Contradiction of Liberalism
Occasionalby WILLIAM J. HUSSAR
August 24, 1994, Wednesday, Final Edition, August 24, 1994
As someone who has spent his adult life as a pro-life liberal, I was happy to see Mark Shields [op-ed, Aug. 10] address what I have long thought to be a major inconsistency with the standard liberal position. Pro-choice advocates often make such claims as, "You can't force your own morality on others." Yet inissues such as those concerning the poor, women and minorities, liberals have never had a problem forcing their views on others. Only when, as Mr. Shields says, "the agenda is one liberals abhor" do liberals suddenly become libertarians.
Mr. Shields says that he is a "non-recovering American liberal." I am not sure that is the case with me. Some of my views have changed over time, but I also feel that some pro-choice advocates are causing erosion of the tolerance and open-mindedness I had identified with liberalism. For example, the Democrats, not the Republicans, let advocates of only one view on abortion speakat their last national convention. Also, liberals designed and enacted a "Freedom of Access Bill" that targets not only the small minority of violent pro-life demonstrators but also those who use the same methods of peaceful, nonviolent (if, at times, unpleasant) civil disobedience used by liberal demonstrators of the past.
Mr. Shields concludes that it is possible to be both pro-life and liberal, but that it is lonesome. I agree. Given the decay in what I see passing for liberalism now, I fear that the ranks may soon fall by one, leaving Mr. Shields more lonesome still.
WILLIAM J. HUSSAR
The Washington Post