Your editorial "A Matter of Principle" in support of the ACLU could not be more incorrect in its basic philosophy (Sept. 28). You state that you "cannot imagine any idea . . . more American" than maximum individual rights. However, our modern democratic society is ultimately based on the sacrifice of some individual rights in order to sustain and protect the collective whole--a concept stated by Thomas Hobbes over 300 years ago. I do not see anything American about legalization of drugs, public sexual solicitation, the Nazi Party, or, for that matter, furloughs for convicted murderers.
The ACLU, as you state, is a group that seeks to advance a set of principles of government, and as such, qualifies as a political organization. I assume that Dukakis, as a politician, was aware of the ACLU positions on the various issues before joining the organization, much less publicly declaring support. Either Dukakis displayed poor judgment by supporting a group with which he has serious fundamental differences, or he is being less than forthright with the American people about his true positions on these issues.
The last 25 years of unbridled expansion of individual rights have left American society in a social and moral quagmire. I think the vast majority of Americans support society's right to limit individual freedom in order to protect the whole, and will vote for the candidate who does likewise, George Bush.
REESE E. THOMPSON