Home > Church and State, Civil liberties, Montana > The ACLU plans to become more involved in our state

The ACLU plans to become more involved in our state

*cue scary music*

So says the AP.

The ACLU, self-described as an organization committed to protecting rights set forth in the Constitution, has developed a plan for “strategic investment” in Florida, Mississippi, Texas and New Mexico, as well as Montana. About $10 million will be divided among the states in the coming five years, executive Anthony Romero said from New York, where the ACLU is based.

In Montana, a libertarian bent in part of the populace is among the reasons for investing in the state, Romero said. People of a libertarian persuasion are people with whom the ACLU stands a good chance of building alliances based on shared beliefs about issues such as government surveillance and the scope of police powers, he said.

That’s probably accurate to some extent, but let’s face it, the ACLU has been demonized to a startling degree. They’ll face an uphill battle here.

“There is some common ground (with the ACLU) but there also are some vast disagreements,” said Stan Jones of Bozeman, who ran for the U.S. Senate last month as a Libertarian Party candidate and drew 2.6 percent of the vote. Jones said members of his party generally agree with the ACLU that the federal Patriot Act is unconstitutionally far-reaching, but many would disagree with the organization about religious freedom.

You know, I don’t think that’s accurate. Libertarians seem to have a fairly strict view of church-state separation. Obviously the ACLU has a very strict view, but I don’t see a huge gulf there. It still seems like Jones is a fairly unorthodox Libertarian; the fact that he’s against abortion, gay marriage, and believes the ACLU are somehow weak on religious freedom shows me that he’s a pretty conservative Libertarian. But what the hell do I know about Libertarians in this state?

The state organization is getting a pretty solid boost:

The ACLU in New York said that of the $10 million, Montana stands to receive about $1.2 million over a four-year span, with fifth-year funding still to be determined. The Montana budget was about $300,000 last year.

Go check out the Montana ACLU.

  1. December 4, 2006 at 11:26 pm

    Jeff, I see a love/hate relationship between most libertarians and the ACLU. The ACLU holds itself out ot be on the front line of civil liberties but fails libertarians in several very important issues to them; parental rights, gun rights and property rights. The ACLU’s official positon was, last I looked, that there is no individual right to bear arms in the second amendment and they are suspiciously silent on property rights.

    Although most libertarians might agree with them on issues such as the Patriot Act, many libertarians also don’t consider a “hard line” between church and state as a cause manifest to individual liberty beyond any compulsory religious acts or official state religions. Not that it isn’t important but more in that there are much bigger fish to fry vis a vis individual rights. For the most part, the ACLU is viewed as too narrowly focused to be of much value at a minimum and disturbingly staffed by statist liberals (hence their lack of activism in protecting parentaland property rights) to be taken very seriously. Their lack of voice on recent cases such as Kelo and Raich make most libertarians dismiss supporting te ACLU for other activist organizations, like the Institute for Justice, The Drug Policy Alliance and the Second Amendment Foundation, where their financial support goes directly to causes they think are more important than “freedom from religion.”

    Until such time as they really become interested in civil rights beyond the 1st and 4th amendments they’ll not get much support from the libertarian community – and they don’t much deserve it in IMO.

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