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Yatarola oversimplifies complex political ideas

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, February 17, 2008

In his column “Are you a fascist?” (Feb 12), Greg Yatarola claims that liberals are more similar to fascists than conservatives are. Not only is this a gross oversimplification of a complex set of ideas into a single, number-line-style concept, but it also represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what that spectrum represents.Yatarola clearly takes offense at the fact that conservatism is placed closer to the fascist end of the scale of ideologies. This scale, however, is not meant to condemm conservatism as fascism; there is nothing wrong with conservatism being “two steps away from fascism” so long as it does not cross the line. Likewise, there is no problem with liberalism sitting close to socialism on the scale. The two extreemes are both bad. Positions with some of their attributes are not. Yatarola uses only one issue – gun control – as an example of “liberal fascism.” He fails to realize that, on many issues, both parties advocate regulating and not regulating things. For example, liberals tend to desire regulation of guns, various industries and actions that involve environmental harm, while conservatives tend to desire more regulation on issues such as flag burning, abortion and marrige. The regulation of things such as these may be seen as important, unimportant, stupid or brilliant to different people, but none of these regulations make one group inherently “fascist.” If they did, then this country would certainly be run by a fascist government no matter which party was in charge.Before trying to turn generally accepted political concepts upside down, Yatarola should carefully check his facts and make sure that he truly understands the issue he is trying to deal with.

Jackson BangsfreshmanStanford HallFeb. 13