Letter: Basis of Conservatives’ Fears

To the Editor:

Steve Nelson writes about conservatives (“Conservatives Prefer to Battle Straw Men,” Dec. 9) but misleads when he characterizes progressives like himself. Nelson writes that neither he nor any political progressive he knows wants to limit the ability of conservatives to live in accordance with their beliefs. But of course he does, and thereby he treads upon the freedoms of others.

Nelson claims to respect those who believe in a “right to life” for unborn infants. Yet he would have them be forced to pay for abortions of others. This is not freedom.

Nelson claims to respect responsible hunters and states there has never been a progressive proposal to confiscate guns from responsible owners. Perhaps he is unaware of California Senate Bill 249, one example among several, which proposes to do exactly that for modern sporting rifles that have already been legally purchased. An extreme wing of progressives not only wants to ban hunting, but also to make pet ownership illegal in a meatless society.

Nelson states no progressive has suggested restricting the practice of religion at home “or virtually anywhere.” Yet the rights of people to demonstrate their religious beliefs in public are increasingly restricted, even when such demonstrations do not intrude on the rights of others to believe otherwise or not believe at all. Although the First Amendment says Congress shall not establish a state religion, it also says it shall make no law “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” — there is nothing here limiting expression to private places. Free means free.

While conservatives are often portrayed as anti-government, many of them believe a proper characterization is being pro-liberty, which includes having enough government to ensure that the actions of some do not intrude on the freedoms of others. Progressives like Nelson champion the rights of minorities. As America becomes increasingly diverse, perhaps it is time for them to recognize that our laws should not limit the freedom of those who hold traditional values, solely because the majority has abandoned them.

Tim Dreisbach

South Royalton


Steve Nelson: Conservatives Prefer to Do Battle With Straw Men

Thursday, December 6, 2012

“Send someone to take away my guns, and you’ll see just exactly how ‘worth defending’ the Second Amendment is. And yes, that means exactly what you think it does.” This alarmingly clear comment was one of many similar sentiments in response to a Huffington Post piece I recently wrote about gun violence. On Facebook this week, someone posted a colorful …