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September 30, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-09-30

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OPINION

Wednesday, September 30, 1981

4

The Michigan Doily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

U. S. conservatives aced with
a ph ilosop hical dich otomy

Vol. XCH, No. 18

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

i

Environmenta
T WOULDN'T require too much
4 imagination or too much paranoia
t' think that the Reagan ad-
inistration has hatched a dastardly
s hemae to purposely undermine the
nation's environment. It is the evil
two-punch plan to transform that part
of; the environment which remains
pristine, unpopulated and undeveloped
into a filthy maze of smokestacks,,
refineries, run-off sewers, and rusting
atutomobiles.
The first phase of the plot is the ap-
pontment of James Watt to head the
Interior Department. Thus, the arm of'
government that is entrusted with the
nAion's public lands is infiltrated 0at
the very top.
The second part of the plan unfolded
M~nday, when it was revealed that the
administration wants to cut the budget
and personnel of the Environmental
Protection Agency almost in half over
the next two years. Thus, the very
agency in Washington that is supposed
to keep its eye on industry and gover-
nment to make sure that neither
destroy the environment is under-
mined and rendered completely unable
to roperly execute its mission.
verything begins to fit together.
Thp horrifying plot becomes clear.
But such a scenario is only
imaginary... probably.

paranoia...

The reality of the situation-which is
no less horrifying-is that Reagan,
despite his well-publicized love for
chopping wood and riding horses at his
California ranch, apparently has very
little appreciation for the' need to
balance the conflicting demands of en-
vironmental preservation and
reasonable industrial development.
Reagan, who perhaps is still living in
a bygone age when America was a land.
of seemingly inexhaustable resources,
has driven the concern for the en-
vironmental side-effects of industrial
expansion into a ditch.'
But, if we act soon, we can still
prevent the Watts and the Reagans
from destroying the environment
completely.
If the Interior Department and the
EPA will not or cannot defend the en-
vironment anymore, Congress-end the
American public must take it upon
themselves to step in. Congress, under
pressure from its constituents, must
demand Watt's ouster and his
replacement with a more qualified
person wh'o understands the value of
undeveloped land. Congress and the
public must also make clear to the ad-
ministration's budget-cutters that cut-
backs in the EPA, designed with the
obvious intention to make it impotent,
will not be tolerated.

Out of the fierce inter-agency struggle over
Pentagon dollars, evidence of something
much more threatening to the Reagan ad-
ministration than simple bureaucratic in-
fighting is fast emerging.
It now is clear that the shattered liberal
consensus which ruled the United States for
75 years has not been replaced by a new con-
sensus, but rather by an elemental conflict
raging almost entirely within the conser-
vative ranks of the president's own party.
AMERICAN POLITICS in the '80s has
become a raw struggle between one strain of
conservatism which argues for order and
another which argues for a broad loosening of
restraints.
"The division goes fantastically deep," said
Lawrence Chickering, director of the San
Francisco-based Institute for Contemporary
Studies, an important conservative think tank
with close ranks to the Reagan ad-
ministration.
"It separates people from the moment they
ask the most basic question in political
philosophy: What is the starting point of the
whole value system-the individual or the
group?
"The 'modernists' in the administration,
many of whom are economists,-believe in the
primacy of the individual, in freedom. The
'traditionalists,' who are largely politicians
or people trained in the social sciences, are
more concerned with the group. The tension
between these factions is everywhere,"
Chickering added.
THE CONTEST between order and liberty,
of course, is as old as organized politics. It
found its purest expression in the running
debate, spread over some 30 'years, which
matched Benjamin Disraeli, the master of
British imperialism, against William Glad-
sone, who spoke for peace and unrestrained
free enterprise.
But by the turn of the century, the brutality
of imperialism and the growth of powerful
capital monopolies had undermined popular
faith in imposed order and unrestrained free
enterprise alike, giving rise to the synthesis of
liberalism-which subjected both individuals
and the larger social group to limited
restraints, while guaranteeing limited
freedoms.
Today, echoes of that old elemental
struggle once again resound'on the American
side of the Atlantic. The modern heirs to
Disraeli' range from; Secretary of State
Alxander Haig and the Pentagon planners to
law-and-order enthusiasts like Attorney
General William French Smith and presiden-
tial adviser Edwin Meese.

By Frank Viviano

THEY ARE JOINED by a new neo-
conservative authoritarian strain made up of
such diverse elements as the Moral Majority
ideologues, who want authority based on fun-
damentalist Christianity, and former liberal
intellectuals who have swung from welfare
state paternalism to authoritarianism.
The rise of neo-conservatism in general has
to do with a sense of waning American poten-
cy-"losing out" to the Russians abroad and
to crime and degeneracy at home. In Africa
and Latin America, on the television net-
works, and in the urban ghettoes, therefore, it
seeks to reimpose a secure and fixed concep-
tion of culture, society and economy-forcibly
if necessary.
From David Stockman and other
spokesmen for the president's deregulation,
tax, and budget-slashing program, on the
other hand, the free enterprise ethic of
William Gladstone is receiv ng a more
serious hearing than it has had at any time
sinceGladstone himself.
AND, LIKE Gladstone, the new prophets of
loosened restraint have found themselves in:
serious combat with the prophets of imposed
control.
"Along with Stockman, (presidential aide)
Lyn Nofziger best represents the libertarian
side, and he is usually at odds with Meese and
(presidential chief of staff) Jim Baker, who
are essentially neo-nationalists," one source
close to the administration privately con-
ceded.
Nofziger's announced departure from the
administration, now scheduled for January
21, 1982, maywell have something to do with
the direction that struggle has taken.
"SIMILAR THINGS happened when
Reagan was governor of California," a
remembered a former gubernatorial staff
member. "There was a constant battle bet-
ween libertarian and law-and-order conser-
vatives in the office. It forced people to
leave."
Down the line, the present clash in
Washington could be particularly sharp over
education policy, which Chickering believes
will be a "source of real tension. Some ad-
ministration officials see schooling as part of
the marketplace-they discuss it in economic
terms whole others see it primarily as the
forum for civic. education designed to main-
tain social order."
But it is clear that the chief arena of conflict

at the moment remains the defense budget,
placing Stockman and his Wall Street allies ir
historic company.
FOR MORE than a century, a tradition of
self-interested pacifism has run through the
annals of U.S. business, incorporating such
figures as Henry Ford, Cyrus Eaton and Ar-
mand Hammer. This tradition is based on the
very heartland of the nation which produced
David Stockman, that Midwestern America
of medium-sized cities, fervent Chamber of
Commerce business idealism and fiscal rec-
titude.
Why, after so many years, has this elemen-
tal struggle once again erupted? The liberal
consensus collapsed, among other things,
because its top-down economic 'and social
engineering never really solved the basic
problems of incentive in mass society.
Whatever its initial intentions, the welfare
state reduced social participation and eroded
personal enterprise. The synthesis slowly
unraveled.
Hence the renaissance of both strains of
conservatism, which address the incentive
problem directly, although with vastly dif-
ferent tools: liberty and profit for the free-
enterprisers, security and the iron fist for the
traditionalists-the carrot for the heirs of
Gladstone, the stick for the new Disraelites.
Unaddressed, however, is the very issue
which gave birth to 20th century consensus
liberalism in the first place. American society
is more pluralistic than ever and at the same
time more dependent upon an outside world
that now has q capacity to go its own way-a
way which eluded it in the age of Disraeli.
These facts of life mitigate against the prac-
tical expedience of the stick.
Dependency also argues against the'ex-
clusive power of the free enterprise carrot as
a means of regulating society and the
economy. It is plainly obvious that too many
people breathe the same air and drink the
same water to allow the energy industry, for
example, to pursue its unhampered self-
interest.
What these facts point up is just that shared
weakness which destroyed pure, imperial
Toryism and pure free enterprise liberalism
at the dawnof this century. Neither position
embraces a very complex view of the social
contract, of the continuing necessity to recon-
cile the contending demands of order and
liberty with the realities of mass society.
Viviano is an editor for Pacific News
Service.

6

b.An seaki
HE PRESIDENT addressed the
'international Association of
P ce Chiefs on Monday, and he took
the opportunity to make the most
detailed statement of his social
philosophy since since he assumed the
presidency.'
'The Jungle is always there,
waiting, ready to take us over.. Only
deep moral values and strong in-
stitutions can hold back that Jungle
and restrain the darker impulses of
human nature," he said.
It is a disturbing social philosophy.
It is a social philosophy that sees the
role of government vis-a-vis criminals
as strictly limited, as being mainly
concerned with the task of throwing
criminals in jail and making it very,
very difficult for them to get out. There
are people who just shouldn't be out on
the street-ever-the president says.
While the president is duly outraged
at the 'failures of the American
criminal justice system, his
solutions-and indeed some of his
assumptions-are off base.
The president blames much of the

ng o aranoia
failure of American criminal justice on
liberals, whom he claimed had
erroneously tried to reform the in-
corrigibles.
Further, the president argues, the
liberals who have insisted on granting
criminals protection under the ex-
clusionary rule have been allowing
criminals who should be locked up to
roam freely.
As a solution for this liberal
,malaise, the president has proposed
relaxing the exclusionary rule to allow
illegally obtained evidence to be in-
troduced in trials.
The exclusionary rule has been one
of the cornerstones of American civil
liberties, and its relaxation would only
serve to actually weaken the criminal
justice system and allow police ex-
cessive powers
Further, government does have a
role-and a responsibility-in dealing
with criminals. There is indeed in the
criminal element certain persons who
will never be rehabilitated, but for
government to simply give up trying to
help is inhumane and cruel.

Weasel

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

i

I

I

WHEN HE PROMISED US A SAFETY NET, I DIDN'T KNC
WE WERE GONNA USE IT LIKE THIS'
M ate.-,

ow

'Old'
To the Daily:
I am writing regardin
ticle entitled "Road w
slow N. Campus bus
which appeared in the
Daily.
One noteworthy fact it
ticle is the reference
preservation of the "h
stone wall on Fuller.
Kudos for those trying
away the earthmov
progress from despoiling
is not where it rightly oug
. I personally am sadde
the imminent demolitio
'old' Wall Street bridge
of this new road scheme
because the existing bri
where it oughta be. Lik
oldsters, this old bridge h
and waited for three sc
ten years, faithfully servi
who chose to cross the
foot, horse,' carriage,
bus.

Wall Street 4
What's more, this is a fine
g an ar- example of bridge architecture
ork may and structural design, the likes of
route," which are seldom seen. When this
Sept. 24 bridge was built in 1910, the
design of the reinforced concrete
n the ar- arch had only then been codified.
to the As such this bridge is represen-
historic" tative of the most advanced
engineering and design of the
g to turn time, not to be equalled since, in
ers of my view.
g all that Were it but known, and reflec-
;hta be! ted upon, I think that many,
ned that many people would agree that a
n of the perfectly useful structure such as
is a part this should simply be allowed to
, mainly remain as a useful element in our
dge isn't daily life. It should remain as a
e many tribute to the skill and foresight
as stood of those who have served before
ore and us.
ng those Take a look for yourself from
river on the river bank along Maiden
auto, or Lane. Note graceful symmetry of
the double arch. That arch ring is

bridge no
two feet thick and reinforced with
iron.
And compare it to what the
beeline boys are going to build in
its place.
But as we all know, that's
progress. And besides, the
rebuilding of the stone wall is an
easy sop to the preservationists,
none of whom probably ever
thought to look at a bridge as
anything but a big plank to cross
the creek.
Commonly practical men such
as myself are condemned as
Reagan shoi
To the Daily:
Hopefully, those who listened to
or read about Mr. Reagan's
speech last Thursday will pay
more attention to what he did not
say then what he did say.
What he did not say was that
even though he was asking

teworthy
being insensible, uncaring,
material-minded and so forth.
Maybe it's true. But not always.
I think there are some things
worth saving from our past, but
not always the same things, or for
the same reasons, as those who
loudly proclaim the- need to
preserve our heritage. But I am
definitely opposed to the needless
wasting of a useful part of our
capital.
Take a look for yourself and
decide.
-Franklin Piehl P.E.
September 24, 1981
uld sacrifice
Nancy Reagan spent close to $1
million redoing the White House
and, though most of the funds
came from private contributions,
taxpayers will foot much of the
bill because the contributions are
tax deductible.
Finally, what Mr. Reagan did

'I
.9

f t:. RAM S

TA NS 'TA A FT. ovnlninorl

I

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