the British soldiers who participated in the Boston Massacre. I can also think of Oliver Holmes, who famously stated something along the lines that the experiment that is our constitution is best protected by not silencing those we detest.
The point that I am trying to make is that defending the rights of a person doesn't mean you agree with their actions or their message. It only means that you are defending their rights. Through this defense, you further safeguard the rights of everyone. That's the foundation that the American system of liberties rests on.
You may not understand this concept; most people probably don't. But as long as there is a group of conscientious lawyers out there who care so much for this belief that they are willing to fight to protect the free speech of pedophiles for a measly 40k a year, then the fate of this country is probably in good hands.