L. Neil Smith's
Number 278, July 4, 2004

"It would be worse than dying."

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Roy J. Tellason

Letter from Caleb Paul

Letter from James J Odle

Re: Letter from the Manhattan Libertarian Party http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/tle277-20040627-01.html#letter2

As it turns out, I happen to know someone who works for the NYC parks department. And not all that long ago, we were having a conversation that touched on just this sort of thing...

I don't know how many readers are familiar with NYC in general, or with Central Park in particular. I left that area at the beginning of 1978, and haven't lived there since, but remember that park as being pretty "worn", which considering the population density of the surrounding area is no surprise at all. It was in rough shape!

Since those days, a lot of effort has gone into fixing this in various ways. The thing is, funding for that effort hasn't come from cash-strapped NYC, but from donations, mostly coming from people who live around the park. So this organizing for a demonstration isn't going to impact the "officials" in NYC so much as it's going to be striking against those folks who were kind enough to kick some of their money into making the park a better place to be.

I forwarded a copy of this announcement to the person I know who works there, and got this for a response:

> Yep. Another group who don't realize how much damage they will do.
> I think they should be allowed to do it, just not on the Great
> Lawn. We have an area of the park called the East Meadow, where
> the grass is worn down to the dirt in many places. If they applied
> for a permit for that, they would probably get it (as long as they
> could fit—the East Meadow holds around 10,000).

So, does this matter at all to the Manhattan Libertarian Party? Or are they just going to have their demonstration, and not give a crap about the damage they end up doing?

Roy J. Tellason

Re: Letter from Jeffrey Quick http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/tle277-20040627-01.html

Re: Mr Quick's letter, perhaps I use the term progressive in a different sense to him, I'm not sure. That's probably a side issue though, as is how we measure progress. I would venture that it's something that frees people from oppression of one form or another and allows them the freedom to pursue their potential as human beings.

I don't think having institutions established on unyielding premises is necessarily important for society as such. If you believe in any sort of objective truth (as anyone who is a libertarian does), then you have to acknowledge that there are things that are wrong. Just because a bad institution is established on unyielding premises doesn't make it good.

Likewise, they may indeed provide balance to social experimenters, but that doesn't necessarily imply a trail back to the correct course if that course was faulty to begin with. Perhaps both the social experimenters and the unyielding institution are wrong and a third option is the correct one.

Also, I don't know if it's correct to describe heeding a different call in a secular society as courageous, especially when under the umbrella of such a powerful institution as the Catholic church, and also when it's based upon blind faith and dogma.

I'm not about to suggest banning the church or anything of the sort, and I'm all for their existence in one sense. However, that they are what they are, and that they exist at all is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, I think it's a very bad thing.

Caleb Paul

Dear Ken:

This article calls to mind the old Soviet Union where nonconformists were taken aside for psychological "reprogramming" when they refused to 'get with the program' and become good little communists:


Right out of Orwell, ain't it?

James J Odle

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