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Letters to the editor

Ross Boyle

As one who has considered myself a conservative since the days when I supported Barry Goldwater in his primary race against Nelson Rockefeller while living in the State of New York, I find it odd that the first time I have been moved to respond to the ongoing diatribe between extremists David Le Vine and Terry Quinn is to react to the most recent ranting of the ultra-conservative, Mr. Quinn, and his criticism of columns extolling the virtues of the political middle. He sums up his scorn for those who are not extremists by saying that “moderates and centrists” are really indecisive and even wishy-washy because they cannot make up their minds or flip flop from one side to the other.In his famous convention speech, Barry Goldwater said that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. I agreed then and I agree now. But to be passionate about an issue does not mean that an individual must be passionately for or against all of the issues now embraced by those who claim the mantle of spokesmen for either the far left or the far right. My views on the important domestic and international issues of the day have not changed significantly in the last 50 years. I am still a fiscal conservative who favors limited government. I am still a strong advocate of national defense, whether the threat to it comes from national socialism in Germany, communism in the Soviet Union, or the militants who pervert the Muslim faith in today’s Middle East. I am still a passionate defender of the free enterprise system and a believer that the private sector can do a better job of generating employment opportunities, providing quality health care, and creating the wealth that will support us in our retirement years. I voted for George Bush and I am proud of it.But that does not mean that I must blindly support all of Mr. Bush’s positions. It certainly does not mean that I must support all of the positions of the extreme right who sometimes find Mr. Bush too close to the center. 1. I emphasize with those who defend the right to life of the unborn, but I also understand the right of a woman to control her own body and her future. Thus, I support abortion with reasonable restrictions. In my view, this position is not wishy-washy. It is a reasoned conclusion after weighing all of the factors in a complex issue. 2. I favor changes in U.S. immigration laws that would enable migrants to legally work in this country for several months a year while retaining citizenship elsewhere. As an economist who once was elected as the chair of the American Economic Development Council, I have studied the role of migrant labor in the U.S. in considerable depth and have concluded that their contribution to the nation’s economic prosperity far outweighs the downsides of illegal immigration. The solution lies in legalization, not doomed efforts to build walls around our borders.3. I favor increased government funding for stem cell research because the potential cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases far outweighs the concerns of those who believe the harvesting of stem cells to be a threat to future unborn children. 4. I believe that the government has no business dictating our behavior in our own homes and bedrooms. Sexual preference is a private and individual decision that should not be regulated on moral grounds.These are just a few examples of issues on which I come down on the side of those labeled “liberal.” I do not consider my position on these issues to be liberal; rather, I view them as reasoned. These positions do not make me and others like me centrists or middle-of-the-roaders. It simply means that we are prepared to weigh all sides of every issue before taking a position and that the positions we take will not always agree with those who are comfortable wearing the label “conservative” or “liberal” as a guarantee that they will mindlessly adopt the views of their spokesmen. That inability to think for oneself is what made national socialism successful in the 1930s in Germany and what fuels radical fundamentalism in the Middle East today.Ross BoyleVailVail, Colorado


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