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'Clear Thinking' Is a Little Cloudy

August 24, 1990

While conjecturing how Socrates might think, philosopher Gregory Vlastos ("Second Thoughts on Socrates," by Elizabeth Venant, View, Aug. 6) modestly assumed that Socrates would hold similar opinions to his own on issues from abortion (pro) to former President Ronald Reagan (anti). Socrates, however, might have a few thoughts for Vlastos to ponder.

Socrates might ask Vlastos: "Since you admire 'clear thinking,' why did you misquote your Constitution? You stated it 'proclaims the separation of church and state.' It does not."

Vlastos also assumes Socrates would find Donald Trump an "absurdity" in his quest for great wealth. Socrates might again refer Vlastos to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees individuals their own "pursuit of happiness."

Philosophy may be Vlastos' choice, but to others he may appear the "absurdity," since his "philosophy" seems to have produced more mean-spirited intolerance for his fellow man than Donald Trump or Ronald Reagan ever demonstrated.

MIRIAM JAFFE

Thousand Oaks

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