Niagara Gazette


April 20, 2014

SINGER: Bridging the ideological gap

Niagara Gazette — Being both liberal and conservative, as currently designated, makes one perhaps sound wishy-washy; but one can’t go down the line on everything.

What do I prize in today’s liberalism? Minus some of the cant and sanctimony of an Al Gore, environmentalism and animal protection; for there’s no question that the planet and its creatures are in grave trouble, due to humans and their technology. That’s just the way it is. Going backward even a smidgen — such as by renewed tolerance of wolves — apparently has real benefits for many other interconnected animals. And we have been decimating and even wiping out species around the world at an alarming rate, plus wrecking our air, water and the rest.

Were hunters who almost extirpated all bison by comfortably shooting from trains and such uniformly “conservatives?” Probably not, but hunting is more usually identified with that side of the spectrum. Do I, however, identify with those who simply buy their fish or meat in wrappers at the supermarket and think that via non-hunting they’re somehow purer? Absolutely not. I certainly see my own hypocrisy in this regard!

And while today’s environmentalism is mostly identified with the Left, let’s not forget the massive achievements in that realm of a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt.

There’s much else I’ve admired in past liberalism and its gains, but less in today’s, I’ll admit, when big government certainly needs paring and when spending has gotten so far out of control it would have shocked old-time liberals like Jefferson and even Truman; but apparently not today’s Reids or Pelosis.

Think of the real importance of liberal civil rights gains made in the past. By contrast, does each new social experiment of today need to become governmentally etched in stone and universally applied? But enough negatives...

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