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The Right Thing

June 24, 1990

Clancy Sigal replies: I am truly sorry that Aquaro is angry about my article. It was my intention to celebrate, not demean, conservative dissent. Since my personal history gave me an in-built bias against the beliefs of Young Americans for Freedom, I worked hard to keep my portraits fair and balanced. I wanted to be especially careful about Aquaro because, having spoken so freely to me, he should not have to suffer from possible misinterpretations about where he stood and why. For this reason, I kept him constantly updated on the status of my article, which he seemed eager to see in print. I also felt confident of my accuracy, and goodwill, because before publication I had read him the entirety of my interview with him (not just selected quotes), over the telephone, to see if he had any objections. In fact, he had none. But, if he will recall, I was a bit doubtful about one or two passages, which I called to his attention. Together we clarified them.

I have the highest respect for Aquaro and his family. My respect embraces his right to opinions he and I argued about at length. Many of our exchanges are on tape, in notebooks and in letters.

To his specific points:

1. Aquaro's involvement with YAF was active. He asked me not to cite a particularly flagrant example; I respected his wishes.

2. I am inventive but not so inventive as to create the burning-wall incident.

3. Aquaro is correct--he is a Nixon baby.

4. Maybe it wasn't tweed.

5. In several conversations, Aquaro indicated his strong dislike of affirmative action and welfare for minorities. It is a respectable position. It does not mean he is racist. On the contrary, he feels that special treatment for minorities confirms their victim status.

6. I am at a loss to know why Aquaro wants to disavow knowledge of John Locke or the \f7 Federalist Papers. I meant it as a compliment.

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