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‘Moralists Would Sink S. Africa’

The fallacy of Raymond Price’s article (Editorial Pages, Sept. 6) is explicit in its title: “U.S. Moralists Would Sink South Africa, Too.” Did “U.S. moralists” “sink” Batista in Cuba, Diem in South Vietnam or the Shah of Iran, as Price suggests, or do tyrants sometimes fall because their regimes are intolerable to their subjects and victims?

Did the Buddhist monks who doused themselves with gasoline in the streets of Saigon and then set themselves on fire do so for the pleasure of “U.S. moralists”?

The lessons to be learned from our past efforts to buttress tyrannical regimes are that we should no longer spend political rhetoric, dollars, and, most important, the lives of men and women in our armed forces to maintain totering and immoral tyrants. We should stop giving the victims of those tyrants reason to run into the arms of our enemies. We should see those victims as human and autonomous and not as the pawns of communists or “U.S. moralists.”

It’s time we stopped being racist in the name of anti-communist zeal, stopped denying that suffering black South Africans can have their own reason for rebeling and can do so autonomously, can act on their own.

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Blacks in South Africa are fighting tyranny worse than “taxation without representation”; there is no moral reason why we can’t be allied with the black government that is coming inexorably to South Africa, coming regardless of what U.S. liberals and conservatives write and say about each other.

“U.S. moralists” aren’t “sinking” South Africa, injustice is. Price would have us side with injustice. How self-defeating.

MATTHEW BECKER

Mission Viejo

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