'Radical' beliefs?

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2003

As usual, Richard Schmitz' letter regarding us "radical leftists" was heavy on slur and light on fact.

I'd like to list my beliefs and invite Richard, or anyone else, to tell me what is radical about them:

I believe in freedom tempered by social responsibility. That is you have the freedom to do things that don't hurt other people. Our laws should not allow corporations and the wealthy to have open season on the weaker, poorer segments of our society. Call it the New Deal. Call it Teddy Roosevelt's idea of social responsibility. Call it the common good.

I don't believe in laissez-faire capitalism. Neither did John D. Rockefeller or Teddy Roosevelt. I don't believe greed and selfishness should be enshrined as a value.

I believe in the sovereignty of other countries. I would be angry if anyone invaded our country and started telling us, at gunpoint, that they knew best. I sympathize with foreigners who feel the same when we invade their countries.

I believe you cannot have a good country without a strong sense of community in which people care about each other and apply that care through laws that provide kids with a good education; help people who are poor, homeless, disabled or addicted; and help those who aren't covered by health insurance through their work.

I believe you get what you pay for and if you allow people to be neglected and exploited they will in turn become lawless and exploitive. I believe in a free press and free speech and a diversity of opinions. We aren't the only country in the world that has these freedoms.

I believe our elected officials should work for the common good rather than ignore the common good in favor of private interests.

I don't believe there is a greatest country on earth. Everywhere I've traveled I've seen some things I thought were better than what we have in the U.S. and other things that weren't. For us to beat our chests and boast about being the greatest country in the world is insulting to other people and to our own intelligence. Leave it to George W. Bush to do that.

If any of this is radical, Richard, please tell me why.

Lisle Hebert


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