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November 14, 1980 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-14

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OPINION

Page 4

Friday, November 14, 1980

The Michigan Daily

Liberalism:

Nothing to be ashamed

of

Joseph Sobran is political journalism's
newest, most luminous Wunderkind. Prac-
tically overnight his column has shot from the
iconoclastic pages of the National Review into
syndicated superstardom in daily newspapers
of all types, sizes, and political predilections.
Sobran is a conservative romantic; his prose is
graceful and vibrant, his ideas-however one
may agree or disagree with them-so unrelen-
tingly clear-minded that he has swiftly become
a' legitimate rival to James Kilpatrick as
academic spokesman for the American Right.

Coming
Apart
By Christopher Pottfr

spirationally you slice it, it's still baloney.
THESE ARE halcyon days for the members
of the Sobran mafia. Now they know they've
been right all these years-the angry voter has
robustly vindicated them. After five decades
under the liberal yoke, America can play ball
at last. Sobran himself lustily pronounced the
imminent Dies Irae for progressive social
thought in a column last week: "Liberalism
has failed. It is unnatural. It expects people to
subordinate their concern for their families
and themselves to an attenuated 'compassion'
for remote strangers. You can't build a society
on a principle so contrary to human nature. It
is becoming more and more possible to say that
in public now."
You bet it is. Reactionaries are coming out of
the closet faster than rats out of a basement.
Conservatism is in as Mozart, liberalism as out
as Studio 54. If there ever were a time for
progressives to face up to their heritage, it is
now. Liberalism is indeed in trouble. It may
even be moribund. It is most certainly not a
g ailtire-.
SOBRAN REJOICES that "the language of
compassion and social justice, of world peace
and racial integration" may soon be rendered
obsolete; that "Popular Sentiment," which
reflects "not hopeful ideals, but realism about
human nature" will become our philosophical
catechism. Sobran's very eloquence elucidates
the melancholy of his own principles. To the
conservative, humankind is by nature corrupt,
pocked with savages who would gleefully knife
you in the back even as they accept your wide-
eyed charity. The best you can hope to do is pen

them in, separate them from you and your
loved ones. The conservative knows ours is a
sinful, covetous species; survival of the just,
the select, the fittest is in the final reckoning
the only ideal we can rationally strive for.
It is a desolate philosophy. Its Calvinist
veneer barely conceals the shrieking nihilism
which rages beneath it. Encased in its cold
value system, concepts of tolerance, of mercy,
of benevolence become utilitarian notions
stripped of meaning save temporary,
pragmatic application. The conservative
preaches hopelessness: We can never convert
the brutes, therefore we must kill them.
How long have the much-maligned forces of
liberalism stood their ground-bravely, patien-
tly counterbalancing the cynics of both Left
and Right who would gladly use this planet as a
beanbag upon which to vent their hatreds? Of
course liberals are despised; how could a
philosophy that combines the rationality of the
world as it is with the vision of what it could
become not be hated? Liberalism dares to co-
opt both the real and the ideal-it dares to see
life in shades of gray. It dares to be gen-
tle-that is perhaps the greatest sin of all in the
embittered eyes of its rivals.
LIBERALISM A failure? To make such an
accusation is to vaporize history. The age of the
sweat shop and the twelve-hour day is now only
a vague, unpleasant memory. So is the age
when small businessmen were monopolized in-
to bankruptcy by corporate monoliths, the age
when the sick and the elderly were utterly
dependent on the meager, arbitrary auspices of
private charity. So, too, the age when half our

urban children went to bed hungry every night
("The poor will always be with us," said John
D. Rockefeller).
Gone is the age when Americans with the
wrong skin color couldn't ride a city bus or
' drink out of an unapproved drinking fountain,
when not only they but more than one half of all
adults were denied the vote-most because
they happened to be of the wrong sex. Gone is
the age when presidents were bought and-sold,
when political bribery was as common a prac-
tice as purchasing stocks and bonds, when
books were banned and often burned, when the
concept of free and open expression was
reviled as "unhealthy" and "un-American."'
Through it all, the historical legacy rings
clear as a bell: While conservatives sniffed
haughtily and perpetrated the status quo,
liberals went out to try to alter it. That they
succeeded beyond any Nineteenth-Century
muckraker's wildest dreams is a matter of
record. Failure should be made of mushier
stuff.
JOE SOBRAN argues for popular retrench-
ment into passionate self-interest. Yet what
hope does such a doctrine offer beyond an im-
mediate, vengeful down-with-government
gratification? Carried to its logical extreme,
Sobran's society would ultimately break off in-
to individual neighborhoods, perhaps even
separate city blocks in pursuit of a self-
contained universe. Yet what if two city blocks
next door decided to gang up against his? What
would "Popular Sentiment" be worth in the
suburban apocalypse that would follow?
Sobran postulates with beauty and elegance,

yet he argues ugliness. He subtly champions
the worst in all of us-our greed, our bigotry,
our tendency toward unbridled xenophobia. His
precepts are seductively accessible, and
Americans can sometimes fall into line with a
frightening malleability. If it is
progressivism's current lot to embody the
alternative instead of the mainstreams then
now is surely not the time for tortured self-
recriminations. It is time for action.
TO CURRENTLY shaken liberals, I say: Be
proud of your heritage. Be proud you don't see
life in blinders of black and white. Be proud you
do care about "remote strangers' who share
the same dark fears as your own even if they do
live a thousand miles away. Be proud you
want to end machismo belligerence rather than
provoke it. Be proud you believe in the essen-
tial goodness of man-the very belief'draws the
reality that much closer.
Learn to endure the current, trendy slings.
and arrows-surely you've had enough prac-
tice. You are still the world's best hope; even
the Sobrans know it in their hearts and will
always despise you for it. The Reaganite spec-
tre may loom omnipotent today, yet this too
will pass.
Be of good heart-the dream will never die,
so long as you never let go of it. Let's get
organizing.
Christopher Potter is a Daily staff
writer. His column appears every Friday.

4

Joe Sobran writes so well he sends tremors of
naked jealousy up and down my literary spine.
He and I are both products of the Ypsilanti
school system, a bureaucracy that may well
have served him better than it did me;
whatever the inspirational sources behind his
maturation, the fact remains that when Joe
Sobran talks, people listen. The fact also
remains that he mouths the old conservative-
line to a tee and that the bulk of that line
remains knavish-even if garbed in nouveau
electoral respectability. No matter how
ingeniously, metaphorically, and in-

r-

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Weasel

by Robert Lence

Vol. XCI, No. 62

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

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

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Solving military problems

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W E IN THIS country have a prob-
lem that liberals and conser-
vatives alike agree upon: Our military
equipment is in sad repair and our
military personnel are undertrained
and underpaid.
It would indeed be difficult to argue
those points: The hostage rescue
mission in Iran last April was aborted
because three helicopters malfun-
ctioned and a plane crashed; a fighter-
bomber jet participating in military
exercises crashed three months ago in
the Egyptian desert; and, in the latest
military mishap, a transport plane
crashed yesterday in Egypt.
That plane was part of Operation
Bright Star, the first test of America's
new rapid deployment force.
We are all in agreement, then, on the
problem. It is the solution that divides
the country into left and right.
The Republicans believe massive
new military spending is the solution to
our equipment and personnel woes.
Texas Sen. John Tower, the ranking

Republican on the -Armed Services
Committee (and therefore soon to be
its chairman), said earlier this week
he advocated adding further military
allocations to President Carter's
budget once Ronald Reagan assumes
office. Asked how the Republicans plan
to balance the federal budget while in-
creasing military spending (as they
have been promising), Tower respon--
ded that a balanced budget really isn't
a primary goal right now. That's a
switch from promises of the campaign
months.
Democrats generally believe that a
reallocation of present military funds
can solve the equipmemt and salary
difficulties. They realize that cutting a
few elaborate weapons systems in
favor of funding for ammunition, spare
parts, and pay raises is an appropriate
solution.
We will solve the problem that both
sides acknowledge. Only we'll do it the
Republican way - broken promises
and all.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

CARP
To the Daily:
In your editorial of November 6
about the Collegiate Association
for the Research of Principles'
recent recognition by the
Michigan Student Assembly, you
made the statement that CARP is
"known for its extreme right

editorial
wing political stance." Ouch!
That's hitting below the belt. The
term "extreme right" conjures,
up images of the John Birch
Society and the KKK. You've had
nearly a year to get to know what
we stand for, and this is what you
come up with? Come on boys and

Rally for women 's safety

To the Daily:
Being a woman in Ann Arbor is
often a dangerous and
frightening experience. Unlike
men, the women of Ann Arbor
must take extra precautions to
insure their safety. They must
stay on the defensive 24 hours a
day. It isn't fair. We are trapped
on all sides.
Fortunately, people are
working to relieve the tension and
apprehension many Ann Arbor
women have to live with. Public
Interest Research Group in
Michigan Women's Safety Force,
formed in September in response
to the high incidence of rape and
three recent, unsolved murders
of Ann Arbor women, is
energetically pursuing several
possible solutions to this grave
problem. It has been planning a
city-wide education program
aimed at dispelling misconcep-
tions concerning sexual assault.
Thus, people will be made more
aware of the intensity of the
situation; they will be provided
with information on preventive
measures, self defense, and crisis
centers.
The WSF hopes that its
education will foster an at-
mosphere in which Ann Arborites
will be more inclined to look out
Evaluation
To the Daily:
We would like to clarify a few
statements that were made in a
November 6 Daily article con-
cerning MSA evaluations. The
typographical error concerning

for one another. In this effort,
WSF is organizing tenants in the
large apartment complexes in
town. This effort will also be ex-
panded to include dorm and
neighborhood blocks.
The WSF is -also in the process
of persuading the Ann Arbor
Transit Authority to make its
vehicles available for an all-night
Dial-A-Ride service. It has been
contacting local evening em-
ployers to examine the extent of
the need and desire for such a
proposal. Thus far, both of the
above exist.
The PIRGIM Women's Safety
Force does visualize a safer
future for the women of Ann Ar-
bor. In essence, WSF hopes to in-
volve virtually all members of
'the community in working for a
safer Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor must
support the WSF efforts today by
attending the Women's Safety
Awareness Day Rally at noon on
the Diag. The importance of WSF
solutions is immeasurable. Ann
Arbor must stop ignoring the
issue. Join the Women's Safety
Force today and face up to the
facts.
-Chris Pennock
Bruce Barth
November 12
7s clarified
the nature of a specific course
and its instructor(s). The MSA
evaluations have no written
comments. Nevertheless, the
MSA evaluations along with those
at SCO serve a purpose-to

!zit below,
girls, somebody's not doing their
homework.
We can imagine your thinking-
went something like this: "Well,"
you say, "they're anti-com-
munist. I mean they really are
anti-communist. They are pro-
draft and they did demonstrate
favor of "registration. So that
makes them pretty much a right
wing organization." Granted, the
opposite of left is right, but this is
a right you've never ever
dreamed about, a right based on
a new ideology. We are a New
Right.
The old right consists of con-
servative businessmen who like
things the way they are as long as
they remain on top. It is also
composed of a large number of
Fundamentalist Christians who
practice the "white is right"
ideology. Of course, some con-
scientious people may be found
among their ranks, but their
continuing complacency in the
face of grave social injustice
cannot be condoned. The greater
danger to domestic peace in the
United States is racial injustice.
We can't simply continue hoping
the problem or the people will go
away.
CARP is anti-communist;
however, our motive is not to
preserve the bourgeois status
quo. You should look into our
principles which offer a very
strong critique of as well as an
alternative to both communism
and current Western Society.
Marxism-Leninism is an
atheistic, materialistic ideology
that negates the free human

the belt
spirit, denies the existence of any
form of absolute standard of
value and morality, and seeks to
justify violent revolution. We op-
pose communism because, as a
direct result of its application,
literally tens of millions of
people's lives have been stolen
from them.
"Tensof millions"-think
about that number for a while.
Still, the bottom line is not anti-
communism. CARP is a
revolutionary organization
dedicated to the construction of a
,new society based on the prin-
ciples of unselfish living and God-
centered love. Marxism is an-
tithetical to this but so is apathy
and so, definitely, is racism. We
are not only teaching, but also
living these principles, creating
the prototype for a truly just
society in our own homes.
Your simplistic label of CARP
as an extreme right wing
organization because it is anti-
communist is the issue here.
CARP is radically different in
many respects from the
traditional right. It is misleading
and unfair to pigeon-hole us on
the basis of some superficial
similarity with other political
positions. In the future, please
make a more conscientious effort
to represent CARP accurately. If
you must label us "right," call us
the New Right. It's a very impor-
tant distinction.
-Bill Hilbert
President, UM/CARP
Art Humbert
Treasurer, UM/CARP
November 12

I

I

UGLI has real taste

4

To the Daily:
Taking a welcome break from
reading Dr. Faustus in the Un-
dergraduate Library this mor-
ning, I strolled over to the "com-
temporary works" section-two
wooden stands of books next to
the periodicals. Included in the

I applaud the UGLI's efforts to
broaden my academic horizons
with Gothic novels-the stuff of
real life. I appreciate its altrustic
financial support of giant
publishing conglomerates -
thank Heaven they have finally.
realized the financial wor-

I i Al; -V 10MV "I". 1 A 1011 ; . 7 I.

I

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