To the editor: Jonah Goldberg, like his former mentor William F. Buckley, should admit to finding himself in a bind: He doesn't want to please people he can't stand to please. ("Conservatives used to stand up to crackpots like Alabama's Roy Moore. Now many are defending him," Opinion, Oct. 24)
In Buckley's case, he didn't want to please liberals by criticizing the John Birch Society, particularly its infamous leader, Robert W. Welch Jr., who rode anti-communism fervor to denigrate civil rights and other liberal causes as "communist" conceits.
In Goldberg's case, he voices disgust for Alabama's notorious ex-Chief Justice Roy Moore who, despite being removed from the bench for his unconstitutional deference to religion, won the state GOP's U.S. Senate primary.
But Goldberg dares not attack Moore for touting government endorsement of religion. That would offend the religious right's minions, quick as many of them are to apply labels to Democratic leaders and progressive notions to suggest they are somehow anti-Christian.
Where Goldberg surely prefers democracy to theocracy, he has abundant cause to call out Moore — and his benighted hard-core supporters.
Sarah S. Williams, Santa Barbara
To the editor: Writing a letter praising Goldberg bothers me in the same way he reported that Buckley hesitated attacking the John Birch Society because he knew it would please the liberals whom he disliked with a passion.
Goldberg's tale of Buckley's moral courage and love of America combined with Goldberg's dismissal of some of the crazies in the Republican ranks demands that I write in praise of Goldberg, even if doing so pleases some conservatives.
I remember wondering how a man as intelligent as Buckley could support so many conservative ideas that I found outrageous, but he set a very high moral bar with his attack on the Birchers. I can only hope to reach that bar as a dedicated liberal in praising Goldberg.
Charles M. Weisenberg, Beverly Hills