Conservative and liberal distinctions

The Opinion page article "Why Cultural Conservatives Love Buchanan," March 9, is a disappointment. The author's use of "cultural conservative" may refer to a narrow slice of society, but has no general applicability to conservatives I know. The statement that "Next to abortion the issue that excites cultural conservatives the most is homosexuality," is absurd.

"Liberal" and "conservative" are not simple opposites. They are different facets of a complex set of attitudes and beliefs; and thus difficult to define. Oregon's Senator Mark Hatfield is a good example of a thoughtful politician with a coherent set of ideas that often frustrates journalists who cannot readily classify him in their narrow definitions of liberal or conservative.

The public dialogue necessary in a democracy is not well served by journalists who set up caricatures, whether of pinko liberals or of reactionary homophobic conservatives. Dennis Backues, Black River, N.Y.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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