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Democracy must protect minority opinions


I feel compelled to respond to Bob Newman's criticism ["Pro-life Support Creates Surprise," Feb. 6.], since it appears to endorse an ethic I find troubling. As I was not one of the "whopping eight people" he claimed attended the March for Life from MIT, and in light of the fact that I certainly was there, I would suggest to him that he should not count people he never saw. More disturbing to me, however, after enduring the personal affront, was his apparent assertion that majority consent implies a right to dilute constitutional guarantees.

I cannot dispute that the pro-abortion rally demonstrated more support than ours; the core of activists in attendance was, if the press and park police can be trusted, significantly larger; however, the question of legitimization of the opinion remains.

The difficulty is best considered by recalling an old fragment of rote from high school American history: Some sixty percent of our Founding Fathers' contemporaries were either loyal to the king or apathetic about the American Revolution. If this can be accepted, the natural question that arises is whether our revolution was immoral for imposing its will upon others, or justified because it was backed by a universal truth (i.e., that man is essentially selfish and must be protected from himself by the institutionalization of certain "inalienable rights"). The answer would seem to suggest that our laws are predicated upon a belief that freedom, which can be legislated, must be tempered by conscience, which can not.

With this in mind, it is easy to see that our jurisprudence demands reconsideration. Clearly, it is not only the Supreme Court's right, but also its obligation to protect human life -- regardless of public opinion. On behalf of all "eight" of us, then, I would urge Mr. Newman to refrain from unseemly and necessarily shallow condemnation of our beliefs. It is neither warranted, nor appreciated -- and it leaves him open to criticism, should he ever espouse what is perceived to be a minority opinion on an issue of conscience.

Daniel J. Green '92->