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Lack of Patriotism and Growth of Spying in U.S.

December 07, 1985

The message and intent of Roberts is loud and clear. Criticism of Administration policy is unpatriotic, and being a non-Christian, or a member of a group that did not support Reagan's reelection makes one's loyalty to the U.S. suspect.

Roberts asserts that the unity of the United States is threatened by the emergence of "interest groups," which he portrays as a novel blight in the body politic. Significantly, most of the groups Roberts (a former Reagan Administration official) singles out did not vote for Reagan, groups that did (fundamentalists, the wealthy, etc.) go unmentioned.

Singled out for special attack as being the root cause of recent spy scandals is what Roberts regards as unpatriotic schooling. He laments the absence of the Lord's Prayer in school, as if only Christians can be true Americans. He is alarmed that children learn that America is not perfect, that for all of its successes, the United States has had its failures. Yet the ranks of recent traitors are filled with men who were raised with the same conformist, quasi-religious schooling that Roberts praises.

It is this assertion of Roberts that is most worrisome, that patriotism is incompatible with being informed. Knowledge of the failures of American policy or practice does not undermine loyalty to the United States, Americans are quick to forgive their country. It is when the government attempts to deceive, to conceal its failures, that our faith is shaken and treachery and deceit are made to seem acceptable.

CAREY SUBLETTE

Riverside

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