Ferguson: The extremists (1-4-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 4, 1943)


Ferguson: The extremists

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Roughly speaking, our people always have been divided into two major groups – the conservatives and the liberals. There is no reason to suppose they will ever merge completely. History proves that such division of basic opinions has always existed. We should accept its verdict and seek a few intelligent compromises for the present.

In days of peace, we could afford to quarrel. But now that we are neck-deep in war, a truce is imperative. No doubt the liberals are tired of hearing themselves called “starry-eyed innocents” and “addle-pated idealists,” but the conservatives are equally weary of being named stupid “isolationists, materialists and Quislings.”

Yet that sort of name-calling goes on day in and day out. The attitudes of hatred we assume toward fellow Americans won’t help us to win a quick victory nor assure us a good peace afterward.

In fact – and I’ve been reading their magazines and newspapers consistently – the liberals have very little right to the name any longer. They are becoming more intolerant than those they call intolerant. They never give the opposition credit for sincerity or good intentions. So strident and unjust are some of their accusations, one is forced to the conclusion that open minds and liberal opinions are no longer known to some of them.

It seems to me home groups should be willing to compromise over certain issues, especially when sacrifices are asked of all. Whether we agree wholly as to methods, the aim of everyone is victory. Neither group is flawless.

Charges of treason against political or idealistic opponents are both unfair and unwise at present. The extremists of liberalism and conservatism both sound screwy, if you ask me. It’s obvious, besides, that both would fail if given their heads – so why can’t we have a negotiated peace on the home front?

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