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Pragmatism

June 18, 1987

In his article (Editorial Pages, June 9), "A Watchdog Panel to Deal With Presidential Lying," Richard L. Franklin poses the questions: "Should a President lie if it is the national interest or security to do so?" and "What happens in a democracy when elected leaders lie?"

While America's political system is clearly democratic, our philosophical system has been most generally called pragmatic. Pragmatism in the American sense, then, is probably best defined as the aborted attempt to wed Christianity to Machiavellianism. Given such latitude, almost anything can be made palatable or "in the national interest."

ROBERT B. SINGLETON

Los Angeles

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