Fred Slocum, Mankato
— Al DeKruif’s April 6 letter reveals fundamental ignorance about conservatism today, which has two components. The first is economic radicalism, favoring fast-and-furious income redistribution from poor to rich.
Consider Paul Ryan’s budget, repeatedly passed by House Republicans, and soundly rejected in the 2012 presidential election — privatizing Medicare and Social Security, severely slashing numerous social service programs benefiting the least fortunate, and delivering large tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy. Second, conservatism today favors social radicalism: Overbearing government enforcement of social conformity and moral traditionalism. Consider: A six-week abortion ban (North Dakota — so early, some women aren’t aware they’re pregnant). A 12-week abortion ban (Arkansas). Forcing abortion-minded women into ultrasounds first (preferably vaginal-probe; Virginia), and to sit through anti-abortion “counseling” (i.e. persuasion) sessions first (South Dakota).
Other conservative positions include: Stem-cell research (opposed), the right to die (opposed — recall the outrageous 2005 Republican-forced congressional intervention in the Terri Schiavo case), coercive, organized Christian prayer in public-school classrooms (favor), and Ten Commandments displays in courthouses and other public spaces (favor).
Regarding gays and lesbians, conservatives favor pervasive discrimination, in military service, marriage, adoption, human-rights protections and sexual privacy. On immigration, conservative-pushed policies include harsh anti-immigration laws in Arizona (2010) and Alabama (2011), and virtually endorsing Latino-directed racial profiling, by glorifying anti-immigrant hard-liners Tom Tancredo, Rep. Steve King, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Ariz. (legitimately, America’s anti-Latino “racial profiler in chief,” as documented by a damning 2011 Justice Department report).
In state after state, and one policy area after another, conservative policies often glaringly violate their own professed principles of “less government” and “individual liberty.” DeKruif’s selective, sugarcoated portrayal of conservatism can’t conceal that reality.