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Liberalism by Any Other Name



To the Editors of The Crimson:

Mark J. Sneider's "Progressive Conservatism is no Oxymoron" [April 13] demonstrates the type of petty partisanship which should be eliminated from American politics.

Sneider appears to rejoice in the fact that the social programs of the 1960s have not had the positive effects their creators intended. Instead of expressing regret about the tragedies of the welfare and housing programs, he seems delighted to ascribe their problems to the Democratic Party: "Democrats cannot or will not admit that their tried and tested methods of urban development...have failed."

This statement is offered without accompaniment by any data. Sneider seems to neglect the fact that the poverty level among Americans fell from the 1960s until the early 1980s The rise in poverty in the 1980s coincided with former President Ronald Reagan's dismantling of Great Society programs.

I'd also like to remind Sneider that homelessness was significantly less of a problem until the "Reagan Revolution." In light of the facts, the claim that Democratic programs have failed is quite weak.

Sneider has massive misconceptions about the meaning of liberalism. He seems to believe that liberals have some inherent love of bureaucracy and waste. His definition of "progressive conservatism" includes the basic tenets of modern American liberalism. What Sneider advocates is nothing like conservatism; it is efficiently implemented liberalism.

In this sense, however, I am glad that liberalism has won another convert. Although he won't admit it, Sneider is not a "progressive conservative," but a pragmatic liberal. David L. Lessing '93

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