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Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In response to the Greg Yatarola’s article (“Are you a fascist?,” Feb. 8), I must say that I feel he is completely missing the point. You refer to conservatism as the opposite of fascism, and in principle, you may be correct. In principle, conservatism is, in a general sense, the advocation of caution regarding radical change. In the political arena, again in principle, it espouses limited government and decentralization.

The rub here, unfortunately, is what policies the Bush administration has enacted under the banner of conservatism. You refer to those who compare our current regime to that of Nazi Germany as “morons,” while criticizing liberal advocation of gun control as Hitler-esque. You go on to claim that the only thing the “conservative” Republican party wishes to take away from Americans is the right to “abortion on demand.” If only that were the case. This Bush White House has fostered a culture of fear and restricted more individual rights than any administration in the last half century. It has sold us on things like the Patriot Act, the restriction of Habeus Corpus, and torture of political prisoners in the names of “freedom” and “liberty.” It has grown the size of our (supposedly limited) federal government to record proportions, advocating spending north of $3 trillion in 2009, all while cutting the tax burden for the top 5 percent of earning Americans and saddling future generations with the bill. We were misled through (intentionally?) false intelligence into believing that Iraq was in possession of WMD’s and an immediate threat to our national security. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda continues to build support in places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia with little to no diplomatic action on the part of our government.

All in all, over the last eight years our federal government has ignored domestic issues, fiscal responsibility, our dependence on fossil fuels and our global reputation in order to play Cowboy in the Wild, Wild Middle East. It is this foreign policy, not some fundamental hatred of “freedom,” that has stirred up such a strong distaste for America around the world and especially in the Middle East.

So in conclusion, Mr. Yatarola, I would ask that you take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Yes, there are ignorant people on the left, just as there are ignorant people on the right, and the “Bush is Hitler” pundits are, admittedly, more than slightly off the mark. You are correct in stating that conservatism is the political opposite of totalitarianism, but please, take a moment to look at the record of this president and the current size of the federal government, before you completely dismiss claims of Bush totalitarianism.

Tim Flannery


off campus

Feb. 12