The “Reverse Sequence” in Civil Liberties
By improving the one, the procedures for participation in political life through protection of individual liberty, the other, America as a force for freedom at home and in the world, would also be enhanced. The combination of a strong national defense, social welfare programs, and civil liberties, as exemplified in the 1940s and 1950s by the New York State Liberal Party seemed mutually reinforcing. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is anomalous only in that it is such a classic example of the very spirit, absorption into the dominant values of the time, that the naive like myself once thought it was supposed to counter in favor of eternal verities. Just as the ACLU identified itself with industrial unionization in earlier times, it has in recent years become part of the civil rights movement, the women's movement, and the movement against "age-ism" and other "isms" devoted to diminishing inequalities in American life.