- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 6, 2003

The price of freedom

The case of Steve Hinkle (“California student struggles against ‘disruption’ finding,” Nation, Wednesday), charged with disrupting a campus event at California Polytechnic State University, should show Americans that we haven’t yet won the Cold War. The people who brought that charge against this student are Americans in name only, believing that it is OK to attack the free speech rights of a fellow American whose opinion differs from theirs. This case sounds like something that would have happened in the USSR, or could happen in Castro’s Cuba.

What kind of university administrators in the United States would act like Soviet commissars? Those who don’t like our country and want its freedoms to apply only to them, not to anyone whose opinion differs from theirs. We must admit to ourselves and in public that having people like them in positions that influence public opinion or educate Americans of any age is dangerous to the survival of our system of liberty under law. They not only undermine their fellow citizens morally and spiritually, but actually support the cause of our terrorist enemies and want us to fail in our war against them.

People who believe that way are getting their ideas from our enemies in the Cold War. Many of them don’t recognize this, and none of them want to believe they are leftovers from the 20th century, but that’s just what they are.

Violence in the streets is not necessary to drive them out of universities, public schools, TV networks, major newspapers and magazines, top management of mainline religious institutions, or even the Catholic clergy. The most effective way to get them out of power is to ignore or drop out of anything that’s run by them. That means never watching the TV networks they control (and letting their sponsors know about your decision), getting your children out of schools run by them (public or private), not attending universities or colleges run by them, not reading their newspapers. Vote them out with our feet, our money and our hands upon the remote.



Such boycotts will not be easy for us, but we have to replace the institutions they now run with ones that are shepherded by people who want liberty under law to apply to all of us. We cannot accept any control of our lives by people who agree with political correctness and the malignant philosophy that goes with it. They are already acting more and more like the commissars from the old Soviet Union, and have the will to take governmental power if we don’t reject their domination of our lives.

Freedom isn’t free, folks. We have to fight for it, and finally win the Cold War. God be with us.

JUL OWINGS

Baltimore

A Balkan Union?

Jeffrey Kuhner’s article (“Another Balkan Union?” Commentary, Wednesday) is dangerous in its tone and assumptions. First, one must wonder whether his pure support for national self-determination achieved through violent means at the cost of the dissolution of internationally recognized states would extend to regions such as Chechnya, various parts of Indonesia, or other conflicts.

Second, he neglects to recognize the high degree of interconnectedness in the Balkan region that necessitates that the region solve its problems and make reforms jointly. A region characterized by such close contact and ties for centuries must approach economic development, the rule of law, military reform and the fight against cross-border organized criminal activity together. The criminal elements in the Balkan region understand this, and work together seamlessly across borders.

Third, he fails to place the dissolution of Yugoslavia in any historical context. Nineteenth-century Croat intellectuals who understood the history, political connections and demographic realities of the region were the first to propose a state constituting all of the “south Slavs.” Not until the violence of the 20th century — particularly the murder and genocide of World War II — did wholesale violent ethnic cleansing begin to be seen as an appropriate tactic to achieve political goals.

Finally, the admiration with which he closes his essay in referring to the instrumental Croat role in Yugoslavia only endorses and legitimizes former nationalist leader Franjo Tudjman’s approach (a man no better than Slobodan Milosevic in his quest for power at any price) at the expense of potentially more democratic, non-nationalist, non-violent solutions.

One should consider whether the more than 150,000 Croatian Serbs who were forcibly expelled in 1995 despite their presence in the region for centuries believed that “self-determination” at any cost — including creation of an “ethnically pure” region — was the best approach to regional political turmoil. That issue — in Croatia and throughout the former Yugoslavia — is more indicative of a “deeply racist policy” than Mr. Kuhner’s scorned European recommendations for regional development.

VALERY PERRY

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

License spray, radar cameras and bureaucracy

Steve Sexton’s article “License-plate spray foils traffic cameras,” (Page 1, Thursday) illustrates the general problem of “the state” having a financial incentive to wield its power against the citizens it governs. The incentive is high, given the tendency of people to be corrupt. There is only one solution for this that I can see.

Granted, fines may be an appropriate punishment for certain infractions of reasonable law. However, the fines collected then fall under the control of bureaucrats, which creates the problem of unreasonable enforcement, or of the passing of unreasonable laws just to collect revenue.

If all fines collected by a ruling authority, from the national government down to the local councils, were placed in an account that was, by law, untouchable by that or any other bureaucratic entity and fully open to public monitoring, the funds could accumulate interest. Then, at such point that the public deemed it to be a sufficiently large sum, the money could be withdrawn and distributed to those members of the community who are registered to vote and who voted in the last three elections in their jurisdictions.

That would remove any financial incentive for bureaucrats to wield the power of the state while still allowing enforcement of reasonable laws. No doubt, people being what they are, someone could still find a way to corrupt this system, but the opportunities for such corruption are far less and far more controllable than in the current systems in place across the nation.

WILLIAM G. HILLMAN

Rowlett, Texas

Pharmaceuticals and profits

Robert Goldberg (“A terrible mistake,” Op-Ed, Thursday) argues that ensuring the safety of pharmaceuticals sold in the United States outweighs a consumer’s right to buy from whatever seller in the world offers the best price.

In that case, we’d better ban food imports from foreign countries, because terrorists might attack the food supply. In fact, we should probably stop importing altogether, because who knows what dangerous materials are being smuggled into the United States in all those unmarked containers?

Rather than government intervention, a better solution is simply to label drugs with the country they’ve been reimported from, and let individuals decide if they want to assume the added risk of buying from abroad.

I suspect Mr. Goldberg is mainly concerned about drug companies’ profit margins. If so, he should make his case entirely on those grounds, rather than resorting to scare tactics.

GEOFFREY J. KING

Austin, Texas

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