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"Who's On Conservatism?": article draft by Roosevelt Fitzgerald




1980 (year approximate) to 1995 (year approximate)


From the Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers (MS-01082) -- Drafts for the Las Vegas Sentinel Voice file. On the USSR's Gorbachev ridding country of conservatives.

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man001018. Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers, 1890-1996. MS-01082. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Seemingly, what is liberal in one place is conservative in another and what is conservative in one place is liberal in another and liberalism condemned in one place is hailed in another by both liberals and conservatives. Not being a student of international affairs but merely a rather amateurish, lay observer, I am amazed at western interpretations of the shakeup currently taking place in the politburo of the USSR.
That nation and the United States, since post World War II years, have been involved in what has been called a "cold war." Over, the past week or so, the airways have been filled with more Russian names than one would find in Tolstoy's War And^ Peace.
I won't kid you, I cannot spell them all. At any rate, General Secretary Gorbachew, who has been promoting more openess or gladnost, was apalled, on a recent pilgrimage to some of the northern portions of the country to find so much dissatisfaction amount the people there. Everywhere he went he though he was at a "Rolling Stones" concert because every man-jack he spoke with reminded him of Mick Jaeger—"Can't get no satisfaction."
Sensing the unrest and realizing that the obstacle to his realizing the full intent of his new programs, was the presence of a body of conservatives in the government, he set about calling a special meeting in which he would remove the causes of his distress. He called in all of his supporters including Scharvarze who was in the United States having high level talks with Secretary of State Shultz. The whole world was buzzing. Well, not quite the whold world— I had a bad cold all week and was laid up with a virus. I've been laid up a lot in my life but you never forget the viruses. I watched it all on CNN Headline News every half-hour—the same story. I think watching CNN under those conditions is injurious to one's health. After a while, what appears to be delirium sets in. It seemed as though I was reliving life every half-hour. After a bit, in
my sickened condition, I began to sense what would be said next and, sure enough, over and over—every half-hour—I did. I could even anticipate what was going to be said next. Without realizing it, I was both secumbing to and overdosing on the "Headline News."
Anyway, Gorbachew is interested in ridding himself of the conservatives in his government because they are intefering with progress. Meanwhile, here in the United States, politicians are appraising Gorbachew's actions. Every politician who has name recognition is asked their views on the shakeup in the Kremlin and they all have something to say.
Amazingly, the-overwhelming majority of those I saw and heard being interviewed were themselves conservatives. They include such notables as Haig, Bush, Weyl, Buchannan, Kemp and others. They were all elated that Gorbachew was making changes and that those changes would be for the better and would create a better working relationship between the United States and the USSR. They were happey to see the old line conservatives being tossed out and the government becoming more liberal.
Many questions come to mind as one contemplates those developments. There is no rhyme or reason to an order for these questions because it is not all that clear if any one is more important than any of the others. For starters, why would American conservatives be anxious to see liberals in control of the USSR at the same time that American liberals are anxious to see liberals in the USSR taking the ascendancy? What is it about Soviet liberals that makes them palatible to American conservatives while American liberals are so repugnant to them? Does the fact that Soviet liberals seem more open to discuss in a more rational manner the great issues facing the world today that it might not also be equally true of American liberals? What is a conservative anyway? Is it someone who is opposed to minority peoples' progress as is the presumed case here in the U.S. and the seeming or implied case in the Soviet Union especially
as we are beginning to see more ethnic stirrings throughout the USSR and, what seems to be, a greater williness on the part of Soviet liberals in government to address the concerns of those ethnic groups such as Estonians, Latvians, Armenians and others who have been suppressed by the conservative elements of the Party for years and years? If this is indeed the case in the USSR and is in fact the case in the United States, might we be allowed to believe that the similarities between the two are far greater that their differences especially as they apply to not only the recognition of the rights of ethnic groups in the USSR as similar relationships between America's racial minorities and the
- State are defined?
As I consider these and numerous other questions which come to mind as I observe and attempt to attach some understanding to the events taking place in the USSR in regards to the dispossession of power from the hands of the conservatives to those of the liberals and the expected increase in the over compatibility of the State and all the ethnic groups in becoming a more harmonious unit engaged in developing a system which not only would provide a place for inhabiting but also a place for nurturing, does it not stand to reason that such a logical construct might also apply here and, further, be done so much more equitably in light of the long years we've had to work at designing something which, by its very edict, is representative of democracy? Certaintly.
What we need to now do is approach every conservative we can find and inquire if indeed it is not true that if a liberal form of government is desirable for the USSR and because we drew up the blueprints for what liberalism is, ought not we consider the very least we should do for ourselves and our posterity is remove from office and sight that element of conservatism which we are so quick to condemn among others?
If we were to do such a thing, in the bright light of day and the respon-
dents answered in the negative, then we would know beyond a shadow of doubt, provided conservative and liberal has similar meaning within the confines of both governmental entities, that they do indeed speak out of both sides of the mouth with such dexterity that they could whisper in their own ear.