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Opinion

Readers React: Are anti-Trump conservatives truly ready to embrace the founders’ liberalism?

Judge OKs showing motto, saying pledge in school
A poster with “In God We Trust” hangs in the main hallway of Larkspur Middle School in Virginia Beach, Va., in 2002.
(Mike Heffner / Associated Press)

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg’s incisive column excoriates “post-liberal” conservatives who have abandoned the founding fathers’ core philosophy.

He aptly notes that in early America, “Some states had established religions and some didn’t,” and the founders opposed a “one-size-fits-all approach from the top.” He bemoans the fact that many conservatives now want to dictate adherence to “the highest good,” impossible as that is to define for our diverse population.

It’s all well and good for Goldberg to champion a return to liberalism. But is he willing to stand by his professed convictions?

Might he now decry 1950s religious conservatives’ push for “the highest good” that added “under God” to public school kids’ daily pledge and put “In God We Trust” on our currency? How about the disingenuousness of high court justices who recently held that allowing Christian prayers to kick off public meetings doesn’t amount to government endorsement of religion?

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I hope Goldberg is willing to walk the talk.

Edward Alston, Santa Maria

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To the editor: The Republican Party made a devil’s bargain with the religious and cultural right long before President Trump because it couldn’t find an electoral path to office without those voters.

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What is new is the willingness of many on the right to embrace Trump’s economic populism at the expense of free-market fundamentalism. Whether those conservatives have finally realized that Republican economic orthodoxy has not benefited them, or if they really are Republicans in spite of the free-market precepts only because of cultural issues involving race and identity, is not clear to me.

Regardless, the turn from “freedom and free markets” to welfare statism and legal enforcement of cultural values is an important one to say the least. Now, if we could just slice off the racism and reactionary attitudes from the economic populism.

Chris Fite, Spring Valley, Calif.

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